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The bench is out there: Democrats hunt for a new generation – and Clinton’s VP


As 40-something conservatives line up for the White House and Hillary Clinton stumbles over issues that swing young voters, liberals swear help is on the way


Julian Castro is seen as an early contender to become Hillary Clinton’s running mate. “She needs a little tomorrow to offset yesterday,” a longtime friend tells the Guardian. “He provides a perfect complement if she needs one.” Photograph via hudopa / flickr


The campaign for US president is barely a week old, but 43-year-old Marco Rubio added a new wrinkle with three words: “Yesterday is over.”

In declaring his candidacy the day after Hillary Clinton began the race for the White House in earnest, the Florida senator previewed a key line of attack that Republicans are already using against the 67-year-old Clinton, casting her as a “leader of yesterday”.

Analysis Hillary Clinton: six big questions liberals want her to answer – now

Immigration reform, LGBT rights and dark money are sources of concern for many on the left as the Democrat’s campaign gets off the ground

But in contrasting himself – and what on Friday night he called people “like myself” – with the decades-old familiarity of a potential Clinton-Bush redux election that could have symptoms of early-onset voter fatigue, Rubio was also demonstrating a broader argument from Republicans about what they say no star Democrat has right now: youth.

Clinton and other prospective contenders for the 2016 Democratic nomination, such as vice-president Joe Biden, former Virginia senator Jim Webb and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, are all within a few years of 70, critics have warned. Now,as a historically young Republican field shapes up alongside Clinton in New Hampshire this weekend, many voters are wondering not just about who else might run against her but where all the young, rising liberal politicians have gone.

Thirtysomething aides in Washington and political veterans across the country, however, swear the Democrats don’t have an age problem – the next generation, they say, is simply waiting in the wings.

Indeed, as Clinton’s confidantes and campaign wranglers try to fend off concerns that the former secretary of state will struggle connecting with young voters, one of the left-wing leaders emerging from Barack Obama’s administration is already favored in some circles to be her running mate.

“It’s a bit of mythology that the Democrats don’t have a bench,” a national Democratic operative told the Guardian, insisting that the party’s candidates-in-waiting are not just young but also diverse. “There are folks out there, but there isn’t an opening in the primary in a way that there was even in 2008. [Clinton] is very popular with primary voters and cleared the field by nature by that.”

The operative, who requested anonymity to speak freely about national Democratic priorities, added that young voters are “the ultimate values voters” – preferring issues over parties.

“Hillary Clinton is very popular with young voters in poll after poll and it’s because of where she stands on the issues, plus there is the historic nature about her candidacy that young people gravitate towards as well,” the operative said.

The historic appeal of a first woman president


Hillary Clinton posed for selfies and visited a community college in Iowa during her first week on the campaign trail – and found herself on the defensive regarding issues like immigration and same-sex marriage, which can make young voters susceptible to switching allegiances. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Neera Tanden, a longtime Clinton adviser and president of the Center for American Progress, honed in on that history – the potential for a first woman president – as a generational change of its own.

“I’ve always marveled about how we’ve talked past Hillary’s gender – it’s also representative of diversity and inclusiveness to have a woman president,” Tanden told the Guardian. “I don’t think we should just quickly cast a woman president as not being a fundamental change.”

Polling shows that voters, particularly those aged between 18 and 29, are warming up to the historic element of Clinton’s candidacy – an element many Clinton watchers believe she downplayed to her detriment in the 2008 campaignbut that her team has openly embraced this time around.


New Jersey senator Cory Booker, 45, video-chats with college students about net neutrality. Photograph via sencorybooker / flickr

Clinton also wallops every potential primary opponent for president in most polls, an advantage that has kept many challengers at bay – including younger politicians who have plenty of time to make a run for the White House.

Democratic aides, who strongly dispute the charge that their party lacks younger candidates who might seek the White House or a powerful Senate seat in leading a potential majority comeback in Congress, listed off a host of prolific Democrats under the age of 50: New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand, New Jersey senator Cory Booker, former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro and his brother, Texas representative Joaquin Castro.

Had Clinton not entered the race on Sunday, they argued, any one of those names could have entered the fray.

