Michigan Republican Rep. Mike Rogers is retiring from Congress for a career in talk radio, but on Tuesday he told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell he views the new job as a stepping stone for a chance to “move the needle” in 2016 towards more neoconservative policy positions.
As the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and an ardent supporter of government surveillance, Rogers has expressed dismay at the Republican Party’s libertarian shift towards less-invasive policies at home and abroad. And when Mitchell asked whether he was considering a 2016 run, the congressman answered that he’s seeking to push the Republican primaries towards a more hawkish foreign policy.
“Well, I think I’d like to try to move the needle on the debate for 2016, at the very minimum,” he explained. Rogers said he’s proud of turning national security into a non-partisan issue during his chairmanship, but noted that his chairmanship “doesn’t give us the opportunity to expand that message.”
“And I really thought that this was an opportunity to have that broader message, all over the country, that I don’t have today,” he explained. “And it was a hard decision, a tough decision, because I believe so passionately in the work we’re doing on that committee.”
“I think it’s the right message for the United States,” he continued. “I think there’s just a significant amount of interest in hearing that message. Going to be foreign policy and national security related, for sure. But all of the other issues as well.”
Having tried once already, Mitchell tried a simpler tack to determine Roger’s 2016 plans. “And in a word,” she asked, “2016, yes or no?”
“Moving the needle on 2016. Yes!” Rogers replied with a smile.
“Well,” a clearly-surprised Mitchell responded. “Thank you very much. You heard it first here. Thank you, Congressman Rogers!”
It isn’t perfectly clear whether Rogers meant “moving the needle” from his position as a radio host or as a candidate. But Mitchell’s question was unmistakable, and the congressman recently admitted that he was seriously considering a presidential run. “I’m going to take it where it goes,” he told Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Sunday.
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