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Chad’s Morning Brief: Rand Paul Talks Voter ID, Hillary’s Health Now a Topic, and Other Top Stories

Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of May 14, 2014. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am. Remember, you can listen online at KFYO.com or on your iPhone/Android with the radioPup App.

Important Election Dates:

Early Voting for GOP and Dem. Primary Runoff: May 19 – May 23

Election Day for GOP and Dem. Primary Runoff: May 27

Election Day for Lubbock City Council District 3 Runoff: June 14

U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)
U.S. Senator Rand Paul (Alex Wong, Getty Images)

Rand Paul and Voter ID

Senator Rand Paul is defending and clarifying remarks he made about Voter ID. According to POLITICO, Paul now says that there is nothing wrong with Republicans fighting for Voter ID.

“There’s nothing wrong with it. … I don’t really object to having some rules with how we vote,” Paul said on the Sean Hannity show on Tuesday.

The Kentucky Republican said his earlier comments “kind of got overblown in the wrong way.”

Last week, Paul was quoted in The New York Times as being critical of Republicans pursuing voter ID laws. “Everybody’s gone completely crazy on this voter ID thing,” he told the paper at the time. “I think it’s wrong for Republicans to go too crazy on this issue because it’s offending people.”

On Hannity’s show, Paul, who has often talked about the need to develop a more inclusive and racially diverse Republican Party, said the GOP should should focus on its efforts to help minorities vote.

“I know about voter fraud and that there have to be rules and states have the ability to do it,” Paul said. “But I’ve also said Republicans should be emphasizing the good things we’re trying to do to try to help minorities vote instead of the things many minorities feel is directed at them, rightly or wrongly … So I do object to overemphasizing something that is turning people off.”

Paul added that he thought the “war on drugs” played a greater role in denying individuals the right to vote than voter ID laws. “It’s not voter ID that’s disenfranchising people, it’s actually our war on drugs,” Paul said, adding that the country’s drug policies have “racial” implications.

Paul’s camp had already started backing down somewhat from those comments earlier this week. His political action committee director clarified that the senator believes that voter ID laws should be left up to the states and that, “At no point did Sen. Paul come out against voter ID laws.”

Health and Age

According to The Hill, the issue of Hillary Clinton’s health has seen increased attention lately.

Increasing attention will focus on, or be drawn to, Hillary Clinton’s health as she mulls a bid for the presidency.

The former first lady and secretary of State turns 67 in October, and Republicans have begun to ask questions about her hospitalization in late 2012 for a blood clot in her head.

Raising this issue is fraught with risk, as Karl Rove, who served as a senior political adviser to former President George W. Bush, unintentionally made plain in recent days after he suggested that Clinton might have suffered a traumatic brain injury. The backlash was swift, as the White House and even a couple of Republicans said Rove was out of line.

Rove noted Clinton’s need for special glasses to correct for double vision after her discharge from the hospital.

“When she reappears, she’s wearing glasses that are only for people who have traumatic brain injury? We need to know what’s up with that,” Rove said at a conference in California, according to a report in the New York Post.

Rove tried on Tuesday to calm the outrage, but he held firm to his claim that Clinton’s health is fair game. “I didn’t say she had brain damage. I never used that phrase,” he said on Fox News’s “America’s Newsroom.”

But, he added, “This will be an issue in the 2016 race whether she likes it or not.”

Clinton’s spokesman on Tuesday accused Rove of intentionally spreading misinformation.

“Even [Tuesday] morning, Karl Rove is still all over the map and is continuing to get the facts wrong. But he doesn’t care, because all he wants to do is inject the issue into the echo chamber, and he’s succeeding,” said Nick Merrill.

“It’s flagrant and thinly veiled. They are scared of what she has achieved and what she has to offer,” he added. “What he’s doing is its own form of sickness. But she is 100 percent, period. Time for them to move on to their next desperate attack.”

Reaction from Capitol Hill was wary. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), a vocal Clinton critic, said, “I probably wouldn’t have done what [Rove] did. When Karl Rove [talks about her health], it sounds like it’s a partisan thing.”

Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who are mulling presidential runs in 2016, declined to comment, as did several other Republicans, including Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (Texas).

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said Rove’s comments would have been “inappropriate” if he hadn’t clarified them.

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) called on Rove to apologize and advised other Republicans not to talk about Clinton’s health.

Some Republican strategists privately believe Clinton’s age will be a factor if she mounts a bid. She would be the same age as Ronald Reagan when he won in 1980 and three years younger than Sen. John McCain was when the Arizona Republican lost in 2008.

Both Reagan and McCain had to fend off questions about their age, and the McCain campaign considered embracing a one-term pledge before opting against it.

Women on average live longer than men, a fact that could be repeated by Democrats if Clinton runs.

Congressional Democrats quickly rallied to her defense.

“That’s vintage Karl Rove,” said Sen. Tom Harkin (Iowa). “It’s sort of going after the person rather than what they stand for, their views and what they’ve done politically.”

Meanwhile, White House press secretary Jay Carney mocked “Doctor” Rove’s judgment.

Some Republicans say raising Clinton’s health is legitimate because she is widely assumed to be the front-runner for the Democratic nomination in 2016. She has had a history with clots, having been treated for another, in her knee, in 1998.

McCain, who ran for the Republican nomination in 2000 at the age of 63, said opponents questioned how his health was affected by being held as a POW during the Vietnam War.

He said Clinton should release her medical records if she runs again, just as he did in 2000 and 2008.

“In 2000, because of my POW experience and injuries I had to have a complete revelation of all of my medical records,” he said. “That was the only way I was able to put the issue behind me.”

“I would suggest [releasing the medical records] because the media will continue to question until they feel they have all the necessary information,” he said, adding, “I do not claim that she has had any injury or anything like that.”

Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) said, “I think when anybody puts themselves out to run for president of the United States they’re going to face questions about everything.”

She said that most candidates for president make public their school and tax records as well.

“I think it’s a practice that is appropriate and has come to be expected,” she said. “It applies to school records, taxes, health records.”

Sen. Roy Blunt (Mo.), a member of the Senate Republican leadership, said recent presidential candidates have released their medical records, adding, “I think that’s a legitimate question for voters to have.”

While Clinton is likely to run, no announcement will come for months. She launched her unsuccessful 2008 presidential bid in January 2007.

While Clinton’s age and health are legitimate issues going forward, Republicans do have to be careful. The media will label Republicans again as sexists I’m sure if those issues are brought up. That is of course unless the media turns on Clinton.

Other Top Stories:

KFYO Job Openings

Imagine Lubbock Together Shares Vision

LP&L Employee Files Grievance Against Zheng

Houston Mayor Drops Bathroom Provision

Russia to Ban US Astronauts

Football Risks Sink In

Pole Tax Upheld

Bloomberg Defends Hillary

These and many more topics coming up on today’s edition of The Chad Hasty Show. Tune in mornings 8:30-11am on News/Talk 790 KFYO, streaming online at kfyo.com, and now on your iPhone and Android device with the radioPup App. All guest interviews can be heard online in our podcast section after the show at kfyo.com.

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