The threat of issue-addicted young voters


Hillary Clinton, as her campaign launch video presented her – and as Saturday Night Live did. Photograph: YouTube; NBC

Democrats also pointed out that Republicans have struggled to appeal to so-called millennials because of their positions on women’s reproductive rights as well as same-sex marriage and immigration.

While the majority of young voters lean Democratic, some political watchers and pollsters have warned that Clinton doesn’t necessarily have millennials wrapped up in 2016 after struggling in 2008 with a voting bloc that twice proved critical in boosting Obama.

The more younger voters get to know a candidate, pollsters say, the more susceptible they become to switching allegiances. And what many know of Clinton is largely drawn from the image projected in the media – less cable news than the Daily Show and Saturday Night Live, which last saw a Clinton impersonator growling in a “selfie” video to voters.


Martin O’Malley, 52, at a marriage equality event while Maryland governor in 2012. “I’m glad Secretary Clinton’s come around to the right positions on these issues,” he told the Guardian on Thursday. Photograph via governoromalley / flickr

Getting out ahead of the skepticism, Clinton kicked off her campaign on a two-day listening tour with voters in the early battleground state of Iowa; she will head to New Hampshire for similar events next week. In addition toembracing a more populist rhetoric with echoes of Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, she has also shifted her stance on same-sex marriage and immigration reform.

In a sign that Clinton herself could be vulnerable to a challenge from the left on those two issues, former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, perhaps her leading potential Democratic opponent, has now taken his first thinly veiled swipe at Clinton by confronting her shifting positions on them.

“I’m glad Secretary Clinton’s come around to the right positions on these issues,” O’Malley said on Thursday, in response to a question from the Guardian about Clinton’s sudden evolution on same-sex marriage as a constitutional right and documentation for illegal immigrants. “I believe that we are best as a party when we lead with our principles and not according to the polls.

“Leadership is about making the right decision, and the best decision before sometimes it becomes entirely popular.

The tomorrow progressive – and a vice-presidential option


Julian Castro, 40, at a Department of Housing and Urban Development event this month with vice-president Joe Biden, 72. Photograph: hudopa / flickr

Some argue Clinton could go a step further than issue-by-issue messaging by roping in a younger Democratic up-and-comer at the top of her ticket. Many have already focused on 40-year-old Julian Castro, the former San Antonio mayor who delivered the keynote address at the 2012 Democratic National Convention – the same speech that brought Obama into the national spotlight eight years earlier.

Now the youngest member of the Obama cabinet as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Castro is already seen as an early frontrunner for the coveted spot of Clinton’s running mate.

“She needs a little tomorrow to offset yesterday. He provides a perfect complement if she needs one,” Evan Smith, who has known Castro for over a decade and serves as the editor-in-chief of the Texas Tribune, told the Guardian. “He presents a fresh face to counter what many perceive as an unfresh face.”

People who view Clinton as too captive of the center might like to have Castro on the ticket – he’s a progressive.

Evan Smith

While Clinton must contend with her image as a creature of Washington, Castro has a compelling personal story – similar to the one that endeared Obama to voters in 2008.


Castro and his brother were raised by a single mother who was a prominent activist in San Antonio. It represents “a compelling narrative with regard to his ability to represent a new generation,” said Walter Wilson, associate professor at the Department of Political Science and Geography at the University of Texas-San Antonio. “That’s part of what people see in him, in addition to the fact that he’s simply well-spoken and attractive as a candidate.”


Castro has already emerged as a favorite in Democratic circles for his record on issues such as poverty, education, healthcare and workforce development. At HUD, he has focused on extending housing vouchers to domestic abuse victims and ending veteran homelessness.

“People who view Secretary Clinton as too captive of the center might actually like to have Julian Castro on the ticket – he’s a progressive,” said Smith.

Castro has deflected questions on his political ambitions, but many have viewed his move out of Texas and directly into the Obama administration as a hop-step introduction to national politics.


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ISIS Camp found near Texas border, possible attack plot on Fort Bliss

Terrorists taking advantage of the porous border between the U.S. and Mexico has always been of great concern.  Yesterday, this fear became more real when the Mexican Army discovered an ISIS compound just a few miles from El Paso, Texas.

According to a report by Judicial Watch, the terrorist base was discovered in an area known as “Anapra,” which is only eight miles from the United States border.  This area has been long associated with Cartel activity and it is believed they could have established some sort of relationship with them.

