Scott Walker faces tough questions on road to the White House
by Kent Covington & Nick Eicher
Posted 2/18/15, 03:42 pm
The staff of The World and Everything in It has profiled 22 possible candidates for president in 2016 in its “White House Wednesday” series. Now they take a look at who’s ahead and who’s making moves as the big campaign gets closer.
On-the-job training. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has been jabbed quite a bit this past week over his educational background. Walker does not have a college degree. Lack of a college diploma wasn’t a hindrance for 1 in 4 past American presidents. But of the 11 who never graduated college, the most recent was Harry Truman more than a half-century ago. Walker has also taken some hits for a non-answer he gave during a recent interview on trade with London’s Chattam House. Walker was caught flat-footed when asked if he believed in evolution. He later tweeted, “Both science and my faith dictate my belief that we are created by God. I believe faith and science are compatible and go hand in hand.” He added, “It’s unfortunate the media chose to politicize this issue during our trade mission to foster investment in Wisconsin.”
Lone candidate. One surprising poll of Democratic voters suggests Hillary Clinton might not be the inevitable nominee for president after all. The YouGov poll placed Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., 7 percentage points ahead of Clinton in Iowa and 3 points ahead in New Hampshire. There’s ample reason to discount the poll, though. The sample size was small, and a group called Run Warren Run released the poll. The organization exists to convince the senator to run for president, something she has said repeatedly she doesn’t plan to do. And other recent polls in Iowa and New Hampshire gave Clinton a 30- to 40-point lead over Warren. To judge from the behavior of potential rivals, Clinton might not even have to break a sweat in the presidential primary cycle. Politico’s Ben Schreckinger pointed out that those who might take on Clinton won’t even take a swing. When The New York Times asked former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley how he differs from Clinton, he took a pass, saying, “My mind is not even in the compare-contrast mode.” And when NPR asked former Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., last month what makes him a better presidential candidate than Clinton, he said, “I really don’t have an answer for you on that.”
Mom’s all-in. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has taken the pole position in the GOP race, not just in polling, but fundraising, too. When Mitt Romney bowed out, many of his supporters got behind Bush. He recently held a $100,000 dollar-a-plate fundraiser, not something everyone in the GOP field could do at this point. Bush’s mother, the former first lady, has changed her mind about having another Bush in the White House. In an interview with NBC News a couple of years ago, Barbara Bush famously said, “We’ve had enough Bushes.” But while Jeb Bush was speaking at a charity event in Florida last week, the former first lady joined him via Skype and announced she had rethought her stance. “I’ve changed my mind,” she said. Jeb Bush responded by asking if he could get that in writing.
Presidential power rankings. These rankings take the temperature of each Republican campaign. About two-thirds of the equation is polling and recent events that can affect a campaign but may not be showing up in the polls yet. About one-third of the equation is the strength of the candidate. Last week, presidential poll numbers came in from Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Virginia. These rankings focus on the Republican race because there really isn’t one on the Democratic side.
- Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush
- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker
- Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee
- Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul
- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
- Florida Sen. Marco Rubio
- Dr. Ben Carson
- Texas Sen. Ted Cruz
- Ohio Gov. John Kasich
- Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum
Listen to White House Wednesday on The World and Everything in It.