Just call it Goretopia: While Hillary Rodham Clinton addresses multiple political challenges, the press continues to spiral off into speculation. Who is the Democratic standard bearer should she decide against running for president?
In the last 24 hours, Al Gore has made the list. Now 66, the former vice president remains stubbornly active in global warming issues; he is, in fact, going to Iowa — but not for campaign reasons. He’s teaching a climate “leadership” workshop in Cedar Rapids. All that aside, there is momentum building here as Mrs. Clinton’s complications increase. More succinct are these headlines: “With Hillary imploding, could Al Gore ride to the rescue?” (HotAir); “As Hillary Clinton wallows in scandal, desperate eyes turn to — Al Gore?” (Examiner.com); Rush Limbaugh even warned his listeners that Mr. Gore could now be “the Democratic savior of 2016.”
Yes, well. Mr. Gore has done many things since he left the White House. He’s been the climate alarmist for better or worse, a now and then media mogul, and lately, a music producer. He became a vegan. He’s been out of office longer than Jeb Bush, though he has remained in the public eye, authoring a new book and making multiple, cause-driven appearances. Yes, the hashtag #RunAlRun has now appeared on Twitter.
“What if Hillary bows out?” asks Politico correspondent Bill Scher, who notes that Vice President Joe Biden, Martin O’Malley and Jim Webb linger on the landscape, along with Sens. Mark Warner, Kirsten Gillibrand, Bernie Sanders and of course Elizabeth Warren. There’s also Govs. Andrew Cuomo, Deval Patrick and Brian Schweitzer. Democratic consultant Chris Lapetina says the party is in a panic — “terrified of the idea of a Hillary-less race — and the vicious primary that might result.”
“Lapetina believes pressure would build for a few really big names to enter, such as Al Gore,” Mr. Scher observes.
FOR THE LEXICON
— From a Fark.com parody headline addressing Hillary Rodham Clinton‘s current political complications.
A SLICE OF POLITICS
Only in the Granite State, perhaps. Move over “Politics and Eggs,” an event that has attracted big name candidates to the New Hampshire Institute of Politics for two decades. Please welcome “Politics and Pies,” a feisty reply organized by the Concord Republican Committee in the state capital.
The inaugural meeting will take place Sunday afternoon at the Snowshoe Club a few miles outside of town — a rustic, red-shingled cottage founded in 1892 as a men’s gathering spot. Their first guest is Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
“Coffee and deliciously made local pies will be served up during this first in the nation primary event,” the organizers advise in an invitation that only went out 72 hours ago. A local bakery that specializes in apple, “forest berry,” pecan and cream pies will do the edible honors.
“We’ve invited all the major GOP candidates, and we’re already hearing back from them,” Concord GOP chairman Kerry Marsh tells Inside the Beltway. “The Snow Shoe Club is a unique location — beautiful views. And we have a second event planned for later in the month.”
It is a busy weekend for Mr. Graham, meanwhile. He’ll be at the Iowa Agricultural Summit on Saturday with a dozen other White House candidates on Saturday. In addition, he has founded Security Through Strength, a political action committee intended “to fund the infrastructure and operations allowing Graham to travel the country, listen to Americans, and gauge support for a potential presidential candidacy,” according to the organization’s mission statement.
DEMOCRATS HORN IN ON IOWA SUMMIT
It’s one of those heartland things. Come Saturday, a herd of GOP presidential hopefuls will bustle in to the first-ever Iowa Agriculture Summit, on the Iowa state fairgrounds near Des Moines — set to chat about farms, cattle, crops and other matters. We’re talking Sens. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham; Gov. Scott Walker; former Gov. Jeb Bush, Rick Perry and Mike Huckabee; businessman Donald Trump; and former Sen. Rick Santorum here.
They’ve done their homework and will take pertinent questions from canny locals, moderated by entrepreneur and philanthropist Bruce Rastetter, the official host, and an Iowa native himself.
And the Democrats will be waiting for them. Also venturing to Des Moines: Democratic National Committee vice-chairman R.T. Rybak and Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Andy McGuire will also stage a morning press conference with much on their minds.
“As each of the potential 2016 GOP candidates attempt to pitch their agriculture credentials to Iowa kingmaker Bruce Rastetter, Rybak and McGuire will highlight how each of their real records would hurt rural communities and middle class families,” the committee advises.
RISE OF A ‘SNIPER’ AUTHOR
Those still pondering the blockbuster film “American Sniper” — which has made more than $470 million worldwide — can consider Scott McEwen, who co-authored the original bestseller of the same name with Chris Kyle, and worked as a consultant with director Clint Eastwood on the film.
Mr. McEwen himself has a new book arriving: “The Sniper and the Wolf: A Novel,” due in May from Touchstone, chronicling the moments when a Navy Seal joins up with unlikely Russian ally to stop a terrorist plot in Europe.
It is part of the author’s “Sniper Elite” series, which has already been optioned by Sony Pictures for a film adaptation. And no wonder. Mr. McEwen — who has a penchant for long range hunting rifles himself — uses actual stories of soldiers who “must do the hard work to keep this country safe,” he says, while dealing with the “friction between the soldiers on the ground, the intelligence officers at home, and the political figures running the show.”
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POLL DU JOUR
• 84 percent of U.S. voters say it’s a “bad idea” to allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons in 10 years; 90 percent of Republicans, 80 percent of independents and 80 percent of Democrats agree.
• 65 percent of voters overall favor U.S. military action if that were the only option to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons; 81 percent of Republicans, 53 percent of independents and 54 percent of Democrats agree.
• 57 percent overall say the U.S. is not aggressive enough in preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons; 76 percent of Republicans, 56 percent of independents and 39 percent of Democrats agree.
• 55 percent overall say if Iran develops a nuclear weapon it would be “a disaster”; 70 percent of Republicans, 52 percent of independents and 41 percent of Democrats agree.
• 40 percent say it’s a problem “that can be managed”; 28 percent of Republicans, 43 percent of independents and 51 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A Fox News poll of 1,011 registered U.S. voters conducted March 1-3.
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