There’s no denying it: the destruction of our campaign finance laws has created an out of control system that poses a serious threat to our democracy. The announcement that Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush has raised over $114 million, along with the fact that the Koch brothers plan to spend almost $900 million, feeds into the fears of many that the U.S. is turning into an oligarchy, where the views of wealthy donors are the only ones that matter. A huge majority of Americans think the campaign finance system needs reform, and this is an issue that presidential candidates can’t ignore.
This week, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, an outspoken opponent of big money in politics, pledged to introduce legislation at the start of the next session that would provide public financing for elections. Hillary Clinton has also stated her support for small-donor public financing. A bill introduced earlier this year by Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD) attempted to level the playing field by providing voters with $25 to spend on elections and to match small individual donations to a candidate 6 to 1 with public money, which would turn into a 9 to 1 match for candidates that rejected large donations altogether.
In addition, both Sanders and Clinton have expressed their support for a constitutional amendment that would overturn decisions like Citizens United, as has Sen. Lindsey Graham. These two solutions, public financing of elections and an amendment to get big money out of politics, are both highlighted as measures needed to fix the broken campaign finance system in “Fighting Big Money, Empowering People: A 21st Century Democracy Reform Agenda,” released by PFAW and other campaign finance reform proponents. As the agenda makes clear, for lasting change we have to move beyond “individual statements or even individual solutions” toward a comprehensive set of policy solutions.
Three out of four Americans are in support of a constitutional amendment, and over 5 million people have signed a petition in favor of it. Many other political leaders at the state and local level from both major parties want to put an end to the post-Citizens United big donor arms race.
One of the most memorable moments of last night’s GOP presidential debate was when Ohio Gov. John Kasich said that despite his “traditional” view on marriage he had recently attended the wedding of gay friends. This earned Kasich applause from the debate’s audience, just four years after a similar audience had booed a gay service member.
But some people did not appreciate Kasich’s answer, including American Family Radio’s Bryan Fischer, who explained on his radio program today that attending a gay friend’s wedding is like attending the “grand opening celebration” of a friend’s “new crack house” because you are simply “enabling” that friend’s behavior.
“Really, the issue comes down to what do you think of this kind of behavior,” Fischer said. “Is this good behavior, is this healthy behavior, is this moral behavior, is this the kind of behavior that we ought to celebrate, that we ought to promote?”
“If you have somebody you love and they were dealing crack and they were opening up a new crack house and they were having a grand opening celebration and they invited you to come and be a part of the grand opening celebration of this crack house, would you go?” he asked. “Of course not!”
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, speculated in a radio interview yesterday that President Obama wants to increase the number of skilled-worker visas in order to “dilute” the American voting pool with people who haven’t “been educated about the responsibilities of keeping a republic going.”
Discussing H-1B visas with Virginia talk radio host John Fredericks, Gohmert said, “Wow, John, it’s like the president has some idea that he wants to just dilute people that have been educated about the responsibilities of keeping a republic going out there voting, Isn’t that a crazy idea.”
Gohmert and Fredericks also expressed frustration that the House GOP leadership has yet to move to defund Planned Parenthood after the release of a series of videos smearing the organization, which both said was just bringing America closer to a “day of reckoning.”
“People are starting to feel that there’s going to be a day of reckoning for all this stuff,” Fredericks said, “whether it’s $20 trillion in debt, $123 trillion of unfunded mandates, or 60 million abortions since Roe v. Wade, and now dismembering babies. I mean, there’s going to be a day of reckoning, it always happens throughout history.”
“Yes, and there will be a day of reckoning and we know it’s coming,” Gohmert said, “so it’s really outrageous for us not to be out there dealing with these critical issues.”
At a recent campaign stop, Scott Walker was greeted by two young people who were very excited to see him – just not in the sense he would have hoped. Two activists from 350 Action tricked Governor Walker into holding up a fake check displaying his reliance on the Koch brothers.
When interviewed by reporters, one of the activists, Elaine Colligan, explained that her inspiration stemmed from Walker’s lack of climate change prevention policies. “Scott Walker is the worst on climate change,” she said, comparing him to the other 2016 presidential candidates. Colligan’s complaints are not unfounded, since being elected as governor of Wisconsin, Walker has demonstrated his preference for the fossil fuel industry over efforts to prevent climate change.
