NEWS AND OPINION:
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is embracing voters of faith in no uncertain terms. The Republican presidential hopeful launched his own national Faith and Family Coalition in September, which includes in its public outreach the motto ‘God Above Government.”
The idea and the outreach appear to be effective. The candidate now states that over 100 pastors and religious leaders in Iowa have stepped forward to support him.
“Support for DeSantis within the faith community has grown because of his unwavering commitment to standing for life, religious liberties, and family values,” his campaign said in a statement released Sunday.
Indeed, Mr. DeSantis is campaigning in Iowa accompanied by family members. Their itinerary has included stops at many churches.
“I have thought and prayed about who is the right person to lead our country and believe fully that the right person is Ron DeSantis. He is an ally to the faith community here in Iowa, will stand firm for the truth, and I know that as president, his faith will continue to be his anchor. I am proud to join his Faith & Family Coalition and look forward to caucusing for him in January,” Darran Whiting, pastor at Liberty Baptist Church in Linn County, said in a written statement shared with Inside the Beltway by the DeSantis campaign.
“Ron DeSantis is the right man for this moment to lead America’s revival, and I am pleased to give him my full support. Our nation needs a leader who will stand firm in his principles and put God above government. Ron DeSantis’ bold record as governor of Florida proves he will never waver in the fight for what’s right,” Earl Beal, pastor at Joy Baptist Church in Lee County, said in the same campaign release.
DESANTIS TO TAKE ON NEWSOM
Meanwhile, politics can inspire creative programming.
Such is the case with Fox News, which has revealed that prime-time host Sean Hannity will present an exclusive televised debate between Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
The big date is Nov. 30, the place will be Alpharetta, Georgia. And the network has given the 90-minute live event a snappy title too: “DeSantis vs. Newsom: The Great Red vs. Blue State Debate.”
The event will be presented on Fox News from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Eastern time as part of a two-hour edition of “Hannity” and will be simulcast on Fox News Radio.
“Focusing on the major issues impacting the country, the debate will examine the vastly different approaches the two governors have and offer insights into their political philosophies as well as their ambitions for the nation,” Fox News said in a written statement shared with Inside the Beltway.
“Throughout the debate, Sean Hannity will highlight a variety of issues in each state, including the economy, the border, immigration, crime, and inflation. Presented without an audience, the governors will have equal opportunity to respond and address each issue,” the network said.
HOW FREE IS YOUR STATE?
So how “free” is the state you live in? The Cato Institute has the answer, perhaps.
The scholarly, libertarian-leaning policy organization has just released “Freedom in the 50 States: An Index of Personal and Economic Freedom” — which examines the freedom quotient in every state.
“This study ranks the American states according to how their public policies affect individual freedoms in the economic, social, and personal spheres. The 2023 edition updates and expands on the six previous editions of Freedom in the 50 States. It examines state and local government intervention across a wide range of policy categories — from taxation to debt, from eminent domain laws to occupational licensing, and from drug policy to educational choice,” notes the introduction to the index.
It can be found at Freedominthe50states.org.
Curious? New Hampshire is rated No. 1, while the state of New York is in last place. Needless to say, the New Hampshire Senate Republicans PAC is pleased that the Granite State is in first place.
“Our overall freedom, economic freedom, and fiscal freedom scores are number one across the board. It’s thanks to having no sales tax, no income tax, no capital gains tax, and eliminating the interest and dividends tax,” the organization said in a statement.
JOURNALISTS STILL IN DANGER
“The head of a prominent media institution in Gaza and two other journalists were killed during the weekend in Israel’s offensive in the territory, their relatives said on Sunday, adding to the dozens of reporters who have died in the six-week conflict,” Reuters news agency reported Monday.
This raises the death toll of journalists who are covering the events in the region to 48, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. The independent, nonprofit organization is based in New York and, according to its mission statement, promotes press freedom worldwide and “defends the right of journalists to report the news safely and without fear of reprisal.”
“Journalists across the region are making great sacrifices to cover this heart-breaking conflict. Those in Gaza, in particular, have paid, and continue to pay, an unprecedented toll and face exponential threats,” Sherif Mansour, the organization’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, told Reuters.
POLL DU JOUR
• 58% of registered U.S. voters think that China poses the greatest threat to the United States; 75% of Republicans, 58% of independents and 41% of Democrats agree.
• 22% overall think Russia poses the greatest threat to the U.S.: 10% of Republicans, 17% of independents and 40% of Democrats agree.
• 9% think Iran poses the greatest threat to the U.S.; 10% of Republicans, 11% of independents and 7% of Democrats agree.
• 6% think North Korea poses the greatest threat; 2% of Republicans, 6% of independents and 9% of Democrats agree.
• 2% think some other nation is the greatest threat to the U.S.; 1% of Republicans, 3% of independents and 2% of Democrats agree.
• 3% don’t know who poses the greatest threat to the U.S.; 2% of Republicans, 6% of independents and 2% of Democrats agree.
SOURCE: A Quinnipiac University poll of 1,574 registered U.S. voters conducted Nov. 9-13.
• Follow Jennifer Harper on X @HarperBulletin, on Facebook at HarperUniverse.