Apr 17, 2015 12:40 PM
The Latest: White House hopefuls gather in New Hampshire
The Associated Press
8:30 p.m. (EDT)
Sen. Marco Rubio, a Spanish speaker whose parents came to the United States from Cuba, says English should be the country's official language. But, he says, resources should still be available in school for students who don't speak English as a first language.
After delivering a keynote speech Friday night at a two-day gathering of activists in New Hampshire, the Florida senator and newly declared presidential candidate took questions. One voter told Rubio that her daughter didn't get a job in Florida because she wasn't certified to teach English as a second language. The woman asked Rubio whether such policies wrongly enable non-English speakers to never learn English.
Rubio says learning English is essential for anyone who wants to prosper. The purpose of having teachers who can teach English as a second language, he says, is to help streamline the education of children who come to the U.S. from other countries.
"Anyone who doesn't teach their children English and anybody who doesn't learn English is going to have limited economic horizons in our country," he said.
When Rubio launched his presidential campaign earlier this week he spoke in both English and Spanish.
8:20 p.m. (EDT)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie faced tough questions on Social Security from a crowd gathered at a sports pub in Exeter Friday evening.
Christie drew a standing-room-only audience at Shooter's Sports Pub for his second town hall event in the state.
He continued to press the plan he unveiled Tuesday to push back the age of eligibility for Social Security and Medicare for future retirees as well as eliminate Social Security benefits for those earning more than $200,000 a year.
George Zeiter, 62, criticized Christie for proposing the elimination of Social Security benefits for some of those who've paid toward them and let him know it in a lively exchange.
But Christie avoided the kind of explosive confrontation that made him famous.
Indeed, he told the audience: "You may know just what you've heard on the news. Please, take this moment to forget all of that."
7:30 p.m. (EDT)
It's not a declaration of a presidential bid, just a hint that one could be in the making: People close to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder have formed a fund allowing him to travel the country and tell of the state's rebound under his watch.
As candidates and potential candidates promote themselves in New Hampshire, an aide close to the Michigan governor tells The Associated Press that a 501(c)(4) group, Making Government Accountable, was established within the past month. The aide was not authorized to speak publicly about Snyder's plans and requested anonymity.
The fund itself is not designed to be a campaign fundraising arm for Snyder. Instead, it will help him put out a "Michigan message about managing the budget, reducing pension liabilities and getting the debt down," the aide says.
The aide says Snyder is still considering at a presidential run and that a decision could be made in a few weeks.
6:30 p.m. (EDT)
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says he's not expecting a coronation if he chooses to enter the Republican presidential primary.
"I will have to earn it if I get into the arena," Bush told Republican activists in Nashua. "No one's going to give it to me, that is more than apparent."
Bush's last name alone gives him a boost above many of the other prospective Republican candidates, but it also prompts a dose of skepticism from many voters.
The son of one president and brother of another, Bush says voters should judge him on his conservative record, and he rattled off a list of policies enacted during his time as governor, such as ending affirmative action for college admissions and cutting taxes.
Bush's support for Common Core, an oddity among the Republican field, has some Republicans worried. In response to a question on the subject, he told the crowd he favors higher standards but doesn't think the federal government should set them.
5:40 p.m. (EDT)
A Bush-era ambassador to the United Nations is challenging Sen. Rand Paul's national security views and suggests Paul is an isolationist.
In remarks to a New Hampshire Republican gathering Friday, John Bolton said New Hampshire voters must first and foremost evaluate presidential candidates based on their foreign policy views. He said Republicans are stronger on foreign policy than Democrats but that "isolationists" should be weeded out of the pack.
"You need someone who understands in his or her gut that the most important thing they do is protect the country," he told Republicans gathered in Nashua.
Later, he told The Associated Press he was speaking about Paul, the Kentucky senator and candidate for the Republican nomination.
"The more people who hear about what his views on national security actually are, the lower his support will go," Bolton predicted. "People would be, and I've seen this over and over again, they're stunned when they hear what his national security views are."
Paul, who will also be on the stage in New Hampshire, rejects the isolationist label. He's argued for less intervention by the U.S. abroad and against excesses in government surveillance at home. He once proposed substantial cuts in military spending but, as his 2016 campaign approached, supported a boost in the Pentagon budget.
5:30 p.m. (EDT)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, in his turn on stage in New Hampshire, described President Barack Obama's leadership as aimless and said other countries take advantage of that.
"People around the world know the same thing that the people of the United States know," he said, "that they have a weak president who has weakened our country. And they are taking advantage of that in every way they possibly can."
Christie played up his direct style and said people "are hungry for that after nearly seven years of the type of aimless leadership that we've had from Barack Obama."
5:15 p.m. (EDT)
Jeb Bush is saying something that many Republicans still question - that the United States must team up with other countries to fight climate change.
Answering a question while speaking at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire on Friday, the former Florida governor said: "We need to work with the rest of the world to find a way to reduce carbon emissions."