To list only a few of Walker’s policies that have led to his current reputation: he signed the no climate tax pledge, prepared a lawsuit against the federal government because of EPA regulations, proposed to cut $8.1 million from a renewable energy research center, and advocated for increased railways carrying frac sand. It is no surprise Walker is being targeted by environmental advocacy organizations like 350 Action.
At the campaign stop, another attendee joined in, saying: “Scott Walker will do anything to get elected! Because that’s what politicians do!” While this comment is particularly pessimistic, it stems from a frustration many Americans feel with our current campaign system. When a man like Scott Walker, who is receiving millions from undisclosed and unregulated donors, is more influenced by those donors than everyday Americans like Elaine Colligan, something is obviously wrong with the system. But there has been recent action calling for reform of this system, including a constitutional amendment to overturn decisions like Citizens United. Candidates need to be responsive to their constituents on issues like climate change, rather than to the wealthy special interests that can afford to pour money into our elections.
The American Family Association’s Sandy Rios devoted her radio program this morning to taking calls from listeners about last night’s Republican presidential debates on Fox News. One listener, who identified himself as “Dave” called in to say that he would “love to see a Ted Cruz–Ben Carson ticket” and “then in eight years, I’d love to see Ben Carson be the first black president” in contrast to the current “Muslim president.”
Rios responded with her own theories about President Obama’s religious affiliation: “We know that he loves the Muslim community and he’s certainly sympathetic and he loves the call to prayer and we’ll say no more, we don’t know — I kind of think he’s an atheist, Dave, to be honest with you, with Muslim sympathies, I always need to clarify that.”
Rios then got back to Dave’s Cruz-Carson dream ticket, and said she would love to form a “team” of all the GOP nominees, each of whom would take over one governmental department and form “a phalanx of cleaning house.”
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins repeatedhiscall for the impeachment of President Obama yesterday, saying that the president’s “actions suggest he is doing more to help our enemies than to help our country.”
“The problem with the president is that he has been deceptive,” Perkins said in response to a listener who called in to his “Washington Watch” radio program. “The problem with the president is that he has been lawless. He has ignored the Constitution, he has lied to the American people and his actions suggest he is doing more to help our enemies than to help our country.”
“And so this feeling of frustration that Americans are feeling is not normal,” he said. “It’s not political, it’s not partisan, it goes beyond that. This goes to the heart of the issue that people that care about this country, their families, their future, they don’t see this president as defending and advocating for America. I’m not sure what he’s advocating for.”
“He is deconstructing this nation,” Perkins continued. “He’s done it in our military, now he’s done it in our foreign policy” with the Iran deal.
When another listener called in to ask why Obama has not yet been impeached, Perkins seconded the call.
“When you begin to operate deceptively, when you violate the boundaries by which the American people have agreed to be governed, you have crossed the line,” he said, “and I think this president has crossed the line.”
He lamented that the Republican Party doesn’t have the “backbone” to begin impeachment proceedings, which is why, he said, Donald Trump is proving so popular among GOP primary voters: “Donald Trump, he is the result of the Republican Party. He is doing so well because the Republicans refuse to do what the American people elected them to do.”
RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.
There is a lot to be scared about this week: Obama demons, Obama killing white people, Obama nuking Texas. Perhaps there is a phrase to describe this phenomenon.
5) Obama’s Demon…Exposed!
While WorldNetDaily has so far failed in its quest to find President Obama’s Kenyan birth certificate, it has stumbled upon something even more sinister: Obama’s Kenyan demon.
In an article titled, “Is this a demon racing in front of Obama?,” WND executive news editor Joe Kovacs reports that he observed a demonic spirit complete with “a head and shoulders” running past Obama as he exited Air Force One upon arriving in Kenya last month. Kovacs even spoke to a “concerned woman” who confirmed that she too “saw a demon run by” the president.
Michael Savage isn’t one of those crazy people who believed that the world would end in 2012, since, Savage explained this week, he read in an email once that an elderly Mayan woman prophesied about a future without white people, and Obama hadn’t murdered all the white people yet.
