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George Will on Donald Trump and Sarah Palin

Tuesday, January 19, 2016  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Columnist and author George Will –one of Donald Trump’s most relentless critics– joined me today to discuss the former Vice Presidential nominee’s endorsement of Donald Trump today.

The audio: 01-19hhs-will

The transcript:

HH: I’m joined by nationally syndicated Fox News contributor and author of A Nice Little Place on the South Side, George Will. George Will, welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show, great to have you.

GW: Glad to be with you.

HH: What did you make of that?

GW: Well, I don’t think it’s the Republican Party turning a fresh face to a promising future. We should all believe in recycling but there are limits, frankly.

HH: (Laughs).

GW: I really think in the closing hours before the moment of seriousness arises, and I think it does arrive in America when people are actually confronted with a ballot and they no longer think they’re sending a message, they realized they’re sending a president, and I think this is one of the final episodes of what I hope, perhaps naively is, the silly season. Continue Reading

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Finding Truth

Tuesday, January 19, 2016  |  posted by John Schroeder

Istanbul Turkey is one of the most beautiful and historic cities I have ever visited.  But it is not necessarily the most pleasant place I have ever visited.  For example, the city is ancient, yet pre-Ottoman history is very, very hard to find.  My wife enjoyed our visit, but she was constantly by my side.  Women I know that have visited independently, even just gone out by themselves or with a few other women for a few hours, have reported a very different experience.  If one is interested in history and culture visiting Istanbul is a must, but seeing the history and experiencing the culture is not a casual thing.  And given recent terror activity in the city, it comes with hazard beyond the normal.

Tourism is a big part of the city’s economy, so the fact that ads for traveling to Istanbul started showing up on my Facebook after last weeks suicide bombing is not surprising, but one ad this morning was.  It featured a young, attractive, blond woman, seemingly traveling alone, enjoying “street food” in a district just away from the churches, mosques and palaces that comprise the tourist heart of Istanbul, as if she was eating off a food truck in West LA.  I was horrified.  I would recommend Istanbul as a destination to anyone, but I would also tell a young, blond, attractive woman to make sure she had an escort.  I’m not being sexist here – but they sure as heck are.  I thought the ad crossed the line into deceptive.

That set me to thinking about the political ads that are beginning to fill our media as the election cycle heats up. Continue Reading

Carly Fiorina On The State Of The Race

Monday, January 18, 2016  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Carly Fiorina joined me today to provide an update on the race two weeks out from Iowa:

Audio: 01-18hhs-fiorina


HH: I’m joined by Carly Fiorina, who like me, a few years younger than Glenn Frey and therefore we both we both have the soundtrack of our lives shaped a little bit by the Eagles. Am I right about that Carly Firoina?

CF: Yes you are, and you are playing one of my absolute favorite songs. Really sad news today.

HH: It is very sad and the music world is mourning, but I will come back to that after the break. I got to take our limited time to focus on Iowa and New Hampshire. First question, Carly Fiorina, the media is trying to say, this a two-person race now between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. What’s your response?

CF: Well, they’re wrong. They’re not out here on the ground, they’re sitting in cozy boardrooms in New York City, they don’t have a clue what’s going on here. I’m out here day after day after day in Iowa and New Hampshire and most people haven’t made up their minds yet. This is a wide open race, we have an incredibly robust ground game in both Iowa and New Hampshire. This is not a two-person race, but you’re right, the political establishment wants to get this over with as fast as possible and the media wants it to be the cage-match between Trump and Cruz. Let’s just wait and see what happens when people start voting.

HH: Now it’s two weeks away, how does a leading contender like you focus two weeks of resources and effort, are you spending all on Iowa or going back and forth?

CF: We have always thought this as a long race and while Iowa and New Hampshire are very important, the race is going to continue beyond Iowa and New Hampshire, so in the last five days I have been in Iowa New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada, and I’m back in Iowa.

HH: Now talk to me a little bit about if in fact, Ted Cruz wins Iowa and Donald Trump wins New Hampshire. What’s your strategy for South Carolina at that point and does it much matter whether you’re third, fourth, fifth, sixth, or seventh?

CF: I don’t answer hypothetical questions, Hugh. I’m a law school drop-out, you may remember.

HH: (Laughs).

CF: I learned early on in law school, you don’t answer hypothetical questions, so let’s see what happens when the voting starts.

HH: Alright, then take me to last night, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders – it’s sad to lose a rock n’ roll legend like Glenn Frey, but it reminds us of the Woodstock generation is having their last hurrah with Bernie Sanders. Both of them went full-swing, Carly Fiorina.

CF: (Laughs)

HH: What did you make of that?

