Blog Posts by Chris Moody

  • Christie's 'judge problem' will be a lingering concern among conservatives if he runs for president

    Potential rival Rick Santorum takes the first shot, calls Christie's record of judicial appointments 'abysmal'

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

    Before Chris Christie embarked on a tour of Iowa this week in a trip that renewed speculation about his presidential ambitions, the conservative advocacy group Judicial Crisis Network released a set of web videos accusing Christie of failing to do as much as he should have to appoint conservative judges to the state Supreme Court during his years as New Jersey’s Republican governor.

    It might seem like a small thing — the spots never aired on television — but the videos’ message highlights what’s emerging as a new sticking point for social conservatives who are looking for fodder to use against a man they see as too liberal to be such a prominent face of the GOP.

    Christie’s tenure as governor has been marked by a multiyear battle with New Jersey’s Democratic legislature over judicial nominees, and because of that, he has appointed Democrats to the bench. In March, Christie agreed to renominate Stuart Rabner, a Democrat, as chief justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court in exchange for

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  • A pro-Ben Carson super PAC has spent $150,000 buying up his books

    The group encouraging the conservative doctor to run for president raised $7.2 million in less than a year

    Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference. (REUTERS/Mike Theiler)Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference. (REUTERS/Mike Theiler)

    A super PAC that aims to persuade famed neurosurgeon and conservative political activist Dr. Ben Carson to run for president has raised more than $7.2 million since its formation last year, according to documents the group filed with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday.

    While much of the funds spent by the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee have been used to build a contact list, for direct-mail fundraising and to buy ad space, there’s one expense that stands out: book purchases.

    Over the course of 2014, the group spent about $150,000 buying two of Carson’s most recent books, "America the Beautiful" and "One Nation," which it offers to supporters as gifts to encourage donations, committee co-founder Vernon Robinson told Yahoo News.

    Between February and April, the committee paid $105,761.78 to HarperCollins, the publisher of Carson’s 2013 book "America the Beautiful." In May and June, the group spent another $44,453.35 on Carson’s more recently published book at

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  • Is McConnell backing away from the Ryan budget?

    McConnell in 2011: 'I voted for the Ryan budget'; his camp in 2014: 'There is no way to speculate if [McConnell] would have voted for final passage'

    This June 12, 2014 file photo shows Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. on Capitol Hill in Washington. Congressional Republican leaders on Thursday blasted President Barack Obama’s emergency spending request for the border crisis, saying Obama caused the problem and now wants Congress to sign off on more of the same. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)This June 12, 2014 file photo shows Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. on Capitol Hill in Washington. Congressional Republican leaders on Thursday blasted President Barack Obama’s emergency spending request for the border crisis, saying Obama caused the problem and now wants Congress to sign off on more of the same. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
    Kentucky Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell’s re-election campaign sought to distance the senior lawmaker from a far-reaching Republican budget plan he long supported after his Democratic challenger criticized him over that budget's plan to overhaul Medicare, the federal health insurance plan for seniors.

    Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes released a television ad on Tuesday highlighting McConnell’s support of a Medicare reform plan that was part of a 2011 GOP budget proposal written by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. In the ad, a 75-year-old retired Kentucky man named Don Disney says McConnell voted to “raise my Medicare costs by $6,000” per year, a claim that isn’t entirely correct, because the Medicare plan wouldn’t have affected current retirees such as Disney, even if it had passed. The Senate never held a formal vote on the resolution.

    McConnell publicly supported Ryan’s Medicare plan in 2011, saying that he was “personally very comfortable with the way

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  • The Senate Conservatives Fund sent $70,000 to McDaniel to challenge Mississippi runoff election results

    The group has raised more than $90,000 in the past few days

    The Senate Conservatives Fund on Tuesday wired $70,000 to Chris McDaniel’s legal fund to investigate alleged voter fraud in last month’s election between McDaniel and Mississippi Republican Sen. Thad Cochran, Yahoo News has learned.

    Cochran narrowly defeated McDaniel, a tea party-backed candidate who challenged the six-term senator from the right, in a June 24 runoff election after he rallied last-minute support from black Democrats in the state. In Mississippi, voters can cross party lines to vote in primaries as long as they don’t vote in their own party’s contests as well.

    McDaniel has refused to concede the race, alleging that Cochran “stole the election” by relying on voters who already participated in the Mississippi Democratic primary, held on June 3. His campaign opened an Election Challenge Fund to pay for a possible legal challenge and has offered a $1,000 reward to anyone with knowledge of voter fraud.

    The SCF, a group that supports conservative congressional candidates,

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  • Why does Bob Goodlatte look so happy in this picture?

    Virginia Republican grins while posing with a newspaper reporting on Eric Cantor's defeat

    Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte smiles while holding up a copy of the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call that reported on Eric Cantor’s loss. (Yahoo News)Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte smiles while holding up a copy of the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call that reported on Eric Cantor’s loss. (Yahoo News)

    Lawmakers from both parties were shocked when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost in a June primary to a little-known tea party challenger, but from the looks of a photo taken after the election, Virginia Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte might have also been a little amused.