Maybe Mike Huckabee has been reading WorldNetDaily, as he is very concerned that gay marriage and legal abortion are provoking God to punish America.
“I would suggest that if man believes that he can redefine marriage, it’s apparent that man believes he has become his own god,” Huckabee told a conservative summit, “and this is a dangerous place for America to be.”
2) Jade Helm 15 Violence
Shockingly, none of the right-wing warnings about the Jade Helm 15 military exercise leading to a federal takeover of Texas and the imposition of martial law have turned out to be accurate.
But some people have taken the Jade Helm 15 conspiracy theories very seriously, including at least three men in North Carolina who, Catherine Thompson of TPM writes, “were charged with conspiring to arm themselves with illegal explosive devices to combat what they saw as a potential military takeover.” In Mississippi, gunmen fired at a military training site for two consecutive days.
One of those aides, Jesse Benton, was working on Sen. Mitch McConnell’s reelection campaign in Kentucky in 2014 when the scandal came to light, causing him to resign from his post. But Benton wasn’t unemployed for long, as just a few months later, Sen. Rand Paul picked Benton, who also happens to be a member of the Paul family, to run a Super PAC aiding the younger Paul’s presidential bid.
It now seems that Rand Paul’s selection of Benton has come back to haunt him, as Benton and other Paul aides have just been indicted in connection to the bribery scandal.
Like the good conservative conspiracy theorists that they are, Ron and Rand Paul are now alleging that Benton was the victim of a liberal attempt to discredited the Kentucky senator’s presidential campaign.
“I think the timing of this indictment is highly suspicious given the fact that the first primary debate is tomorrow,” Ron Paul said, while Rand Paul’s campaign attacked “the Obama Justice Department” for its “suspiciously timed” indictments, adding that Benton’s indictment “certainly appears suspiciously timed and possibly, politically motivated.”
Benton’s lawyer similarly claimed that Benton is a victim of a Democratic conspiracy, blasting the indictments as “character assassination for political gain” and “a politically motivated prosecution designed to serve a political agenda, not to achieve justice.”
Yesterday’s GOP presidential debate on Fox News, perhaps unsurprisingly, devoted less than a minute to the Black Lives Matter movement and its concerns. Fox’s Megyn Kelly directed exactly one question about the movement to one candidate, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who gave a bland answer about providing for better “training” for law enforcement officers.
But Walker’s answer contained one interesting tidbit, which he clearly knew would resonate with regular Fox News viewers. Walker referred in his answer to the advice of his “friend” Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, whom he noted had been a guest on Fox News:
Well, I think the most important thing we can do when it comes to policing — it's something you've had a guest on who's a friend of mine Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who's talked to me about this many times in the past — it's about training. It's about making sure that law enforcement professionals, not only in the way in to their positions but all the way through their time, have the proper training, particularly when it comes to the use of force. And that we protect and stand up and support those men and women who are doing their jobs in law enforcement. And for the very few that don't, that there are consequences to show that we treat everyone the same here in America.
Walker probably assumed that regular Fox viewers would recognize Clarke’s name, as the sheriff is a rising Tea Party star who makes frequent appearances on the conservative network to assure its viewers that the Black Lives Matter movement is wrong and that there are no racial disparities in policing.
"The real [problem] in the American ghetto, and it is not the American police officer, it is modern liberalism that has been a wrecking ball on the black community and the black family structure," Clarke said.
Clarke has taken his message to other conservative media outlets as well, insisting that Michael Brown“ chose thug life” so was “a coconspirator in his own demise” and claiming that President Obama is using controversies over police killings as part of a plot to “emasculate” law enforcement, “get rid of the Constitution” and implement a “socialist agenda.”
Clarke recently parlayed his conservative media stardom into his very own radio show on Glenn Beck’s The Blaze network, using one of his first programs to call for a revolution complete with “pitchforks and torches” in response to the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling. In a WorldNetDaily column, he wrote that the decision may have presented a “Lexington-Concord type moment.”
The Milwaukee County sheriff became a hero to the gun lobby when he urged his constituents to arm themselves rather than count on calling 911. He told conspiracy theorist Alex Jones that federal gun control laws could launch “the second coming of the American Revolution, the likes of which would make the first revolution pale by comparison.” And he used his speaking slot at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention this year to throw red meat to the crowd, including a call for the arrows on the Great Seal of the United States to be replaced with a semi-automatic rifle.
