POLITICS: PennAve

Political Buzz: GOP says 'there are no rules' in quest for Senate majority

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President,Republican Party,2012 Elections,2014 Elections,2016 Elections,Rand Paul,Campaigns,Chris Christie,PennAve,Mitt Romney

A year out from Election Day 2014, national Republicans are vowing to do whatever is necessary to retake control of the Senate, even it means fighting outside conservative groups or taking sides against other Republicans in primary races.

“All options are on the table in every race,” National Republican Senatorial Committee Executive Director Rob Collins said. “We’re here to win.”

The NRSC's first priority is protecting incumbent Republican senators, but Collins said the committee also wants to ensure that the strongest possible Republican candidates reach the general election next fall because the ultimate goal is winning new seats.

“This is politics," he said, "and we’re ultimately in a win business.”

The NRSC's strategy is intended to counter campaign plans of outside advocacy groups like the Club for Growth, Heritage Action and the Senate Conservatives Fund, which not only want a Republican majority in the Senate, but the most conservative majority possible. As part of their strategy, those groups have targeted incumbent Republican senators they say are not conservative enough, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Collins said the NRSC doesn't want “a huge conflict between us and the outside groups,” even though the committee has already lashed out at those who align themselves with the groups. The Republican ad firm Jamestown Associates was barred from receiving any new NRSC contracts because of its work with the Senate Conservatives Fund.

“There are no rules,” Collins said of the upcoming races. “The path to getting a general election candidate who can win is all we care about.”

Plagiarism claims mount against Sen. Rand Paul

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., a potential 2016 Republican presidential contender, has been under a barrage of criticism by media organizations over whether he inappropriately copied material from others to use in his speeches, his book and other writings.

In the most recent case, Buzzfeed reported that Paul wrote an op-ed piece on mandatory minimum sentences for the Washington Times that included several passages that resembled a similar piece written a week earlier by the editor of The Week.

And in his book Government Bullies: How Everyday Americans are Being Harassed, Abused, and Imprisoned by the Feds, Paul is accused of including three pages of material that appear to have been copied from think tank reports.

The first charges of potential plagiarism that sparked a review of Paul's other writings came from MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, who noted that Paul's description of the movie "Gattaca" were almost identical to passages on the movie's Wikipedia page.

Paul dismissed the criticisms as the work of “footnote police” and “hacks and haters.” He suggested on ABC's “This Week” that he wished dueling was still legal so he could challenge his critics.

Romney thought Christie was too fat to be his VP

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney considered inviting New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to join the 2012 ticket as his vice presidential running mate, but nixed the idea at least in part because he thought Christie was too fat, a new book reports.

“Romney marveled at Christie’s girth, his difficulties in making his way down the narrow aisle of the campaign bus,” journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann wrote in their new book, Double Down: Game Change 2012. “Watching a video of Christie without his suit jacket on, Romney cackled to his aides, ‘Guys! Look at that!’ ”

Christie, codenamed “Pufferfish” by the Romney campaign, also grated on the presidential nominee's staff because he was often late for events, demanded “lavish spreads of food” and had an “overbearing staff,” the book says.

Christie has acknowledged publicly that's he's had to battle his weight, and earlier this year underwent gastric bypass surgery to help reduce it. But it turns out the New Jersey governor, who just won a second term in blue New Jersey, wasn't fond of the Romney team either.

“I'm tired of you people,” Christie told a Romney adviser at the Republican convention. “Leave me the [expletive] alone.”

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