The two breakout stars in the early going GOP presidential sweepstakes — Jeb Bush and Scott Walker — go to New Hampshire this weekend, site of the nation’s first primary election some 10 months from now.
For Bush, it will be his first political visit to the Granite State in 15 years. Walker is a relative stranger as well, having made only one previous visit back in 2012 to speak at the state’s convention.
They’re not the only 2016 hopefuls who’ll be making the rounds: Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and current U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz are also either in New Hampshire or will be soon.
Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz says that both Bush and Perry are “pretending” to be new men, or in Jeb’s case, his own man. “But all they’re really trying to do is distance themselves from either a previous failed campaign — oops — or their failed record,” she said on a conference call on Thursday afternoon.
Perry is already in New Hampshire. Earlier on Thursday he told a crowd that while he is not obviously in the U.S. Senate, he did sign on to that Tom Cotton penned GOP letter designed to thwart President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.
“I happen to believe there are some things that are too important not to find compromise on,” Perry told a crowd at Saint Anselm College’s Institute of Politics. “Allowing Iran to get its hands on a nuclear weapon is non-negotiable in my opinion, and I think the president is making an error. … There are places out there that are so important that we can’t compromise our principles.”
Wasserman Schultz dropped her sarcasm when asked to respond.
“It’s not possible for me today to handicap what the likelihood negotiations P5 + 1 negotiations to be successful, but I can tell you that given the alternatives that are available, which include war, I believe that as a strong pro-Israel member of Congress and as a Jew, that it is absolutely essential that we do everything we can to prevent Iran from achieving a nuclear weapon, and these negotiations are part of that overall goal.”
But the DNC Chair was back on point when asked to talk about the fact that Texas has led the nation in job creation over the past few years, with Perry leading the way.
“Rick Perry is darned lucky that nature has been kind enough to make Texas a deep and rich source of oil, and that a…huge percentage of the job growth there has been the result of the oil industry,” Wasserman Schultz replied. “Which obviously Rick Perry can’t take credit for the fact that there’s a lot of oil underground in his state.”
One Republican not mentioned was Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who also has presidential ambitions — though whether he will pursue them fully is still unclear at this point.
“He’s not a leader, he’s a follower,” Wasserman Schultz sniffed about the Florida senator, referring to how he backed away from the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill that he co-sponsored. She then went into his record on Social Security, Medicare and previous support for House Budget chairman Paul Ryan’s controversial proposals. “He is exactly from the mold of the recent Republicans that have repeatedly embraced taking care of people who are already doing well and to heck with people simply trying to make a better way of life for themselves and reach the middle class.”
Bush’s itinerary in New Hampshire includes meeting with the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce and attend a house party in Dover on Friday. He’ll also headline closed-door fundraisers for two GOP lawmakers on Friday and Saturday and also meet privately with potential supporters.