Walker clearly sees Clarke as an important ally: Earlier this summer, signed a pair of laws weakening Wisconsin’s gun regulations in Clarke’s office.
But Mike Huckabee took things to a new level when he calmly presented his plan to grant legal “personhood” to fertilized eggs and fetuses.
Some commentators have mistaken Huckabee’s comment as a call for a constitutional amendment to reverse Roe v. Wade. That’s not what he meant.
Instead, Huckabee was embracing a radical legal theory, disputed even in anti-choice circles, that holds that a constitutional amendment overturning Roe isn’t necessary to end legal abortion. This theory holds that the majority opinion in Roe contains a magic loophole that allows Congress to simply declare zygotes “persons” under the Fifth and 14th Amendments, which would then criminalize abortion nationwide in one fell swoop, no constitutional amendment needed. One of the most adamant proponents of this theory in Congress is Huckabee’s fellow GOP presidential candidate, Rand Paul.
Here was Huckabee’s answer to Chris Wallace’s question about his “strong positions on social issues,” including favoring “a constitutional amendment banning abortions, except for the life of the mother”:
Chris, I disagree with the idea that the real issue is a constitutional amendment. That's a long and difficult process. I've actually taken the position that's bolder than that.
A lot of people are talking about defunding Planned Parenthood, as if that's a huge game changer. I think it's time to do something even more bold. I think the next president ought to invoke the Fifth, and 14th Amendments to the Constitution now that we clearly know that that baby inside the mother's womb is a person at the moment of conception.
The reason we know that it is is because of the DNA schedule that we now have clear scientific evidence on. And, this notion that we just continue to ignore the personhood of the individual is a violation of that unborn child's Fifth and 14th Amendment rights for due process and equal protection under the law.
It's time that we recognize the Supreme Court is not the supreme being, and we change the policy to be pro-life and protect children instead of rip up their body parts and sell them like they're parts to a Buick.
But if Huckabee’s dubious legal strategy were to work, the consequences would be enormous. Not only would granting “personhood” to fetuses ban abortion in all but the rarest case where a pregnant woman and a fetus are both in mortal danger, it would put women who suffer miscarriages at risk of prosecution and jail time. The ambiguous wording of such measures has led many to fear that they could also outlaw common forms of birth control.
By redefining what it means to be a person under the law, personhood measures could also have a broad legal impact on issues unrelated to reproductive rights, threatening to upend everything from inheritance law to census results . In 2014, the Colorado Bar Association opposed the state’s personhood ballot measure, warning that the vaguely worded measure would have “potentially serious, unintended and unknown consequences for Colorado lawyers. … From areas of Family Law to Probate Law to Real Estate Law, as well as the explicit effect on Criminal Law and Wrongful Death statutes, this Amendment could create uncertainty and endless litigation.”
Mike Huckabee’s support for the personhood movement is nothingnew. But in declaring his intention to give 14th Amendment rights to fertilized eggs in a nationally televised debate, he gave a fringe movement what may be its biggest stage yet.
The Detroit News published audio recordings today that expose an effort by two married Michigan Republican lawmakers to try to suppress news of their affair with each other. As part of the cover-up, state Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat, among the most vocal opponents of gay rights and defenders of "traditional marriage" in the state legislature, planned to start a rumor that Courser was actually having an affair with a man.
"Courser, a Lapeer Republican, said on one recording the email was designed to create 'a complete smear campaign' of exaggerated, false claims about him and Gamrat so a public revelation about the legislators’ relationship would seem 'mild by comparison,'" Chad Livengood reported. "Interviews with former House employees and the recordings show freshman lawmakers Courser and Gamrat, R-Plainwell, used their taxpayer-funded offices to maintain and cover up their relationship."
Fearing that news of the affair would come out, Courser demanded that an aide send out a mass email to state Republicans claiming that Courser, had "male on male paid sex behind a prominent Lansing night club," describing him as a "bi-sexual porn addicted sex deviant" and a "Godless Addicted Monster." Courser, explained to the aide, who refused to send the email, that it was part of a "controlled burn" strategy.
