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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Purchase your tickets to SCGOP Presidential Candidates Debate in Myrtle Beach before they sell out!

The South Carolina Republican Party has partnered with FOX News Channel to present a live, nationally-televised Republican Party presidential candidates debate on Thursday, January 10, 2008, in historic Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The debate will be held at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center and is expected to attract the top Republican presidential candidates.

"We are extremely excited to host another presidential debate – this time, the stakes are even higher," said Dawson. "I look forward to welcoming an impressive slate of Republican presidential candidates back to South Carolina for our debate. Picking presidents is about much more than 30-second sound bytes here. All the candidates have campaigned hard across our state because they know they must shake our hands and look us square in the eye if they want our votes."

This debate will provide candidates an unprecedented opportunity to communicate directly with South Carolina Republican voters less than two weeks before they cast their ballot in the 2008 First-in-the-South Republican Party Presidential Primary. South Carolina’s official country music ambassador Calvin Gilmore, founder of the world-famous Carolina Opry, will sing the national anthem at the debate.

"Tens of thousands of Republicans from across the country and hundreds of journalists from around the world will flock to Myrtle Beach for this debate because they know the 2008 election could be decided on our stage that night," said Dawson. "It was truly an honor to have hosted one of the most-watched presidential debates in this election cycle last May, but our next debate will be even bigger."

Click here to puchase tickets before they sell out!

SCGOP Chairman Katon Dawson statement on New Hampshire primary date

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Katon Dawson today released the following statement regarding New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner’s press conference at which Gardner announced New Hampshire’s Tuesday, January 8, 2008 presidential primary date:

"The stakes couldn't be higher this election, and we are proud to hold the First-in-the-South Republican Party Presidential Primary in January," said Dawson. "We have great respect for New Hampshire’s First-in-the-Nation presidential primary status. South Carolina shares a combined 83-year history with New Hampshire of our two states being First-In-The-Nation and First-In-The-South in presidential primary politics. In our two states, presidential politics is about much more than 30-second television ads and clever sound bytes. New Hampshire and South Carolina voters are lucky enough to meet the candidates face-to-face and actually get to know the next President of the United States."

Dawson traveled to Concord, New Hampshire, on Thursday, August 9, 2007, where he announced the First-in-the-South Republican Party Presidential Primary will be held in South Carolina on Saturday, January 19, 2008. In the Executive Council Chambers of the New Hampshire State House, Dawson hand delivered a letter to New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, notifying him of the primary date.

The South Carolina Republican Party’s First-In-The-South Presidential Primary has grown in significance over time. Since 1980, no candidate has won the Republican nomination for president without winning South Carolina’s Republican primary. Republicans running for president in 2008 know South Carolina Republicans pick presidents and have already begun to focus on the state’s voters more than ever.

Click here to read this entire article

The Politico: Dawson recognized nationally for holding Hillary accountable

By Jonathan Martin of The Politio

Seizing on Hillary's claim in South Carolina today that she has "a lot of Republican support" in the conservative state, SC GOP chairman Katon Dawson issued this humdinger:

"Hillary Clinton is as popular among South Carolina Republicans as President Bush is among San Francisco liberals. Bill Clinton never carried our state, and Hillary certainly won’t carry South Carolina next November.

"Dawson's line about Clinton reminds me of something similar said a few years back by another Sandlapper: ex-Sen. Fritz Hollings.

Said Hollings in 1996 about Hillary's husband: "Clinton's as popular as AIDS in South Carolina."

Later that year, he said of Clinton's favorability numbers: ''If they reach 60 percent, then he can start dating again.''

They don't make 'em like ole Fritz anymore, do they?

Check out Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom's blog: Watchdog for the Taxpayers!

South Carolina Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom maintains a blog called Watchdog for the Taxpayers: Reflections by Richard Eckstrom. South Carolina Republicans are encouraged to check out Eckstrom's blog.

Click here to read Watchdog for the Taxpayers

U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett: Children's health program needs reform, not big expansion

By Gresham Barrett

When you ask people on the street what is one of their major concerns, health care always tops the list. Specifically, Congress has been working on re-authorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) which covers uninsured, low-income children.

As a legislator, father and South Carolina citizen, I feel I need to do all I can to ensure that children in our state receive the health coverage they need. Currently, 40 percent of our children in South Carolina either receive heath coverage from Medicaid or SCHIP.

It is understood that the original SCHIP bill first passed by a Republican majority in 1997 has been successfully providing health care for low income children for nearly 11 years -- with that fact, there is no debate.

Now comes the time when the SCHIP program needs to be re-authorized and the majority party in the House has seen fit to "re-create" the program by massive new spending and no true reform.

SCHIP is a good program and is working, but we need to re-address the parts that are deficient. Democrats, unfortunately, simply want to expand coverage and increase the money. If we can improve three main areas, we could cover more children and help South Carolina like never before.

Area 1: States would perform outreach and prove coverage of 90 percent of low-income children before expanding eligibility to above 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). This will not affect children and pregnant women who are currently enrolled in SCHIP. Some states are currently covering adults with SCHIP when there are still 500,000 children eligible for this program.

