The Note: The Candidates and the Confederate Flag

ByABC News
June 22, 2015, 8:01 AM



--THE DEBATE OVER THE FLAG ENVELOPED THE 2016 REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL FIELD over the weekend. Some called for its removal while others took a less definitive stance. Appearing on ABC's "This Week," Republican presidential candidate RICK SANTORUM told ABC's MARTHA RADDATZ that the decision should be left to South Carolinians. "I don't think the federal government or federal candidates should be making decisions on everything and opining on everything," Santorum said. "We should let the people of South Carolina go through the process of making this decision." Santorum called the shooting that took place in Charleston an "act of terrorism" and "purely evil." Referring to Dylann Roof, 21, who allegedly killed nine people during a Bible study inside the city's Emanuel AME Church, Santorum said: "This young man is going to get justice served on him."

--JEB BUSH: "My position on how to address the Confederate flag is clear. In Florida, we acted, moving the flag from the state grounds to a museum where it belonged. ... Following a period of mourning, there will rightly be a discussion among leaders in the state about how South Carolina should move forward and I'm confident they will do the right thing."

--SCOTT WALKER: "The placement of a Confederate flag on the Capitol grounds is a state issue and I fully expect the leaders of South Carolina to debate this but the conversation should wait until after the families have had a chance to bury and mourn their loved ones."

--MIKE HUCKABEE: "I still feel like it's not an issue for a person running for president.. For those of us running for president, everyone's being baited with this question as if somehow that has anything to do whatsoever with running for president. And my position is: It most certainly does not."

--LINDSEY GRAHAM: "I'd have to think long and hard about that, I really would. ... If I thought it's holding my state back, if I think it is an impediment to us moving forward, I would remove it."

--BOBBY JINDAL: "We'll let the states decide that, but again, just like the gun issue, let's have that debate at the right time. And right now we should all be in mourning."

--TED CRUZ: "I think that's a question for South Carolina. And the last thing they need is people from outside of the state coming in and dictating how they should resolve it."

--SHOULD THE FLAG COME DOWN? NPR host Steve Inskeep, Democratic strategist Maria Cardona and Republican strategist Sara Fagen debated that question on the "This Week" roundtable. WATCH:


CONSERVATIVE, PROGRESSIVE LEADERS JOIN IN FOCUS ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM. The Coalition for Public Safety -- the nation's largest bipartisan criminal justice reform organization -- is announcing a new campaign today at 11 AM EST on reducing the prison population and breaking down barriers for ex-offenders to successfully re-enter society. According to the group, the campaign, Fair Sentencing and Fair Chances, "lays out a clear baseline for real bipartisan reform at the federal and state level and comes as bipartisan momentum for reforming the nation's criminal justice system continues to grow." Participants on a conference call announcing the initiative include Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, Alison Holcomb of American Civil Liberties Union, Todd Cox of the Center for American Progress, among others.


HILLARY CLINTON CALLS FOR 'COMMON SENSE' GUN CONTROL AFTER CHARLESTON SHOOTING. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton this weekend vowed to keep fighting for common sense gun control and delivered a blistering indictment of racism in America at the Conference of Mayors in San Francisco, ABC's ERIN DOOLEY notes. "How it could be possible that we as a nation still allow guns to fall into the hands of people whose hearts are filled with hate?" Clinton said, noting that "massacre after massacre" makes the urgency of passing gun control legislation clear. "It makes no sense that bipartisan legislation to require universal background checks would fail in Congress despite overwhelming bipartisan support," she said. "It makes no sense that we couldn't come together to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, or people suffering from mental illnesses, even people on the terrorist watch list. That doesn't make sense, and it is a rebuke to this nation we love and care about."

5 STORIES YOU'LL CARE ABOUT IN POLITICS THIS WEEK. The road to the White House probably won't begin on an escalator in a fancy building with the candidate's name on it. It's more likely to carry an exclamation point than bold letters, though the candidate with his own plane might be more apt to generate headlines -- if not start a war with Mexico. It took something uttered by that same candidate to draw a response from the candidate who Democrats are most likely to hire. With a sad and repugnant act slowing trail activity, here's a glimpse at some of the stories the ABC News political team is tracking the week ahead, courtesy of ABC's RICK KLEIN: WATCH:


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