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House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce On Cuba and The North Korean Moves On Sony

Wednesday, December 17, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

California Congressman Ed Royce joined me today to discuss the president’s decisions on Cuba, and what if any impact the North Korean move on Sony has on his agenda in the Foreign Affairs Committee in 2015:




HH: Joined now by Congressman Ed Royce. Congressman Royce is the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Mr. Chairman, welcome, it’s great to have you back.

ER: Hugh, good to be with you.

HH: Your jurisdiction is much in the news, on Cuba and North Korea. Let’s start with Cuba. What is your reaction to the President’s decision to reestablish diplomatic relations with Cuba today?

ER: Well, it’s the way in which he’s doing it, Hugh, that’s so hard to believe, in terms of negotiating strategy. Up until now, what we’ve been trying to leverage out of the Cubans, and they’re really up against it, because Venezuela can no longer support them, we have been trying to get them to change their system so that workers in Cuba can actually get a direct paycheck from any company coming from the United States. So if you’re in the travel industry, and you’re going there to Cuba, the thing you should know is that you’re actually depositing the money in the account controlled by Raul Castro, who also controls the security forces there. The amount that a worker in Cuba gets paid can be as little as five cents on the dollar. The rest of it goes into their security apparatus. And that is used to maintain, you know, the control over the island, but also for all the skullduggery they’re involved in, in Latin America, Central America. I’m just back from South America and Central America, and the topic was Cuba’s attempts to overthrow governments down there. So why not negotiate something that would, that we’ve negotiated in the past with Vietnam, and with other countries like China? Why not at least do that for the workers if you’re going to give everything on our side of the ledger? Continue Reading

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Ambassador John Bolton On Cuba and 2016

Wednesday, December 17, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton joined me today to discuss the president’s moves on Cuba and his plans for 2016:




HH: On a day of huge news, I am in Hawaii at AM690, the Answer, but I’m joined from New York by former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton. Mr. Ambassador, Merry Christmas to you, thanks for joining me on short notice today.

JB: Well, Merry Christmas to you. I’m glad to do it.

HH: Well, tell me first your reaction to President Obama’s announcement today of these steps to normalize and reopen diplomatic relations with Cuba.

JB: Well, I think it’s an unmitigated defeat for the United States. The President, by his action, has given political legitimacy to this dictatorship, and he has extended an economic lifeline to the regime precisely at the time when we should be increasing pressure. The net of this is not going to be to benefit the Cuban people. It will be to help sustain the regime, which is why they agreed to it to begin with. And the difficulties go beyond the bilateral relationship with Cuba. The President has willfully overturned a 55 year long American policy, and it says to our adversaries all around the world if you want something from the United States, the next two years is the time to get it. Continue Reading


Ohio Governor John Kasich on 2016

Tuesday, December 16, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Ohio’s ebullient Governor John Kasich joined me to start today’s show.




HH: I’m pleased to welcome back to the program the governor of the Buckeye State, Governor John Kasich. Governor, Merry Christmas to you.

JK: Merry Christmas to you, Hugh.

HH: You snuck in and out of Arizona last week before I even noticed that you were flying into the Desert State, or I would have come over to interview you. What is that Flying Wedge campaign all about?

JK: Well, you know, I’ve been concerned for many years, even from the beginning of my career when I was really young about the need to balance the budget. And I spent ten years of my life working to get it done in Washington. But you come to realize that moments in time are not good enough. So we’re not a bit over $18 trillion dollars in the hole, and I don’t care whether you’re a Republican, a Democrat, an independent or somebody that just doesn’t care. Those kind of numbers are staggering, and they have profound implications for our country if in fact we don’t begin to deal with this. So I actually believe that without a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, I think Congress will continue to do the things they do, where at moments in time they may do the right thing. But Hugh, you can’t operate a government where you don’t have any financial stability. You couldn’t operate a business that way. You can’t operate a family that way. And I am extremely concerned. I think this is the most important thing that we can get done now, is to force them to balance their budget. You know, if we didn’t have that requirement in Ohio, I’m sure that we would still be in the hole, and politicians would dodge and figure out how to get away with making choices. But once you have to make that choice, I think it would begin to lock things into place and bring great improvement to our country. Continue Reading

Jeb, Ted, and the 2016 GOP Demolition Derby

Tuesday, December 16, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush formed his exploratory committee today, and as both Eliana Johnson at National Review and Tim Alberta at National Journal reported yesterday, Senator Ted Cruz has all but entered the lists.  (The diner conversation I moderated for the group that met with Senator Cruz was off-the-record, but not the dinner happening itself.  The senator and I in fact discussed it on air before it convened.)  No, I am not “in Cruz’s camp” as more than a few listeners have written me since these articles appeared.  I am in “no camp” but eager to hear them all and introduce any of them that head west to friends and fellow conservatives.

Governor Bush will not doubt be a topic on today’s show, even though my guests include Governor Kasich of Ohio and Senator-elect Tom Cotton who was named to the Armed Services, Banking and Intelligence Committees yesterday in a display of great judgment by Leader McConnell and his team.  So will be Senator Thune’s surprising “wait a minute” yesterday, But the key to the 2016 race is found deep in the Rockefeller bio I interviewed author Richard Norton Smith about yesterday (see below): Nobody knows anything at this point about how voters will be feeling in February 2016 after eight or nine debates and a couple of thousand eight hour news cycles, and the only way to win is to run.  Hard.  From the start.

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