During the joint raid last week, Mexican Army and law enforcement discovered plans/maps of Fort Bliss, documents in Arabic, and prayer rugs.  According to Mexican law enforcement, the Anapra area is controlled by the Juárez Cartel which has made patrolling and monitoring the area difficult and almost impossible.

According to the report:

“According to these same sources, “coyotes” engaged in human smuggling – and working for Juárez Cartel – help move ISIS terrorists through the desert and across the border between Santa Teresa and Sunland Park, New Mexico. To the east of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, cartel-backed “coyotes” are also smuggling ISIS terrorists through the porous border between Acala and Fort Hancock, Texas. These specific areas were targeted for exploitation by ISIS because of their understaffed municipal and county police forces, and the relative safe-havens the areas provide for the unchecked large-scale drug smuggling that was already ongoing.”

Mexican intelligence agencies believe that ISIS intends to use railways and airports around Santa Teresa, NM (a US port) to penetrate the United States.  Supposedly ISIS has been conducting reconnaissance of many U.S. targets such as the White Sands Missile Range, Fort Bliss, nearby universities, power plants, and other government facilities near Alamogordo, NM.

Despite Judicial Watch sourcing their information from a Mexican Army field grade officer and a Mexican Federal Police Inspector, the Mexican authorities have disputed the findings.

“The government of Mexico dismisses and categorically denies each of the statements made today by the organization Judicial Watch on the alleged presence of ISIS’s operating cells throughout the border region, particularly at Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua – El Paso, Texas,” Ariel Moutsatsos-Morales, Mexico’s minister for press and public affairs, told The Washington Times.


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Iranian president says no nuclear agreement without end to all sanctions

Hassan Rouhani statement comes as Barack Obama agrees that US Congress should have power to review any deal with Iran

Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech: ‘If there is no end to sanctions, there will not be an agreement.’
Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech: ‘If there is no end to sanctions, there will not be an agreement.’ Photograph: Vahid Salemi/AP

The Iranian president has said Tehran would not accept a comprehensive nuclear deal with major powers if all sanctions imposed on Tehran were not lifted, state television has reported.

“If there is no end to sanctions, there will not be an agreement,” Hassan Rouhanisaid in a televised speech on Wednesday. “The end of these negotiations and a signed deal must include a declaration of cancelling the oppressive sanctions on the great nation of Iran.”

Iran wants sanctions that include nuclear-related UN resolutions as well as US and EU nuclear-related economic sanctions to be lifted immediately. The US says sanctions against Iran will be removed gradually.

In what was seen as a setback for Barack Obama, the US president agreed on Tuesday that Congress should have the power to review any deal with Iran, backing down to pressure from Republicans and some in his own party.

The move blocks Obama’s ability to waive many US sanctions on Tehran while Congress reviews the deal. It also allows Congress a final vote on whether to lift sanctions imposed by US legislators.

Rouhani said this was an internal issue for Washington. “What the US Senate, Congress and others say is not our problem. We want mutual respect … We are in talks with the major powers and not with the Congress,” Rouhani said, adding that Iran wanted to end its isolation by having “constructive interaction with the world and not confrontation”.

The Israeli intelligence minister, Yuval Steinitz, said on Wednesday that his country was pleased with the Congress deal. Israel was critical of a preliminary accord reached between Iran and world powers on 2 April, saying it would not prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.

Iran says its nuclear programme is peaceful, but it has never welcomed intrusive inspections and has in the past kept some sites secret.

A delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s nuclear watchdog, arrived in Tehran on Wednesday for scheduled technical talks, Iran’s semi-official Mehr news agency reported.

Talks with the IAEA are parallel to Iran’s nuclear negotiations, with the powers seeking a permanent agreement on curbing the country’s nuclear activities by 30 June. Iran and major powers will resume talks on 21 April.


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16 Years of Clinton Presidents? 16 years after his impeachment trial, SHE’S BACK!

Hillary Clinton launches second presidential bid

Hillary Clinton put an end to months of speculation on Sunday by officially announcing her candidacy for president, giving the former secretary of state another shot at cracking the highest glass ceiling in American politics.

The initial word came in an email to supporters from John Podesta, a longtime Clinton ally, thena video launched on YouTube and a newly minted Facebook page.

