Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mike Pence Jokes About Running For President in 2012

Dave Weigel reports that Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, another favorite of movement conservatives and Tea Partiers, joked about running for president last night:

At last night's Washington Press Club Foundation dinner, Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) used his lighthearted, deadpan speaking slot to indulge the speculation that he's looking at a 2012 presidential bid.

"I'm trying to get over that all-important 3 percent mark in the straw polls," said Pence. He recounted a phony conversation with President Obama in which the president questioned whether the country was ready for a "politician from the Midwest ... with so much experience."

"Maybe I'm overqualified," said Pence with a smirk.

I know, I know: it's only 2010. But keep in mind Republicans will begin to declare their candidacies or the creation of "exploratory committees" in a little over six months from now.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dan Coats Endorsed By Congressman Mike Pence Is "Old" New News

IN Senate Race: What’s old is “news”

April 21, 2010 - 3:20 PM | by: Steve Brown

What's your definition of news?

Is it information that's 2 1/2 months old?

It was for Dan Coats last night.

In a five-candidate race, Coats is considered a slight favorite in the May 4th Indiana Republican primary for the US Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Evan Bayh. After Tuesday night's televised GOP Senate debate, Coats told reporters he had an announcement to make, before taking questions.

Coats said, "Lemme just pass on some news that I'd like to give you here. I'm really pleased to announce tonight that fact I just got off the phone with Mike Pence. He's given me his unqualified endorsement and support for this race which I'm thrilled to have. He said some very good things about me when I indicated my intention to run. He's been supportive but say he's given me now his unqualified support very important to me and I'm very appreciative." (You can watch Coats says this for yourself on the video linked to this story.)

The endorsement announcement was bigger than anything that happened in the debate. Congressman Mike Pence is very influential among Indiana Republicans. In the minds of many Hooiser GOP'ers only Governor Mitch Daniels endorsement would be bigger. (And Daniels in not endorsing. He says he'll back the primary winner.)

Wednesday morning, on Coats' campaign FaceBook page, the status trumpeted the Pence endorsement:

Dan Coats for Indiana Big News! Congressman Mike Pence has given Dan his unqualified endorsement for the U.S. Senate!

The thing is...Pence's backing was old news. That's how Pence's chief of staff Bill Smith described it when contacted by Fox News.

In early February, a statement of support for Coats candidacy was issued. This was shortly after Coats' announcement that he intended to join the race. The Pence statement was picked up by some DC media outlets.

Roll Call on February 3rd ran the following quote attributed to Pence:

“I am very excited about the possibility that former Senator Dan Coats may run for the United States Senate in 2010 and I sincerely hope he does it,” Pence said in a statement. “His integrity and conservative record would make him the ideal candidate for Hoosiers. If he runs, I will support him.”

Fifteen days later, Coats filed to run in the Indiana Senate election.

Smith says since that February statement, "The Congressman has not been hesitant" to tell reporters who asked that he was a Coats-backer. Smith made it clear in a telephone interview that while the February statement did not contain the word 'endorsement', it was certainly considered one by Pence.

Still, there was at least some confusion about Pence's backing of Coats. Some supporters had contacted Pence's offices asking who the Representative liked in the primary. Smith says all who inquired were told the same thing, "Coats".

But it shouldn't have been confusing for people who visit Coats campaign website. On a page titled "What They're Saying" a Pence quote sits atop the list:

Congressman Mike Pence: “His integrity and conservative record would make him the ideal candidate for Hoosiers.” (Congressional Quarterly, 2/3/10)

So, did Coats just plain get it the timing wrong with his post-debate "news" announcement?


Kevin Kellems of the Coats campaign sent an e-mail this morning which reads in part:

"Cong. Pence called Dan after the debate. I don't speak for him, but I believe the reason the Congressman reached out to Dan was to make it clear that his statement of support that came very early on was indeed an endorsement."

So, Coats did have Pence's endorsement all along...even before Coats was officially in the race. And certainly a lot of people missed it (including this reporter). But was Coats post-debate announcement last night "news" as he said?

As we says around here at Fox, "You decide."

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Mike Pence at SRLC

And today he got the crowd going. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Dan Coats for Indiana

SCOTUS Sam Alito with his lobbyist and friend Senator Dan Coats

The first time I saw U.S. Senator Connie Mack was several years ago at a Catholic Men's Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. Connie witnessed to over 8,000 men how then Senator Dan Coats, a Presbyterian, was holding weekly Bible Studies in the basement of the Senate Building. It was at one of the Bible Studies that Dan Coats led Connie Mack into a “born again” experience and back to his Roman Catholic faith.

