Neil W. McCabe: A Lot of 2024 Presidential Candidates Show Up in Florida to Collect Checks

Neil W. McCabe: A Lot of 2024 Presidential Candidates Show Up in Florida to Collect Checks

Live from Music Row, Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed top gov tracker and One America News National Political Correspondent, Neil W. McCabe live from Florida to comment on DeSantis’s agenda, new Trump-given nickname, and Nikki Haley’s 2024 bid for president.

Leahy: On the newsmaker line right now, the great Neil W. McCabe, top gov tracker, reporting all things Florida, and Ron DeSantis for One American News Network. Neil, we have a new munchkin in the race. Did you see that? Nikki Haley’s announcement?

McCabe: (Bellows) She’s terrific. (Laughter) I think she’ll do great.

Gulbransen: You know the best part about Neil, hey, it’s Aaron, by the way, is his ability to deadpan, which translates not just audio, it translates onto his Twitter feed. My favorite refrain from Neil is when he retweets or tweets something, and it’s like the worst thing in the world that he’ll tweet. And it goes, finally, some good news.

Leahy: The report, of course, Nikki Haley announced her candidacy. She knows why; I’m not sure. I guess her big pitch is I’m not as old as Donald Trump. Speaking of Donald J. Trump, the big controversy here is the report. He is denying on Truth Social the account that he has come up with a new nickname for Governor Ron DeSantis. Apparently, he’s been kind of focus grouping on the nickname Meatball Ron. Where do you stand on this controversy?

McCabe: I’m shocked and disappointed.

Leahy: What? That he’s denying it or that he came up with it allegedly.

McCabe: Well, listen, I think Ron DeSantis is a terrific guy, and I hope his press staff is listening. (Laughter) 

Leahy: Look, there’s just a report from Donald J. Trump’s very best friend in the media, Maggie Haberman from The New York Times.

McCabe: She’s the Trump whisperer.

Leahy: Yes, the Trump whisperer. Maggie Haberman is claiming that if Ron DeSantis runs for president, he will announce in June. Do you have any inside scoop for us since you’re down there in Tallahassee, right next door to Governor Ron DeSantis?

McCabe: That seems a little late in the game for me. And it makes me wonder what their calculations are. Because the summer before the New Hampshire primary, and you also see it in Iowa, that’s the parade and picnic season, that’s barbecue season, that’s where you show up.

Anywhere in New Hampshire or Iowa during the summer before the primary and the caucuses, you will bump into somebody running for president, and you can just sit at a picnic table with cheeseburgers and fries and talk about trade policy or whatever. It’s an amazing thing that happens every four years.

I guess he would have to have all of his ducks in a row to announce in June to be ready for the summer. The big thing, of course, is, and we’ve talked about this before, is it legal for him to be governor of Florida and a candidate for president?

And so there’s legislation now in the Florida legislature to sort of they’re going to change that law because if you’re the governor and you announce for president, that’s your instant resignation.

This was put in like, 26, 27 because political juggernaut Charlie Crist was the governor of Florida, and they were afraid that he would become President of the United States.

Leahy: That’s a fear. (Laughter) But they’ll work that out, don’t you think?

McCabe: I think that DeSantis has some sway, and if he wants that changed, they’ll get changed. There are also lawyers working on saying that there’s a way of threading the needle so that DeSantis can get around it. But we’ll see.

Leahy: We’ll see how that plays out. I got two words for you. You’re talking about the 2024 campaign. Are you ready? Are you ready?

McCabe: Go ahead. Yes, please.

Leahy: Vivek Ramaswamy. Did you see that report in Politico?

McCabe: Yeah, he’s amazing. And he also was speaking in Florida, and he met with a young conservative, Berny Jacques, who was a state rep from Hillsborough County, who met with him.

And there’s a lot of money down here in Florida. A lot of people talk about California as being sort of this ATM. Florida is also a place where there’s a lot of money. So you see a lot of people show up in Florida to collect checks.

Leahy: Vivek Ramaswamy is the 37-year-old Harvard-educated biotech billionaire, or close to a billionaire.

McCabe: He wrote the book about anti-woke, ESG stuff.

Walker: ESG stuff.

Leahy: You are kind of smiling about Vivek.

Walker: I’ve met him a couple of times. Hi, Neil. It’s Chris Walker, by the way.

McCabe: Good to meet you. I’ve met him at a few conferences and some other stuff.

Walker: He’s very energetic and very dynamic. I’m not sure, kind of going on Fox and talking about ESG is kind of the level of which we’re going to look for from her presidential candidate.

Leahy: I’m glad you mentioned that, Chris, because Neil W. McCabe, as you know, on Saturday we launched The Iowa Star, and of course, our national political editor Matt Kittle, who has big shoes to fill (i.e. those of Neil McCabe).

McCabe: I spoke to Matt the other day. He’s a great guy. He’s in Des Moines. And so we’ve launched The Iowa Star, and we received an invitation from Vivek Ramaswamy’s team.

