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An Age-Old Question: WWVA (Wheeling, WV) Fox News Interview

TBOR Action President John Pudner began his recent radio tour across our Republic in Wheeling, West Virginia last Friday, analyzing presidential candidate Nikki Haley's recent proposal for an age-based competency test for candidacy and, more specifically, how this highlights her advocacy for term limits, a measure gaining momentum across America that would not only empower voters, but relieve the burden from tired incumbents and help return our Republic to an era of citizen legislators.

To learn more about TBOR Action's efforts on term limits, please click here.

The following transcript from this interview is presented in its entirety with minor edits:


Nikki Haley, term limits, incumbent, races.


John Pudner and Ron Potesta.

Ron Potesta 00:00

Well, if Nikki Haley had her way, Donald Trump and Joe Biden would both have to take a test. The newly announced presidential candidate, Nikki Haley, called for a universal rule requiring politicians over the age of 75 to take mental competency tests before running for office, Haley pushed for the new rule while speaking at her campaign announcement event in South Carolina earlier in the week. Joining me to talk about this is the President of the Take Back Our Republic Action, John Pudner. John, good morning to you, sir.

John Pudner 00:37

Well, thanks for having me!

Ron Potesta 00:39

Okay, so Nikki Haley drops this nice little bomb. Now, I'm sure that she had her sights set on the current president, but I'm not sure if Nikki Haley recognized the fact that Donald Trump is 76 and he would fall into this as well, but this is still quite the controversial comment made by the former Governor of South Carolina.

John Pudner 01:04

Yes, when I first heard it, of course, I had the reaction, "Wait, is that a big mistake?" I mean, you've got a quarter of Republican voters at least over 65, and would there be offense? You know, my gut was this wasn't some off-the-cuff comment where politicians usually make mistakes and hurt them, so going into kickoff, they clearly had vetted this message and thought it worked. I mean, by this time, when you're kicking off a presidential, you focus group every statement you're going to make, and I tell you, if you looked at reaction to this, I was kind of surprised looking at polling saying that there is a clear majority now who are concerned that both Biden and Trump are too old. So, this was a way to kind of say that without saying those exact words. She also put in the idea of term limits, which I think is gaining strength and said, "You know, it's time for permanent politicians to stop." Now, that would only be Biden, obviously, since President Trump's term was his first run, but looking at the numbers, I'm not so sure it was a mistake.

Ron Potesta 02:13

Well, John, I'm in the majority on this. I absolutely loved what Nikki Haley had to say about this. Now, again, I'm not against older people in any way, shape, or form, but if you're going to be the President of the United States, you better be mentally competent, and let's be honest, the older you get, the more challenging it is to be mentally competent. That's unfortunate but true, and I think that, if you're 75, you should be taking a mental competency test if you're going to be running for office, and I think it should be a yearly thing.

John Pudner 02:51

And my surprise was, I made a point of just talking to a few people over 75 to see if they reacted negatively, and none of them did. It was a small sample group, but they all said, "Oh, gosh, I couldn't handle being President right now." They didn't take it as an attack on people over 75. So yeah, I think you're right, and let's not forget, she said all politicians, which includes 16 US Senators over 75, so she was getting them too, no question.

Ron Potesta 03:22

John Pudner is the President of the Take Back Our Republic Action, he was an aide to George W. Bush in 2000, and John Pudner is the answer to a very interesting trivia question, as he is the only person in US history to run a campaign defeating a majority leader in a primary. You, sir, are the answer to a very interesting trivia question.

John Pudner 03:48

In that one, Eric Cantor was younger, but he had done about a term limit, about 12 years, and we thought he was getting a little out of touch with the district., but that was almost a decade ago now, so getting to be old news, I guess.

Ron Potesta 04:03

John, let me ask you about term limits, Nikki Haley pushed for that as well. I have been a fan of term limits forever and a day. I think that if we have term limits for the president, where our president should only serve two terms, then I think 12 years in the House, or 12 years in the Senate, is more than reasonable, and more importantly, John, I don't think that any of those politicians should have a pension when they leave Washington.

John Pudner 04:35

Well, I'm with you on term limits, and I can't say I was from the beginning, because I early on bought the, "Hey, the real term is someone who can be voted out," but incumbents have such huge advantages now. I just think at this point, your only real measure of public sentiment is now open races when someone retires. They're just such a small percentage of races that are competitive where you can actually defeat an incumbent, so I think the country is there, I think you need term limits. I think 12 years is about where people are settling. I do think a few states, like Florida, which went to six years, I think that's probably too tight, but right now, that's the details. I think the countries in favor of term limits at this point and they're gonna have to push for them.

Ron Potesta 05:19

John, the statement notwithstanding, Nikki Haley's chances, and I know that we only have two people currently in the field, the field is going to be crowded before it's all said and done. What are Nikki Haley's realistic chances of becoming a serious contender within the Republican Party?

John Pudner 05:39

Still uphill. It was interesting that, right after the last presidential election, I thought she might be the main contender, of course, Trump would be a heavy favorite at that point if he ran again, but then didn't see that much of her. I mean, I saw her at some events, speaking at Republican National Committee quarterly meetings, that kind of thing, but I was kind of surprised, just didn't seem like she's done much, so it's really interesting to have her come out first when there certainly seems to be other candidates who are getting around a lot more, setting up for it unofficially. The good news for the other candidates is, "Okay, now someone has come out first. There is a race. If someone else jumps in, they're the first one to take on Trump." She did that for him, but the little negative I think for people who don't want Trump to be the nominee, is you wanted just DeSantis and Trump, where maybe if the party is 50/50, and if they want Trump again, maybe that's better than now, "Oh, is Haley going to take a percent? Is Youngkin gonna run and take a percent?" Trump wants a lot of opponents, and people that don't want Trump, want to consolidate that vote behind someone, and DeSantis was seeming maybe like the initial obvious, but there's a little wrinkle in that.

Ron Potesta 06:55

Thank you so much for spending part of your Friday morning with me. Look forward to speaking with you soon.


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