That carbon emissions from vehicles and industry are causing a change in the planet's climate has long been accepted by the vast majority of the world's climate scientists, but it's not taken as fact among many who hold office.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, one of Bush's rivals for the GOP presidential nomination, is among those who have used a popular line among conservatives when asked about the issue, saying: "I'm not a scientist."
While Bush said he is worried about climate change, he was quick to add, "to be honest with you I'm more concerned with the hollowing out of our country, the hollowing out of our industrial core." He said the onus is on the developing world to reduce its carbon emissions.
Still, his statement earned praise from an unexpected quarter: Democratic billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer.
"Jeb Bush demonstrated leadership today on the issue of climate change_distancing himself from the other Republican presidential hopefuls and demonstrating why climate change doesn't have to be a partisan issue," Steyer's NextGen group said in a statement.
Bush and many other GOP hopefuls are in New Hampshire for a two-day conference.
3:40 p.m. (EDT)
The brash Chris Christie might have met his own match at a New Hampshire craft expo featuring local fudge, hand-made jewelry, glass and artwork.
The New Jersey governor received a warm greeting from many of the vendors as he made the rounds with Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas. At one point, he sank into a giant lime-green beanbag chair and joked he'd like one for his office.
But he also ran into Mike Morningstar, who bellowed at the governor, "You've gotta get tougher."
"You're the only person who's ever told me that," Christie responded.
Later, Morningstar, 70, who was selling moose antler dog chews, said he was a fan of Christie.
"I'm a fan of any tough guy," he said. "We got too many wimps in government already."
Christie is among the 2016 Republican presidential prospects attending a big party leadership forum in Nashua.
3:30 p.m. (EDT)
Oh, the suspense.
Mike Huckabee announced Friday that he'll be making an announcement later in the day concerning a future announcement about running for president.
The former Arkansas governor met with reporters Friday to talk about his 2016 plans before heading to New Hampshire for a meeting with a multitude of fellow Republicans who are running for president or thinking about it. He said he'd have something to say later, on Fox News, a network that once paid him as a contributor. But that something won't be his decision about whether to enter the race.
"I will at least give people an understanding of when there will be an announcement and where," Huckabee said. "I don't plan to make the actual announcement tonight."
The 45-minute discussion that followed was couched in a hypothetical campaign that Huckabee might run.
3:15 p.m. (EDT)
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio may not be a Boston Red Sox fan, but he wants New Hampshire voters to know he's the next best thing.
"How about this? I'm not a Yankees fan," the 2016 Republican presidential contender said at a Manchester house party. The guests erupted in applause.
Rubio says he's a fan of his hometown Miami Marlins, but assured the Red Sox supporters in the crowd that they have "nothing to worry about."
Rubio, a big football fan, did take a dig at the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, a team he says had been "torturing" his Miami Dolphins for a decade. The senator said he's looking forward to star New England quarterback Tom Brady's retirement.
1:15 p.m. (EDT)
Gather enough Republicans in a room and what are you going to hear? Complaints about Common Core education standards, before too long.
Several ripped into the standards at Friday's big gathering of 2016 GOP presidential prospects in Nashua, New Hampshire. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry says he opposes Common Core because: "You're either for the 10th Amendment or you're not."
The 10th Amendment specifies that powers not delegated to the federal government are held by the states, and it's a favorite among Republicans who accuse Washington of overreaching. The Common Core standards actually were developed largely by state officials with the support of the federal government, but many Republican leaders see them as a federal takeover of education.
That's how both Perry and former New York Gov. George Pataki described them at the GOP meeting.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who's also at the gathering, departs from most of his potential 2016 rivals in supporting Common Core.
12:25 p.m. (EDT)
Rick Perry says he won't make the same mistakes he made in New Hampshire four years ago if he chooses to make another run for the Republican presidential nomination.
"Coming here and spending the time in New Hampshire is invaluable, and I didn't realize that in '11," the former Texas governor told a handful of voters Friday at the Waterhouse Country Store in Windham.
"They're kind of like buying a car," he said of the state's famously demanding voters. "They want to look under the hood, get the Carfax, they want to drive it a few times, feel it out, make sure they're getting the right one for them."
Perry also criticized the race's three declared Republican candidates: Sens. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio.
"Listen, Ted and Rand and Marco are not only friends ... these are really incredibly bright, capable individuals who, I might add, all three of them give an amazing speech. I mean, they get me up, standing up and pumping the air," he said.
But after eight years of President Barack Obama, a senator before he won the White House, Perry asked, "is that what Americans are going to be looking for? Or are they going to be more interested in someone who has substantial executive experience?"
Perry left office in Austin earlier this year as the longest-sitting governor in Texas history.
12 p.m. (EDT)
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has an announcement in the offing about his plans for 2016. That's according to his aide, Hogan Gidley.
