Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Chuck Hagel hammered for pro-Iran, anti-Israel statements

(Video H/T American Power Blog)

Fox News reports on the Senate hearings to confirm Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense.

Excerpt:

Defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel endured a barrage of criticism Thursday during his all-day confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill, challenged repeatedly by Republican lawmakers about his past positions on Israel, Iran, Iraq and other issues he’d be sure to confront at the helm of the Pentagon.

The former Nebraska Republican senator was compelled under questioning to walk back a series of past statements, including one in which he complained about the “Jewish lobby.” He had several sparring partners throughout the day, but was questioned perhaps most aggressively by fellow Vietnam War veteran Sen. John McCain and freshman Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, both Republicans.

Hagel was caught by surprise when Cruz played two tapes from appearances on Al Jazeera — one of which showed him not challenging a caller who accused Israel of war crimes, another in which he appeared to agree with the assertion that America is “the world’s bully.”

Of the Israel interview, Cruz said: “The caller suggests that the nation of Israel has committed war crimes, and your response to that was not to dispute that characterization.” He then asked Hagel directly whether he thinks Israel has committed war crimes.

“No, I do not,” Hagel said, while saying he wanted to see the “full context” of the interview.

Cruz called the war-crimes suggestion “particularly offensive given that the Jewish people suffered under the most horrific war crimes in the Holocaust.”

“I would also suggest,” he continued, “that for … a prospective secretary of Defense not to take issue with that claim is highly troubling.”

Cruz then played the tape of Hagel being asked about the perception and “reality” that America is the world’s bully. Hagel could be heard calling the point a “good one.”

Cruz said the answer is “not the conduct one would expect of a secretary of Defense.”

At other times in the hearings, Hagel was also asked about his previous opposition to sanctions against Iran, his desire to let Iran have nuclear weapons and then “contain” them, and his support for eliminating nuclear arms (note that ours are the only ones he could eliminate). In short, the man is a naive left-wing radical who makes Neville Chamberlain look like George S. Patton. Why would anyone vote for him to have control of our military?

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PPP poll of 1340 likely Iowa voters: Paul 20, Romney 19, Santorum 18

From Democrat pollster PPP.

Excerpt:

Ron Paul is at 20%, Mitt Romney at 19%, and Rick Santorum at 18%. Rounding out the field are Newt Gingrich at 14%, Rick Perry at 10%, Michele Bachmann at 8%, Jon Huntsman at 4%, and Buddy Roemer at 2%.

The momentum in the race is completely on Santorum’s side. He’s moved up 8 points since a PPP poll earlier in the week, while no one else has seen more than a one point gain in their support. Among voters who say they decided who to vote for in the last seven days he leads Romney 29-17 with Paul and Gingrich both at 13.

Santorum’s net favorability of 60/30 makes him easily the most popular candidate in the field. No one else’s favorability exceeds 52%.  He may also have more room to grow in the final 48 hours of the campaign than the other front runners: 14% of voters say he’s their second choice to 11% for Romney and only 8% for Paul. Santorum’s taken the lead with two key groups of Republican voters: with Tea Partiers he’s at 23% to 18% for Gingrich, 16% for Paul, 15% for Bachmann, and only 12% for Romney.  And with Evangelicals he’s at 24% to 16% for Gingrich, and 15% for Paul and Romney.

Other than Santorum’s rise the other big story of this week is Paul’s fall.  He was at 24% earlier in the week but has dropped to 20%. That decline in support coincides with a precipitous drop in his favorability numbers. On our last poll he was at +13 (53/40), but that’s gone down 21 points on the margin to -8 (43/51).

Robert Stacy McCain writes that Santorum has a decent ground game in New Hampshire.

If you missed my endorsement of Santorum, click here.

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Rick Santorum surges past 20% support level in latest Iowa poll

From Real Clear Politics:

Mitt Romney leads the Republican field in the Des Moines Register’s final pre-Iowa caucuses poll released Saturday night.

The Register’s highly anticipated survey, which was accurate in predicting both the Democratic and Republican caucus winners in 2008, shows Romney holding the support of 24 percent of respondents. Ron Paul is in second place at 22 percent, while Rick Santorum has ascended into third with 15 percent.

However, Santorum appears to have all of the late momentum on his side, having surged significantly in the final two days of the four-day polling period. If considered separately, he is at 21 percent in that period, while Romney remained atop the pack at 24 percent during the second half of the poll’s sample.

