DeSantis vs Newsom face off on abortion, transgenderism, wokeness and more

While the debate between Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and California Gov. Gavin Newsom was unfolding on Fox News, the DeSantis campaign unveiled merchandise poking fun at Newsom for the state of San Francisco’s streets.

“Thinking about visiting California?” the DeSantis campaign’s website said. “You’re going to need a pair of these. Order your California walking socks before you’re dodging feces in San Francisco!”

The socks, which cost $37 on the campaign’s website, were a reference to an exchange between the two governors related to which of their state’s is the most free.

“Gavin Newsom, at one point tried to say that California was the freedom state. I just kind of laugh like you’re locking people down you’re doing all this but then I thought about it, California does have freedoms,” DeSantis said on the debate stage.

“California does have freedoms that some people don’t, that other states don’t. You have the freedom to defecate in public In California, you have the freedom to pitch a tent on Sunset Boulevard. You have the freedom to create a homeless encampment under a freeway and even light it on fire. You have the freedom to have an open air drug market and use drugs. You have a freedom if you’re an illegal alien to get all these taxpayer benefits. So those are freedoms. They’re not the freedoms our founding fathers envisioned, but they have contributed to the destruction of the quality of life in California and the results speak for themselves.”

Gov. Newsom responded by sarcastically saying he “loves” DeSantis’s “rant'” on freedom.”Here’s a guy who’s criminalizing teachers, criminalizing doctors, criminalizing librarians, and criminalizing women that seek their reproductive care,” Newsom said. “You’re making it harder to vote. You’re banning books. I mean, spare me this notion of freedom.”

Click here to read the full article on Fox News

Minus Trump, Republican Presidential Candidates Spar Over Education, Economy, More at Reagan Library

Former President Donald Trump, the frontrunner among Republicans, skipped the debate to speak to nonunion auto workers in Michigan

Seven Republican presidential candidates stood inside a library named after a former president revered in the party and argued policies related to immigration, economy, health care costs and education, among other issues.

They also just argued at times when they weren’t going after the GOP frontrunner, former President Donald Trump, who skipped the debate, and President Joe Biden.

The second GOP presidential primary debate was held on a muggy Wednesday evening at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, a sprawling complex that has hosted numerous presidential debates, influential Republicans and world leaders.

For two hours, with Reagan’s Air Force One hanging above them, candidates debated parental rights in education, protections for farmers and ranchers and the opioid epidemic.

Not on the stage was Trump, the Republican frontrunner who has skipped the debates as he appears set to focus on the general election, rather than the primary. On Wednesday, Trump was in Michigan where he spoke to nonunion auto workers amid the ongoing United Auto Workers strike, a day after Biden visited UAW members to show support for their strike.

“But why are they there? It’s because of all that spending (Biden’s) pushed through,” said former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, saying the federal government should focus on economic policies that would cut gas taxes but make small business tax cuts permanent.

“But why are they there? It’s because of all that spending (Biden’s) pushed through,” said former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, saying the federal government should focus on economic policies that would cut gas taxes but make small business tax cuts permanent.

“Joe Biden is missing in action from leadership. Donald Trump is also missing in action. He should be on this stage tonight,” said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis of his former ally turned nemesis in the campaign.

Both DeSantis and Trump are scheduled to speak Friday at the California GOP convention in Anaheim – as is debate participant Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina. Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy is scheduled to appear there Saturday.

Earlier this month, about 13,000 U.S. auto workers stopped making vehicles and went on strike after their leaders couldn’t bridge a giant gap between union demands in contract talks and what three major automakers, General Motors, Ford and Stellantis, are willing to pay. Last week, the UAW expanded its strike when an additional 5,600 workers walked out of 38 General Motors and Stellantis parts distribution centers in 20 states.

Biden’s visit to a UAW picket line the day before the debate is believed to be the first time a sitting president who has demonstrated support for labor activity amid an active strike.

