- Jeff Zeleny and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players2 days ago
The Fine Print
For 2016 political spectators, all eyes will be on Iowa this weekend, as a group of likely Republican presidential contenders converge in the state to attend the Iowa Freedom Summit hosted by Rep. Steve King.
Before heading to the summit, the Iowa Republican sat down with “The Fine Print” at the Dubliner pub in Washington, D.C. to discuss the field of GOP candidates, which he believes to be “the biggest and most robust ever.”
King, an outspoken conservative who hopes to wield his influence over the next presidential race, said he plans to endorse a candidate at some point, but he’s not picking favorites yet.
And when it comes to finding an alternative to President Obama, he’ isn’t picky. King said he’d gladly take any among a half-dozen of the current likely contenders over Obama.
“There are a half-a-dozen candidates, plus or minus a little bit, that I would put their names in a hat and draw one out and be really happy as a replacement to the president we have today,” King said.
King directly praised former 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney as a potential 2016 contender.
- Rick Klein, Olivier Knox, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players3 days ago
Even before his untimely death two years ago, former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle had already achieved legendary status as the most precise, and lethal, sniper in U.S. history.
And for actor Bradley Cooper, whose portrayal of Kyle in the film “American Sniper” has won him an Oscar nomination, the task of venerating Kyle’s legacy on the big screen was a tall order.
“I'm sure I got a lot wrong, but I hope that he would think at least I got enough right that it serves his purpose, which was to be of service to vets,” Cooper told “Top Line” on the red carpet of a Washington, D.C., screening of the new movie.
“His sort of mission statement in life, after being honorably discharged, was to help a vet besides just saying ‘Thank you for your service,’ which is a wonderful thing to say, but maybe actually … babysit their kids or help them with their groceries, or do anything,” Cooper said of Kyle. “A little gesture can go a long way. And if this movie can help do that, make people aware of the plight of the soldier, then I think he'd be happy.”
- Jeff Zeleny and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players6 days ago
The Fine Print
When Rep. John Lewis was 18 years old, he read a comic book that would change his life.
The comic book “Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Montgomery Story” became “like a bible” to Lewis -- and many others of his generation -- who became involved in civil rights.
“Many of the students at the sit-ins and later the freedom rides had read the book,” the civil rights icon told “The Fine Print” during an interview at Kramerbooks in Washington. “It inspired us to start sitting in and organizing and to follow the teaching of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.”
And now, Lewis is out with the second in a series of comic book-style memoirs, “ March: Book Two,” to inspire the next generation with his life’s story and involvement in the civil rights movement. He explained that the book series was initially the idea of his congressional aide, Andrew Aydin, who has since become the co-author of the book series.
- Rick Klein, Jon Ward, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players9 days ago
Are big businesses and banks set to become the GOP’s Enemy No. 1?
One leading conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation, led by former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, is advocating that the Republican Party adopt a new brand of conservative populism that would take a battle to “the bigs” -- placing the interests of the middle class above big business and emphasizing local governments over the powers of Washington, D.C.
DeMint sat down for an interview with “Top Line” along with Mike Needham, the chief executive of the think tank’s sister advocacy organization Heritage Action, to explain the new policy prescriptions that they detail in a new book, “Opportunity for All, Favoritism to None."
“We're not saying big in and of itself is bad,” DeMint said. “The collusion really between big government, whether it be big unions, big corporations, big banks -- that's cronyism that we see in Washington that picks winners and losers and gives favoritism to people.”
- Jeff Zeleny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players11 days ago
The Fine Print
Sen. Orrin Hatch says he’s confident Republicans will win the White House in 2016. And for that, he says, the GOP has President Obama to thank.
“I think President Obama will be one of the reasons,” Hatch said, when asked why he thinks the GOP will win the presidency. “I think the American people have come to the conclusion that all this liberal legislation and stuff really doesn't work.”
Though Hatch, a Utah Republican, calls Obama as a friend, he described his administration in less than friendly terms during an interview with “The Fine Print.”
“I think it's been a pitiful presidency,” Hatch said. “And a lot of it's because he doesn't seem to recognize that there are three branches of government … and that the legislative branch is the most powerful branch, that if he works with it, they have to work with him. If he really leads, we have to work with him. But he hasn't.”
Looking ahead to the next race for the presidency, Hatch said he’d like to see Mitt Romney make a third bid for the White House.