A whopping 41 percent of likely Republican caucus-goers said they are open to changing their minds.

[...]Perhaps the last significant wild card before Tuesday is the potential endorsement of Iowa Rep. Steve King, who told RealClearPolitics in an interview just hours before the Register’s poll was released that there was about a 50/50 chance he would get behind a candidate at the last minute.

“With big decisions, at some point your intellect is overcome by your instincts — at least mine is,” King said. “If I make a bold decision in the next few days, it will be one of conviction, and I will be eager to advocate for that position and defend it against all critics, if I happen to have any, and I’m sure I will.”

The endorsement of King, perhaps Iowa’s most influential conservative voice, has for months been heavily sought by the Republican candidates.

Until recently, the five-term congressman has hinted that he was unlikely to back anyone publicly, but he suggested to RCP on Saturday that he may change his mind given the recent polling gains by Ron Paul, whose foreign policy King said is “so alarming to me.”

Just before the Register poll was released, King gave his sense of where the Iowa horse race stands.

“If I had to pick them, I’d say this: Romney, Santorum, Paul, in that order — then I think likely Gingrich,” he said. “I do think Romney’s strong enough to win here in Iowa, and I do think Paul’s support is drifting away from him — people are coming to grips with what that would really mean. And the third component of this is the ascendancy of Rick Santorum. Is his ascendancy a sharp enough incline to catch up with Ron Paul and Mitt Romney?”

King said that the final poll conducted by Iowa’s largest newspaper “would be a factor” in his decision, since he wanted to get behind someone who had discernible momentum.

In 2008, King endorsed Fred Thompson, whose campaign quickly fizzled after he finished third in the Hawkeye State.

I was for Fred Thompson in 2008. If I were Steve King, I would be endorsing Rick Santorum now. So, I am predicting an endorsement of Rick Santorum by Steve King today, and a second-place finish for Rick Santorum on Tuesday in the Iowa caucuses. Santorum is the most conservative of the top 3 candidates. Gingrich is also a conservative, but he is not in the top 3 in Iowa.

Filed under: News, , , , , , ,

Evangelicals in Iowa rally to Rick Santorum, pushing him into 3rd place

The leftist Washington Post reports.

Excerpt:

The CNN/Opinion Research poll released this week showed Santorum moving into third place in Iowa at 16 percent.

[...]The poll showed Santorum taking 22 percent of born-again Christians, moving him into first place among that group. And if he can make other born-agains believe that he’s the one viable alternative to Romney and Paul, then maybe he can create enough of a rallying effect to unite evangelicals behind his campaign.

“That bandwagon effect at the end can be very powerful in moving numbers dramatically in the last five days,” said former Iowa Republican Party chairman Steve Grubbs, pointing to Huckabee’s win.

There’s also the fact that many voters are receptive to Santorum; other polling has suggested he is a popular second-choice pick.

That suggests voters want to vote for Santorum, but perhaps didn’t see him as someone who could actually win. But if they now see him as a viable option, maybe they move into his camp.

“So it means he still has upside — beyond evangelicals but certainly including them,” said Nick Ryan, the founder of the pro-Santorum super PAC that is current running a quarter-million dollars worth of ads in the Hawkeye State.

The problem, though, is that Santorum is running against two other lower-tier candidates — Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann — who have significant appeal to evangelicals as well. And they aren’t so far behind Santorum (they take 11 percent and 9 percent, respectively) that they wouldn’t also appear to be viable options.

[...]For either Perry or Bachmann, finishing behind Santorum in Iowa likely means the end of their campaign, and that means that Santorum is going to have to work at stealing their supporters.

But at least for now, it appears that he has a genuine opportunity to steal votes from a large pool of voters that doesn’t like either of the two frontrunners.

And given the topsy-turvy nature of the race in Iowa, it isn’t out of the question to think he he could pick up enough votes to win.

Let’s confirm Santorum’s surging poll numbers with this Fox News article.

Excerpt:

After a poll Wednesday showed Santorum suddenly moving into third position in Iowa, a Rasmussen Reports survey released Thursday showed the same line-up. The poll showed Mitt Romney and Ron Paul in a dead heat, with 23 and 22 percent respectively, and Santorum in third with 16 percent.