Huckabee ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 and has been hiring staff for a potential 2016 campaign. He's set to visit New Hampshire on Saturday. While there, he has scheduled a breakfast with supporters and a stop at a gun store. Before he goes, he's speaking with reporters in Washington.
Huckabee, a former Baptist pastor, could make a strong showing among evangelicals in Iowa and South Carolina but would face rivals with much more money for their campaigns, such as Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker.
11:45 a.m. (EDT)
George Pataki the perennial presidential prospect isn't taking himself too seriously.
"I kid that every four years there's the Olympics, the World Cup, and Pataki shows up thinking about running for president," the former New York governor told a gathering of Republicans in Nashua, New Hampshire. Pataki considered running for president in 2008 and 2012, but says he's more serious this time around.
Rather than delivering a speech, Pataki answered pre-submitted questions. His stance that Common Core education standards must go was the most popular with the crowd.
Pataki is running an advertisement in New Hampshire that calls on fellow Republicans to stop focusing on "distractions" such as gay marriage and instead talk about the economy.
11:30 a.m. (EDT)
Marco Rubio isn't sure whether he's old enough to be president right now.
But next month? That's a different story.
The Republican senator from Florida was asked Friday morning if 43, his current age, is old enough for a president.
"I know 44 is, which is what I'll turn in May," Rubio said with a smile during an appearance at Manchester Community College in New Hampshire.
As a young first-term senator, Rubio has drawn comparisons to President Barack Obama, who was also in his first Senate term when he launched his campaign, and age 47 when he came to the White House. Critics suggested Obama didn't have enough experience for the presidency.
Should he win the GOP nomination and the 2016 election, Rubio would take office at 45 years old, making him the third youngest president in history.
11 a.m. (EDT)
Just down the street from the big gathering of Republican presidential hopefuls in Nashua, New Hampshire, a leading Democratic voice is saying that all those Republican voices are the same.
"With all of their shared extreme views they might as well just be one," said Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.
Wasserman Schultz says she's in New Hampshire to draw a contrast between Republican and Democratic candidates.
She says each Republican would take the country backward.
10:20 a.m. (EDT)
Conservatives may not like it, but former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush isn't shying away from his support for creating a way for immigrants who are living in the country illegally to gain legal status. And he responded Friday to critics in his party who often suggest such immigrants come to the United States simply for the government benefits.
"The people who want to come here are driving for success," Bush said in a morning appearance at Saint Anselm College.
Bush has yet to say if he's running for president, but he looks and acts very much like a candidate. If elected, he said, he would deal with the millions of immigrants in the country illegally "in a rational , thoughtful way."
"My suggestion is earn legal status, not earn citizenship, but earn legal status," Bush said, adding such immigrants would have to pay taxes, pay a fine, learn English, and not "commit crimes."
9:45 a.m. (EDT)
Hillary Rodham Clinton is on the minds of New Hampshire Republicans.
Opening a two-day conference for presidential hopefuls at a hotel in Nashua, New Hampshire state GOP party chairwoman Jennifer Horn said its sexist to think people will "blindly and stupidly" vote for the former secretary of state and New York senator because she is a woman.
Clinton launched her campaign last weekend and spent two days this week in Iowa. She'll be in New Hampshire to campaign on Monday and Tuesday. Horn slammed it as a "coronation tour."
Horn told the crowd gathered to hear from close to 20 prospective presidential candidates to ask them tough questions, but to save their attacks for Democrats.
9:30 a.m. (EDT)
There aren't many presidential contenders flanked by family photos when they campaign in New Hampshire.
But that's the case for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, where massive photos of his brother and father are among the presidential portraits hanging on the walls at Saint Anselm College.
Bush joked to the crowd at the school's "Politics and Eggs" event that the pictures brought back "really fond memories." And he used the opportunity to address what may be at the same time his greatest political asset and liability his own last name.
"I'm going to have to show my heart, show who I am, tell my story," Bush said. "It's a little different than the story of my brother and my dad. This may come as a shock to you, but you have brothers and sisters so you may appreciate this: we're not all alike. We make our own mistakes in life. We are on our own life's journey."
8:50 a.m. (EDT)
A big weekend in 2016 presidential politics is underway in New Hampshire, where nearly 20 Republican White House prospects will court voters this weekend at a state GOP meeting in Nashua.
It's the first gathering of its kind in the first-in-the-nation primary state this year, and around the formal speeches and Q&As, the candidates will be out and about all weekend for "retail" campaign stops at diners, shooting ranges, sports bars and house parties.
The day's first event is underway down the road in Manchester, where former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is speaking at "Politics and Eggs" a breakfast fixture for 2016 prospects at Saint Anselm College. Last night, at an event called "Politics and Pies," Bush told a crowd the Senate should confirm attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch despite objections from many of his fellow Republicans.
"If someone is supportive of the president's policies, whether you agree with them or not, there should be some deference to the executive," Bush said. "It should not always be partisan."