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Why Asa Hutchinson Isn't Scared of Trump, Biden, or Impossible Odds

Why Asa Hutchinson Isn't Scared of Trump, Biden, or Impossible Odds by: POLITICO Staff May 5, 2023

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If you talk to Democratic strategists about the 2024 presidential election, there is a certain type of Republican nominee who they fear: Someone who knows how to speak in the language of inclusion; who can discuss abortion and guns without alienating suburban voters; who stands up to the GOP on some of the most fraught issues of the culture wars; who can argue that he or she has almost as much government experience as Joe Biden himself, but is still younger; who handled the pandemic in their state in a way that avoided some of the most unpopular decisions of both Democrats and Republicans; and who spends a lot of their time explaining to Republicans why they should leave Donald Trump in the past.

Așa Hutchinson — who sounds an awful lot like that imaginary candidate that Democrats fear — is here on Playbook Deep Dive this week to tell us why you shouldn’t count him out.

Hutchinson got his start in politics as a U.S. attorney during the Reagan Revolution, when his home state of Arkansas was still run by Democrats. He served two terms as governor and shortly after stepping down this year, he announced he’s running for president.

If there’s one thing that makes him stand out so far, it’s that he’s willing to say things about Trump that other Republicans aren’t. Hutchinson recently wrote that the former President “has led us astray,” “undermined the fabric of our democracy,” and is emblematic of bad leaders who are, “focused only on themselves or on settling scores with political opponents.”

In this episode of Playbook Deep Dive, host Ryan Lizza speaks with the former Arkansas governor after his first official trip to Iowa. He opens up about why he’s running, how he thinks he can take down Trump, and why his record — which is among the most conservative in America — is full of surprises.

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