Archive for January, 2012

Obama administration to reject Keystone XL Pipeline

The U.S. State Department will formally reject the Keystone XL Pipeline this afternoon. Pipeline operator TransCanada, the company which was applying for the Keystone XL permit, will be allowed to reapply with an alternate route through Nebraska.

The 1700 mile Keystone XL pipeline was designed to run from Canada to the Texas Gulf bringing oil from the tar sands up north to our refineries here. Whether or not it was built was up to the State Department. Environmentalists were not happy because part of the pipeline was scheduled to run through the Nebraska Sandhills. Critics thought it would eventually leak and harm the country’s largest aquifer which supplies groundwater to Nebraska and seven other states.

TransCanada maintained the pipeline posed no environmental risk… and said it would bring thousands of jobs to Texas and the other states.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Republicans fill South Carolina for Saturday primary

Days out from the South Carolina primary, Republicans from more than a dozen southern states are descending on the Palmetto State to meet, network and continue vetting the GOP presidential candidates.

More than 2,000 Republicans from all over the south are already in Charleston for the Southern Republican Leadership Conference.

Ruth Ulich, the chair of the conference, says South Carolina voters will have a more conservative perspective in mind when they head to the polls, differing from Iowa and New Hampshire voters.

“Southern voters tend to be very conservative, so I believe that is what you will see play out,” she said. “I believe there are three legs of being a complete conservative, whether it’s a strong national security, whether it’s the debt and the money problems, or whether it’s social issues—those are the three things that come together that make a complete conservative.”

The conference runs from Thursday until Saturday, just in time for election watch parties.

Poll: Dewhurst leads Senate field

David Dewhurst continues to enjoy a substantial lead in the race to fill Kay Bailey Hutchison’s U.S. Senate seat.

A Public Policy Polling survey shows Dewhurst at 36 percent. Former Solicitor General Ted Cruz is polling in second with 18 percent. Former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert has 7 percent support. Former ESPN Analyst Craig James is ar 4 percent. Joe Agris is at 2 percent. Glenn Addison and Lela Pittenger both receive 1 percent. 31 percent of voters are undecided.

The same poll shows what voters think about James, less than a week after he jumped into the Senate race. Only 30 percent of voters, according to the poll, have heard of James. Among those voters who know of him, most do not like him. Only 11 percent rate him positively, 19 percent have a negative opinion of James.

You can find more about the poll, including how the votes break down by college loyalty, by clicking here.

Turkey ‘strongly condemns’ Perry’s debate remarks

Gov. Rick Perry is drawing fire from the Turkish Embassy over comments he made during last night’s Fox News debate in South Carolina.

When asked if Turkey should be a part of NATO, Perry said, "Obviously when you have a country that is being ruled by, what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists, when you start seeing that type of activity against their own citizens, then yes." He also advocated cutting American foreign aid to the nation.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry released a strongly worded statement today calling Perry’s statement "baseless and inappropriate.” Dr. Ahmet Davutoglu defended Turkey’s contribution to NATO and its role in the fight against terrorism, and took direct jabs at Perry’s foreign policy knowledge and his struggling campaign.

Statement from Foreign Minister Dr. Ahmet Davutoglu:

"We strongly condemn the unfounded and inappropriate allegations expressed yesterday evening about our country during a debate held in South Carolina by Texas Governor Rick Perry, who is running for Republican Nomination for the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election.

Those individuals who are candidates for positions requiring responsibility such as the U.S. Presidency are expected to be more knowledgeable on global affairs and more careful in their statements.

Turkey became a member of NATO when the Governor was just two years old. It is a member which contributed significantly to the Transatlantic Alliance’s history of braving many challenges and it will continue to do so. Turkey has also been among the front line countries in the fight against terrorism. Turkey is co-chairing with the U.S. the Global Counterterrrorism Forum. Our leaders are respected political figures whose opinions are highly valued not only in the U.S. but also in our region and throughout the world.

In any case, the weak support that Mr. Perry received at the opinion polls and the primaries has revealed that his unfortunate views are not shared by the Republican Party grassroots.

This reflects the commonsense of the U.S. electorate. The U.S. has no time to lose with such candidates who do not even know America’s Allies."

Statement from Turkish Ambassador to the US, Namik Tan:

“I am disappointed and concerned that Turkey and its time-tested ties of alliance, partnership and friendship with the United States became the object of misplaced and ill-advised criticism during last night’s Republican candidates’ debate. Needless to say, the Turkey described in the debate simply does not exist.