As Livengood pointed out, Courser and Gamrat “are socially conservative legislators who often invoke their Christian faith in pursuit of new legislation governing gun rights, abortion and marriage," and are closely aligned with the Tea Party.
Gamrat and Courser made waves earlier this year when they tried to circumvent the Supreme Court's marriage decision by introducing a bill declaring that only members of the clergy could perform marriages in Michigan. Gamrat denounced the marriage ruling as a "sad day in our nation" and blasted the court for trying to "redefine for our entire nation, marriage, the bedrock of families and society since the beginning of time." She also warned that people who "do not embrace the homosexual lifestyle will need protections" to fend off impending persecution.
Courser has similarly alleged that LGBT rights advocates are trying to do away with freedom, maintaining that "this decision by the Supreme Court was and is an absolute tragedy for our nation and its future." He responded to the Supreme Court ruling byannouncing that we "are living in the last days" and that it "was a crushing day for those who believe in traditional marriage and traditional morality."
Days before the decision, Courser told his supporters: "I will say that I grieve for our nation as we take one step after another to deny the diety of God and who He is. As we step further and further away from Him and His Holy word we lose His protection for ourselves, our families, our communities, our states and of course our Nation!"
Last December, we reported on Courser's efforts to block an LGBT nondiscrimination measure, accusing its supporters of "promoting evil" and attempting to "destroy freedoms of religion and speech for our children and their children" and "institutionalize discrimination against Christians and other faiths."
He also said that gay marriage is leading to the End Times and "persecution":
It is a decision that will embolden and expand the tyrannical hammer of the secular progressive left....
This decision will be a toe hold and from this decision we will see many more decisions that curtail our first amendment rights of free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of association, and of course freedom of conscience. This decision will unleash the power and scope of government to further society by its power of persuasion and its hammer of threat of governmental persecution. Every regulatory apparatus of government will be focused henceforth on indoctrinating children and the greater society that same sex marriage is moral and every bit accepted, preferred to traditional marriage. Anyone who disagrees with this new paradigm will be vilified as a homophobic bigot. Some of these activists are the most intolerant viscous hate mongers who will demonize anyone who opposes their tyrannical agenda. It works and virtually none are left in elected leadership who will now stand and oppose them publicly as they destroy our rights to freedom of religion and freedom of speech.
If we do not act now we will see public officials, pastors, and private citizens alike being limited in what they can say or do. The effects of this decision, many unforeseen, on our nation and the world will echo through the end of time. It will destroy and tear down families and with it our social fabric of our society.
We are indeed living in the last days....
May God discipline and correct the hearts of our countrymen and in so doing may He once again bless the United States of America!
On Thursday, PFAW hosted a telebriefing to advise members on what to expect in the first GOP debate tonight. After an introduction from PFAW President Michael Keegan, Communications Director Drew Courtney moderated a discussion with leading political strategist and founder of Lake Research Partners Celinda Lake and PFAW Political Director Randy Borntrager and Senior Research Associate Brian Trashman.
Lake stressed the widening disconnect between GOP candidates and the vast majority of the general electorate. She recommended watching for three main areas of focus during the debate: how the candidates are able, or unable, to articulate an economic message; how the candidates attempt to repair a troubled relationship with female voters; and how many times the candidates go off on tangents that reveal their extreme far-right positions.
As Donald Trump continues to lead the polls, Tashman discussed how the media’s focus on Trump allows his contenders to seem more moderate, when in reality this is the most “extreme candidate selection we have had in a while.” Lake added that the media’s insistence on posing “crazy” questions also bolsters Trump’s poll numbers, as it inhibits other candidates from discussing their economic agenda.
To push back against the extreme rhetoric that has elevated Trump’s popularity, Borntrager outlined a variety of ways in which PFAW and its affiliates are fighting back. Speaking about the importance of a “progressive rapid response mechanism,” Borntrager urged supporters to email PFAW’s political department for ways to get involved in the grassroots effort. He noted that for the upcoming debate, PFAW is organizing a counter-rally in Cleveland, Ohio, as well as live tweeting and fact checking the candidates’ claims throughout. “This grassroots effort is, in a lot of ways, starting today,” Borntrager said.