CF: Yes they did. Well, look, Bernie, at least give the courage of his convictions, he really is a socialist, and okay, so he’s never changed. Hillary Clinton is pandering to the left-wing of her party, she will say anything to get elected. However, we need to be realistic as Republicans. She may have escaped prostitution more times than El Chapo, but she may be fatally flawed candidate, but she has raised more money in the last quarter than any candidate in history. She will have a fantastic ground game, and she’s not a bad debater, so we need to put somebody up against her who can beater her. I can, and I will. And not everybody running can beat her.

HH: What do you make of the Cruz-Trump exchange on so-called New York values?

CF: Frankly, I think the whole thing, I’ll just be honest and say, I think that whole exchange back-and-forth, both of them are insiders trying to cast themselves as outsiders. Ted Cruz has been in politics all his life and has demonstrated that he’ll say whatever he needs to say as any other politicians would and Trump is the opposite of the coin of Hillary Clinton and Hillary Clinton has made millions selling access and influence from inside-government and Donald Trump has made billions buying people like Hillary Clinton off. These are two insiders who want to be outsiders this year and I think the media is going to continue to obsess over that, but just remember this, Hugh. It’s interesting, I was just thinking about this today. It’s January, in January of 2015, the media was convinced that Scott Walker had it in the bag and we all might as well all go home.

HH: (Chuckles)

CF: That didn’t turn out that way, did it?

HH: No. Now today Donald Trump gave a speech at Liberty University in which he referred to “Two Corinthians.” Now I often actually refer to 2nd Corinthians as “Two Corinthians” and that became a story and I can’t for the life of me understand why that’s a story other than to try and make him not affluent in “Evangelicalese.” What do you make of media coverage of things like that when in fact we got Iranian hostages, we’ve got $1.7 billion being transferred to Iran today, this very day, Tom Cotton just gave me that hard-currency number. Does it matter, 2nd Corinthians, “Two Corinthians,” or does the Iranian money transfer matter?

CF: Well, Hugh, let me just ask you, we’re sitting on the phone today and you’re not asking me about Iran, you’re asking me about Donald Trump and “Two Corinthians.”

HH: I’m actually asking you about both.

CF: Let me respond to Iran. This Iranian deal is a little bit like Obamacare. The more we learn, the worse it gets and apparently this deal was complete capitulation by President Obama and his administration to Iran on every single item. We now know, by the way, after the United States on top of the $1.7 billion, on top of the fact that we didn’t put sanctions on the new test-fired two ballistic missiles in direct violation of the agreement they had just signed because oh, we would have jeopardized the negotiations for the release of the four Americans, Americans we should’ve gotten before this deal-making ever started, on top of everything else, we now learn, after the United States of America thanked Iran for handling our sailors well while the SIM cards were stolen out of their phones. Iran is an adversary. This is a terrible deal which is why on day one in the Oval Office I will inform the Iranians that there is a New Deal with a new president.

HH: Have you seen the movie “Thirteen Hours” yet?

CF: I have not.

HH: There is quite a controversy over whether or not there was a stand-down order given that day and I have been following a debate about this and Mike Pompeo won’t tell me what the committee has learned yet, and so we don’t know. They continue to take evidence. What do you think, Carly Fiorina?

CF: Here’s what I think. I think that Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State knowingly left our embassy and our personnel exposed in a highly dangerous situation. I think that when Mrs. Clinton stood up the day after a purposeful terrorist attack and lied about a video that did not represent our values instead of saying this is a purposeful terrorist attack on our embassy in which our ambassador and three other brave Americans were murdered and we the United States of America will seek retaliation and retribution. When she lied in the way in that she did, she basically told every terrorist open season on the United States of America.

HH: Does the same thing happen as a result of the hostage swap and would you have made the deal that the president made to get the Americans back?

CF: Would the same thing happen? Yes. Would I have made this deal? No. I wouldn’t have made any aspect of this a deal. This is a terrible deal. It is a complete capitulation and Iran over and over again – – first of all, Iran decided what the inspections regime would look like. They’re in charge of it, we’re not, which is why when I make that phone call on day one, my new deal with the supreme leader of Iran is until you open every military and every nuclear facility to real anytime-anywhere inspections by our people not yours, we the United States of America will make it impossible for you move money, we have to cut off the money flow because the money being used is on terrorism, to fund a military build-up, to fund the nuclear build-up, and no, it is not peaceful and no, the IAEA knows what’s going on.

HH: Carly Fiorina, as always, bracing, thank you for joining., America.

End of Interview

Bill Kristol On The State of the 2016 Races

Monday, January 18, 2016  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol joined me today to survey the political landscape two weeks out from Iowa:

Audio: 01-18hhs-kristol


HH: I begin this hour with Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard. Long-time friend of mine and I think, like me, has confused a prognosticator as anyone out there. Bill, how are you?

