02-19-2017  6:08 pm      •     
Ted Cruz

The Republican presidential field: Who's in, who's almost in, and who's still waiting for the right moment.


IN THE RACE:
TED CRUZ
The first major Republican to get into the race, the Texas senator kicked off his campaign March 23 at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. "I believe in you. I believe in the power of millions of courageous conservatives rising up to re-ignite the promise of America," he said.
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RAND PAUL
The Kentucky senator launched his campaign April 7 in Louisville, where he told a hotel ballroom full of supporters, "I have a message, a message that is loud and clear and does not mince words: We have come to take our country back."
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MARCO RUBIO
In a speech April 13 in Miami, the senator from Florida called his candidacy for president a way for the country to break free of ideas "stuck in the 20th century." He said, "This election is not just about what laws we are going to pass. It is a generational choice about what kind of country we will be."
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CARLY FIORINA
The former tech executive chose social media and a nationally broadcast morning TV network show to launch her campaign on May 4, and she quickly went after Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton. "I have a lot of admiration for Hillary Clinton, but she clearly is not trustworthy," she said.
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BEN CARSON
The retired pediatric neurosurgeon got into the race the same day as Fiorina with an announcement speech in his native Detroit. "It's time for people to rise up and take the government back. The political class won't like me saying things like that. The political class comes from both parties."
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MIKE HUCKABEE
The former Arkansas governor and runner-up in the 2008 GOP presidential primaries kicked off his second White House campaign May 5 in the hometown he shares with former President Bill Clinton — Hope, Arkansas. "Power, money and political influence have left a lot of Americans behind," he said.
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RICK SANTORUM
The runner-up to Mitt Romney in 2012, Santorum began his return engagement to presidential politics May 27 in his western Pennsylvania hometown of Cabot. "The last race, we changed the debate. This race, with your help and God's grace, we can change this nation," he said.
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GEORGE PATAKI
A former three-term governor of New York, who previously considered presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012, Pataki got his campaign started on May 28 in Exeter, New Hampshire. "While I saw the horrors of Sept. 11 firsthand, in the days, weeks and months that followed, I also saw the strength of America on display. ... I completely reject the idea that we can only come together in adversity."
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LINDSEY GRAHAM
After all but confirming the week before that he was in, the senior senator from South Carolina made it official Monday with a speech in his hometown of Central, South Carolina, that cast the foreign threats to America in dark terms. "Simply put, radical Islam is running wild. They have more safe havens, more money, more weapons and more capability to strike our homeland than any time since 9/11. They are large, they are rich, and they're entrenched."
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RICK PERRY
The former Texas governor announced his 2016 presidential bid on Thursday at an airfield outside Dallas, surrounded by prominent veterans — including the widow of Chris Kyle of "American Sniper" fame. "I have been tested. I have led the most successful state in America."
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JEB BUSH
Advisers to the former Florida governor confirmed Thursday that he will formally enter the race on June 15 in Miami. He has spent much of the past six months raising money, touring early-voting states and building a political organization to prepare for a campaign.
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ALMOST THERE:
BOBBY JINDAL
The governor of Louisiana took his latest step toward running for president on Wednesday, when his chief political adviser said Jindal will make a "major announcement" on the 2016 race on June 24 in New Orleans. "Economic collapse is much closer to the door than people realize, our culture is decaying at a rapid rate and our standing in a dangerous world is at an all-time low," Jindal said in May.
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WAITING FOR THEIR MOMENT:
CHRIS CHRISTIE
He says he hasn't decided whether he's running yet, but the New Jersey governor looks an awful lot like a candidate, making frequent trips to early-voting states, delivering a series of policy speeches and raising money for a political action committee and super PAC created by his backers.
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JOHN KASICH
The former congressman and current Ohio governor is hinting to donors and voters he's likely to get into the race. His political organization, New Day for America, announced Monday his plans to travel to Iowa later this month.
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DONALD TRUMP
The real estate mogul and reality television star has launched a presidential exploratory committee and is still debating on whether to get into the race. Never short of self-confidence, he said last month he'd be a force to reckon with in the GOP debates. "Selfishly, the networks would put me on because I get great ratings," Trump said.
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SCOTT WALKER
The Wisconsin governor says he will announce his decision after signing the state budget, which is expected to pass the Republican-controlled state Legislature in late June. Walker has already created a nonprofit group, Our American Revival, to help promote his expected candidacy, and a super PAC led by his close advisers is also up and running.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  • WASHINGTON (AP) — One month after the inauguration, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Donald Trump's White House still is a hard-hat zone. Skeletal remains of the inaugural reviewing stands poke skyward. Random piles of plywood and cables are heaped on the ground inside crooked lines of metal fencing. The disarray outside the president's front door, though not his fault, serves as a metaphor for the tumult still unfolding inside. Four weeks in, the man who says he inherited "a mess" at home and abroad is presiding over a White House that is widely described as itself being a mess. At a stunning pace, Trump has riled world leaders and frustrated allies. He was dealt a bruising legal blow on one of his signature policies. He lost his national security adviser and his pick for labor secretary to scandal. He's seen forces within his government push back against his policies and leak confidential information. All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. "I can't believe there's actually a politician doing what he says he would do," says an approving Scott Hiltgen, a 66-year-old office furniture sales broker from River Falls, Wisconsin. "That never happens." Disrupt Trump has. But there may be more sound and fury than substance to many of his early actions. Trump did select Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a nomination that has drawn strong reviews from conservatives. But the president is regrouping on immigration after federal judges blocked his order to suspend the United States' refugee program and ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, which had caused chaos for travelers around the globe. Some other orders on issues such as the U.S.-Mexico border wall and former President Barack Obama's health care law are of limited effect. Trump says his early actions show he means to deliver on the promises he made during the campaign. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, oh, Trump was only kidding with the wall,'" the president told a group of police chiefs recently. "I wasn't kidding. I don't kid." But the Republican-led Congress is still waiting to see specifics on how Trump wants to proceed legislatively on top initiatives such as replacing the health care law, enacting tax cuts and revising trade deals. The messy rollout of the travel ban and tumult over the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn for misrepresenting his contacts with Russia are part of a broader state of disarray as different figures in Trump's White House jockey for power and leaks reveal internal discord in the machinations of the presidency. "I thought by now you'd at least hear the outlines of domestic legislation like tax cuts," says Princeton historian Julian Zelizer. "But a lot of that has slowed. Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. At his long and defiant news conference on Thursday, Trump tried to dispel the impression of a White House in crisis, squarely blaming the press for keeping him from moving forward more decisively on his agenda. Pointing to his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, Trump said, "You take a look at Reince, he's working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires. I mean, they're fake. They're not true. And isn't that a shame because he'd rather be working on health care, he'd rather be working on tax reform." For all the frustrations of his early days as president, Trump still seems tickled by the trappings of his office. When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visited the White House last week to discuss the national opioid epidemic over lunch, the governor said Trump informed him: "Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf.'" Trump added: "I'm telling you, the meatloaf is fabulous." ___Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nbenac
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