'16 hopefuls sound familiar tropes in New Hampshire
April 12th, 2014
10:36 PM ET
9 years ago

'16 hopefuls sound familiar tropes in New Hampshire

(CNN) - Obamacare? Check. Harry Reid? Check. Kathleen Sebelius? Check.

A smattering of potential 2016 hopefuls looking to bank early points among Granite State conservatives sounded familiar refrains and trained their fire on oft-used targets at a New Hampshire summit on Saturday.

At Americans for Prosperity's New Hampshire Freedom Summit, the speakers spanned the conservative political spectrum from former presidential contenders, presumed top-flight 2016 Republican candidates, such as Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, potential dark horses and side-show spectacle.

But all those addressing the crowd Saturday fed the attentive listeners traditional conservative recipes featuring lots and lots of red meat.

Feasting on Obamacare

Despite President Barack Obama administration's announcement that enrollment in the Affordable Care Act spiked to 7.5 million, exceeding the government's stated goal, Republicans seized upon the shaky rollout of the federal exchanges and questioned the legitimacy of the numbers touted over the last two weeks by administration officials.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said the ever-shifting enrollment deadline and the President's repeated delays of key provisions of the law, such as the employer mandate, represent what he termed a "pattern of lawlessness."

"There's a pattern of lawlessness in this administration, ignoring law after law after law," Cruz told the gathering. "Please take Obamacare. Thirty times, this president has unilaterally changed the law. There's no authority in the law for that."

Kicking off the event, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-New Hampshire, who many speculated was among the running for the vice presidential nomination during the last election cycle, sounded the horn for repeal-and-replace while pointing toward Democrats, especially those in red states, running away from Obamacare.

"Everything they know that will hurt them electorally...they will change now," Ayotte said of the law.

One of the more anticipated speakers, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, honed in on a controversial aspect of the law that requires for-profit employers of a certain size to offer insurance benefits for birth control and other reproductive health services without a co-pay. Certain companies have attempted to buck the requirement, claiming that doing so would violate their owners' long-established religious beliefs.

Though the Supreme Court is not expected to rule on two companies challenging the law until June, Paul left no doubt that he believes the provision violates the Constitution.

"Now some will say, 'you can have religious freedom and the Obamacare mandates.' They're mutually inconsistent," Paul said. "They cannot work together."
"Some say, 'Oh well, you know, just give up on your faith and you can stay in business, or give up on your business to stay true to your faith.' That should not be a question," he continued.

"That should not be something that American business has to answer. We should not force people to buy things they don't want and go against their religious morals," Paul concluded.

Upstart Tennessee conservative Rep. Marsha Blackburn struck similar notes when trying to turn the oft-used "war on women" tagline against Democrats.

"You know the President loves to say conservatives hate women; there is a war on women, and that the only thing women care about is birth control," Blackburn said. "Mr. President, blessed your little heart. Women aren't a cheap date. Women want a little bit more out of life than contraceptives."

In one of her first appearances in the early primary state, Blackburn tried to make a big impression by both harping on Obamacare and taking a cudgel to another favorite Republican target: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Giving a nod to the hosts, AFP, the Tennessee lawmaker drew raucous applause when she played pollster and gave her electoral forecast.

"Oh, poor Harry! He's not happy," Blackburn said. "But I tell you what I think Harry Reid knows the exact same thing you and I know: 206 days from today we are going to take back the U.S. Senate."

A Blackburn aide told Real Clear Politics on Friday that the congresswoman is contemplating running for the Republican nomination in 2016.

The other prominent target for Republican ire at the confab was exiting Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the two-term Kansas governor-turned Obamacare-chief defender. Sebelius tendered her resignation after the problem-plagued rollout of Healthcare.gov, though senior administration officials insist her decision had little to do with the initial uproar over the website.

Conservatives disagree.

"They will tell you that Kathleen Sebelius resigning is a result of Obamacare's success," Cruz said. "Well, if that's true, then I hope every Democrat will follow her path and resign as well."

Billionaire Donald Trump also poked fun at the Kansan, making light of a gaffe during her closing speech. Sebelius announced from the podium in the middle of her Friday address that a page from her prepared remarks had gone missing.

"I think it's going to be one of the great classic lines in the history of politics and incompetence," Trump said. "And that's emblematic of Obamacare. A page is missing. The whole thing is missing."

Boo birds come out for Jeb Bush

But Obama, Reid and Sebelius weren't the only names that roused the ire of the conservative crowd.