“I’m getting ready to do something too. I’m running for president,” Clinton said in the video. “Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion — so you can do more than just get by — you can get ahead. And stay ahead. Because when families are strong, America is strong. So I’m hitting the road to earn your vote, because it’s your time. And I hope you’ll join me on this journey.”

The video was shot last week, a campaign official told CNN. Clinton’s part was shot in New York with the rest of the video shot in places including Iowa and New Hampshire, a campaign official told CNN.

Clinton was at her home in New York for the launch of her campaign. She will be making some calls to top Democrats Sunday, as will her senior staff, according to a campaign official.

Who is Hillary Clinton?

Who is Hillary Clinton?

INTERACTIVE: Hillary Clinton tries again

Following the video release, the Clinton campaign sent our a press release detailing her next steps.

“She’s committed to spending the next six to eight weeks in a ‘ramp up’ period where her team will start to build a nation-wide grassroots organization, and she will spend her time engaging directly with voters,” according to the release. “In May, once her supporters in all 50 states are organized for house parties or to watch over live streams, Hillary will hold her first rally and deliver the speech to kick off her campaign.”

She’ll travel to Monticello, Iowa on Tuesday before heading to Norwalk on Wednesday, according to a campaign aide.

Clinton’s second presidential run is another chapter in a life that has seen the former first lady go from a child raised in a conservative home outside Chicago to one of the most recognizable women in the world. Clinton became a household name in 1992 when her husband, Bill Clinton, won the presidency.

Since then, Hillary Clinton has become a force in her own right, serving in the Senate for eight years, unsuccessfully running for president in 2008 and leading the State Department from 2009 to 2013.

Over the coming months, Clinton’s campaign will plot how to reintroduce the former first lady — on her own terms — to the American people. Democrats close to Clinton have started to call her the most unknown famous person in the world. Their argument is that people know of Clinton — she has near 100% name recognition in most polls — but they don’t know her story.

A Mr. and Mrs. President?

A Mr. and Mrs. President?

Using small, controlled events with everyday people, the campaign will hone in on Clinton’s personal story, using themes such as her Midwestern upbringing, her mother’s perseverance in the face of neglectful parents and Clinton’s own time raising a daughter to cast the presidential hopeful in a more favorable, softer light than she was seen during much of her 2008 presidential run.

Clinton’s candidacy has been widely anticipated. Even since before Clinton left the State Department in early 2013, speculation that she would take another shot at the White House has followed her.

For her part, Clinton willingly teased those expectations for the better part of the last two years as she crisscrossed the country delivering paid speeches, selling her new memoir and stumping for Democrats during the 2014 midterm elections. Throughout all of it, Clinton was consistently peppered with questions about her presidential ambitions and plans for the future. She was reluctant to tease a bid in early 2014 — telling an audience in New Orleans that she wasn’t even thinking about a run — but grew less coy this year when she began to embrace the expectations around her.

Social media reacts to Clinton’s announcement (and that new logo)

Prohibitive favorite

Clinton, the first to enter the Democratic presidential field, enters the race as the prohibitive favorite for the nomination, even though some of her poll numbers have slipped of late, likely because of a nagging email controversy.

A CNN/ORC International poll in March found that Clinton held a 50-point lead over her closest competitor, Vice President Joe Biden. What’s more, the three Democrats most actively teasing a presidential run — former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, former Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont — all received no more than 3% support among Democrats and independents that lean Democratic.

Clinton’s dominance in the polls — along with the work of a number of outside pro-Clinton organizations — has helped freeze the Democratic field. But a dozen or so Republicans may ultimately line up for the chance to take Clinton on.

Ahead of her expected announcement, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush released a YouTube video Sunday attempting to connect Clinton to the “failed big government policies” of President Barack Obama.

Though she just announced her candidacy on Sunday, she is already surrounded by a sizable Democratic operation; Clinton has had around 30 people “volunteering” on her behalf in recent weeks.

Podesta, her anticipated campaign chairman, and Robby Mook, her expected campaign manager, began assembling a campaign apparatus this year, and a number of political operatives moved to New York in March and April to work for the nascent campaign. All of the new hires, however, have been considered volunteers until this point, meaning they have not been paid for weeks of work.

The road to Clinton’s second presidential run has been far from flawless.

