Blog Posts by Chris Moody

  • Parties unite on immigration, but the ‘devil’ lurks

    Bipartisan group of senators announce agreement on immigration reform (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

    It was a rare moment of unity for an institution known for bickering and partisanship, but the plan introduced Monday by a bipartisan Senate task force outlining a path forward on comprehensive immigration reform was just vague enough to bring Republicans and Democrats together. For now.

    On Capitol Hill Tuesday, members of both parties heaped praise on the task force's achievement of putting forth a blueprint for immigration reform, which will soon be translated into legislative jargon and introduced on the Senate floor. It's that second step that has lawmakers nervous, and a phrase spoken throughout the Capitol sums up their concerns: "The devil is in the details." Almost everyone is excited about the general outline for immigration reform, but the ecstasy pales in comparison to the fear of what the bill may actually entail when it finally reaches the floor.

    "We've got to see the legislation. We've got to see it in writing. There's always the devil in the details, and I know that

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  • Arizona Sen. John McCain (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

    John McCain heard your question, and he thinks it's really dumb.

    While the Arizona Republican senator fielded questions on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, a day after he joined a bipartisan group of senators to announce a blueprint for comprehensive immigration reform, one reporter asked how he would respond if the proposed provision that requires increased border enforcement were challenged.

    He would oppose it, he said. "Duh."

    As part of the outline of principles for an immigration overhaul unveiled on Monday by McCain and seven other senators, any new overhaul would require enhanced border security before illegal immigrants already in the country could begin to seek a path to citizenship. Republicans have insisted that it be a key component of any large immigration bill.

    Listen to the exchange between McCain and the reporter here:

    Reporter: "How do you feel about not tying border security to citizenship?"

    McCain: "What do you mean 'not tying it'?"

    Reporter: "Basically your plan..."

    McCain

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  • Rubio: Obama must accept border security as part of immigration reform

    President Barack Obama must be willing to accept border security measures as part of a comprehensive immigration reform package or else "there won't be a solution," Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, a leader of the GOP reform effort, said on Tuesday.

    Rubio, who on Monday unveiled a blueprint for an immigration overhaul as part of a bipartisan group of eight senators, said Obama must embrace the principles in the outline. The president was announcing his own vision for immigration reform on Tuesday afternoon in Las Vegas.

    "He can either decide that he wants to be part of the solution, or he can decide he wants to be part of a political issue and try to trigger a bidding war. I'm not going to be part of a bidding war to see who can come up with the most lenient path forward," Rubio said during an interview on Rush Limbaugh's radio program before Obama's speech. "If he's gone to Las Vegas to give a speech and try to trigger a bidding war, then no, it doesn't bode well. There won't be a

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  • Changing state presidential electoral rules not a priority, GOP leaders say

    CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Despite all the discussion of a small movement in the Virginia legislature to change the state's rules to grant presidential electoral votes proportionately based on congressional districts, the effort is not a top concern for members of the Republican National Committee, who met here to re-elect a chairman this week.

    Virginia GOP Chairman Pat Mullins said in an interview on Friday that he hadn't yet read the bill, which is set for a vote in a Virginia state Senate committee next week, but that changing the Electoral College rules in Virginia is "not at all" on his list of priorities.

    "If the base committee approves it, then we'll all take a look at it and see what we're going to do," Mullins said.

    The bill, which has been introduced unsuccessfully 13 times in the past decade, is unlikely to get that far. Virginia state Sen. Ralph Smith, a Republican on the state Senate Privileges and Elections Committee, has voiced opposition to the measure, which means it will likely

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  • Reince Priebus re-elected as Republican National Committee chair

    CHARLOTTE, N.C.—The Republican National Committee re-elected Reince Priebus to a second term as the organization's chairman on Friday. He will serve for two more years.

    In his acceptance speech, Priebus focused on widespread criticism after the November presidential election that Republicans were perceived as a party for the privileged few. While he didn't specifically mention Mitt Romney's candid remark during the campaign that "47 percent" of the voting population would never support his candidacy, Priebus took pains to repudiate the notion that the Republican Party is exclusive and vowed to create a "permanent" Republican presence in historically Democratic areas.