In his remarks Saturday morning, Trump, who most recently teased about running for governor of New York before announcing his intent not to seek that office, incited boos when he mentioned former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Speaking about Bush's recent comments that undocumented immigrants coming to the United States is an "act of love," Trump labeled the more moderate stance on immigration as "out there."

Bush drew considerable conservative backlash when he made the comments in a recent interview, but defended them at a Connecticut Republican Party dinner on Thursday, where he further urged "sensitivity to the immigrant experience."

"I heard Jeb Bush the other day," Trump began, prompting an initial murmur of boos and groaning from the crowd.

"And he was talking about people that come to this country illegally, they do it for love," he continued, the boos growing louder.

"And I said, 'Say it again … that's one I've never heard of before,'" Trump added, drawing scattered laughter from the room.

"It's out there," Trump pronounced.

Filed under: 2016 • Americans for Prosperity • Donald Trump • Jeb Bush • New Hampshire • Rand Paul • Ted Cruz
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Chris-E...al

    Yes evertime the dems quote the bible it makes me fill warm an fuzzy all 0ver .

    April 12, 2014 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  2. Tom l

    I'm wondering if the gang will be comfortable giving all of this power to the government if, on the off chance, that America is so crazy to nominate and elect Jeb Bush as president.

    April 12, 2014 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  3. Thomas

    A Blackburn aide told Real Clear Politics on Friday that the congresswoman is contemplating running for the Republican nomination in 2016.

    Good Luck with that , Tennessee conservative Rep. Marsha Blackburn .

    The republicans act like quarter horses in a Thoroughbred horse race.

    April 13, 2014 03:03 am at 3:03 am |

    There is actually a colution for ObamaCare. No reason to fear the new health care law because this video in freedomcarebenefits.com will loosen the tension you feel about it.

    April 13, 2014 05:26 am at 5:26 am |

    Snake oil salesman. Cant wait to see Sheldon Adelson,Rupert Mourdoch,Rove,Grover Norquist and the GOP stuff Jeb Bush down the tea party's throats 2012 Mitt the twit style. This guy will be long gone by then

    April 13, 2014 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  6. Gurgyl

    None of these sixteen is worth even to apply to be cooks in WH. They take away your SS, Medicare, now Healthcare. Do these guys know at least what they are talking of? Pathetic.

    April 13, 2014 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  7. Gurgyl

    Do these republican idiots even know Obamacare is working? ACA is a Law now. I am Glad, glad. Obamacare is one trillion times better than GOP doesn't care. Do they know. These guys want to take away SS, Medicare, healthcare. Pathetic.

    April 13, 2014 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  8. God MAY NOT be a Liberal, but He IS a Democrat

    If they had a solution to ANYTHING among all of them then maybe the people who decide elections would listen to them. Obamacare is a solution; Republican diatribes are not. Instead of 55 repeal votes, why hasn`t the GOP brought some of those vaunted "free market" ideas to improve [read: REDUCE] the cost of healthcare? The GOP does NOTHING to help ordinary , less than $200K / year people. Obama raises the minimum wage and makes sure insurers cant drop you or deny you life saving treatment. Do you know how many "TIP-wage" workers support / augment their family incomes? Those Americans have not had a raise in DECADES. How about that Cruz, Ryan, Christie, Jindal, Walker, Huckabee, Santorum, Paul? whats that I hear . . . crickets?

    April 13, 2014 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  9. Evole 101

    Wonder if Cruz the creationist even knows about the real Darwin fish ?

    April 13, 2014 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  10. Tony in Maine

    I do wish Cruz et al would visit NH when there's an east wind. I thought the stench was low tide at first, then I realized a westerly was blowing. Turns out it was just a moron howling in NH.

    April 13, 2014 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  11. don in albuquerque

    Nothing current, nothing new, didn't have anything before, and will have nothing new but...........well, will have nothing to offer new in the future. Except the same old BS. Welcome to the Big Tent of the GOTP. Best thing they can promise. We will give you obstruction so powerful that the rest of the globe will snicker in wonder. We will keep this country from moving forward on virtually everything.

    April 13, 2014 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  12. Randy, San Francisco

    Same old losing message from an uninspiring field of candidates. Not surprising Hillary beats all of them in the polls.

    April 13, 2014 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  13. Pete

    How are these so called republican candidates going to deflect answering questions about Ryans bill..It's much more sinister ,real than any crap you republicans can make up about the ACA bill isn't it..Cutting Medicare,Medicaid and SocialSecurity to bolster up the military complex..But then again Ryan doesn't know what suffering is living off the government dole all his life..Getting free collegue tuition from his fathers SocialSecurity survivors benefits when his familys construction company made millions again off government contracts ,enough money his struggling mother could have two multimillion dollar homes,one in Wisconsin and one beach side retreat in sunny Florida...Sounds like government took care of the Ryans after all doesn't it...