In a troubling sign for Newt Gingrich, the same survey showed the ex-House speaker tied for fourth with Rick Perry.

The polls nationally and in Iowa have been notoriously fickle this season, and the shape of the race just five days out is no guarantee of any particular outcome on caucus day. Also, national polling continues to show Santorum in the low single digits, leading only former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman.

Just to be clear, if you are a pure social conservative, there here is the candidate ranking for you:

  1. Rick Santorum (Persuasive, Good positions, legislative record, voting record)
  2. Michele Bachmann (Good positions, legislative record, voting record)
  3. Newt Gingrich (Good positions, voting record)
  4. Rick Perry (Good positions, legislative record)
  5. John Huntsman  (Pro-life, pro-gay-rights)
  6. Ron Paul (effectively pro-abortion, effectively pro-gay-marriage)
  7. Mitt Romney (Record is pro-abortion, pro-gay-rights)

Santorum gets the edge over Bachmann because he is more persuasive on abortion and marriage – he actually tries to convince people who don’t agree with him. They both take the right positions and have good records of activism, but Santorum is a social conservative apologist. Social conservatives should not vote for anyone other than Bachmann or Santorum. Perry would be the lowest I would go when everything is factored in.

Filed under: News, , , , , , ,

In 2007 Obama preferred genocide in Iraq to victory in Iraq

Here’s the interview from USA Today. (H/T Gateway Pundit)

Excerpt:

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Thursday the United States cannot use its military to solve humanitarian problems and that preventing a potential genocide in Iraq isn’t a good enough reason to keep U.S. forces there.

[...]Obama, a first-term senator from Illinois, said it’s likely there would be increased bloodshed if U.S. forces left Iraq.

“Nobody is proposing we leave precipitously. There are still going to be U.S. forces in the region that could intercede, with an international force, on an emergency basis,” Obama said between stops on the first of two days scheduled on the New Hampshire campaign trail. “There’s no doubt there are risks of increased bloodshed in Iraq without a continuing U.S. presence there.”

The greater risk is staying in Iraq, Obama said.

“It is my assessment that those risks are even greater if we continue to occupy Iraq and serve as a magnet for not only terrorist activity but also irresponsible behavior by Iraqi factions,” he said.

The senator has been a fierce critic of the war in Iraq, speaking out against it even before he was elected to his post in 2004. He was among the senators who tried unsuccessfully earlier this week to force President Bush’s hand and begin to limit the role of U.S. forces there.

“We have not lost a military battle in Iraq. So when people say if we leave, we will lose, they’re asking the wrong question,” he said. “We cannot achieve a stable Iraq with a military. We could be fighting there for the next decade.”

Gateway Pundit adds:

Tonight, when Barack Obama takes credit for the success in Iraq, for a surge that he opposed and for a withdrawal that was agreed upon before he came into office, don’t forget that this president also suggested that genocide would be a better option than victory.

Bush is for victory and liberating Iraqis from a dictator, Obama is for retreat and increased bloodshed. His own words. You don’t learn about war by being a community organizer, teaching people in ACORN how to shake down banks. (ACORN is now being tried for voter fraud, as well). You learn about war by being in the Navy and by listening to generals on the battlefield.

But wasn’t the war in Iraq expensive?

Eight years of war in Iraq cost less than Obama’s job-killing stimulus bill.

Look:

Democrats controlled the House and Senate in January 2007

Democrats controlled the House and Senate in January 2007

And read:

As President Obama prepares to tie a bow on U.S. combat operations in Iraq, Congressional Budget Office numbers show that the total cost of the eight-year war was less than the stimulus bill passed by the Democratic-led Congress in 2009.

According to CBO numbers in its Budget and Economic Outlook published this month, the cost of Operation Iraqi Freedom was $709 billion for military and related activities, including training of Iraqi forces and diplomatic operations.

The projected cost of the stimulus, which passed in February 2009, and is expected to have a shelf life of two years, was $862 billion.

And don’t forget that the Democrats blamed Bush for not regulating Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac when videos show them blocking Bush from regulating Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I think that a 5% unemployment rate under Bush is better than a 10% unemployment rate under Obama. It doesn’t matter which of them sounds nicer in speeches – the only thing that matters is facts and results. When government spends too much money, they either have to increase inflation by printing money, or raise taxes. Both take purchasing power away from businesses and investors. Taking money from businesses and investors means fewer jobs. Period.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , ,

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