    "We want to be Republicans for everybody. We have to take our message of opportunity where it's not being heard," Priebus said. "We have to build better relationships in minority communities, urban centers and college towns. We need a permanent, growing presence. It doesn't matter where you live, who you are, what you look

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  • GOP prepares comeback: ‘We can’t come off as a bunch of angry white men’

    Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

    CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Republican National Committee members gathered here to re-elect Chairman Reince Priebus for a second term. But by week's end, that vote seemed secondary to the question of the party's long-term survival.

    After three months of denial, anger, despair and depression over the results of a bruising national election that gave Democrats an edge in Congress and kept President Barack Obama in the White House, Republicans know they must adapt if they are to move forward.

    They acknowledge that it's time for a serious gut check (or, as Haley Barbour put it in November, a "proctology exam").

    Whatever bodily metaphor you choose, the fact remains that the election so jolted and shocked the party that it is taking real steps to change.

    And change it will! As soon as it figures out how.

    While Republicans in Virginia and other battleground states launched an effort this week to alter Electoral College rules so that votes are doled out proportionately—which would likely give the GOP at

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  • Jindal takes on Obama, challenges GOP to redefine the party

    Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

    CHARLOTTE, N.C.—It was a rematch years in the making, but Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal finally got another shot on Thursday to deliver a formal response to President Barack Obama's vision for the country.

    In 2009, Jindal was nearly laughed off the national stage when he delivered the official Republican response to Obama's first address to a joint session of Congress. Jindal's "response," consisting of restrained rhetoric spoken awkwardly into a single camera, was universally panned as a dud. Some even called it a career killer.

    Flash forward to 2013: Obama has been re-elected to his second term as president. At his inauguration ceremony, he delivers one of the most ambitious defenses of liberalism from an American president in modern history. With Mitt Romney out of the picture and the Republican Party in temporary postelection disarray, Jindal sees an opportunity for redemption and to position himself as the alpha in the party.

    The circumstances seem perfect for a

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  • Gingrich compares Obama and House Republicans to Gulliver and Lilliput

    CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich arrived here early this week for the Republican National Committee's winter meeting prepared to dole out advice to a party struggling to find its way after a tough electoral loss three months ago.

    His first piece of guidance: Stop sending a poor sap to go mano a mano with the leader of the free world.

    "Any time you get one person taking on the president of the United States, the one person is going to lose," Gingrich told reporters at the conference before his talk. "The presidency is too big a system, they have too big a pulpit. I couldn't by myself take on Clinton. But when we got every House Republican to understand Medicare as an issue, we could win the issue in 1996. It's a little bit of Gulliver and Lilliput. When you have enough Lilliputians, you start winning."

    In the most recent iteration, one can assume that President Barack Obama is Gulliver the giant and House Speaker John Boehner the lone, tiny Lilliputian—one who has been

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  • Marco Rubio: Obama must confront unions if he wants to sign an immigration bill

    Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. (Steve Pope/Getty Images)

    President Barack Obama must confront labor unions and accept a guest worker program as part of a broad immigration reform package if he intends to sign a bill this year, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, who is leading Republican efforts on immigration, said Wednesday.

    Speaking on the "Mark Levin Show," a radio program, Rubio outlined his vision for an immigration overhaul, suggesting that illegal immigrants should be required to wait several years before applying for citizenship if they want to remain in the U.S. legally.

    According to his plan, which has not yet been introduced as a bill, illegal immigrants would first need to apply for a temporary work visa before becoming permanent residents. Congressional Democrats and labor unions, meanwhile, insist that any legislation should provide a more clear path to citizenship in a shorter amount of time than Rubio prescribes. But to reach a bipartisan consensus, Rubio said, Democrats would have to relent on the issue.

    "The labor unions

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  • The Republican Party seeks to learn from its mistakes—and it wants your help

    Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

    CHARLOTTE, N.C.—The Republican Party is looking for advice.

    To kick off this week's Republican National Committee's winter strategy session, which will focus in part on how to broaden the party's appeal to women and minority voters, the RNC on Thursday launched a website soliciting ideas and constructive criticism about what the party did wrong in 2012—and what it can do better over the next four years.

    The site, which is part of its "Growth and Opportunity Project" created to analyze the last election, includes a wide-ranging survey seeking input on things such as whether Republicans should spend more or less time talking about the economy, national security, social issues or taxes. "Do you think the Republican Party shares your values?" it continues, after asking about demographics like race, age and gender. "Do you think the Republican Party listens to voters like you?"

    The survey also asks about five areas where it needs improvement: "Diversity within the Party," "The Party's

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