Democrats close to Clinton say the former first lady had preferred waiting until summer to make her presidential ambitions official and had a number of top aides discouraging her from getting into the race at all. But once Clinton decided to run, the start of 2015 — a period defined by multiple controversies around the former first family — crystallized for Clinton and her team why a campaign apparatus was critically needed.

Her family’s foundation, the Clinton Foundation, came under fire this year for not properly vetting foreign donations while Clinton was secretary of state. The controversy was a headache for Clinton aides and supporters who were caught somewhat flat-footed, and provided Republicans a tailor-made opportunity to charge the former first family with cronyism and selling access.

Clinton resigned from the foundation’s board on Sunday.


March found Clinton at the center of her own controversy over her exclusive use of private — rather than official — email during her time running the State Department. Republicans seized on the news and Clinton was forced to respond in a quickly organized press conference at the United Nations.

“With respect to any sort of future issues, I trust the American people to make their decisions about political and public matters,” Clinton said in response to a question about her presidential aspiration at the press conference. “I look forward to having a discussion about that.”

Republicans are near certain that Clinton will be the Democratic nominee. On a surrogate call preparing Republicans for her announcement, Sean Spicer, the Republican National Committee communications director, said that he felt Clinton losing the nomination was as likely as him “getting struck by lightning riding a unicorn.”

Republicans have been near solely focused on Clinton for more than a year, knocking the former secretary of state on different controversies and looking to cast her as an out-of-touch plutocrat unable to connect with the needs of everyday Americans.

Clinton’s recent controversies over the foundation and her emails have already featured prominently in attacks against her. After news broke on Friday that Clinton was announcing, the Republican National Committee spent more than $100,000 on a web ad that hits Clinton for her recent controversies. The ad is targeted at independent voters in Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Colorado, North Carolina and Iowa.

Our attacks “ultimately have to lead to questions that Hillary can’t answer,” said Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and a longtime Clinton foil. “I think if we keep her in a situation where she can never do a press conference and she can never take questions, she shrinks. … I am pretty optimistic that she will shrink steadily throughout the next year.”


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Building Online Presence – a Guide for Authors

By Corrin Foster, Greenleaf Book Group

Nearly 1.47 billion people utilize social media worldwide. Authors now have the unique opportunity to create a platform and generate buzz for their book by tapping into an engaged and passionate demographic of readers. As social media continues to evolve and new platforms are introduced, it can be daunting to identify which social networks an author should use to promote their brand and how best to engage with the community active on those channels.

By taking the time to identify, build, and engage with a community through blogging and social media, authors can discover where the conversation is happening, become an integral part of the conversation, and generate a loyal and engaged following all their own.

Authors should think of their online presence as a wheel. Their blog is the hub of the wheel and their social networks form the spokes radiating out from the center.

As the hub of an author’s online presence, a blog should include original and timely content to establish their expertise, highlight links to all social media channels, feature prominently a way for readers to subscribe to a feed or newsletter, and include a call to action welcoming comments and opinions for each post.

Blogging is no easy task, but the most important thing to remember when creating blog content is consistency. When readers know what to expect (expert content organized around a central theme) and when to expect it (posting on a regular schedule), they begin to seek out that expert content and share it with their community.

Social Media
Once an author has established their blog as content hub and has been blogging consistently, it’s time to get the wheel moving with social media.

Before becoming overwhelmed by the number of social networks and their intricacies, know that authors don’t need to be everywhere—they just need to be where the conversation is happening.

Begin by evaluating each social network; Pew’s Social Networking Fact Sheet is an invaluable resource for evaluating social media usage trends and user demographics. Here is a snapshot of the basic demographics:

  • Facebook skews female at 76 percent of users; fastest growing demographic is adults aged 65+; 77 percent of users earn less than $30,000/year
  • Twitter skews primarily male; 36 percent of users engage multiple times daily; and 27 percent of users earn more than $50,000/year
  • LinkedIn is more popular than Twitter among adults; accounts for 50 percent of college-educated internet users; only 13 percent of users engage daily and those users tend to be executive level
  • Pinterest is dominated by women; most active users are aged 18–29; income levels are split between limited and affluent

Based on those statistics, LinkedIn is a natural fit for a leadership expert because of the direct access to managers and C-suite executives. Those same managers and executives probably aren’t browsing Pinterest, so spending valuable time and resources developing that platform may not be necessary.