South Carolina’s Scott castigated Biden’s picket line trip, saying he should instead be on the southern border.

“Fentanyl has devastated Americans in every single state,” said Scott.

Southern California voters said they wanted to see less bickering at the second debate, but Ramaswamy often sparred with those on stage with him, particularly with Haley, Scott and former Vice President Mike Pence, who criticized his past dealings with a Chinese investment firm.

Another hot-button issue for candidates as the sun set in Simi Valley: parental rights in education.

Several candidates decried education systems for focusing on so-called critical race theory or diversity, equity and inclusion issues. Haley, in particular, said it should be up to individual states to design public education; DeSantis, meanwhile, said the “country’s education system is in decline because it’s focused on indoctrination and denying parents’ rights.”

“We’ve got to empower parents at the state level with the ability to choose where their kids go to school … you empower parents, and our schools will straighten up and reflect our values and focus on the basics faster than you could possibly imagine,” said Pence.

Stumping for Biden at the Reagan Library was California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who called the candidates on the debate stage a “JV team” while speaking to reporters ahead of the debate.

“President Reagan’s leadership and legacy won onstage at tonight’s debate,” he said in a statement. “His values — limited government, individual liberty, economic opportunity, peace through strength, freedom and democracy, and national pride — endure as guiding lights in addressing the significant challenges and opportunities America faces.”

“I think the winners tonight are the American people, watching their candidates up there doing the debate,” said CAGOP Chair Jessica Millan Patterson. “I think any single one of them would do a better job than Joe Biden.”

Despite his absence, it can’t be said that Trump was particularly missing from the debate. Hoards of supporters gathered at the entrance of the foundation’s grounds decked out in patriotic gear. Large trucks with even larger Trump signs revved their engines on surrounding streets; a plane carrying a white DNC-funded banner with black and red words reading “GOP 2024: A Race For The Extreme MAGA Base” circled from above.

And former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, at one point during the debate, looked straight ahead to address Trump: “Donald, I know you’re watching,” he said. “You’re not here tonight because you’re afraid of being on the stage and defending your record.

“No one up here is going to call you Donald Trump anymore. We’re going to call you ‘Donald Duck.’”

When asked which candidate on stage should be “voted off the island,” DeSantis refused to give an answer, while Christie said Trump.

“This guy has not only divided our party, he’s divided family, he’s divided friends,” Christie said.

When asked by debate co-host Dana Perino about his mathematical chances at the nomination against Trump, DeSantis said “polls don’t elect presidents, voters elect presidents.”

According to data from the Public Policy Institute of California, 48% of Republican likely voters would vote for Trump if the Republican presidential primary were held today, while 14% said DeSantis.

It wasn’t just Trump supporters who gathered outside the library. Demonstrators rallied in support of Ukraine amid its continued conflict with Russia. CHIRLA Action Fund and SEIU-USWW said it brought hundreds of demonstrators to the base of the library to show support for immigrants.

“We want presidential candidates, especially in the GOP, to know this truth: Immigrants are California,” said Fatima Flores-Lagunas, the CHIRLA Action Fund political director.

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

Republicans Face Growing Urgency to Stop Trump As They Enter the Second Presidential Debate

Republicans are meeting for their second presidential debate on Wednesday as Donald Trump’s top rivals seek to blunt the momentum of the former president, who is so confident of cruising through the party’s primary that he again won’t share a stage with them.

Seven GOP candidates will be at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library for an event hosted by Fox Business Network. Trump will be in Michigan, delivering a prime-time speech attempting to capitalize on the Auto Workers Union strike and trying to appeal to rank-and-file union members in a key state for the general election.

The debate comes at a critical moment in the GOP campaign, with less than four months before the Iowa caucuses formally launch the presidential nomination process. For now, Trump is dominating the field even as he faces a range of vulnerabilities, including four criminal indictments that raise the prospect of decades in prison. His rivals are running out of time to dent his lead, which is building a sense of urgency among some to more directly take on the former president before an audience of millions.

