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Cruz announces, plans NH visit

DAN TUOHY
March 18. 2015 9:31PM




U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, the first major Republican presidential candidate, plans to be back in New Hampshire this Friday and Saturday.

Cruz is scheduled to speak at the Young America's Foundation's "New England Freedom Conference" at the Radisson Hotel in Nashua on Friday. He is also to speak at a brunch at the Portsmouth Country Club on Saturday morning.

Cruz made his announcement at Liberty University. His campaign theme: "Courageous Conservatives - Reigniting the Promise of America."

In a video accompanying his announcement, Cruz says:

"My story is like that of so many American families. I'm the son of an immigrant father who fled oppression in Cuba and came to this country with just $100 to his name. my mom was a pioneer in computer science, smashing glass ceilings at a time when women were discouraged from following their dreams. And now, as a husband to Heidi, and father to our two little girls, Caroline and Catherine, I try to share the same messages of hope, freedom and faith in God that I was raised with."

Cruz, in the video, said he led the battle to defund "Obamacare" and stood up to leaders in both parties against raising the debt ceiling.

Holly Shulman, national press secretary of the Democratic National Committee, issued a statement with five things about Ted Cruz, with the first one being that he led the "government shutdown" in that fight. DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, responding to the Cruz announcement, called him the "de facto leader of the Republican Party."

On Twitter on Monday, Cruz used the hashtag #MakeDClisten and #FullRepeal, the latter in respect to the Affordable Care Act and his opposition to Common Core curriculum standards.

"Your fight is my fight," Cruz says in the clip.

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(A Saturday "Granite Status" update follows here:)

PAUL BASHES Common Core

It will be tough for any presidential hopeful who supports Common Core to win the Republican nomination, according to U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

Paul did not mention any possible rivals by name, such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who supports the curriculum standards, during an interview on the subject Saturday in Exeter.

He said that there is a strong undertow of opposition to them among conservatives and independents.

"If you talk to grassroots Republicans, most of us believe that there should be less federal control of education, not more, and Common Core to us is more federal government bullying the states and bullying localities and local schools and I think it's going to be very difficult for someone to win the nomination as a supporter of Common Core."

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(The March 19 edition of the Granite Status follows here:)

CRUZ COMMENT sparks rhetorical inferno

It’s starting to feel “like the world is on fire.”

Scott Brown said that a few times on the U.S. Senate campaign trail last year. Ted Cruz says it once here, and it’s a rhetorical inferno.

The Republican senator from Texas, a possible Republican presidential hopeful, was criticizing President Obama in Barrington on Sunday when he delivered a line he’s used before. “The whole world’s on fire.”

To which 3-year-old Julia Trant, on her mother’s lap in the front row, blurted out, “The world’s on fire?”

The press was all over it, including some reports that the girl was “terrified.” Her mother later told the media that her daughter was just fine. Cruz also pushed back. On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” he responded to the press fanning the flames, “By the end of it I’m Freddy Krueger, like torturing this girl in her nightmare.”

Cruz complained about the way the media covered it, but he cannot be complaining about all the attention. He even appeared on “Late Night” with Seth Meyers, a New Hampshire native.

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HOUSE PARTY time, Granite State style. Donald Trump will be hosted by state Rep. Steve Stepanek tonight at his home in Amherst, the birthplace of Horace Greeley, about 15 miles from Manchester and Nashua.

“I’m in the process of moving furniture out of the house now,” Stepanek said in a phone interview. “It’s definitely a lot of work, but I have tile floors and it cleans up easily.”

[Trump drops 'Apprentice,' will launch presidential exploratory committee]

That valuable New Hampshire primary setting — the charming house party — is not always so easy to throw when there is great voter and media interest in a potential candidate. Fergus Cullen, former state GOP chairman, also had to move his furniture to the garage and basement to accommodate guests to his Dover home for Jeb Bush last week.

The Trump event is sponsored by the New Hampshire House Republican Victory PAC. Stepanek says 200 people registered with him.

“We feel it’s important to get the conservative Republican message out there,” he said.

In the past, he added, some conservatives were pushed aside by the establishment.

Stepanek has hosted House Speaker John Boehner and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani before.

The House Republican Victory PAC is planning a series of speaking opportunities for presidential hopefuls. Cruz will be a guest speaker for the PAC on April 19. Dr. Ben Carson will speak in May, according to Stepanek. He said the goal is to have a major presidential hopeful speak each month.

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SPEAKING OF THE DONALD. Donald Trump will be at the New Hampshire Union Leader for an interview today before he zips over to Amherst. You can watch live on your computer, tablet or mobile device via the Union Leader’s twitter account: www.twitter.com/unionleader — and questions from our “virtual audience” will be entertained.

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HUCK’s IN. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is the latest confirmed speaker at the New Hampshire Republican Party’s “First in the Nation” Leadership Summit to be held in Nashua April 17-18. The GOP is still waiting to confirm New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Two invitees who cannot make it: Dr. Ben Carson and former Sen. Rick Santorum, due to scheduling conflicts, according to the state GOP.