BK: I’m fine, Hugh, and I’m honored to be as confused as you are, really.

HH: (Laughs)

BK: We’re not an exclusive group this year, however.

HH: I got into an argument yesterday on Meet the Press with Steve Schmidt from the old McCain campaign and he says, “Look, it’s going to be Trump or Cruz.” And I said, “Honest to gosh, Steve, I don’t know anyone says anything about this race after the way that it’s gone. What’s Bill Kristol’s take two weeks up from Iowa?

BK: Well, Trump and Cruz are ahead, so it’s more likely to be them than anyone else, but you can write a scenario for example – Trump and Cruz are now engaged in a serious fight I think, and they are both pretty effective fighters and they might to damage to each other and could be like 2004 on the Democratic side when Howard Dean was ahead at this point. Sort of resembles Trump in some ways, I don’t mean resembles, but the kind of wave of unanticipated support for Dean somewhat resembles what Trump has been able to do in the past six months. Dean got into this serious fight, lot of negative advertisement both ways and John Kerry kind of sailed past both of them and ended up winning Iowa. Is it possible that Marco Rubio is the John Kerry of this cycle who wins Iowa after Trump and Cruz do a lot of damage to each other? It seems to be unlikely, I would bet on either Trump and Cruz winning Iowa, but it’s been so unpredictable so far, why should it suddenly start becoming predictable.

HH: Right now, as I have been saying all day, I think Ted Cruz is going to win Iowa and I think Donald Trump is going to win New Hampshire, but South Carolina is anyone’s guess. Bill Kristol, quick quiz to see if you’re watching Meet the Press. When was the Last time that a New Yorker, a big-time New Yorker political figure took on a would-be president of the United States not bor n in the United States?

BK: I was not watching Meet the Press and therefore, I don’t know the answer.

HH: The answer is when Aaron Burr shot Alexander Hamilton in 1804 (laughs).

BK: Geez, that’s a good comparison.

HH: (Laughs) Well, you and I were together–

BK: . . . The greatest Founder and just thinking about his unjust death at the hands of Aaron Burr when he threw away his shot and Burr didn’t do what you’re supposed toa do. What most gentlemen’s duels by the time was not to actually to shoot to kill and Burr of course and did and killed Hamilton.

HH: The only reason I know that Hamilton was born on Nevis was because I went on a Weekly Standard cruise.

BK: We saw Hamilton’s birthplace.

HH: Yes (laughs). And so they wrote the Constitution specifically to make him eligible and so I brought that up yesterday and people looked at me a little – do you think – I think this is a politically malignant argument about Cruz’s citizen ship – a legally bankrupt one, but a politically effective. What do you think?

BK: I think it might be, at least the Cruz camp might have thought that it was becoming effective which might be why Cruz decided to go on a counteroffensive on New York values. On the New York values thing, I curious what you think about that, Hugh. I thought at first a little bit of a mistake by Cruz, too clever by half , just attack Trump which I think would be a good idea on substance, on policy. He can’t be reliably counted on to appoint conservative judges. He hasn’t been pro-life, etc. etc. Instead, I thought the New York values was kind of a too clever by half way of getting at it, but now I’m rethinking that. I wonder if he didn’t a chord with that. He’s expanded the New York values argument into an argument about the judges and the courts and the life issue and other things and I wonder if that may end up being a winning argument for Cruz even though he kind of lost on the debate stage that night. What do you think?

HH: I think it’s to be continued because it’s one of those rare instances where they both won that night. I think Donald Trump won the country by being an aggrieved party genuinely upset that someone would call in to question New Yorkers’ citizenship and patriotism and all that because it resonates with people, they all remember 9/11, and it may play in South Carolina. At the same time, Ted Cruz was messaging into the Iowa caucuses and I thought that was very effectively don, so it might work for both of them.

BK: And it allows him to bring up the photo of the Clintons at the Trumps wedding and the whole kind of “you scratch my back, I scratch your back” crony liberal capitalism of New York which fits the sort of crony government capitalism of DC and I think Donald Trump is vulnerable on that. If Cruz can launch an ideological assault on Trump, God knows he’s been impervious to everything so far, but I still think that at some point, voters don’t realize just how unreliable Trump’s quasi-conservatism is , and I think that’s Cruz’s best shot and I think he’s taking a pretty good shot at it.