“This is not a nomination that’s going to fall in your lap. You have to go and beat the other candidates and one of those happens to be Donald Trump,” said Kevin Madden, a Republican strategist and veteran of Mitt Romney’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns. “This debate, it’ll be interesting to see whether or not folks realize that the sand is going through the hourglass pretty quickly right now.”

Hours before the debate began, the first group of supporters for any campaign to arrive waved Trump flags and put up a banner reading “Trump, our last hope for America and the world,” underscoring the former president’s continued influence at a debate he’s not even attending. Trump also skipped the first debate last month in Milwaukee, where the participants laid into one another while mostly avoiding attacks on Trump. Nearly 13 million people tuned in anyway.

Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and United Nations ambassador, drew larger crowds and new interest after her first debate performance in which she attacked entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy on foreign policy and pointed out that she was the only woman in the field.

Her team has raised expectations even higher going into Wednesday night, telling donors in a recent pitch that they are “ready to capitalize on the momentum after Nikki walks off stage.”

“As more voters across America tune in to watch the second debate, it’ll be a great opportunity to bring even more supporters into the fold,” Haley’s campaign manager, Betsy Ankney, wrote in her email.

Also hoping for a big night is Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who will be at center stage despite recent struggles to emerge as the field’s top Trump alternative. His campaign announced that he also saw a jump in fundraising after the first debate, but a strong performance on Wednesday will likely be necessary to replicate that.

“It’s too late for just a fine performance,” said Christine Matthews, a national Republican pollster. “DeSantis has gone from leading alternative to Trump to just one of the pack of challengers and he will be under pressure to perform.”

Former Vice President Mike Pence, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and Ramaswamy are similarly looking for breakout moments. Ramaswamy seized the spotlight frequently in Milwaukee, but was criticized by many candidates who sought to expose his lack of political experience.

Also on stage will be North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor, who has built his White House bid around slamming Trump.

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson failed to qualify after making the first debate. Hutchinson’s campaign says he’ll also go to Michigan to hold a press conference criticizing Trump.

Ahead of the debate, many participants were meeting with top supporters, donors and reporters to make the case that they are best positioned going forward.

Reed Galen, co-founder of the Lincoln Project, an organization founded by conservatives who oppose Trump, said that while he still believes the former president will ultimately be the Republican nominee in 2024, Wednesday’s debate offers a chance for others to make up ground.

“There are opportunities in the offing because Trump is taking this for granted,” Galen said.

The site is symbolic given that Reagan has long been a Republican icon whose words and key moments still shape GOP politics today. But in addition to fighting with the Reagan library’s leaders, Trump has reshaped the party and pushed away from traditional GOP policy positions — including a muscular foreign policy and opposition to Moscow.

While Reagan is remembered for going to a divided Berlin and calling on Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall,” Trump has often sympathized with Russian President Vladimir Putin and recently said, “I was the apple of his eye.”

Pence, in a recent speech, called on conservatives to reject Trump’s “siren song of populism.” But Ramaswamy attacked Pence in the first debate by declaring “it’s not morning in America” — a reversal of Reagan’s famous 1984 campaign slogan — and saying Republicans following Reagan were out of step with a Trump-dominated party.

Click here to read the full article in AP News

Republican presidential hopefuls head to Southern California this week

What to know about the debate, GOP convention and our coverage

Political eyes turn to Southern California this week as presidential hopefuls swoop in for the second presidential primary debate, fundraisers and a state GOP convention.

While it still remains to be seen which candidates officially qualified for the debate — the Republican National Committee is expected to confirm attendees Monday, Sept. 25 — at least four will be in Anaheim later in the week for the California Republican Party’s fall convention: former President Donald Trump, tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott.

Trump will also be in Costa Mesa on Saturday, Sept. 30 for a fundraiser. Former Vice President Mike Pence has a reception on the books in Anaheim on Thursday.

