Aug. 23– COLUMBUS — Republican presidential hopefuls played to a hard line conservative crowd at the Americans for Prosperityconference on Saturday, promising that when they’re in the White House they’ll repeal Obamacare, rip up the Iranian nuclear deal, rebuild the military and restore the U.S. economy.
“The policies that we follow in this country are outdated. And they’re particularly troublesome when you follow the path of big government and more regulations and taxation. Because that has never worked. It is a disaster in the 21st century,” said U.S. Sen.Marco Rubio of Florida. “We have to think globally now. There are dozens of other countries that learned from our example and so now they have limited government, they have lower taxes, they have less regulations. So every day we see American jobs and companies go abroad. We’re no longer globally competitive.”
Americans for Prosperity, a conservative political organization founded by billionaire business brothers David and Charles Koch, advocates against minimum wage hikes, union rights, global warming regulations, the Affordable Care Act, taxes and more.
The convention drew 3,600 activists and five Republican presidential hopefuls over two days: former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Rubio.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who expanded Medicaid under Obamacare and supports Common Core education standards, did not get an invite despite the event being in Columbus.
The five candidates railed against expanded Medicaid, Common Core and more and brandished their credentials as true conservatives.
Perry, who was among three candidates speaking on Saturday, criticized governors — including Kasich — who took federal Medicaidexpansion money, saying they were turning a blind eye to the fact America is $18 trillion in debt.
The politicos delivered plenty of red meat applause lines.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz promised that on his first day as president he would abolish the IRS, investigate Planned Parenthood, rescindPresident Obama’s executive orders and tear up the Iran nuclear deal. He also rallied the crowd by saying he’d make sure military service members can bear arms.
“The next time a jihadist shows up at a recruiting station in Chattanooga, Tenn., he’s going to meet the business end of firearms wielded by marines,” Cruz said to frenzied applause and cheers.
Perry pitched himself as a Washington outsider who works for Main Street, not lobbyists and special interests on K Street in D.C.
“I have not worked one day in Washington. I am not invested in that crony culture,” he said.
And there was plenty of talk about securing the southern border.
Perry said: “Some candidates, they want to talk a good game on border security and offer simplistic solutions, like let’s build a wall. But let me be clear a wall is only as secure as it is enforced by manpower. To keep the border secure, it takes boots on the ground fromTijuana to El Paso to Brownsville.”
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R- Cincinnati, batted clean up at the convention, speaking Saturday about how the road to the White Houseand possibly the U.S. Senate runs through the Buckeye State.
Portman is being challenged next year by former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland. This month, Americans for Prosperity launched $1.4 millionworth of attack ads aimed at Strickland.
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