“Turkey is a secular democracy that has for decades been an essential and trusted partner of the U.S. Our bilateral relations are based on the common values of democracy and respect for human rights, rule of law, and free market economy. Whether in the fight against terrorism or violent extremism, in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria or against the proliferation of WMD, we stand side by side to tackle the many common threats and challenges of our times. Through NATO and bilaterally, Turkey and the U.S. will continue to cooperate day in day out to establish peace, security and prosperity around the world. Contrary to statements during the debate, Turkey receives no significant sums of foreign aid dollars from the U.S. Indeed, Turkey is a strong and growing trading partner with the U.S. in general, and with Texas in particular creating thousands of jobs throughout that state.

“Turkey is obviously not the same country that Governor Perry visited in the 1970s. As an accession country to the European Union and a founding member of the Council of Europe, Turkey has been continuously reviewing and enhancing the rights of all its citizens irrespective of their ethnic or religious background. Moreover, Turkey is now the 16th largest economy in the world, and the 6th biggest economy in Europe enjoying one of the most robust growth rates in its region and beyond. Its democratic standards, its economic strength, and its secular nature make Turkey an inspiration at a time when the Middle East and North Africa are undergoing a major transformation.

“While it was unfortunate, we do hope this episode in last night’s debate leads to a better informed foreign policy discussion among the Republican Party candidates, one where long-standing allies are treated with respect not disdain.”

Perry polling third in Texas among GOP presidential field

A new poll shows no break for Gov. Perry, even at home. A Public Policy Polling survey shows Perry in third in Texas for the GOP presidential nomination. He is behind Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.

A previous PPP poll in September showed Perry winning Texas, beating Romney by close to 40 points. Now, Perry is in third with 18 percent. Romney is at 24 percent and Gingrich has 23 percent.

Rick Santorum beats Ron Paul in Paul’s home state, 15 percent to 12 percent, putting Santorum in fourth. However, in a head-to-head poll Santorum is the only candidate who beats Romney in Texas. Romney beats Perry head-to-head but just barely, 46 to 45 percent if the April 3 primary had only their two names on it. In PPP’s September poll, a head-to-head match up between Romney and Perry showed Perry winning 72-18.

The same poll shows Texans feel Perry is hurting the state’s overall image, with 39 percent saying Perry’s run for their party’s nomination has created negative perceptions of the state. Only 13 percent say Perry’s run has been positive.

Dewhurst senate campaign raises $1.5 million in 4th quarter

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst’s Senate campaign announced it raised more than $1.54 million from donors in the fourth fundraising quarter. The campaign said 93 percent of those donors were in Texas.

According to the Dewhurst for Texas campaign release, Dewhurst has received over $6.1 million in only two quarters.

"I am very grateful for this tremendous outpouring of support," Dewhurst said in the statement. "Across the state, Texans are responding to our powerful message of stopping President Obama’s war on the Texas economy, repealing ObamaCare, cutting spending and taxes, and passing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution."

We reached out to the other Senate campaigns. We will post their totals when we receive them.

Could Ron Paul unseat President Obama?

We’ve been hearing it for months; Political pundits don’t think Rep. Ron Paul is electable. Even after a strong second place showing in the New Hampshire primary, the national media didn’t seem to put much stock in Paul’s candidacy.

But a new national poll suggests Americans might think otherwise.

A changed course in November. Instead, she is challenging Republican incumbent Sen. Jeff Wentworth for his seat in the legislature.

Today, the Forbes Media CEO released this statement of support:

“Elizabeth Ames Jones is a principled, conservative leader who has the experience and passion to take on the challenges coming at you from Washington DC. I’ve known Elizabeth for some time, and admire her character and keen intellect. She has a record of keeping taxes low, reining in needless regulation and standing up for the tort reforms that are keeping the Texas economy strong. Texas is the leading job creator for our country, and Elizabeth certainly gets some credit for the success of the Eagle Ford shale play. I am proud to endorse her.”

Ames-Jones campaign switch has sparked a residency debate. When she filed for the State Senate race, Ames-Jones said she was a San Antonio resident. However the state Constitution requires the Railroad Commissioner to live in Austin. Wentworth told the San Antonio Express, "She’s violating the Constitution by living somewhere other than the capital city and holding an office that requires her to live in the capital city.”

Huntsman dropping out, will endorse Romney

Jon Huntsman will endorse longtime rival Mitt Romney for president today after he drops out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination. The news broke late Sunday, just a day after Huntsman was endorsed by The State, a major South Carolina newspaper.

Huntsman campaign officials reportedly say he is endorsing Romney because "he believes Romney is the best candidate to beat President Barack Obama in November."

An announcement is expected during a planned 10 a.m. press conference from South Carolina. All of the GOP candidates will face off tonight in Myrtle Beach for a Fox News/Wall Street Journal debate.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.