But before all that, the presidential primary debate kicks off Wednesday, Sept. 27 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, a popular setting for Republicans.

“The Reagan Library is always an attractive venue for Republican debates, in part because it is a great space but also because Ronald Reagan’s legacy still has pull within the Republican ranks,” said Matthew Beckmann, a political science professor at UC Irvine with expertise in presidential politics. “Of course, that presidential candidates can use the trip to fundraise in Southern California doesn’t hurt.”

The threshold to qualify for this debate — to be broadcast on Fox Business Network and Univision from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. — was raised from the previous contest.

Candidates need at least 3% in two national polls or will need 3% in one national poll as well as two polls from four of the early voting states: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. And their donors must include 50,000 unique contributors with 200 of those coming from 20 states.

DeSantis, Pence, Ramaswamy, Scott and Trump, as well as former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, appear likely to have qualified.

Trump, who sat out the first debate, will be speaking to auto workers in Detroit instead. His contentious history with the Reagan Library aside, Trump is looking more to the 2024 general election rather than the primary.

California Republicans will still hear from Trump as he’s scheduled to address a luncheon at the convention on Friday. The event — with tickets ranging from $500-$600 — is already sold out.

Scott will speak around 3 p.m. Friday, and DeSantis is slated to headline a dinner banquet later that evening. Ramaswamy leads a reception and lunch banquet on Saturday.

“All eyes will be on California next week as our state hosts the second GOP presidential debate in my hometown of Simi Valley and on the hallowed grounds of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library,” said CAGOP Chair Jessica Millan Patterson. “With 169 delegates up for grabs — the most of any state — California will play a pivotal role in deciding our party’s nominee.”

While in Southern California, the presidential contenders would be wise to “understand the electorate and strike a balance of fiscal conservatism, an acknowledgment of the environment (and) climate change and avoid the cultural wedges,” like LGBTQ+ rights and abortion, said Matt Lesenyie, a Cal State Long Beach political science professor.

Voters, he said, are less concerned with “the controversy of the day” but want to hear more “plain-spoken, common sense-sounding solutions and the hope for bipartisanship.”

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

‘I’m game’: Florida’s Ron DeSantis Agrees to Debate Gavin Newsom

SACRAMENTO, Calif. —Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has agreed to debate California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

“Absolutely, I’m game,” DeSantis told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Wednesday. “Let’s get it done. Just tell me when and where. We’ll do it.”

Newsom’s campaign told KCRA 3 that it’s offered DeSantis either Nov. 8 or Nov. 10.

“Governor Newsom has been challenging Desantis to debate for months and sent him a formal debate offer last week,” a statement from Newsom’s campaign reads. “Desantis should put up or shut up. Anything else is just games.”

The California governor has been challenging the Florida governor for months now. In September 2022, Newsom called out DeSantis on Twitter shortly after DeSantis accused Newsom’s brain function of being muddled due to his hair gel.

“Hey @GovRonDeSantis, clearly you’re struggling, distracted and busy playing politics with people’s lives. Since you have only one overriding need — attention — let’s take this up to debate. I’ll bring my hair gel. You bring your hairspray. Name the time before Election Day @CNN,” Newsom said in his tweet.

Earlier this year, both governors butted heads over two planes carrying migrants being flown in from Florida to Sacramento.

DeSantis was recently named the second keynote speaker for the California Republican Party’s convention happening this September. He is also running for president in 2024.

Newsom has repeatedly stated that he is not running for president in 2024. He is also in his last term as California governor.

Click here to read the full article at KCRA

Donald Trump on Offense at 2nd Debate

As reported by Fox News:

Donald Trump needed to stop the bleeding – and at the least, the Republican nominee may have done that. He delivered an unsparing debate performance Sunday against Hillary Clinton which may not have won over many undecided voters but assured his base that Trump the fighter hasn’t been knocked out despite the controversy over a 2005 tape of him making lewd comments about women.

