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Presidential Horse Race 2016: Scott Walker calls it quits

We begin today with news of the second capitulation in the 2016 Republican presidential race, this time it’s Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (the first being Rick Perry almost two weeks ago).

Eric Bradner, John King and Dana Bash of CNN report Walker decided to call it quits because of his sinking poll numbers, which registered at basically zero late last week after the second debate. In his announcement Scott Walkerthat he was suspending his campaign, he encouraged others to drop out as well in order to focus energy on finding an alternative to “the current frontrunner.”

There will be plenty of time to analyze why a campaign that once showed so much promise flamed out so quickly, but it largely stems from Walker’s apparent dearth of core principles which led to a number of damaging flip-flops in the past couple months.

If Scott couldn’t decide where he stands, how could he compete with the deep pool of “outsider” talent that’s present in this year’s Republican field?

It’s safe to say most conservatives still hold a favorable opinion of Walker’s job as governor. In time, perhaps, he could make another run… and next time, hopefully he’ll be a little more prepared to answer basic questions on his positions.

To be (a Muslim president) or not to be. That is the question.

Can’t we just talk about polls?

Whereas a week ago at this time we were gearing up for the second Republican presidential debate, this week we’re concentrating on whether the candidates think President Obama’s a Muslim – or whether a Muslim could or should be president.

The media’s fascination with stupidity will never cease.

Of course the controversy began with Donald Trump, but it’s now spread to Ben Carson and others in the Republican field. Carson had the audacity to give an opinion on Muslims and then back it up, all within the span of one day.

Allahpundi at Hot Air points out that the Left is a bit hypocritical on this type of thing. “The left has its own version of this. They openly mock devoutly Christian Republican candidates as theocrats in the making, but question Obama’s faith and they’ll slap you with insistences that O himself is a man as devout in his Christian belief as any wingnut. If they really believed that, they’d fear an Obama theocracy too. But they don’t believe it.

“They’re comfortable with O because, they think, he doesn’t take his faith particularly seriously. Carson and Jindal are arguing the same way about Muslim candidates. Reassure that the candidate is about as Islamic as Obama is Christian and they’re okay with him.”

Allahpundit mentions Bobby Jindal above, who had his own thoughts on the matter, chiding the media for “absurd hypothetical questions.”

And then there’s Ted Cruz, who somewhat surprisingly took issue with Carson’s main point. As reported by Mark Hensch of The Hill, Cruz said, “You know, the Constitution specifies there shall be no religious test for public office and I am a constitutionalist… My view, listen. The president’s faith is between him and God. What I’m going to focus on is his public policy record.”

(A Muslim group also makes the Constitutional argument in calling for Ben to drop out of the race.)

Cruz did say he’d be okay with excluding Muslims from the refugee pool the U.S. has agreed to accept.

If so-called journalists want a rubber stamp politically correct answer to any question, why don’t they just go ask Hillary about it? But then again, why don’t they pin her down on whether she’s watched the abhorrent Planned Parenthood videos?

They do their job when it suits them. But media bias is an old story.

To me, this isn’t all that much apart than asking the candidates whether they believe in evolution. Oops, I might have blown something open there. Maybe we’ll be hearing about that next week.

People are now taking a close look at Carly Fiorina. Do they like what they see?

Carly Fiorina knows what a difference a week makes in the news cycle – and at least for her, it has nothing to do with Muslims.

Her roundly praised showing in last week’s debate has boosted her in the polls, but it’s also bringing about a much closer look at her record.

Some of the scrutiny involves trying to determine how conservative she truly is. Streiff at RedState examines the subject and finds that many of the same criticisms of Donald Trump’s questionable ideology could just as easily be applied to Fiorina’s.

“Though we look askance at Trump when he suddenly becomes pro-life, we see that Fiorina had a come-to-Jesus moment on the same issue. Unlike Trump, she seems to have been politically pro-abort, acting as McCain’s surrogate to assuage fears among embittered pro-Hillary women that McCain was wooing in 2008.

“Was she a Judas-goat, deceiving these women? Or was she pro-abort? We sort of have to take it on faith that she isn’t yet another ‘5th Avenue liberal’ to use a phrase that has gotten a lot of traffic recently and has legitimately changed.”

Streiff adds those “closet liberal” criticisms could also stick to Ben Carson, who made some wishy-washy comments on gun control just last year.

And we all know there are many conservatives who consider Donald Trump a liberal and won’t support him under any circumstances.

The back-and-forth is enough to make your head spin. Speaking of, Gabby Morrongiello of the Washington Examiner reports that Donald Trump said (on Fox News’ ‘Fox and Friends’ program) listening to Fiorina repeat herself endlessly gives him a “tremendous headache.”

“I think she's got a good line of pitter-patter, but when you listen to her for more than five minutes, you develop a tremendous headache. If you've heard her, it's very similar, it's always the same line. I've heard the same lines many times and I think that that will fade."

In the article, Trump basically repeats his claims from last week’s debate – namely, that Fiorina mismanaged her business career and it cost people their jobs. The Donald predicted once people closely examine her record that her fortunes will fade like they did in 2010 when she ran for the Senate.

Those are tough criticisms and perhaps a bit unfair. Trump is trying to put some distance between himself and a serious rival – but it’s exactly the type of thing Carly will face in a potential general election match-up.

Does her CEO past make her more or less conservative? Once again, it’s a matter of interpretation.

As a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, Debra Saunders closely observed Fiorina in her 2010 run for the Senate in California. Saunders says Carly will face a lot of the “cold hearted CEO” accusations Mitt Romney endured.

But make no mistake, Fiorina is no Romney. “The difference, some Republican fans tell me, is Fiorina’s skill at biting back. When CNN debate moderator Jake Tapper asked Fiorina about Trump’s assertion that Fiorina ‘ran HP into the ground,’ she did not flinch.

“She described what the economy was like when she took the helm. She did not regret her ‘tough choices,’ because tough cookies (my phrase) make enemies. Then Fiorina pulled out a card few can draw. When HP fired her, she said, Steve Jobs called to say, ‘Hey, been there, done that twice.’”

Lastly on Carly, as reported by Alex Isenstadt of Politico, Fiorina is frantically reaching out for help in building her campaign up to match her top-tier status.

“To maintain her momentum and fend off the attacks that rivals say are headed her way, she’ll require more than just endorsements: She must establish a far more robust political organization, one with high-profile surrogates, well-staffed offices in early primary states and seasoned strategists.”

A lot of the buzz surrounding Trump a few weeks ago is now focused on Fiorina. She’s clearly the flavor of the moment. The question is can she withstand all the scrutiny, build an organization and maintain her message?

Time will tell.

The Donald is set to release his new book the day before the next debate

Finally today, Donald Trump announced he’s coming out with a new book.

Ben Schreckinger of Politico reports, “The as-yet-untitled book — set for release on Oct. 27 — ‘will outline how a crippled America could be restored to greatness’ and ‘explore Trump’s view on key issues including the economy, big CEO salaries and taxes, healthcare, education, national security and social issues,’ according to a news release from publisher Simon and Schuster.”

The third Republican presidential debate will take place on October 28 (hosted by CNBC at the University of Colorado at Boulder). The forum is slated to discuss the economy and domestic issues – not so coincidentally, the same things Trump talks about in his book.

Do you think we’ll hear a plug or two from The Donald for the book on that night?

I’d bet the house on it.

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