“I'd like to see him very badly run again,” Hatch said. “I think if he did decide to run, this third time, he'd win.”
- Rick Klein, Jon Ward, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players13 days ago
Can Congress be fixed?
Two former congressmen – Republican Tom Davis of Virginia and Democrat Martin Frost of Texas – have joined forces to make the case that it can be. In a co-authored book, “Partisan Divide: Congress in Crisis,” the bipartisan pair lay out a series of recommended steps that Congress could take to ease the gridlock of Capitol Hill.
But there’s a catch: Congress can’t do it alone.
“I think it’s unlikely, if Congress is left to their own devices, that they'll do any of this,” Frost said during an interview with “Top Line.” “The only way that can be changed is if the public demands some change.”
But there are two things Congress can do right away, they said, even if the public won’t have the chance to make their voices heard in an election for another two years.
- Rick Klein, Olivier Knox, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players16 days ago
While there may be little to laugh about when it comes to the gridlock and dysfunction of Capitol Hill, Rep. Steve Israel used the world in which he works as a source of comic inspiration for his new satirical novel "The Global War on Morris."
But the book’s humor doesn’t just leave its readers laughing at the lunacy of Washington. It also leaves them blushing from the awkward sexual encounters – described at times in vivid detail by Israel – of the main character, Morris Feldstein.
“There is flesh in the book, but at times I compare some of that flesh to walking beef jerkies,” the New York Democrat told “Top Line” in an interview. “So, anybody who's ever been to a swimming pool at a hotel resort in Florida has seen all forms and all kinds of flesh.”
While Israel didn’t let his standing as a member of Congress preclude him from broaching the topic of sex in his novel, he points out that it’s not the main thrust of his book.
“There is a scene that deals with a dalliance. … It's kind of like a quarter of a dalliance,” Israel said. “So, if you're reading this book because you're really intrigued with romance, read another book.”
- Jim Avila, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players19 days ago
Nearly three weeks after President Obama announced that the U.S. will begin to thaw a half-century-long freeze in diplomatic relations with Cuba, what stands to change?
Peter Kornbluh, the co-author of “Back Channel to Cuba” and the director of the Cuba Documentation Project at the National Security Archive in Washington, D.C., spoke to “Power Players” during a recent trip to Havana and said that tourism will be the most immediate and obvious change.
“The first change you're going to see is U.S. citizens who come to Cuba going back with a couple of bottles of rum and a box of cigars that they haven't been able to do for years now,” Kornbluh said.
Kornbluh said the United States’ long-standing embargo with Cuba has not only cut off the flow of goods, capital, and tourism between the two nations. It has also cut Americans off from an opportunity for cultural exchange.
- David Kerley, Matt Hosford, and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players1 mth ago
When you think about airport security these days, do you think about long lines and babies being patted down? Or has your view of the Transportation Safety Administration softened? The man who thinks he has changed the “TSA brand” is retiring.
“Our protocols were such that we were literally doing a pat down of a 95-year-old great-grandmother with cancer in a wheelchair, because she might be a terrorist,” TSA Administrator John Pistole told “Power Players.” “So, what we've done is replace some of those policies that, frankly, didn't make any sense, with a policy of saying, ‘Let's try to pre-screen as many people as we can.’”
Pistole said expediting the security process for certain categories of people, such as high-level government employees or those who have undergone screening through TSA pre-check, not only makes the security lines faster; it makes flying safer.
“There's whole groups of people that are benefiting from these changes we've made, which allows us to be more precise and more focused, possibly looking for that one-in-a-billion terrorist in the haystack. That needle in the haystack, that's our mission,” he said.
- Jeff Zeleny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players1 mth ago
The Fine Print
As the wife of a former presidential candidate, Callista Gingrich has some advice for the spouses of 2016 presidential hopefuls.
“Focus on the positive, try not to let the negativity get you down, because you really have to keep your [attention] on those issues that are most important to the future of this country. And some days that's a challenge,” Gingrich said. “But just be open-minded and appreciate the moment.”
Gingrich, who is out with a new children’s book, “From Sea to Shining Sea,” said that part of staying positive means steering clear of reading the news if you’re the subject of the report. “Probably avoid that,” she told “The Fine Print” in a joint interview with her husband, Newt Gingrich.