    The undated photo, acquired by Yahoo News, was taken in Goodlatte’s office on Capitol Hill, and it portrays the Virginia lawmaker smiling broadly while holding up a copy of the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call that was printed the day after Cantor lost to challenger Dave Brat.

    It’s unclear why Goodlatte looks so delighted—or why he posed for the picture in the first place. Goodlatte is a member of the same state delegation as Cantor. The two worked together on several issues, including a bill that would offer a pathway to legality for children of undocumented immigrants. Goodlatte is the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

    When asked about the photo, Goodlatte spokeswoman Beth Breeding insisted that it was

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  • Is this congressman on a mission to photobomb everyone in Washington?

    Rep. Louie Gohmert is probably behind you right now

    Rep. Louie Gohmert videobombs Rep. James Lankford live on Fox News. (Elliott Schwartz)Rep. Louie Gohmert videobombs Rep. James Lankford live on Fox News. (Elliott Schwartz)

    Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert has built a brand as a bomb-thrower in Congress, but now he's aiming to make a new name for himself in Washington: Photo-bomber in chief.

    First he photo-bombed a picture of incoming House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy during a meeting with Faith and Freedom founder Ralph Reed last week.

    On Thursday Gohmert stepped up his game to cable TV, while Oklahoma Rep. James Lankford was doing a live interview on Fox News.



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  • Tea party groups are apoplectic over how Cochran won in Mississippi

    “What happened yesterday in Mississippi will resonate for years to come. It will become the battle cry, just like the Alamo,” one activist said.

    In the long, sordid war between the Republican Party “establishment” and tea party factions working to unseat those they see as ideologically wayward, nothing has infuriated conservative activists quite like what happened Tuesday in Mississippi.

    Following a three-week runoff campaign between 36-year Republican Sen. Thad Cochran and tea party-backed candidate Chris McDaniel, the incumbent defeated his challenger by about 6,400 votes — a bigger margin than in the first primary vote on June 3. The larger turnout in the second round came in part thanks to an aggressive get-out-the-vote effort in which Cochran courted Democrat-leaning voters, particularly in  regions of the state with a majority of black voters. It’s not illegal in Mississippi for Democrats to vote in a Republican runoff election — the state operates under an open primary system, meaning that registered voters can cast their ballots in any primary, regardless of party affiliation, as long as they haven’t already voted in

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  • Watch the most awkward thing ever to happen in Congress

    It took a commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. to bring Congress together

    Members of Congress joined hands on Tuesday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and present a Congressional Gold Medal in honor of the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King.

    A worthy cause, to be sure! And one that merits bipartisanship.

    That doesn't mean it wasn't the most awkward moment ever when Republicans John Boehner and Mitch McConnell joined hands and swayed with Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

    Video by Frank Thorp of NBC News. You can also watch the full clip. 

  • Ralph Reed: Those who oppose same-sex marriage can draw lessons from fight against slavery

    Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

    Seeking to encourage social conservative activists to persevere in the fight against same-sex marriage, Faith and Freedom Coalition founder Ralph Reed drew parallels between the ongoing debate over marriage equality and the nation’s long struggle over slavery and civil rights for African-Americans.

    Speaking to about 40 attendees at an afternoon breakout session during the organization’s annual “Road to Majority” conference in Washington, D.C. on Friday, Reed gave a speech in which he suggested the 1857 Dred Scott Supreme Court decision —which ruled that African American slaves remained the property of their owners even if they traveled to or resided in free states — held a lesson for contemporary conservative activists concerned about what they see as judicial overreach on the issue of gay marriage.

    Before the abolitionists triumphed, Reed reminded, it appeared for many years that the courts would squash the hopes of human rights reformers.

    “The battle looked like it was lost, but it

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  • Rick Perry is preparing himself to run for president

    Whether or not he chooses to run, he will be ready, Perry says

    Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry (Photo: Christian Science Monitor)Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry (Photo: Christian Science Monitor)

    It’s hard to imagine a presidential campaign that began with as much excitement, money and hope — and ended as quickly and dramatically — as Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s primary bid did three years ago.

    Initially touted as an unbeatable conservative alternative to Mitt Romney, Perry quickly proved woefully unprepared for the national spotlight. A series of blunders led the dismantling of his campaign in the first weeks of the 2012 primary contests.

    Today, no one is more aware of this than Perry himself.

    “It was painful. It was very humbling,” Perry said during a luncheon sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. “Being prepared both physically and mentally is very important. ... There’s a host of areas which I was ill-prepared to stand up in front of people outside the state of Texas and say, ‘Choose me as your leader.’”

    In the years since leaving the race, Perry has sought to push back against the impression he left during the campaign, a time when he

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