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Eye On Candidates
April 20, 2015

New Hampshire Event Showcases GOP Candidates

The New Hampshire Republican Party held an event this weekend for potential 2016 candidates to address local activists, and it looks like nearly all of them showed up. Here are a few key takeaways according to Politico's coverage of the event:

Reports of Chris Christie’s political death are exaggerated.

The New Jersey governor is down, but not out. He’s putting all his chips on winning the Granite State, and the positive reception he received here showed that it’s probably the best bet he can make with his limited options.

The town hall format that helped John McCain win the primary in 2000 and 2008 is Christie’s greatest strength, and he excelled in give-and-takes with voters around the state this week, including one with rowdy patrons at a bar Friday night...

The GOP base yearns for fresh faces.

A constant refrain during interviews with local party leaders — including those from the establishment wing of the party — is that the 2016 nominee should bring something new and dynamic to the table. The feeling grows out of the deeply-imbued sense that the country is on the wrong track...

Many of the candidates tried to seize on this. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul wore blue jeans and argued that he’s a new kind of candidate who can appeal to minorities and young people in a way that recent nominees have not. Asked what sets him apart from Jeb Bush, Walker said one of his assets is that he’s “a fresh face” who’s not of D.C.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said he understands the problems facing today’s generation because he’s part of it. He also poked fun at his relative youth. “I was asked whether 43 is old enough to be elected president,” he said. “I said I wasn’t sure, but I know 44 is.”

Bush, for his part, clearly realizes that this is not a next-in-line kind of election...

Foreign policy was a dominant theme.

With a pervasive sense that the world is in crisis — and with a rebounding economy making domestic issues less salient — a large share of the stump speeches and questions which followed focused on the Middle East.

The candidates — with the exception of Paul — were trying to one up each other when it came to the question of who would take the hardest line against Iran...

Common Core is toxic with the GOP base — and Jeb Bush finally realizes it.

There were as many questions about Common Core as any other domestic issue this weekend. The Republican field responded accordingly.

“Common Core is every bit as problematic as Obamacare,” said former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

“We need to repeal every word of Common Core,” said Cruz, generating maybe the loudest cheers of his speech.

“A lot of politicians say they’re against Common Core,” said Jindal. “I’m actually in federal court right now suing President Obama and suing Arne Duncan…to stop it.” Several people in the audience whistled.

Bush was one of the biggest cheerleaders for Common Core until he got into the presidential race. Since calling the debate over the standards in math and English language arts “troubling” last November, he has changed his tone. “We don’t need a federal government involved in this at all,” he said Friday when asked about the matter. Now he pronounces supports for a bill that would prevent the federal government from setting curriculum standards...

There's much more, which you can read here: The New Hampshire GOP summit: 6 takeaways