GOP candidates and their rocky relationship with the media

Campaign 2016
by Kent Covington & Nick Eicher
Posted 5/13/15, 02:15 pm

The staff of The World and Everything in It has profiled 22 possible 2016 presidential candidates 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.

Interview gaffe. Critics say Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin went too far in an April 30 interview of presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Halperin seemed to obsess over identity politics, challenging Cruz to prove how authentically Hispanic he is. Cruz faced questions about his favorite Cuban foods and music, the ethnicity he specified when he applied to law school, and his ability to speak Spanish. The interview drew fire from the left and the right. The popular left-wing blog ThinkProgress called it “the most racist interview of a 2016 candidate.” On Monday, Halperin issued a statement apologizing to Cruz for the tone of the interview, saying he was in no way asking the senator to prove he was an authentic Latino. Cruz responded on his Facebook page by saying “no offense,” the apology’s unnecessary, but appreciated.

Pomp and circumstance. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush missed the South Carolina summit to speak at Liberty University’s 2015 graduation ceremony. He had a lot to say about religious freedom and was very clear about where he stands on rights of conscience for people of faith. In an interview with Megyn Kelly of Fox News that aired Monday night, Bush said he would have made the same decision to invade Iraq as his brother, then-President George W. Bush. But he added the intelligence they had at the time was faulty and the United States should have focused more on security after the invasion.

Stumping in the South. White House hopefuls gathered in Greenville, S.C., over the weekend for the South Carolina Freedom Summit. Eleven potential or confirmed presidential candidates attended, including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. He told the crowd if he can bring conservative change to Wisconsin, he can bring it to the rest of the nation too. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry touted jobs created in his state while he was governor. Other speakers included: Cruz; Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa.; Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal; Dr. Ben Carson; and real-estate mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump.

Presidential power rankings. State polls came in this week from New Hampshire, Iowa, and Arizona. The latest was a Bloomberg poll in New Hampshire that showed an almost four-way tie between Bush, Rubio, Walker, and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. Paul is not performing quite that strong nationally, but he has a strong following in New Hampshire.

  1. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush
  2. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio
  3. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker
  4. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul
  5. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz
  6. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee
  7. Dr. Ben Carson
  8. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
  9. Ohio Gov. John Kasich
  10. Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, cracking the Top Ten for the first time this week.

Listen to “White House Wednesday” on The World and Everything in It.

Nick Eicher

Nick lives in St. Louis, loves the Blues (as in the NHL), is executive producer of WORLD Radio, and co-hosts WORLD's radio news magazine The World and Everything in It. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickEicher.

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