Cruz and Rubio Campaigns Accused of Telling Iowa Voters Before the Caucus that Ben Carson Dropped Out (UPDATED)

UPDATE 2/3/16: The source of the story that Marco Rubio’s campaign told caucus goers that Ben Carson dropped out of the caucus now says his tweet was a mistake and based on other tweets he saw the night of the caucus. See information at the end of this post.
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This morning Ben Carson is calling on Ted Cruz to fire any staffers who told Iowa voters that Carson dropped out of the campaign.
Carson announced Monday that he was going to Florida after the caucuses but later clarified that he needed to go home for fresh clothes and was not dropping out.
According to tweets posted on Monday night, the rumor quickly circulated that Carson was suspending his campaign. Some of those tweets pointed to unnamed persons within the Cruz and Rubio campaigns as pushing the story that Carson was ending his campaign.
This tweet points to Cruz’s campaign:


Mr. Locker later told me via twitter that Steve King, Cruz’s national co-chair, was tweeting about Carson dropping out before the caucus event started.
Here is that tweet:


Another tweet points to Rubio’s campaign:


(Conrad Close has now deleted this tweet and said it was a mistake. Please see the updates below).
RubioCampCarsonOut
It is unclear whether or not the campaigns knew Carson was going to get clothes or if they simply followed the media reports that Carson might be dropping out.
UPDATE: Cruz apologized to Carson for not relaying a correction to the campaign workers Monday night.
UPDATE: 2/3/16: Now Conrad Close says his tweet was a mistake.


I am unclear what Mr. Close saw on twitter which would have led him to believe Rubio’s campaign was running with the “Carson drops out” story.

Iowa Caucus Results by County, Romney squeaks out of Iowa

UPDATE: Romney by 8 votes over Santorum with Paul third. Perry goes home to Texas to reassess his campaign, Gingrich goes negative and Bachmann soldiers on.

A really nice county map of Iowa is up at Talking Points Memo.

You can see the results for the state and each county as they come in.

The Iowa GOP site has a nice state map too

Anti-gay politics and Ron Paul: A match made in Iowa

While Ron Paul’s personal beliefs about gays are hard to discern, his strategy in Iowa has been to make the most of anti-gay sentiment there. All last week, I pointed out the work of Mike Heath, Paul’s Iowa state director, to bring in Christian conservatives to the Paul fold. On Friday, I interviewed Brian Nolder, a pastor serving in Pella, IA who has endorsed Paul. Nolder noted that the Paul support among Christians has grown this election season but remains sharply divided between Christians looking for a candidate who will implement conservative positions on social issues from Washington and those who seek a weaker Federal government which will leave those decisions with the states.

With fine reporting, Talking Points Memo picked up on my posts last week about the Kayser endorsement and Mike Heath’s work there. This morning, TPM’s Benjy Sarlin explores Ron Paul’s support among Christian conservatives in Iowa. As I did last week, Sarlin found Christians there divided between those who want a perfect ideological candidate and those who want the Federal government to leave matters to the states.

Sarlin also highlights the work of Mike Heath who is selling Ron Paul as a conservative on gay marriage and abortion. The pro-life argument seems easier, but when it comes to gays, Heath has had a harder sell. In Iowa, Heath has worked to make Paul appealing to both ideological purists and state’s rights conservatives. In his TPM article, Sarlin points to Paul’s Defense of Marriage poster at events (see here) and various pastoral endorsements mentioning Paul’s opposition to gay marriage.

If anti-gay politics and Ron Paul have married in Iowa, then the matchmaker is clearly Heath. TPM reports that Heath had a “stint” as chair of the three-man board of the Americans for Truth About Homosexuality but that barely scratches the surface. While in Maine, Heath said it would be “prudent to reinstate Maine’s anti-sodomy law…” and called homosexuality “a sickness.” Heath opposed basic protections for gays including equal access in housing and employment.

Despite these appeals in Iowa to state’s rights, the prospects are slim that a Paul Presidency would rollback Federal civil rights protections very much. However, if Ron Paul is somehow successful and secures the nomination and then Presidency, he will have to fill an administration with people who think like him. One way to evaluate who a candidate would bring into his administration is to examine his campaign.

Do I need to say more?

