- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 24, 2015

They gather in the nation’s capital with the belief that America can’t thrive without God and a socially conservative, traditional mindset. The 10th annual Values Voters Summit gets underway Friday, boasting eight presidential hopefuls, a host of elected officials, the thoughtful, the outspoken, the outraged and some 2,500 grass-roots activists. Ready to have their say: Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Sens. Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio, Gov. Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee — all keenly interested in the summit’s presidential straw poll, sure to draw considerable media coverage.

“I sense there’s more intense interest in the summit this year. We’ve drawn our largest crowd, and they’re both concerned and engaged. They’ll see firsthand the convergence of moral, fiscal and foreign policy issues that will literally determine our country’s future,” Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and the point man behind the event — tells Inside the Beltway. “The candidates are vying for the votes of social conservatives, who are crucial for a Republican win in 2016. The media narrative that this is a shrinking voting bloc is not supported by the evidence.”

Indeed, a recent Gallup poll found that 53 percent of Republicans self-identify as social conservatives. So do 31 percent of Americans overall — which now equals the percentage of the public who are socially liberal for the first time in a decade. And about those values — a new Bloomberg Politics poll reveals that “moral decay” was ranked first on a list of the threats to “American greatness,” cited by a third of the respondents. “Our own lagging work ethic” was second on the list, followed by the rise of Islamic State, money woes, global competition and the influx of illegal immigrants.

The summit itself is in aggressive, urgent mode. Forum sessions include “The battlefront in our backyards: What everyday Americans can do to bring positive change;” “Reclaiming America God’s way;” and “How to argue the social issues with liberals and libertarians.”

There will be many famous and familiar faces among the 56 main stage speakers spanning politics and media, among them Rick Perry; Sen. John McCain; Reps. Louie Gohmert, Mark Meadows, Steve Scalise and John Fleming; Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback; Mark Levin; Erick Erickson; Bill Bennett; and Oliver North. David Daleiden, founder of the Center for Medical Progress and the man behind the revealing Planned Parenthood videos, will be on the podium, as will Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk Kim Davis, who was jailed for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses, and Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union. Find it all here: Valuesvotersummit.org.



MR. TRUMP’S CONCLUSION

Republican front-runner Donald Trump has had skirmishes this week with National Review columnist Rich Lowry over an unsavory remark he made about the candidate during an appearance on Fox News. Mr. Trump also announced he would boycott his appearance on the network. Mr. Trump has since lashed out at Politico and The New York Times, calling both “dishonest.”

But maybe there will be peace in the valley. Next week Mr. Trump joins Fox News founder Roger Ailes and senior editorial executives for a “candid meeting” to parse out misunderstandings between the two sides — which have been brewing ever since the first Republican debate, when the billionaire took on moderator and Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly. But hey, it’s the weekend. There’s always a new poll around the corner, and Mr. Trump is still leading the GOP field.

“Despite the establishment and the media’s best efforts, the people are speaking loudly and clearly. Thank you to my amazing supporters!” Mr. Trump noted in a speech late Thursday.

WEEKEND CANDIDATE TRACKER

Beyond the aforementioned values summit, here’s where the 2016 presidential hopefuls will be in the next 48 hours: Sen. Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina and Govs. Bobby Jindal and John Kasich will be in Iowa. Martin O’Malley and Sen. Bernard Sanders are the sole Democrats in the Hawkeye State this weekend.

Donald Trump will be in Oklahoma for a jumbo rally at the Oklahoma State Fair, while Ben Carson and Sen. Lindsey Graham head for Virginia. Gov. Chris Christie is in New Hampshire, as is Sen. Rand Paul. Democrat Lincoln Chafee and Mr. Sanders will also be in the Granite State. South Carolina has drawn Rick Santorum and the getting-ever-busier Mr. Kasich.

A DEMOCRAT WARNS of BUSH/KASICH 2016

One longtime Democratic insider reveals the two Republican presidential hopefuls who could threaten Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2016 race. Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has shared his thoughts. “As a Democrat, what Republican worries you the most from an election standpoint?” asked Larry King, the veteran host of Ora TV’s “PoliticKING” during Mr. Richardson’s appearance on the talk show Thursday.

“Two worry me the most. John Kasich of Ohio, I served with him in Congress. He’s moderate, he’s open-minded — I’m probably not helping him by saying this. He’s smart, he worked on budget issues. And Jeb Bush, another moderate that might appeal to Hispanic voters. I think if Republicans don’t nominate either of these two, Hillary wins by a landslide,” Mr. Richardson replied.

“If they nominate these two, it’ll be a contest. I think Hillary wins, but it will be a tight race. I didn’t include Marco Rubio, but I think he would also be a strong contender, but not as strong as Kasich and Bush. I would watch Kasich. I think he’s the sleeper that will start moving up.”

CULTURAL MOMENT

“According to media buyers who regularly steer clients to NFL broadcasts, the priciest slice of prime-time real estate is once again a 30-second spot in NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.” Marketers looking to hitch their wagon to NBC’s weekly juggernaut are paying on the order of $665,375,” notes Anthony Crupi, an analyst for Advertising Age. That’s $22,179 a second.

Meanwhile, ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” weighs in at $427,685 a spot, while “Thursday Night Football” on CBS commands $547,151. Which of course brings us to the Super Bowl. The price for the 30-second spot is $5 million, which works out to be about $166,666 a second. Mr. Crupi writes, “Way back in 1967, when the NFL’s Green Bay Packers squared off against the AFL’s Kansas City Chiefs in the very first Super Bowl, a half-minute unit went for a song — $37,500 on NBC and $42,500 on CBS. (Yep. Two networks).”

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

“For sale: The Old Blosser Homestead, built in North Lima, Ohio in 1905; five bedrooms, two baths, 3,056 square feet on 1.5 acres. Dining room, living room, parlor with original solid 6-panel oak pocket doors, floors and woodworking; plaster walls and 10-foot ceilings throughout, kitchen has oak cabinets handcrafted by owner, breakfast bar. Office, walk-up attic, restored, wrap around outdoor porch with lattice work, replaced roof, septic and electric systems. Mature shade trees. Priced at $170,000 through BurganRealEstate.com; enter MLS No. 3717994 in search function.”

POLL DU JOUR

72 percent of Americans agree they are “fed up with politics — it’s just people playing games.”

59 percent say the political system is broken and the nation needs to “just start over.”

53 percent say the 2016 campaign is “fun to watch” and entertaining.

30 percent say their vote does not count.

19 percent say they are not affected by politics and that it doesn’t matter which party is in power.

Source: A Bloomberg Politics poll of 1,001 U.S. adults, conducted Sept. 18-21.

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