Authors can also harness the power of the hashtag to review conversations on various social networks. Verify that the conversations you wish to be part of are truly happening and determine how you can add value to those conversations.

Connect with Your Core Audience
Once an author has identified which social networks they should utilize to reach their core audience, it’s time to build more momentum in the wheel by optimizing profiles, connecting with relevant influencers, and starting to share content.

It’s critical that authors familiarize themselves with the best practices of their social network(s) of choice. Use great resources, such as The Art of Social Media by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick, Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, and Friends with Benefits by Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo, to help you navigate.

Above all, remember the 80/20 rule of sharing—80 percent of what is shared should be promoting others and 20 percent should be self-promotional. Social media at its best exists to foster conversation and engage new people and audiences, not to toot horns.

Engage Your Community
At this point, an author should have a firm grasp of where their core audience is engaging, how to establish a robust and consistent presence on those networks, and how to be comfortable sharing content. Now it’s time for others to hop on that wheel. Here are some things to remember about engagement:

  • Follow back and interact. If someone makes the first move to connect, be responsive and reciprocate. This is how relationships are formed.
  • Be proactive. Monitor conversations and don’t be afraid to make the first move. When establishing a social media presence, remember that the conversation won’t just come to you—you must go to the conversation.
  • Offer help. Answering a question or providing a resource is the quickest and easiest way to establish expertise. Everyone loves a content concierge.

The Golden Takeaway
There’s a community out there for every author and expert. By establishing a consistent and content-rich blog as your hub and giving that content and messaging momentum through the spokes of thoughtfully selected social media networks, you’ll be able to take your brand where you want to go.

Corrin Foster is Marketing Manager at Greenleaf Book Group, a publisher and distributor specializing in the growth of independent authors and small presses. Learn more at


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Rand Paul seeks an awkward balance as he prepares to launch presidential bid

Who will lead the right? New breed of Republicans compete to take on Clinton.


Republican senator Rand Paul will formally launch his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination on Tuesday, hoping an unorthodox and somewhat diluted libertarian campaign will lure a new generation of GOP voters without repelling the party’s conservative base.

Paul will launch his campaign for the White House in Louisville, the largest city in his home state of Kentucky, in front of thousands of activists and reporters in an opulent, 23,000-sq-ft ballroom.

The senator is attempting the kind of dance rarely attempted in American politics: reassuring Republican primary voters of his conservative credentials while appealing to some on the left who are drawn to his stances on criminal justice, privacy and foreign policy.

Paul wants to be the candidate that wins Christian evangelicals one day and college students who want to liberalise drug laws the next. Many party insiders believe that may be an impossibly complex path to the White House.

But no one is yet ruling out the former ophthalmologist, who has done more than any other senior figure in his party to build legislative alliances with Democrats and has even attempted to court some of their voters, from African Americans to the denizens of Silicon Valley.

Paul topped the presidential straw poll of the Conservative Action Action Conference (CPAC) for the third time this year, and polling puts him among the early frontrunners in both Iowa and New Hampshire.

After the launch in Kentucky, Paul is scheduled to begin an expensive and ambitious tour across the early primary states: New Hampshire, South Carolina, Iowa and Nevada. He will later head to California, for private meetings with west coast donors.

Each stop will involve a different speech based around a key political theme, carefully orchestrated to either exploit Paul’s strengths or address his perceived weaknesses as he lays down a marker as a serious contender for his party’s nomination.

Analysis from Republican insiders in the early nomination states suggests Paul is already viewed among the top tier of Republican presidential aspirants such as former Florida governor Jeb Bush, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker and Florida senator Marco Rubio.

He is especially well-placed to make a mark in New Hampshire, a state with strong libertarian tendencies where the rules permit voters outside the GOP to cast a ballot in the primary. He is not expected to do as well in socially conservative South Carolina, which he visits on Thursday.

That stop will be about addressing Paul’s achilles heel: the perception among Republicans that the senator’s libertarian political ideals would render him a weak commander-in-chief. Aides believe the reputation is an unwarranted inheritance from his father, Ron Paul.

