- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 10, 2015

The traditional conservative crowd is in search of an unwavering standard bearer as 2016 barrels down on the nation — now a mere three weeks away, give or take an hour or two. That standard bearer could be Sen. Ted Cruz, who this week won the support from longtime conservative stalwart Richard Viguerie. Mr. Cruz just added another fan: Bob Vander Plaats, president and CEO of the influential Family Leader organization, and a man with huge sway over dedicated conservatives and evangelicals in the Hawkeye State.

“I am confident that Ted Cruz is the right man for the job,” says Mr. Vander Plaats, who says he has prayed over the decision for months.

“This is an endorsement that simultaneously sends a signal to political observers and motivates active Caucus voters,” notes Mr. Cruz.”The time has come for us to coalesce. If we as conservatives come together in Iowa, and across the country, we will win.”



But Mr. Cruz has also topped a significant survey in the Hawkeye State on Saturday: “Big shake-up: Cruz soars to lead in Iowa Poll,” heralds a new Des Moines Register headline. “The anti-establishment congressional agitator has made a rapid ascent into the lead in the GOP presidential race here, with a 21 percentage-point leap that smashes records for upsurges in recent Iowa caucuses history,” wrote political analyst Jennifer Jacobs.

And the numbers: Mr. Cruz leads the Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll with 31 percent of the vote, followed by Donald Trump with 21 percent, Ben Carson with 13 percent and Sen. Marco Rubio with 10 percent.

WEEKEND CANDIDATE TRACKER


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The hopefuls continue rumbling down the campaign trail. In Iowa, Sen. Bernard Sanders has the most ambitious schedule, with nine events this weekend ranging from a Baptist church service in Waterloo to a visit to a maximum security prison in Anamosa. And the GOP hopefuls? Ben Carson will be in Moravia and Burlington for meet-and greets while Donald Trump stages yet another jumbo rally at the Iowa State Fair grounds in Des Moines, before jetting off to a town hall in Aiken, South Carolina. Sen. Marco Rubio will also be in the Palmetto State for a rally in Greenville.

After a week of 18 campaign fundraisers across a dozen states, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has two economic “organizing” events in Tulsa and St. Louis, both in Oklahoma.

Republicans are prowling New Hampshire. Gov. Chris Christie continues his “Tell it Like it Is” tour, with stops in three towns, including Wolfeboro, summer home of Mitt Romney. The still ambitious Sen. Rand Paul has eight varied events across the state, staged at a university, town halls, a diner, a tavern, a pizza parlor and an optimistic “60 Days to Victory” celebration at his own campaign headquarters in Manchester, Still on the trail: Gov. John Kasich, with three events in the Granite State and Carly Fiorina, also with three.

THE PUBLIC NOW SIDES WITH TRUMP

It’s not just the GOP voters this time: A new Rasmussen Reports survey reveals the general public sides with Donald Trump‘s immigration proposals for Muslims. The survey released Thursday finds that 66 percent of likely Republican voters favor a temporary ban on all Muslims entering the U.S. until the federal government betters its screening process. A quarter of the respondents oppose the plan, with 10 percent undecided.

But Americans are watching. Among all U.S. voters, almost half — 46 percent — favor the ban, while 40 percent are opposed, 14 percent undecided. Another 59 percent of voters overall believe it is “too easy for foreigners to legally enter the United States.” Only 10 percent believe it is too hard, while 23 percent say the level of difficulty is about right. Another 59 percent also say the U.S. “should treat all potential immigrants equally.”


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Mr. Trump has further clarified his views in the meantime, telling ABC News that his proposal was not about religion, but about the nation’s “safety” — even as Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton weighed in, deeming the idea “shameful and dangerous.”

REMEMBERING BARRY SCHWEID

There are not many “legendary” journalists around anymore. But Barry Schweid, a diplomatic correspondent for The Associated Press for 56 years, was one of them. He died Thursday at 83 after nearly six decades reporting from dozens of nation. Schweid got the facts straight with straightforward ease and an eye for details, and he traveled in lofty circles, accompanying Henry Kissinger on the secretary of state’s tricky “shuttle diplomacy” missions during the 1970s. He also covered former President Jimmy Carter‘s effort to reach a peace agreement between Egypt and Israel, the dangerous days of the Cold War era and the final downfall of the Soviet Union

“He brought to his work a deep understanding of his subject and a fierce commitment to bringing the news to his readers across the globe,” says Kathleen Carroll, executive editor for the AP.

The veteran newsman retired in 2012, warranting tributes from multiple secretaries of state, including Madeleine Albright, who sang her congratulatory message.

“My ambition was to be a journalist and tell people what was going on, to tell the truth, to go to meet people, to understand what was going on in the world,” Schweid told the AP in a 2009 interview. Schweid won multiple journalism honors and was inducted into the Washington Society of Professional Journalists’ Hall of Fame in 2002.

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

Lone Star loft, built circa 1935 in main plaza, historic downtown, Paris, Texas. Two bedrooms, one bath, kitchen, appliances in upper level “living loft,” completely renovated, restored original wood floors, original industrial trims and skylight, wide open floor plan, 11- to 15-foot ceilings, restored woodwork, exposed brick, period lighting. Lower level is working antique store with large showroom, brick front, awning, bathroom and storage. New roof in October; 4,644 total square feet. Priced at $189,900 through C21PHP.com; enter MLS number 28719 in search function.

POLL DU JOUR

78 percent of Americans between 18-29 say they are not “politically engaged” or politically active.

58 percent say they do not follow news about national politics.

56 percent say they would prefer a Democrat win the 2016 presidential race, 36 percent want a Republican.

52 percent say they are not following news about the 2016 race.

49 percent say the American Dream is “alive,” 48 percent say it’s “dead.”

48 percent approve sending ground troops to fight the Islamic State, 48 percent oppose it.

Source: A Harvard University poll of 2,011 U.S. adults aged 18-29 conducted Oct. 30-Nov. 9 and released Thursday.

Mumbles, grumbles, chitchat to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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