Area 2: Require a standardization of income determinations by requiring that each state base such determinations on gross income (therefore correcting the disregarded income loophole). If no standard formula is reached and if the Democratic-sponsored SCHIP expansion becomes law, the bill will increase the eligibility limit from 200 to 300 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. This would mean that children are eligible for SCHIP who are from a family of four making $61,950 (or in some cases more) since states are allowed to disregard certain types of income when determining SCHIP eligibility. That would take roughly two million children off private rolls and add them onto a federally run system.

Area 3: Apply the citizenship and identity verification requirements applied to Medicaid under the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) to SCHIP. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has publicly said that if the majority party language is used in this bill, there will be no way to determine a person's citizenship status.

Doing the right thing means doing the right thing for all parties involved. I am a strong advocate of children's health care but at the same time, it is my duty to make sure the South Carolina taxpayers' dollars are being wisely spent. If the House leadership would, in a true bipartisan fashion, address these issues, we could have a SCHIP bill that does both. Not to do that is disingenuous and doesn't help either group -- or our state.

Working together, we can reauthorize, fix and continue to help children for another 11 years with an SCHIP program we are all proud to support.

Read this article here.

Democrats in denial over Iraq successes

By Syndicated Columnist Donald Lambro

The significant decline of violence in Iraq is well documented: fewer insurgent attacks, far less roadside bombs, fewer U.S. casualties and little or no sectarian warfare.

Last week, a series of reports by U.S. military officials in Iraq revealed the dramatic changes there. There has been a 55-percent drop in attacks since the surge offensive began nine months ago. Overall violence in key areas of Iraq has dropped to its lowest since summer 2005. Iraqi civilian casualties have also fallen, by a staggering 60-percent since June, down 75 percent in Baghdad alone.

Life in much of Iraq has begun to return to what passes for near normal, though the war is far from over. Yet clearly the American military surge — begun earlier this year — is responsible for the changes in that embattled nation that has become Ground Zero in the global war on terrorism.

The pessimists and defeatists who declared the surge doomed and said we were digging ourselves into a deeper hole have been proven wrong. The story of Iraq now is that terrorists have been killed, captured or driven out of territory retaken and cleansed by American and Iraqi forces — a coalition that has stabilized much of the country.

But statistics are one thing, and the response of the Iraqi people is quite another. The most dramatic sign of improvement in Iraq can be seen in the number of Iraqi refugees who fled the violence at the height of the war and are now returning home in increasing numbers. Most of these returning Iraqis do so knowing their land is still a dangerous place, that the war is not over and that al Qaeda killers still have the power to strike.

But there is a sense that the tide has turned in the Iraqis' favor, at least for now. There is renewed hope for their country's future, hope that Iraq will one day be united and safe. And hope can be a very powerful ally to a people beset by war, imparting a strength that can overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges, hardships and grief. Little by little we are beginning to see a rebirth of hope in Iraq.

Perhaps the key part of Gen. David Petraeus' counterinsurgency has been his efforts to cement nationalist alliances with Shi'ite and Sunni tribal leaders who have turned against their common al Qaeda enemy.
One of the most interesting trends that has followed the offensive has been a growing confidence among many Iraqis, a feeling they are responsible for their country's destiny and must fight back when threatened by the thugs and killers in their midst.

When a bullet fired from a trucking convoy struck a young girl in the foot in a busy commercial area in Baghdad's Karrada neighborhood last week, a group of Iraqis attacked the suspected assailants, hurling rocks at them as they hid in the truck. "I love my country. I want stability to be regained," said one of the men who helped take the stricken high school student to the hospital, as reported in The Washington Post.

It turned out the suspects were not responsible for the shooting, but the incident revealed a newfound courage among common Iraqi citizens, a realization they must defend themselves when help is not available. "We did this because each of those men will kill 30 more people," one of the Iraqis said, according to The Post.

You would never know anything had changed for the better in Iraq if you listened to the Senate Democrats this month. They refused to even acknowledge that the situation in Iraq had vastly improved.

Indeed, despite all the evidence proving President Bush's surge has been successful, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid is still pushing legislation to set a timetable for the quick withdrawal of all U.S. forces. Mr. Reid and his cohorts do not want a successful conclusion to the war in Iraq. They want a political issue that will fire up their party's antiwar base in 2008.

But Mr. Bush, Gen. Petraeus and the Republicans are seeking something very different. They want to achieve enough progress there, and buy enough time, to allow the Iraqi military to take over the defense of their country so we can start bringing our men and women home.

As of last week, the surge was working better than anyone could have possibly predicted and the Democrats' political exploitation of the war as a campaign issue was losing.

Look for the first contingent of U.S. forces to begin coming home by the end of the year at the earliest — early next year at the latest.

Donald Lambro, chief political correspondent of The Washington Times, is a nationally syndicated columnist.

Click here to read article.

Paid for and authorized by the South Carolina Republican Party (www.scgop.com) Katon Dawson, Chairman. To learn more about the SC Republican Party click here.