First posted in 2015
5 Backwards and Out-of-Touch Comments From CPAC 2015
Earlier this week, we covered some of the rhetoric you could expect to hear at the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, that started Wednesday and runs through Saturday. CPAC is a prime opportunity for potential Republican presidential candidates to promote their platform, and as expected, there have been concerning statements from the Republican Party’s top 2016 contenders. We’ve rounded up five of the most backward, extreme, and downright wrong statements coming out of the conference:
1. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker compares protestors for workers’ rights to ISIS:
When asked how he would handle ISIS if elected President, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said, “If I can take on a hundred thousand protesters, I can do the same across the world.” The protesters Walker referred to were demonstrating against his decision to sign “right-to-work” legislation that significantly weakens labor unions by forcing them to provide services without payment from workers. (To his credit, Walker did later walk back the comment somewhat.)
2. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry criticizes the unemployment rate:
Rick Perry warned the CPAC audience not to put any faith in new numbers showing an improved economic outlook, calling the unemployment rate a “sham.” This was not Perry’s first time trying to discredit the unemployment rate. Earlier this year, Perry said the unemployment rate has “been massaged, it’s been doctored,” a claim that PolitiFact rated Pants On Fire.
3. Florida Senator Marco Rubio commits epic error on ISIS:
Senator Marco Rubio also failed when attempting to talk about ISIS, telling TV host Sean Hannity that “if we wanted to defeat them militarily, we could do it. [Obama] doesn’t want to upset Iran.” Rubio left out the fact that Iran is actually committed to fighting the terrorist group. In fact, late last year, President Obama wrote a letter to Iran’s supreme leader suggesting cooperation against ISIS. One might expect the Senator to know these things given that he is a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the Select Committee on Intelligence.
4. Rubio also says he flipped to opposing immigration reform because it “wasn’t very popular”
Before CPAC, Rubio had already publicly flipped from supporting immigration reform to opposing it. But at CPAC, when Sean Hannity asked him about the immigration reform bill he sponsored in the Senate, Rubio said, “Well it wasn’t very popular I don’t know if you know that from some of the folks here.” Bold leadership, Senator. Thanks to Rubio and the Senate’s failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform, Republicans are now putting national security at risk to stop President Obama’s order to lift the threat of deportation for up to 5 million undocumented immigrations.
5. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie brags about vetoing funding for Planned Parenthood:
Speaking to a group of CPAC attendees yesterday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie bragged about vetoing funding for Planned Parenthood five times saying, “I was the first governor to ever speak at a pro-life rally on the steps of the statehouse in the state of New Jersey and I vetoed Planned Parenthood funding five times out of the New Jersey budget.” It was a sharp change of tune from Christie, who while running for re-election in New Jersey, had said vetoing the funds was merely a cost-saving measure. Christie’s politicking with Planned Parenthood funding has had serious impacts on the state—the state’s capacity to meet the need for family planning services for the state’s poorest residents has decreased 25 percent and nine health care centers have been forced to close.
BOTTOM LINE: From the economy and women’s health to national security and immigration, the potential 2016 GOP primary field is off to the races with comments that prove they are not ready to lead the country. The candidates on stage at CPAC have displayed early on that they are willing to say just about anything to appeal to the extreme conservative base, no matter whether those views are truthful or not, and no matter the serious problems they might cause.