The Buzz

TheChat: Is Ben Carson fading, fading, fading away?


Good morning.

▪ “Unfortunately, Paris happened. San Bernardino happened. Somehow the narrative has been projected that if you’re soft-spoken and mild-mannered, there is no way you can deal with terrorism, with national security, that you’re not a strong person.” — GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson explaining why he’s fading in the polls.

Carson appeared adrift in an interview with The Washington Post. At one point, he said his staff had let him down and that a shakeup was imminent. But then he walked back those comments after The Post reported his comments. Is he the next Michelle Bachmann or Herman Cain? Maybe.

▪ “That’s something I understood that at the time, and Senator Blunt did not.” — Democrat Jason Kander, a candidate for the U.S. Senate in Missouri, calling the Iraq War a mistake.

Kander, Missouri’s secretary of state, described the war as “a huge strategic error” and said the GOP presidential candidates agree. (link via

▪ “They want to hit a home run, but are going to have to take some singles.” — Ron Leone, executive director of the Missouri Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association, talking about the Missouri Department of Transportation, which faces huge funding shortages, but is showing interest in supporting incremental tax increases to solve its problems.

The association is backing higher taxes on cigarettes and tobacco for the first time and initially wanted the money to go to the state general fund. Now it’s switching gears and wants the $100 million the tax increases would generate to go to fixing roads and bridges. That amount wouldn’t solve MoDOT’s funding crisis, but would move the situation along.

▪ “The Kansas Labor Force Awakens.” — Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s office tweeting about the record number of people employed in the state.

Brownback’s office pointed to the 1.4 million people who have jobs and borrowed a line from the new “Star Wars” movie to make a point that the state economy is cooking. Critics, though, point to other issues, including lower-than-expected tax revenue and job growth. The debate over Brownback’s 2012 business tax cuts continues amid signs that lawmakers don’t want to deal with taxes again this session, which falls during an election year.