Related:

Jonathan Turley says Ron Paul’s response to Kayser endorsement is inadequate

Prominent attorney Jonathan Turley has called on Ron Paul to do more than remove the endorsement of Christian reconstructionist pastor Phil Kayser.

Turley thinks highly of Paul but is critical of his handling of the endorsement and the removal of the endorsement from the website.

Turley calls Kayser, Paul’s preacher problem, writing

Now Ron Paul has his own embarrassing association. The preacher is Rev. Phillip G. Kayser, a pastor at the Dominion Covenant Church in Nebraska, who has a following in Iowa. The Paul campaign issued a press release (that it later removed from its site) heralding the endorsement of Kayser. The problem is that Kayser believes that gays should be executed according to biblical law. It was a a highly destructive endorsement for Paul who is attracting civil libertarians to his campaign. No one can stop someone from endorsing you, but the campaign clearly sought this endorsement from an extremist with reprehensible views. Unlike Wright, Kayser is not Paul’s personal minister, but the press release made him Paul’s problem in reaching out to civil libertarians.

While the campaign was right to pull the press release, it now should take responsibility and disassociate from Kayser. This is, in my view, another example of the dangers of faith-based politics, something that I have long condemned as inimical to separation principles.

Turley is right. Paul appears to be ignoring this and hoping no one will ask or hold him accountable. He may get out of Iowa without dealing with it, but this is only the first contest. I think GOP voters in other states will want answers.

Related:

Ron Paul touts endorsement of pastor who defends death penalty for gays, delinquent children & adultery

Phillip Kayser is pastor of the Dominion Covenant Church in Omaha, Nebraska, just across the border from Iowa. Yesterday, Rev. Kayser endorsed Ron Paul for President.  The Paul campaign clearly welcomed the endorsement calling Kayser an “eminent pastor.” Ron Paul’s Iowa Chairman, Drew Ivers, commended Kayser’s view of Paul’s approach to government, saying

“We welcome Rev. Kayser’s endorsement and the enlightening statements he makes on how Ron Paul’s approach to government is consistent with Christian beliefs.  We’re thankful for the thoughtfulness with which he makes his endorsement and hope his endorsement and others like it make a strong top-three showing in the caucus more likely,” said Ron Paul 2012 Iowa Chairman Drew Ivers.

Dr. Kayser has degrees in education, theology and philosophy/ethics.  He is the author of over 40 books and booklets.  The name of one organization that he founded describes well his ministry: Biblical Blueprints.  His passion is to see the comprehensive blueprints of the Scriptures applied to science, civil government, education, art, history, economics, business, and every area of life.

For his part, Kayser said he had some disagreements with Paul but endorsed Paul due to Paul’s views on limited government, non-intervention abroad and civics. Kayser said Paul’s view of civics is “far closer to Biblical civics than any of the other candidate’s…”

Kayser’s endorsement and the Paul campaign’s response (“…how Ron Paul’s approach to government is consistent with Christian beliefs”) is of note because what Kayser believes about government. It appears that Kayser is a Christian reconstructionist (see this post about their views) who believes that the penalties associated with Mosaic law should be implemented today. Also, known as theonomy, the adherents generally believe biblical rules should be promoted by Christians in politics and implemented by legislation.

Kayser’s work is promoted on the website Theonomy Resources which is run by Stephen Halbrook. I wrote about Halbrook’s book on biblical law here and noted that he promoted the idea that homosexuality, adultery, idolatry and rebellion in children should be considered capital offenses today (see What would dominionists do with gays? Part 3).

In his own writing, Kayser has similar views. In defense of the death penalty, he writes:

Whereas Hebrews 2:2 gives a blanket endorsement of all Old Testament penology as justice, the rest of the New Testament gives specifics. It teaches that homosexuals who come out of the closet are “worthy of death” (Rom. 1:32). It teaches that juvenile delinquents who abuse their parents can in certain circumstances “be put to death” (Mt. 15:3-9) and that rejection of this provision was to “transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition” (v. 3).

Kayser nuances his teaching somewhat by saying the death penalty is not required by the Old Testament, but instead may be implemented by the state if parents press charges.