He’s going to be in Iowa this coming week, so we’re going to have an exclusive interview with Vivek, and he will make his case. You know, Neil, the road to the 2024 GOP nomination goes through The Iowa Star.

McCabe: That’s right. I will say this. When people run for president, they’re not necessarily running for president. Chris Christie is running for president in 2024. He wants to be Secretary of Commerce. Other guys run because they want to sell books. Other guys run because they just want to have an influence on the debate stage.

And a lot of the ideas that the eventual nominee will put in their platform come from some of these minor candidates that people forgot. And so there’s a lot of stuff bubbling up from these different candidates that end up being the program and even legislation of a new president that wasn’t originally their idea, so good. I’m glad he’s in.

Leahy: Chris Christie wants to be Secretary of Commerce. That’s what you call a very low aspiration, isn’t it? (Laughter)

McCabe: There are a lot of donuts. (Laughter)

Gulbransen: Notice my commentary on that was just a sigh, by the way.

Leahy: What is Governor DeSantis doing this week?

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Background Photo “Florida Capitol” by Carol M. Highsmith.


Managing Editor Matt Kittle Announces Launch of The Iowa Star on Bannon’s WarRoom

Managing Editor Matt Kittle Announces Launch of The Iowa Star on Bannon’s WarRoom

Saturday morning on WarRoom: Battleground, Stephen K. Bannon welcomed The Star News Network’s National Political Editor, Matt Kittle the program to discuss the Iowa caucus, Kari Lake’s reception, and the newly launched Iowa Star digital newspaper.

Bannon: Matt Kittle, Michael Patrick Leahy had this vision of doing the battleground states and doing these new sites, and it’s just been incredible what you guys have accomplished. Tell me about Iowa.

You’re launching a new site. I guess you launched it a little earlier this morning, but you’re launching a new site in the very important first state to kick off Iowa caucuses next January. Tell us about your new site, sir.

Kittle: You bet. Thank you, Steve. Iowa is still critical to the political map, whether the Democrats want to acknowledge that or not. As you well know, the DNC has basically turned its back on Iowa, which has long been traditionally the first state to enter the fray. And it’s Hawkeye cauceye, if you will.

The Republicans here will still hold the first in the nation caucuses, but the DNC, as I said, has turned its back in Iowa. The Democrats here want to continue to be the first in the nation to hold those caucuses. They have to by Iowa state law. The issue is the DNC has gone in a different direction.

They don’t think Iowa is diverse enough. But Iowa, Steve, as you well know, as we just saw in the last segment, is very much, in many ways, Trump country. And Kari Lake last night in the Quad Cities, and I think today in suburban Des Moines will bring that full message and bring out the kind of crowd that we saw last night.

Bannon: Look, here’s what Iowa provides, and it is Trump’s MAGA country, and that’s Trump wins. It is now big, and that’s one of the reasons the Democrats don’t like it. What’s the importance of Iowa? It’s discernment. Iowa, New Hampshire, those flinty Yankees up in New Hampshire, and this common sense heartland of America in Iowa weigh and measure you, right?

They weigh and measure you. And this is very important. It’s important for the country. Retail politics. You got to go into those small rooms. You got to have small gatherings. Now President Trump ran it a little differently, but still, the Hawkeyes have a discernment that the nation depends upon. I think it’s great that it starts in Iowa, and it’s going to be very important. Leahy is always ahead of the curve. Tell me about the site and tell me about your thoughts on Kari Lake.

Kittle: You bet. As you said, we just launched last night. You’ll find all kinds of information on our site, It includes the meeting last night that Kari Lake had with so many good Iowans. We will continue with our special Iowa caucus edition 2024.

We will continue the blanket coverage on Iowa, Iowa politics, all this stuff, particularly the kind of inside stuff we have here in the Des Moines area that no other publications can offer in many ways.

And frankly, as you know, the mainstream media refuses to offer. It’s interesting about Kari Lake. Every story you see here in Iowa, the mainstream press, as you see in The New York Times or The Washington Post, they can’t begin a lead without saying Kari Lake has made all kinds of charges that aren’t true.

They put this stuff in their lead when we know that the election integrity problems in Arizona, just as we’ve seen in the major states during the Zuckerbucks era of 2020, are very real and they’re very troubling. And what they hate is Kari Lake is shining a big spotlight on it all.

Bannon: Big time. Matt, how did they get to the site? How did they get to you guys on social media? What are the coordinates for The Star News Network and all the work you’re doing? The Tennessee Star has broken I think the most important thing about this Memphis situation with Mr. Nichols, about it being a targeted hit about everything, and with the whole thing about the text messages and the relationship of the police officer’s female acquaintance with Mr. Nichols and all this. You’re doing great reporting. How do people get there?

Kittle: Thank you so much. Yes, that’s a big story. We’ll continue to follow up. But in terms of Iowa, the new site again launching is And as I said, we’ll be at the Kari Lake session later on this afternoon in Ankeny, Iowa.

Bannon: Thank you very much, sir. Appreciate it. Matt Kittle from The Star News Network. Head reporter, head political editor.

Listen to the interview

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