DES MOINES, Iowa--A new group challenged Iowans to ask tough questions of 2016 presidential candidates when it comes to foreign policy. But its leader denied this is just a plan to get Republicans ready to take on Hillary Clinton.
Former Michigan Congressman Mike Rogers held a news conference Thursday afternoon at the Iowa Statehouse to talk about the efforts of his group, APPS, Americans for Peace Prosperity and Security. The group wants Iowans to push candidates beyond just "talking points." Rogers said, "It can't just be, 'I'm for Israel. I don't like ISIS. ISIS is bad or arm the Ukranian rebels.' If that's the best you can talk about this issue, I think we're in trouble. You have to understand the basics of why all of those positions are important."
Rogers said the efforts are focused on Republican presidential candidates. He, by the way, is not planning on running for president and added that his group won't endorse a Republican candidate.
"Absolutely not," Rogers said when asked whether the effort would help Republicans against Clinton, the expected Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. Secretary of State, "It's because America faces the worst threats I've ever seen."
Rogers chaired the House Intelligence Committee for ten years, was a fixture on national political shows and now hosts a nationally-syndicated radio show. He said, "It's not some way we're going to get cute about trying to position one candidate over another candidate. This is about real substantive issues. We are in some deep trouble overseas."
Former Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn will serve as the group's national adviser. As a former chair, Strawn could have been highly-sought after to provide advice to presidential campaigns. But he said, "I do not anticipate--nor will I endorse a candidate during the caucuses in the Republican primary."
Strawn said the group plans a series of regional forums to push its foreign policy message. And then it plans a large forum in Iowa this fall, which will feature presidential candidates.