Call participants shared thoughtful questions, including one regarding the risks associated with the Republican-backed privatization of Medicare and Social Security. Lake responded that these measures are “wildly unpopular” among the majority of Americans. She concluded that Republicans are “living on borrowed time, demographically” because they either attack or ignore discriminatory practices, welfare programs, reproductive health care access, and other issues of pronounced importance to the American people.
Last month, End Times preachers Jim Bakker and John Kilpatrick got together to discuss the “direct link between sin and the land, the earth.”
Bakker warned that the legalization of abortion will cause “the worst shaking man has ever known and I believe it is all going to start this year.” He said that the recent appearance of blood moons tipped him off that the great “shaking” is imminent.
“God put up the biggest billboards, they’re bigger than the earth, did you know that?” he said. “The sun and, I don’t know, the moon, a little bit smaller maybe, big billboards, they’re God’s billboards.”
Later in the program, Kilpatrick said that “God hears the blood of those babies” being aborted.
“Whenever the doctors abort a baby and that blood is being flushed down that commode, God hears the voice of that baby going down that commode saying, ‘Help! Forgive, Lord! Help! Forgive them! Forgive my mother!’” he said.
American Family Radio’s Bryan Fischer invited Fox News commentator Todd Starnes onto his radio program this afternoon to discuss tonight’s Republican presidential primary debate, and of course the conversation turned first to Donald Trump.
Reading from a Politico article that reported that Jeb Bush called Trump an “asshole” and a “clown” after Trump retweeted a racist comment about Bush’s wife, Fischer asked, “Which Donald Trump are we going to see? Are we going to see Mr. Green Jeans or are we going to see a guy with his hair on fire?”
Starnes replied that this was the wrong question to be asking because Trump’s “bombastic” appearance is all a set-up by the liberal media.
“I’m wondering if perhaps the political chattering class is trying to goad Donald Trump into some sort of a fight with Jeb Bush during the debate,” he said. “Because Mr. Trump, leading up to tonight’s debate, has been talking about how he’s going to, he’s not going to be a bombastic individual, he’s going to have a pleasant conversation.”
“And you know, Bryan, when you really step back and look at Donald Trump and look at him as a businessman, I suspect that we’ve all bought in to this caricature that the media is creating, the mainstream media is creating, that this is how Donald Trump acts all the time. So I would not be surprised to see him even-keeled and steady-as-she-goes tonight.”
Fischer agreed that “this has the potential to be one of the most boring debates on record.”
Marjorie Dannenfelser, head of the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, told the “Point of View” radio program yesterday that anti-choice activists must take advantage of a new series of videos smearing Planned Parenthood to “stop all abortion” and “shut this organization down whose hearts are so calloused over.” Planned Parenthood’s employees, she added, “need to be liberated from what they are doing in a very Christian way.”
“The promises of our Constitution, our founders, the promises that we make each other when we say our Pledge of Allegiance, they should take us to a place where we can say we are just better than this, we can stop this,” she said. “We can stop late-term abortion, we can stop all abortion, but we can at least stop late-term abortion that even makes this possible. And we can certainly shut this organization down whose hearts are so calloused over, they need, they need something other than what they are doing, they need to be liberated from what they are doing in a very Christian way. And it happens over and over again with Planned Parenthood clinicians. So we have a moment here to seize.”
The far-right outlet WorldNetDaily is outraged that “three new cable television shows portraying transgenders in a positive light debuted this summer,” and its reporter Greg Corombos asked the Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg yesterday what parents should do about it.
“This is another good argument for parents to be very active in using the filtering systems on their TV and on their cable systems and so forth to perhaps block some of these shows, block some of these networks so that their children can’t just stumble across them while they’re surfing through the cable channels,” Sprigg said.
He told parents to explain to their kids that transgender people need “to find psychological counseling” and that “we shouldn’t be affirming them in this confusion.”
Sprigg warned that trans rights, gay rights and feminism amount to “an assault on the sexes,” adding that transgender people are typically “unconvincing and disturbing in appearance.”
As the GOP embraces the reactionary politics and anti-government zealotry of the Tea Party, it is steadily purging “moderates” and empowering extremists. Nothing shows this trend more clearly than the lineup of Republican presidential candidates.