“The First in the Nation Republican Leadership Summit is a must-attend event for anybody who is seriously considering a run for President,” said Jennifer Horn, chairman of the state GOP. “We are pleased that so many of the potential candidates have committed to address our outstanding grassroots activists in Nashua and share their plans to turn around our country.”

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CARSON is scheduled to visit in early April. He is the keynote speaker at the “Access to Affordable Healthcare” forum organized by the National Cultural Diversity Awareness Council on April 6 at the Radisson in Manchester. A panel discussion is part of the program. Participants include state Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas, Tufts Health Freedom Plan President Brian Wells, and state Rep. Frank Kotowski, the chairman of the state House Committee on Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs, according to NCDA Founder Wayne Jennings. Jeff Chidester, columnist and talk radio show host, will be panel moderator.

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SEN. RAND PAUL, R-Ky., will make a presidential announcement April 7, according to news reports. Paul has a busy schedule this weekend in New Hampshire. The latest schedule via RAND PAC looks like a presidential campaign swing all right: 
  • FRIDAY: 12:30 p.m. employee town hall discussion at DYN in Manchester; 5:30 p.m. keynote speech to the Carroll County Lincoln Day Dinner at the Red Jacket Inn in North Conway.

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April will likely deliver some other presidential news. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could announce her 2016 plans next month. Her likely campaign continues to hire. New Hampshire staff so far include Mike Vlacich and Harrell Kirstein, sources say. Vlacich is a former adviser to U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, who won praise for managing her re-election campaign last year. Kirstein served as a press secretary for Shaheen, and for the state party in the past.

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TWENTY-SEVEN current and former state legislators have signed on to a letter urging U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., to run for President. The list includes state Sen. David Watters, D-Dover; state Rep. Wayne Burton, D-Durham; and former state Sen. Burt Cohen, D-New Castle. An excerpt of the letter: “Contested primaries test and strengthen candidates and ensure progressives have a chance to make our voices heard. Having a real debate is what democracy is all about. That’s why Americans from all walks of life have risen up to encourage Senator Elizabeth Warren to run for President. Sen. Warren is a fighter for middle class and working families who has stood up to the corporate interests and Wall Street banks.”

Warren still says she has no plans to run for the White House.

[Vermont's Independent senator, Bernie Sanders, mulls possible presidential run]

After hearing him speak recently in Concord, Rob Werner thinks former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley will be a candidate for the Democratic nomination. Werner was among the hosts when O'Malley spoke earlier this month in Concord. One of the big questions for the election cycle, Werner says: “How is it that we create more opportunity for people?”

And count Werner among those already wondering where the independent/undeclared voters will go in the next presidential primary.

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SMALL WORLD Department: Innkeeper Pete Carey of Hebron, listened intently last week to U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. Turns out Carey is an old friend. “Lindsey was probably one of my closest friends in the Air Force,” Carey said in an interview after hearing Graham speak at “Politics & Eggs.” If Graham becomes a presidential candidate, Carey’s likely on board. He says Graham brings “moderation and willingness to work across the aisle” to the debate.

“Lindsey’s got a refreshing view of politics,” he said. “Lindsey’s the real deal.”

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Small World, Part II: Bob Bersak, chief regulatory counsel for Eversource, which is one of the sponsors of the “Politics & Eggs” series, also knows Graham from the Air Force. Both served in the Judge Advocate General Corps.

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PRIMARY MEMORIES, as New Hampshire celebrates 100 years of the Primary: Terry Shumaker, state co-chairman for Bill Clinton in 1992, recalls how the former Arkansas governor hovered around 3 percent name recognition in October 1991. That’s 3 percent recognition, not support. “It was always a concern that we would throw an event and no one would come,” he said. So when Nancy Richards-Stower approached the campaign with a proposed gathering in Merrimack, Shumaker recalls the reticence. She ultimately convinced them. Shumaker recalled the place was so packed that the fire marshal threatened to shut it down — which went out on the national news wire, much to the delight of team Clinton. “That’s when we knew,” Shumaker says, “we were going places.”

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QUICK TAKES:

• “Nobody else does this much for charity,” as Mickey told the Champ in "Rocky III." Mitt Romney would, apparently. The 2012 GOP presidential nominee will fight Evander Holyfield May 15 in Salt Lake City for a charity event.

• Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is eager to ride his Harley-Davidson “Road King” across New Hampshire, according to the LaCrosse Tribune. Governor, Laconia Motorcycle Week is June 13-21 this year. (Will he wear a helmet?)

• The New Hampshire Presidential Primary Centennial Anniversary Commission meets again in April, and next month the panel will launch a website and a new booklet to explain and celebrate the New Hampshire Primary.

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QUOTE of the Week: “In his case, it helps and it hurts.” — Former Dover Mayor Charlie Reynolds on Jeb Bush’s famous name before greeting him on his first New Hampshire visit as a possible presidential hopeful.

Dan Tuohy covers politics and government for the Union Leader and Sunday News. Email news and information to dtuohy@unionleader.com. Follow on Twitter: @tuohy.


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