HH: MY colleague on the radio airwaves, Mark Levin, launched a missile at Donald Trump yesterday and it crystallized this assessment – the national security conservatives are either with Rubio, Christie or Jeb. The legal conservatives , the sort of Fed-Soc, the Scalias, the Levins, they are with Ted Cruz because of his constitutional chops, but the disconnected Reagan democrats, this is kind of cliché’, love Donald Trump because he owns that non-PC turf that no one else can own. Any argument with that, Bill Kristol?

BK: I agree with it, but I think Cruz could take some of them back. The Tea Party’s talked a lot about the Constitution, a lot of those disaffected people think the problem is unlimited government, Washington out-of-control, no one is serious about fixing Washington. I think Cruz, and to some degree, Rubio, could make the case that they really are serious about radically changing Washington, about restoring Constitutional government. The trouble is, so many Republicans and conservatives are so unhappy about Obama, they are so disillusioned by Republicans who got elected saying they were going to stop Obama from doing what he’s doing as they haven’t, that they think iin the sense we need our Obama. We need our guy who will run roughshod if need be because you know what, all this nice talk, getting fastidious about the Constitution gets us nowhere. If Cruz and Rubio can convince Republican primary voters that they are going to fight as effectively as Trump but with Constitutional goals in mind and conservative goals in mind, I think they would have as hot winning over some of those Trump supporter, but Trumps been very clever and very effective at obviously, making his case.

HH: I’ve said online and I’ve said offline to Donald Trurmp, I though Trump and Rubio won the debate and I think Rubio was tied for the gold because he went after Hillary effectively displaying what you just said, the ability to take her on and beat her. The question is for Christie, Bush, Rubio, anyone else, where do they win? Is it South Carolina? Maybe Iowa, but if Rubio breaks through in Iowa, that’s a whole new ballgame.

BK: It’s huge. I think for Rubio, he needs to be a clear, at least there in Iowa, way ahead of all the governors. At that point, right now, they’re sort of tied for second in New Hampshire within a couple of points of each other. I think if you’re a more established-oriented voter in New Hampshire and you suddenly see Rubio at say, 21-percent in third in Iowa and it went up in single digits, or even 18-percent, you think, you know what, Rubio is the one guy who has the chance to play on the same field as Cruz or Trump, I’m going to go to Rubio, so I don’t really buy the argument that those New Hampshire numbers are stable. I think Iowa will affect New Hampshire a lot. I think that’s Rubio’s huge opportunity. The best way for Rubio to do well in New Hampshire I think is to do well in Iowa. Conversely, I think Cruz could do very well in Iowa, even win it, that I don’t you can afford to think too far into New Hampshire. Then you start to look a little like a better-funded version of Santorum or Huckabee – the social conservative candidate—

HH: Interesting.

BK: . . . Who does well regionally but it isn’t ultimately successful in the Midwest as a real national candidate. So I think for Cruz, he actually has to think a lot about New Hampshire at the same time that he thinks about Iowa, so they all have trick, complicated – it’s a very interesting race politically. A lot hinges on it obviously and I have my preferences, but just look at it as someone who’s been a couple of these like we have and is interested in analyzing them, it’s a really interesting three-dimension chess game at this point.

HH: Yeah, I’m calling myself the Howard Cosell of this cycle. I don’t really care who wins, but what a hell of fight it is. Let me close with a question that I can only aske Bill Kristol. In 1992, then-Prime Minister John Major was expected to lose, but he won because of the so-called shy Tories, people who were embarrassed to tell pollster they were going to vote for the rather dull, bland Major. Who are the shy voters here? Are they people who are afraid to admit that they are for Trump, are they people that are afraid they are against Trump because online response ins ferocious? Who are the shy voters here who aren’t speaking up.

BK: On the Republican side, I could equally argue that Trump has a hidden vote or that the Trump vote is exaggerated and falls off as we get to election day and people get a little more serious. Don’t you think the Democratic side, incidentally, there could be a hidden Sanders vote?

HH: Yes.

BK: I do, and I think what happens if Sanders wins Iowa and then New Hampshire, which I think is possible, one-in-four, one-in-three chance that wins both. At that the point, does the Hillary juggernaut just chug along and they’re counting on their so-called firewall in South Carolina? Is it out of the question that Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are the nominees of the two major parties.

HH: No it’s not, and I said on Meet the Press yesterday, it’s Groundhog’s Day, the movie, for Hillary. She’s been in this movie before, it does not end well if you lose the first two primaries or even one.

BK: Right, I think people still haven’t sort of internalized that possibility. New Hampshire is on February 9, Tuesday night, February 10th could be an amazing morning in American politics.

HH: You’re right, inevitability is a fragile thing, it’s a dangerous thing to have cloaked around you because if someone shoots to kill the king and they kill the king, they kill the king. Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, always a pleasure.

End of Interview

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