    April 13, 2014 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  14. Name Uche Agonsi

    Its been a repertoire of condemnation of Obama policies, no counteracting solutions. Even corporation rights of 0.0000001% Americans are agreed to be preferable to the denial of birth control benefits for the whole US women. That these GOPers were quick to scuttle anything good for majority US citizens, and rushed to pass Ryan's budget that is basically "war on middle class and poor Americans" leave much to tell Americans whose benefits they are for. Sebelius fought a great fight for justice in favour of 99% Americans. If in this geat battle she was badly broused by the forces of evil, she has a right to retire. She is proud she did not loose the war. Its how Americans got their INDEPENDENCE.

    April 13, 2014 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  15. Mike in Texas

    And Republicans wonder why they can't win the White House. Just read the article above. Still living in a fantasy world, stuck in the past. Republicans only chance is to suppress voting and hope turnout it low in 2016. They have lost 5 of the past 6 popular votes in the Presidential election and Demographics keep shifting towards Democrats nationwide.

    April 13, 2014 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  16. don in albuquerque

    GOTP's replacement for ACA–Lethal Injection

    April 13, 2014 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  17. The Real Tom Paine

    So, a giant pep rally by people who's only accomplishment in life is either amassing huge amounts of wealth or enabling those who already have wealth to acquire more at our expense. Blackburn is the new Bachmann, with equally pithy sayings and ignorance on how the rest of the country outside of her district regards her. Tom, considering the fact that Jeb Bush won't get elected president ( and neither will any Republican), perhaps you had better be concerned about how a the GOP will remain a viable party when it only makes appeals based on negatives. How is that empowering to anyone?

    April 13, 2014 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  18. don in albuquerque


    Every time you post I feel warm, and fuzzy about being a dem.

    April 13, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  19. Anonymous

    "But all those addressing the crowd Saturday fed the attentive listeners traditional conservative recipes featuring lots and lots of red meat."

    What a sad state of affairs when all the GOP has left is "red-meat" politics. Nothing this group is offering is to the benefit of actual everyday Americans going about their everyday lives. Quite the contrary; these GOP rhetorical enablers in Congress are as useless as the rhetoric they spew.

    April 13, 2014 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  20. Gunderson

    2016 is a choice between Fiscal Responsibility and the Nanny State. The people that built this country knew if they wanted to get anywhere they couldn't wait for somebody else to do it. People that build businesses live in the real world. Some try to beat the system but always come up empty. Automobile Unions tried to beat the system but had to come back the reality or continue to fail. The Rich ain't screwing you. You are doing that all by yourself.

    April 13, 2014 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  21. Chris-E...al

    Yes Ted Cruz is the man he made a great speech ! And stated good solutions . And he believes the not so ACa can be improved . And Cruz thinks we should create jobs instead of creating welfare . He wants to bring jobs back from China . He knows we can still take care of the poor.sick and our old ppL he really cares. And no ted does not think the world is just 6000years get real . thanks .

    April 13, 2014 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  22. Chris-E...al

    @Don / You are republican in due time you will have to be or just lay down and die . I know the ladder applies ?

    April 13, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  23. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    @NATHAN WIMBERLY: "Snake oil salesman. Cant wait to see Sheldon Adelson,Rupert Mourdoch,Rove,Grover Norquist and the GOP stuff Jeb Bush down the tea party's throats 2012 Mitt the twit style. This guy will be long gone by then"

    And what's laughable yet pathetic is how all the gop/tea bag base will once again get all in a tizzy and open their wallets for the "candidates" exiting the clown car, thinking their guy/gal has a shot, completely oblivious to the FACT that their party is playing them for fools – AGAIN.

    April 13, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  24. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    gop/tea bags "hopefuls" spout the same lame lines at the Democrats, push the same failed policies, still can't point to any track record of success, continue to claim to be the "family values" party while simultaneously targeting programs that help the most vulnerable among us ... and the gop/tea bag base continues to lap it up.

    In their personal lives, gop/tea bag voters must all be stuck in their delusions. How else do you explain their borderline mental illness obsession with a party that continually screws them over?

    April 13, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |

    Hey, when is the GOP clown Cruz going to pay us back our 24 BILLION DOLLARS that he AND the REST of the GOP MORONS LOST in 16 DAYS??????

    April 13, 2014 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
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