- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 7, 2015

It’s a good thing that C-SPAN covered the South Carolina Freedom Summit on Saturday - a big hoopla with muscle, attitude and purpose which attracted big-name conservatives who also have muscle, attitude and purpose. Organized by Citizens United, the daylong event showcased Sens. Ted Cruz, Tim Scott and Marco Rubio; Reps. Jeff Duncan, Steve King, Marsha Blackburn and Mick Mulvaney; Govs. Scott Walker and Bobby Jindal; Carly Fiorina, Rick Perry, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Rick Santorum, Jim DeMint and John Bolton — and this is a partial list.

They were intent on showing how America “can get back on the right path,” says David N. Bossie, president of Citizens United. And what happened? Here’s just a sampling of the coverage, this from The Guardian’s Sabrina Siddiqui, who was in the audience:

“When Scott Walker took the stage at the South Carolina Freedom Summit on Saturday, it was not the usual rallying conservative causes - social issues such as the sanctity of life and railing against government dependency - that brought the crowd to its feet.

Instead, the roughly 2,000 grassroots activists who had gathered to see 2016 GOP hopefuls roared the loudest and rose to its feet when the governor of Wisconsin lambasted Barack Obama’s foreign policy and invoked the threat posed to the US by the Islamic State.

The moment was emblematic of the role foreign policy will play as candidates court primary voters in early voting states. Republicans are teeing up a debate over America’s standing as a global leader and seeking to cast the presidential election as a seminal moment in the nation’s history.

Conservatives howled and hooted as Walker, who was criticized by Obama for his lack of foreign policy expertise, went after the administration’s nuclear deal with Iran, its handling of terrorism and its relationship with Israel.

‘We need a commander in chief who will once and for all call it what it is, and that is radical Islamic terrorism,’ Walker said. ‘We need a president who will affirm that Israel is our ally and start acting like it.

‘We need a leader who will have the courage to look the American people in the eye, and to tell them what might not be easy to say, and that is this will not take a day, it might not take a week, it might not take a month or even a year. But it’s not a question of if another attempt is made on our soil, it’s a question of when.’ “

THE AGE-OLD QUESTION

How old is too old to run for president?

The current crop of presidential hopefuls ranges in age from 45 to 75 — and in the middle is Gov. Scott Walker, checking in at 53, Martin O’Malley at 53, Jeb Bush at 63 and Hillary Clinton at 67. But now there’s a YouGov poll revealing what age Americans prefer. Disappointing for septuagenarians with White House aspirations: Less than 1 percent look to anyone over 70. And the rest of the numbers: 8 percent prefer a candidate from 60 to 69 years old, 9 percent want someone under 40, 38 percent preferred a candidate between 40 and 49, and 44 percent went for the 50-to-59 set.

Analyst William Jordan did the basic math and reports that, essentially, 92 percent of the nation would like somebody under 60 on the ballot. The survey also revealed that 47 percent say “strength and experience” is more important for a presidential candidate than the “new direction and new ideas” preferred by 39 percent.

Ronald Reagan is one example of why the candidate’s age may matter much less than the way the candidate frames the issue, Mr. Jordan notes. In 1984 the 73-year-old incumbent effectively “neutralized” .” the topic during a debate with a his younger Democratic opponent Walter Mondale.

“I want you to know that, also, I will not make age an issue of this campaign,” Reagan told his rival. “I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.”

JUST A SUBTLE HINT

The 2016 presidential race has its first self-described socialist candidate with Sen. Bernard Sanders in the running, an independent seeking the Democratic nomination. Voters, however, are not keen on the socialist label, says a new poll from Rasmussen Reports, which reveals that a slim 13 percent of likely U.S. voters would consider it a positive if a political candidate were described as being a socialist. It’s actually an improvement, however.

“That’s up from 8 percent four years ago,” the pollster notes. “A majority — 53 percent — still sees the socialist label as a negative, down from 58 percent in the earlier survey; 28 percent view it as somewhere in between.”

HILLARY LAYS OUT THE BATTLE LINES

Hillary Rodham Clinton is betting that America is moving left, observes New York Post editor John Podhoretz. And he says she is doing the nation a great service.

“By making it clear she is going to run for president as an unapologetic left-liberal — with emphasis on the ‘left’ — she has made sure that the 2016 election will be exactly the referendum on America’s future it ought to be,” Mr. Podhoretz writes, noting that Mrs. Clinton still dominates the polls despite persistent questions about her private emails and fundraising.

“That fact should give her all the running room in the world — and usually when presidential candidates have running room, they run as fast to the center as they possibly can. Certainly that is what Republicans running for president still think. In fact, the so-called ‘first-tier’ GOP candidates — Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker — are attractive precisely because they seem to have a sense of how they and their party need to reach beyond the conservative movement and the Republican base to secure victory in November 2016,” Mr. Podhoretz continues.

“Not so, Hillary. When she made her dramatic announcement that she would seek full citizenship for illegal immigrants, she was also announcing that she and her team no longer think the old rules of presidential politics apply.”

A CIA MOMENT

Taya Kyle went to the CIA headquarters this week, the agency reveals. The widow of “American Sniper” Chris Kyle personally met with employees to share her own encounters with post-traumatic stress and field deployments and the best practices for dealing with same. The agency gave an official but heartfelt response.

“The men and women of CIA are asked to serve in war zones and other dangerous locations to protect this country and inform its policy makers. We are grateful to the Kyle family for their tremendous efforts to ensure that our officers and their families have the knowledge and resources they need to overcome challenges often associated with such deployments,” says CIA Deputy Director David Cohen.

Friday is Military Spouse Appreciation Day, by the way. “Military spouses serve alongside our troops through trial and triumph, and, in their example, we see the bravery and pride that reflect who we are as a nation,” President Obama said in his proclamation recognizing the day.

STILL CHEERING FOR MOM

This from the National Retail Federation: 84 percent of Americans will celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday, and they’ll spend $21.2 billion in the process. That works out to $172.63 per mom, up $10 from last year. And in the uber-mom category, Marketwatch reporter Charles Passy reveals that sales of Dom Perignon’s ritzy rose champagne are up in the U.S. despite its hair-raising price ($450 a bottle).

The pricey sparkler goes well with lamb, duck, seafood and dessert, especially chocolate, Mr. Passy says, adding, “so if you’re buying Mom a bottle, you might consider buying her a box of bonbons too.”

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

For sale: “Headmasters Home,” a 1900 in Madison, Georgia; 2,480-square-feet cottage, three bedrooms, two baths, completely restored, rewired and replumbed. Heart pine floors, three original fireplaces with restored mantles, “dog trot” center hall, six-panel doors, beadboard ceilings, original built-ins, substantial wooden staircase. Renovated and updated kitchen with steel appliances, new second floor loft space with skylight; classic Southern screened-in porch. Located in historic district. Priced at $249,000 through HistoricGeorgiaHomes.com; check under “properties” heading.

POLL DU JOUR

90 percent of GOP primary voters are “enthusiastic/comfortable” about voting for someone with a military background; 57 percent of Democratic primary voters agree.

79 percent of Republicans would vote for a Catholic; 48 percent of Democratic voters agree.

74 percent of Republicans would vote for a governor; 45 percent of Democrats agree.

69 percent of Republicans would vote for a Hispanic; 74 percent of Democrats agree.

66 percent of Republicans would vote for an African-American; 85 percent of Democrats agree.

54 percent of Republicans would vote for a women; 90 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll of 1,000 registered U.S. voters conducted April 26-30.

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