from The Water's Edge

Campaign 2016 Friday Foreign Policy Roundup: Foreign Policy and the 2016 Presidential Primaries

An election day morning in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2014). (Mark Makela/Reuters)

January 22, 2016

An election day morning in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2014). (Mark Makela/Reuters)
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Blog posts represent the views of CFR fellows and staff and not those of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.

Washington is bracing for what looks to be a historic snowstorm that could dump thirty inches of snow (or more) on the nation’s capital. Despite the grim forecast, Charlie Cook of The Cook Political Report and Sam Feist, CNN’s Washington bureau chief, came over to CFR’s Washington office to join me in discussing foreign policy and the 2016 presidential primaries. Bruce Stokes of the Pew Research Center moderated.

We covered a range of issues. The main takeaways are: none of us think that foreign policy will decide the election; voters are overwhelmingly worried about terrorism and not about China, Russia, North Korea, Cuba, or any other foreign policy issue; and Democrats and Republicans look at terrorism and foreign policy very differently. And no, none of us knows who will win the primaries or the general election.

The full discussion has a lot more detail and nuance. C-SPAN 2 is set to run it tonight at 8 p.m. (EST) if you are looking for something to watch. And for everybody in the path of this storm on the East Coast, please stay safe.

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Elections and Voting

In Case You Missed It

Jeb Bush spoke at CFR this week on the challenges of U.S. foreign policy. Bernie Sanders issued a statement on the news that 2015 was the hottest year on record, and asked “Where’s Clinton’s Climate Plan?” The Sanders campaign also released a statement on ISIS, arguing that “former Secretary of State Clinton has more experience than Sen. Sanders, but his judgement on major foreign policy issues is far superior.” Ben Carson released a statement saying that he was pleased to learn of the release of American prisoners from Iran and also denouncing the nuclear deal with Iran. Jeb Bush released a “plan for America”—he says he will “destroy ISIS, strengthen our military, keep our homeland safe and honor our commitments to our veterans.”

Sanders released a campaign ad titled “Defend This Nation.” It argues that “it’s time to end the quagmire of perpetual warfare in the Middle East.” Rubio released “Disqualified.” As you might gather from the title, it argues that Hillary Clinton’s handling of intelligence information and Benghazi disqualifies her from the White House.

A new Gallup poll indicates that the percentage of Americans satisfied with security from terrorism has dropped 26 points in two years. You won’t be surprised to learn than that the decline was far steeper among Republicans than among Democrats.

If you missed Sunday’s Democratic debate, the New York Times has provided a transcript and analysis, and the Washington Post has provided an annotated version. You can watch the whole thing on the NBC News YouTube channel. If you don’t have time for the whole debate, the Washington Post posted a clip of Clinton and Sanders discussing the Iran deal. NPR fact-checked the debate. Politico noted that the Democrats left terrorism and foreign policy out of their top priorities during the debate. And, the Wall Street Journal offers a debate guide, allowing you to find quotes on specific questions or topics from all prime-time debates. The Hill reports that Clinton is launching an attack on Sanders’s foreign policy inexperience. Max Fisher argues that this attacks shows that Democrats are a mess on foreign policy. Fisher also wasn’t impressed with how the Democrats handled foreign policy during their latest debate.

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Elections and Voting

Looking Ahead

If you thought we were finished with presidential debates, think again. The Republican candidates take to the debate stage again next Thursday, January 28th. The undercard debate will begin at 7 p.m. (EST). The prime-time debate will begin at 9 p.m. (EST), and Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly, and Chris Wallace will moderate. The main event will begin at 9 p.m. (EST). Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly, and Chris Wallace will moderate the prime-time debate. Both debates will be held at the Iowa Events Center in downtown Des Moines. Speaking of the Iowa caucuses, they are ten days away. We are eighteen days from the New Hampshire primary, and 291 days from Election Day.