Significantly, he won praise Monday morning from running mate Mike Pence. In normal circumstances in a normal election cycle, that praise would be taken for granted – but it followed widespread speculation about the Indiana governor and staunch Christian conservative’s willingness to stay on the ticket in the wake of the vulgar footage controversy.

“The real story this morning is that Donald Trump stepped up and won a debate last night that seemed to be against all odds,” Pence told “Fox & Friends” on Monday.

The words of praise come after a host of prominent elected Republicans abandoned the ticket over the weekend because of that 2005 footage. But Trump’s closest supporters and advisers were suggesting in the wake of the debate that those lawmakers overreacted. …

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No presidential debate in California after Clinton breaks promise

As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle:

There will be no Democratic presidential debate in California, because Hillary Clinton’s campaign reneged Monday on its earlier promise to participate in one. In February, the campaigns of both Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders agreed to debate in California before the state’s June 7 primary.

But with Clinton comfortably ahead in both pledged delegates and superdelegates — plus her desire to pivot to her likely general election matchup against Republican Donald Trump — there was little political incentive for her campaign to participate.

The Chronicle, as the Sanders campaign noted last week, also expressed interest in co-hosting a debate. But that debate will not happen.

“We have declined Fox News’ invitation to participate in a debate in California,” said campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri. “As we have said previously, we plan to compete hard in the remaining primary states, particularly California, while turning our attention to …

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How CA Can Avoid CNBC Debate Debacle During Election Season

VotedThose considering hosting debates in the coming California elections should take lessons from the mishandling of the current presidential debates and take advantage of the state’s unique primary system to offer real issue-oriented debates.

The recent Republican Presidential Debate on CNBC received more blowback for the way the debate was handled than what the candidates had to say.   Now the Republican National Committee is suspending its relationship with NBC and affiliated organizations over future debates because of the debate questions while the candidates are in open revolt over how the debates should be handled.

While candidates would love to control the debates, the media, which usually moderates the debates, cannot give up journalistic independence.

With future presidential debates rapidly approaching and expected California debates for the U.S. Senate around the corner, is there a better way to handle debates than what we saw last week?

John Pitney, Professor of American Politics at Claremont McKenna College, thinks there is.

“The best format is simply to have the candidates on stage with no press questions.  Give candidates fixed amounts of time to make statements and respond to one another.  Set the microphones to go on and off automatically so that the candidates cannot filibuster or dicker with a moderator for extra time.  Set the order of speaking by random chance.  If the number of candidates becomes unwieldy, randomly assign them to two or more debates,” Pitney wrote in an email.

He has some other suggestions that would heighten the seriousness of the debates.

“Do the whole thing without a studio audience.  No cheers, no boos, just the words of the people running for office,” Pitney suggests. “The basic idea is to take the media out of the process as much as possible, and let the candidates speak for themselves.  Make it a debate, not a circus.”

Pitney wrote that this format would work for California senatorial or gubernatorial debates as well. Because California has the top-two primary system, Pitney argued that Republicans and Democrats should appear together on the same debate stage.

Such a format would lend itself to a real exchange of contrasting ideas on substantive issues.

One side-effect–the viewership ratings could go down if the “circus” atmosphere is removed. Is that a bad thing under the circumstances?

Originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily

Rep. Tom McClintock, Art Moore get personal in lone debate

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

Rep. Tom McClintock and challenger Art Moore sparred in an early morning debate Wednesday marked by fierce character attacks that generated audience groans but put some distance between the two Republicans.

It was still dark out when the candidates took to their lecterns for the hastily planned, 60-minute exchange before about 100 people at Auburn City Hall. The six-term incumbent from Elk Grove and political newcomer from Roseville, running to represent the Placer-county centered district, took questions from the crowd on issues ranging from the national debt to climate change to fire protection.

But it was issues of character and who has the better temperament to lead the rural district that incorporates Yosemite and Lake Tahoe and runs to Fresno that coursed through the forum. …

Read the full article here