A couple years later, when Dan and Marsha Coats left Germany as our American Ambassador, I spoke to Connie on the phone. He told me he had invited Dan to join his law firm and the two of them were lobbying for Pro-Life organizations, saving the lives of America's Pre-Born babies. It came as no surprise to me, then, when Sam Alito hired Dan Coats to be his lobbyist when he made his bid to become a Supreme Court Justice. After all, Justice Alito is one of the most conservative Pro-Life voices on the United States Supreme Court.

You can imagine my dismay when some young Republican's began a smear campaign against Dan Coats by pretending it was somehow filthy to be a lobbyist. If they were my kids, I would wash their mouths out with soap! After all, these young kids today have no idea what it means to be principled men of honesty, integrity, and high moral character like Dan Coats. The way they are running their campaigns prove it. Maybe that's why Congressman Mike Pence, another man of high moral character, endorsed Dan Coats for U.S. Senate and not one of them.

Pax Et Bonum!


Friday, April 9, 2010

Mike Pence Number 2 in GOP Presidential Rankings

GOP 2012

Presidential Rankings

-- Updated!

Now, on to the rankings! (Previous ranking in parentheses.)

1) Tim Pawlenty, Governor of Minnesota. Since announcing in June that he won’t run for re-election, Pawlenty has visited 17 states and six foreign countries, according to reports. That includes New Hampshire, in December, for the first major visit of the 2012 cycle. He’s also come out for a balanced-budget constitutional amendment, which figures to be popular in the party. Just confirmed to speak at the big, big Southern Republican Leadership Conference (SRLC), in New Orleans in April. (1)

2) Mike Pence, US Representative from Indiana. His Leadership PAC is called “Principles Exalt a Nation PAC.” He seems to be uninterested in lesser opportunities (ie, Senate against Evan Bayh, Governor 2012), and yet according to Politico he has hired serious new national-level campaign staffers, and according to Chris “The Fix” Cillizza he’s gathered a circle of advisors that includes Phil Gramm, Ed Meese, David McIntosh, and Tony Perkins. Hmmmm.... (2)

3) Jim DeMint, US Senator from South Carolina. I dropped him from #2 last time, but I may have been too rash. The conservatives love him, and he’s willing to take up any fight for them. It will be interesting to see whether he uses his PAC to help candidates and GOP committees in key outside-the-South states (like Iowa and New Hampshire).(4)

4) Rick Perry, Governor of Texas. Texas Monthly has just put Perry on the cover under the headline “Perry For President?!?” I’ve said all along that he’s in my top five if he wins re-election, and with the primary less than two months away, it’s starting to look really likely that he will. Oh, and later this month he’s hosting a “blogger summit” with some of the bigwigs of the right-wing blogosphere. (7)

5) John Thune, US Senator from South Dakota. Conservative Matt Lewis and moderate David Brooks have both touted him -- what’s that about? Plus, he got in a high-profile fight with Al Franken, which has got to be good for one’s conservative cred. If he delivers a standout speech at CPAC or SRLC, watch out. (3)

6) Mitt Romney, former Governor from Massachusetts. More evidence of my theory that Romney is pursuing a “blue-state strategy” that surrenders the South: Romney is not scheduled to speak at SRLC. That’s a big, big one to skip. (5)

7) Haley Barbour, Governor of Mississippi. His Leadership Pac is called “Haley’s PAC,” but his more important one is called the “Republican Governors Association.” (6)

8) Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives. He has yet another new Leadership PAC -- American Solutions PAC -- and a speaking slot at SRLC. Move him up! (11)

9) Mitch Daniels, Governor of Indiana. He keeps getting talked about, but as far as I can tell he doesn’t have a Leadership PAC. How do you run for President without a Leadership PAC? (8)

10) Eric Cantor, US Representative from Virginia. His Leadership Pac is “Every Republican Is Crucial PAC,” which spells ERIC PAC. Clever, huh? Clever or not, it’s the biggest money-raising Leadership PAC in the country. (12)

11) Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida. He’s becoming more visible and the idea of him running is getting taken more seriously by GOP insiders.(14)

12) Luis Fortuno, Governor of Puerto Rico. With one of those squiggly things over the ‘n’ that I don't know how to make on this blog. And no, I’m not making this up. I keep saying Republicans are dying to support a minority candidate, and apparently they had to go outside the 50 states to find one. (--)

13) Jon Kyl, US Senator from Arizona. He’s been awfully quiet. I have to drop him a few notches. (9)

14) Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana. I’m thinking more and more that he’s angling for VP ’12. (10)

15) Dan Quayle, former Vice President. He just endorsed conservative Ovide Lamontagne against GOP establishement favorite Kelly Ayotte in the New Hampshire US Senate primary. Why would someone insert themselves into New Hampshire Republican politics, I wonder? He’s been running in investment-banking circles, which are great for fundraising. Just 62 years old. (--)

16) Bob Corker, US Senator from Tennessee. His Leadership PAC is “Rock City PAC,” which apparently refers to a place in the Tennessee mountains known as Rock City. More to the point, he’s done little to suggest a 2012 run. (13)

17) Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas. His Leadership PAC is "HUCK PAC," but I don't think it stands for anything, so that's not very clever. On the patented Gore Scale, his waistline is clearly at "not a candidate." But his proxies are reportedly keeping very involved with the RNC primary-scheduling process.(15)

18) Sarah Palin, former Governor of Alaska. Signing a multi-year deal as a FOX News contributor says no 2012; so does not visiting New Hampshire on her book tour. But headlining SRLC (with no fee!) says maybe. (16)

19) Rick Santorum, former US Senator from Pennsylvania. His Leadership PAC is called America’s Foundation. It’s been very very quiet, and he’s been indiscrete about his 2012 plans -- which leads me to think he’s going the Dean route of declaring for President this summer. That gives him a year to work on winning the Iowa Straw Poll, thus catapulting him to be this cycle’s Huckabee. Huckabee lost, of course -- and that’s Santorum’s best-case scenario.(17)

20) Kay Bailey Hutchison, US Senator from Texas. Brilliantly poised if she comes back to beat Perry in the Texas guv primary. If. (21)

21) Paul Ryan, US Representative from Wisconsin. “Prosperity PAC” -- not bad, huh? Coming to New Hampshire next month, which would normally move him up a few spots, but I think he’s looking at 2016. Recently put out a statement saying “There is a zero percent chance I will be seeking the Republicans’ nomination for president in 2012.” He might even mean it. (18)

22) Marco Rubio, former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. The way his stock is rising among the movement conservatives, he might be able to run even if he loses the Florida Senate primary. (24)

23) George Pataki, former governor of New York. In the last Presidential cycle, Pataki was the very first to rent space in Manchester, NH -- terrific space, best available. Then he couldn’t raise any money so he didn’t make it to the starting line. He did a NH visit in November, and reportedly thinks things would go better this time without a better-known New York Republican in the race. I doubt it. (--)

24) Dirk Kempthorne, former Interior Secretary. Still quiet, still rumored. (19)

25) Chuck Grassley, US Senator from Iowa. “Hawkeye PAC.” Generally speaking, I like naming your Leadership PAC for your home state this way. But what if conservatives think it’s Alan Alda’s PAC? (20)

Dropping off the list: Michelle Bachmann, Lindsey Graham, Joe Scarborough

Mike Pence pushes for a GOP comeback

Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN)

Speaks to 730 people

during state dinner

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind (WANE) - U.S. Rep. Mike Pence revved up about 730 people at the Indiana Republican state dinner Thursday night by urging them to help the party regain control of the U.S. House in November and the presidency in 2012.

The congressman from eastern Indiana, who has been a leading critic of the Obama administration as the third-ranking Republican in the House, said President Barack Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress have put the nation on a course of runaway spending and big government.

"I believe the American people are on the march for freedom," Pence said. "Even Republicans in Congress have returned to fiscal discipline and reform. Americans are back in the fight and back in the fight on the right."

Pence said House Republicans would stay focused on trying to dismantle the health care overhaul legislation enacted last month.

"I know Democrats think that is over," he said. "Democrats may have had their say on the third Sunday in March, but the American people will have their say on the first Tuesday of November. House Republicans will not rest until we repeal the government takeover of health care lock, stock and barrel."

Indiana Republicans have hopes of winning the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Evan Bayh, as well as House seats now held by Democratic Reps. Joe Donnelly, Brad Ellsworth and Baron Hill. But a top priority also is regaining control of the Indiana House, which would allow Republicans to redraw district maps for the chamber in 2011.

Tickets to Thursday's dinner at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Indianapolis cost $200 each, helping the party raise more than $140,000. Arrangements were made so people could text in contributions from their dinner tables.

Pence plans on going to New Orleans in the next couple of days to attend the three-day Southern Republican Leadership Conference, joining several Republicans considering a challenge to Obama in his 2012 re-election bid.

The event that began Thursday features such names as Sarah Palin, Haley Barbour and Newt Gingrich, as well as GOP up-and-comers like Pence and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Pence said Thursday night that one way to revamp the economy would be across-the-board tax cuts, not the stimulus package Obama supported that Pence has called a piecemeal list of projects and boutique tax cuts.

"We must return incentive to the American people and the American economy," he said. "Get government out of the way and Indiana and America will come roaring back."

Indiana Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, who also has been mentioned as a potential 2012 presidential contender, also spoke at the Indianapolis dinner. He said Pence was an "agent of change" whom Indiana residents should be proud of.

"He's everything we want to state of Indiana to be," Daniels said. "He speaks forcefully when bad ideas are afoot."

Among those attending the dinner was Christa Coffey of Lafayette, who said it was exciting to hear Pence speak.

"He's a conservative who has struck to his principles -- conservative values, fiscal responsibility," she said.