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GOP Frontrunners Criticize Obama, Champion Family Values At Oklahoma City Conference

Updated 12:05 p.m. Gov. Jeb Bush calls for increased homeland security

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush opened his speech talking about family and “love at first sight.” The crowd cheered loudly when he mentioned how proud he was of his brother and his parents. 

Bush spent a bulk of his time discussing the economy, saying the county needed to reevaluate what it was doing.

“We can’t have a government we can’t afford and allow it to grow,” Bush said, highlighting his veto history while he was the governor.

"While I was governor of Florida, we increased reserves from $1 billion to $10 billion."

Bush also touched on foreign policy, saying Obama was making the mistake of “leading from behind.”

He agreed with Christie, saying the Patriot Act needs to be re-authorized.

“If we want to create a more peaceful world, we need to protect the homeland,” he said.

He called on the United States to step forward and stand on behalf of people being persecuted across the world because of their religion.

Bush also recognized the party’s perceived shortcomings when it comes to reaching and connecting with minority and younger voters. He said it was important to connect with people in the Latino barrios as well as with university students across the country.

“I think we need to get beyond preaching to the choir to be honest with you, although I love the choir, don't get me wrong, to get outside of our comfort zone,” Bush said.

“Go campaign in the Latino barrios of this country, go to the college campuses that haven't heard a conservative in a long while. Go out and spread the message that is hopeful and optimistic about the future of this country.”

Updated 11:15 a.m. Gov. Chris Christie warmly welcomed by crowds

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie encouraged Republicans to rally behind a single candidate for the November 2016 election, saying the first priority is winning.

“We have to elect a Republican president who knows how to fight and knows how to win,” he said.

Christie received several rounds of applause when he talked about his 12-point plan to carry out entitlement reform. 

He said it was important to increase the retirement age by two years over the course of 25 years and scale back Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.  

Christie hit hard on America’s energy policy. He said it was important to start working with neighboring countries and allow America to become a leader in oil exports.

"America is in the midst of an energy revolution if we work with companies in America and Canada,” Christie said.

While several senators scheduled to attend the conference were stuck in Washington D.C. dealing with the Patriot Act, Christie insisted he had seen the policy work well and cheered the continuation of the intelligence program. He also echoed other politicians’ sentiments on the importance of revitalizing the military.

“We need to make our military strong not to engage war but to avoid war and bring peace and stability,” Christie said. 

Original Post

Sen. Lindsey Graham sent a video that aired at Friday’s first general session. The South Carolina Republican is stuck in Washington D.C. for the divisive Patriot Act vote.

Graham gave a brief introduction, touching on his mom’s battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma when Graham was 21, before launching into Obama’s policies on the Middle East. 

“I have been more right than wrong when it comes to foreign policy, and I’ve been Obama’s chief critic,” Graham said.

He served six years on active duty as an Air Force Lawyer in the 1980s before joining South Carolina’s Air Force National Guard.

"In 2016 I ask you to vote for a commander in chief who knows what the hell he is doing."

He said it was only a “matter of time” before ISIS attacked America on U.S. soil. Graham said he would not abandon Israel and said he would work to expand America’s military.

He also championed traditional family values, limiting abortions to before 20 weeks and Social Security. 

More than 2,000 people are expected to brave the rain for the second day of the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in downtown Oklahoma City. 

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