The former congressman, who twice sought the Republican presidential nomination, is loathed by Republican military hawks for his anti-war, non-interventionist approach to American nation-building. Rand Paul therefore needs to distance himself from this father’s radical foreign policy, without alienating the large and committed base of libertarian activists Ron Paul cultivated during a lifetime in politics.

In South Carolina, Paul will talk about national security in front of the USS Yorktown, a giant decommissioned warship from the second world war. It is the kind of militaristic backdrop that would make some of his father’s more trenchant supporters squeal, but Paul’s campaign team evidently believes the caricature of the Kentucky senator as a dove on foreign policy warrants some unambiguous messaging.

The recent spate of national security crises, from the Russia-Ukraine conflict to the sudden rise of the Islamic State, have elevated foreign policy discussions among the Republican base and increased its thirst for a president willing to flex America’s military muscle.

Texas senator Ted Cruz, who last month became the first Republican to formally enter the race for the party’s presidential nomination, and is competing for some of Paul’s traditional base support, is positioning himself as a Tea Party hawk.

For Paul, looking to chart an untested path to the Republican nomination – and, later, the White House – success may rely on his own discipline. He will need to sidestep the kind of awkward questions that could repel either the GOP base or the younger, less partisan voters he is trying to bring under his wing.

The last week has been a case in point. When controversy broke out over the Indiana law that critics said would be used to discriminate against LGBT people, Bush, Cruz, Rubio and Walker all backed the state’s Republican governor, Mike Pence.

Two days later, when the historic nuclear deal with Iran was unveiled in Switzerland, the same four presidential hopefuls were quick to condemn the agreement.

Paul, who has supposedly vacationing in in Kentucky, avoided taking a stance on either issue, thereby avoiding the kind of base-pandering remarks that would have alienated supporters who are not hardcore GOP activists. That kind of strategic tap dance is what could make him the most interesting Republican to watch.


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Did the right thing in demanding water conservation

by RD Sollars

Screen-Shot-2012-09-18-at-1.32.03-PM            This week Governor Jerry Brown announced that people would be fined and ticketed if they didn’t follow the new water restrictions in California. There ae far too many restrictions to talk about here, including on the produce the rest of the world consumes.

But there is a solution that California can implement a couple actually that could keep the consumption of water virtually at a standstill. At least until the rains reappear and replenish the supply – sometime in the next 10 years (if it’s on time next year).

Some of these will be scoffed at and I can hear guffaws already. But I can guarantee you they will work and save that state from becoming like Sonora Mexico.

#1 stop enticing companies to move to California. If businesses stop moving to California then there will be less water consumed by a business and more left to the people who need it. And yes this does mean ALL new businesses. The expansion of existing businesses should be allowed, but new ones no.

#2 stop trying to entice new sports franchises to come to California. Think about how much water a major franchise would use in their games. From an NFL team with 8-10 games a year to baseball, basketball, or hockey teams using water in 42-55 games a year! Each with 30,000 to 80,000 fans per game! That would be a major savings.
#3 is not allowing new restaurants to open up, unless one closes. This would save a ton of water on the washing of pots, pans, and dishes. While most sit down restaurants use regulars dishes and flatware as well as the pots and pans necessary to cook the food, likewise fast food places utilize cookie sheets as well as pots and pans. They all have to be to be scrubbed and washed. Make them use paper plates and plastic flatware that be recycled for dishes and such. But the idea is to not overload the system with innumerable new restaurants.

#4 close all new entertainment parks and expansions of parks. Sea World, Disney land, and so on consume millions of gallons of water a year. If we limit them to no more expansions of construction until the shortage is over…

#5 prevent new people from moving into the state unless they are accepting a new job. And those who have lost their jobs? Then encourage them to leave the state if they haven’t found a job within 6-12 months. This would decrease the population in a humane manner and save the state money in the long run.

#6 this also goes along with not allowing the colleges and universities to recruit more students than the current graduating classes. This would keep current enrollments at a standard level rate until the shortage is confirmed to be over.

These steps may seem extreme, but they will work. Yes they will drive business out of California, but that will just make the air cleaner in the long run. Yes the tax base will decrease, but then there will be less people to waste money on and other projects won’t be needed. It’ll keep businesses out that want to come in, on the other hand they won’t be using the resources the current businesses and citizens need to survive on a daily basis.


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