Chad’s Morning Brief: Republicans Slam Obama’s Cuban Deal, Hillary Clinton Rakes in Money, and Other Top Stories
Your Morning Brief for July 2, 2015.
President Obama and Cuba
Many in the 2016 Republican field of candidates slammed President Obama's announcement yesterday that the United States and Cuba would each open an embassy. According to the Wall Street Journal, it didn't take long for the Republicans to weigh in.
Republican presidential candidates on Wednesday denounced the Obama administration’s agreement with Cuba to open embassies in each other’s capitals, with some vowing to oppose installation of a U.S. ambassador until more progress is made on human rights and other issues on the Communist island.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), a Cuban-American, pledged to block Senate confirmation of any Cuban ambassador President Barack Obama nominates until the administration makes progress resolving property claims, removing restrictions on U.S. diplomats in Cuba and securing greater political freedom.
“It is time for our unilateral concessions to this odious regime to end,” Mr. Rubio said in a statement released Wednesday morning, before Mr. Obama held a Rose Garden ceremony to announce that embassies in Havana and Washington would be open July 20.
The administration may choose to sidestep a big fight in the Senate and postpone nominating an ambassador for some time. The embassy will be run in the interim by the chief of mission who is already in place and serves with the rank of ambassador.
Although some Republicans in Congress have been supportive of the administration’s rapprochement with Cuba, major candidates in the GOP presidential field — especially those seeking support from Cuban-American Republicans in the swing state of Florida — have been solidly opposed.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush also faulted the administration policies, saying the “real test” was whether they were making progress in demanding progress in human rights.
“The ongoing detention of dissidents and continued human rights abuses suggest the administration’s policy is failing this test,” said Mr. Bush. “I hope the U.S. Congress will scrutinize the concessions made to Havana prior to considering any ambassador.”
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, whose father left Cuba for the U.S. in the 1950s, said he also would oppose funding for embassy construction in Havana “unless and until the president can demonstrate that he has made some progress in alleviating the misery of our friends, the people of Cuba.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who announced he was running for president Tuesday, also criticized Mr. Obama.
“The president is dead wrong. What he’s doing is dead wrong,” Mr. Christie said during an appearance Wednesday in Maine with Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican who has endorsed the New Jersey governor’s presidential bid.
Mr. Christie has a special home-state interest in the policy: He said that diplomatic ties with the island nation shouldn’t be furthered until Cuba extradites a fugitive, Joanne Chesimard, wanted for killing a New Jersey state trooper in 1973.
Also weighing in was former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who accused the administration of a broad pattern of politicizing foreign policy. He called the embassy opening “the most recent example of this president’s foreign policy that ignores reality in exchange for surface level political ‘wins.’”
Public opinion however is on President Obama's side. According to the Wall Street Journal, 60% of Americans support normalizing relations with Cuba. That includes just over 40% of Republicans.
Hillary Clinton Raises $45 Million
According to POLITICO, Hillary Clinton has been able to raise over $45 million dollars for her campaign. The figure shows just how much support she has in the Democratic primary.
Hillary Clinton is on track to raise more than $45 million in her first quarter as a candidate, her campaign said on Wednesday, boasting that it represents the biggest-ever primary haul for a candidate’s first three months.
That figure gets the Democratic front-runner nearly halfway to the campaign’s goal of raising $100 million in 2015, and gives the Clinton camp some welcome headlines after the State Department late Tuesday released the latest batch of Clinton’s emails during her time as secretary of state.
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While there appeared to be no bombshells in the documents, the files served as a reminder of the controversy tied to Clinton’s exclusive use of private email during her tenure, which has spawned accusations of secrecy and double standards.
On Thursday, Clinton got to celebrate the fundraising numbers, tweeting that she’s “especially proud” that 91 percent of the donations were $100 or less.
“Just one thing left to say to everyone who has pitched in to support this campaign: Thank you,” she said in another tweet.
Her campaign noted that the figure bests the previous primary record of $41.9 million set by President Barack Obama’s campaign in 2011. It also beats Clinton’s numbers from the first three months of her 2008 bid, when she raised $19 million for the primary.
The Democratic front-runner has been on a cross-country fundraising spree in recent weeks, focusing on house parties with donors who give $2,700 themselves and raise $27,000 overall.
Clinton will have to spend very little of that money in the Democratic primary. Every poll shows Clinton ahead by large margins.
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