“The Sunday Political Brunch” — February 24, 2013

by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis

mcurtis@abc6.com

(Providence, Rhode Island) – I have an exciting movie project
to tell you about, concerning an issue that has stirred a lot of political
debate. More about that in a minute, but first I promised I would handicap the 2016
Republican presidential hopefuls as of now, just as we looked at Democrats last
week. Here we go!

“Bush v. Clinton” – It's not outside the realm of
possibility that we could see another Bush-Clinton “family feud” ala
1992. Right now Hillary Clinton is the Democratic frontrunner, and Jeb Bush has
a realistic shot at being the Republican nominee if he chooses to run. Bush is
a potential powerhouse for a number of reasons. He could put Florida (and its
29 votes) back in the GOP Electoral College column. Bush, who is fluent in
Spanish, has polled well among Hispanic voters (his wife is Colombian). So he
could help close that voter gap for Republicans. The bottom line, this race
would just be plain fascinating to cover. It's the best headline maker among
the possibilities.

“Candid Camera” – The outspoken and gruff Governor
of New Jersey, Chris Christie, is also a good bet to run in the GOP primary.
He's candid, quotable, colorful and spontaneous (which can be good and bad). The
bottom line, he's a refreshing change from rehearsed speeches and canned sound
bites that dominate American politics. He's the Forrest Gump “box of
chocolates” candidate because you never know what you are going to get.
People like his brash self-confidence and bravado. The fact that he was
recently in the ultra-liberal San Francisco Bay Area for a fundraiser tells you
he's serious.

“Si Senor Rubio” – Marco Rubio, who might be Vice President
right now had Mitt Romney picked him, is a top-tier candidate. Then again he
might be president of the Poland Spring water company after that awkward drink of
water during the State of the Union response! I think they should call that controversy,
“Watergate!” Ok, I'll stop with my stand-up comedy routine. But
seriously, Rubio could be the Hispanic version of Barack Obama. He's young,
energetic, and bright and has a compelling personal story. People like the
“pull yourself up by your bootstraps” stories. It's truly American!
One caveat: if Jeb Bush runs, Rubio won't. The two are close and Bush is his
mentor. In fact Rubio ran for the Senate at Bush's encouragement, after Bush
passed on the race.

“Ohio Rules” – I seriously think we will have a
contender from Ohio. Either Governor John Kasich or Senator Rob Portman will
run. Why? Because the GOP cannot win the White House without Ohio – never has,
never will. Both men are budget experts, and we will likely come out of the
Obama years with a federal deficit in excess of 20 trillion dollars. I'm not saying
the GOP can fix it either, but Kasich was House Budget Committee Chairman and
Portman was Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. These
guys are number crunchers, at a time when it's going to be an asset to have
that experience on the resume.

“There She Goes” – A big problem for the GOP may
continue to be the gender gap. Republicans don't have to win the female vote;
they just need to be more competitive. I don't think Sarah Palin will run
(because she can't win); and I don't think Condoleezza Rice will run (even
though she could win). Look for a female VP candidate to get serious
consideration. Rice is plausible, as is Governor Susanna Martinez of New Mexico.
If Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, a female Republican on the ticket
is almost a  certainty.

“Longshots” – Former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels
has the right mix of political and private sector acumen. He's a possibility.
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky made headlines by teeing off on Hillary Clinton
in the recent Libya hearings. He really skewered her, without coming off as a
bully. But, he's too closely allied with the Tea Party, and its power is
starting to wane. Paul may be viable someday, but I don't think that day is on
the 2016 calendar. Paul Ryan would have to give up a safe House seat and the
Budget Committee Chairmanship. Look, he could not even carry his home state of Wisconsin
for the GOP in 2012, and the party needs to win the Badger State to get back
into the White House. Like Paul, Ryan may be viable another year, but likely not
2016.

“Amazing Ops: Siege at Benghazi” – As mentioned at
the top, I am doing some of the public relations work for a film now in
production, “Amazing Ops: Siege at Benghazi.” It is being produced by
some friends at HistoriVision LLC (www.HistoriVision.com) and is an important
film aimed at explaining what happened in Libya on September 11, 2012. If
you've ever wondered about how Special Operations and Intelligence forces
operate this is the film to watch. Look at the movie trailer and click on the
link if you'd like to help make it reality! http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/historivision/amazing-ops-siege-at-benghazi.

As always, if you have opinions, questions or disagreements,
just click the comment button at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.

(c) 2013, MarkCurtisMedia, LLC