Would the church of today receive the same scathing denunciation because we do not want the state to enforce this law? In America we have juvenile delinquents who threaten their parents, abuse their parents and keep their parents in constant fear. There should be some provision where this could be stopped. Keep in mind that in the Old Testament the parents couldn’t put their children to death, only the state could. On the other hand, the state couldn’t put them to death unless the parents testified against them. And there are many other checks and balances in Biblical jurisprudence that are outlined in Appendix A. But Christ gives no indication that this commandment has been annulled. Instead, he reproves those who would seek to annul it.

Regarding gays, Kayser’s vision for a nation being restored to biblical law allows for a variety of responses:

For example, in a society that was being converted, homosexuals could continue to be converted as they were in the church of Corinth. Even after a society implemented Biblical law and made homosexuality a crime, there are many checks and balances that would be in place. (See Appendix A page 40 for specifics.) The civil government could not round them up. Only those who were prosecuted by citizens could be punished, and the punishment could take a number of forms, including death. This would have a tendency of driving homosexuals back into their closets. (p. 24)

I don’t know if Ron Paul believes this way or not, but Rev. Kayser and the Paul campaign certainly seem to endorse each other on their views of government. I think Rep. Paul should be asked if he would support the right of a state to implement such a system. If he is consistent with his past writings and current endorsers, I don’t know on what basis he would believe that a federal court could overturn laws recriminalizing homosexuality.

Adultery is also listed by Kayser as a potential capital crime. Um, Newt…

UPDATE: Phillip Kayser’s endorsement has been scrubbed from Ron Paul’s website.

Related:

What Does Ron Paul Really Believe About Gays?

What do Dan Savage and AFTAH’s Mike Heath have in common?

What does Ron Paul really believe about gays?

Currently, with one week remaining until Iowa’s Presidential Caucus, Ron Paul is in the hot seat. The Texas GOP hopeful denies writing racist columns for a newsletter bearing his name during the 1990s. Examining Paul’s denials, the Washington Post’s Josh Hicks gave Paul three Pinocchios which according to the Post means that Paul’s statements are misleading and use “legalistic language that means little to ordinary people.”

Paul’s views on gays are also open to question. One newsletter citation, frequently noted in the press, relates to his views on gays and HIV. Reportedly Paul said that gays “enjoy the attention” of that illness. In another 1989 newsletter, he criticizes the Massachusetts legislature for passing a gay rights laws, and implies that gays wanted to promote pedophilia:

Given the fact that Paul recently reversed himself and voted to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, one might wonder if his views on gays have changed. However, the Paul campaign’s current State Director is Mike Heath. Heath is also the chairman of the board of the Americans for Truth About Homosexuality and once worked to oppose state initiatives such as the one condemned by Paul in the 1989 newsletter. A 2010 article on the AFTAH website describes Heath as

…the former executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine and the new executive director of American Family Association of New England. (Heath will also retain the title of AFA of Maine.) He is also the only pro-family leader in American history to direct (as part of a pro-family coalition in Maine) the defeat of two statewide homosexual “special rights” laws, 1998 and 2001. In this interview, Heath, the Board Chairman of AFTAH, touches on the new evangelical politics surrounding anti-”gay marriage” initiatives — in which principled advocates against homosexuality like Heath are ostracized in the name of building coalitions more palatable to “moderate” voters.

AFTAH describes itself as “a group dedicated to exposing the homosexual activist agenda.” Last year, the organization was listed as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center due to frequent misrepresentations and vilification of gays in public statements and literature. Just recently, AFTAH used the Penn State child abuse scandal as a platform to link sex crimes of pedophiles with homosexuality.

Apparently, Heath’s work is having some effect in Iowa with at least one endorsement touted on Paul’s website. According to the news release announcing the endorsement, Heath has been to “295 houses of worship” in Iowa. On the matter of gays and gay rights, I wonder what position is being articulated in those houses of worship.

Given his prior newsletters and his current staff, it is fair to ask what Ron Paul really believes. Despite Paul’s denials, his views in 2012 may be about what they were in 1989.

UPDATE: Here is more on Ron Paul’s views from a former staffer. According to Eric Dondero, Paul is uncomfortable around gays but believes they should be free to do whatever they please in their private lives. The Paul campaign is taking this seriously, responding to CBS News over the matter.

If Paul had any chances to catch on with the mainstream, they are pretty much gone now. He claims he didn’t write the racist and bigoted newsletters but he has yet to name who did. He says he does not know but he has not, as far as I can read, given even a theory about who did or how he could recommend the newsletter without knowing what was in it.