Note: This blog's templates will be updated this afternoon to a responsive design bringing it in line with MiamiHerald.com.

At that time, we will also change to the Facebook commenting system. You will need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment.

July 28, 2015

Hillary Clinton to give policy speech at FIU Friday

Hillary Clinton will hold an event at Florida International University following the National Urban League Conference Friday.

Clinton will first give a speech at the National Urban League’s annual conference at the Broward Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale which starts at 8 a.m. Other candidates who will speak include former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

The details about Clinton's FIU event are still being worked out but the event will be held at FIU’s Modesto A. Maidique Campus in West Miami-Dade County following the event in Fort Lauderdale. The Clinton campaign wouldn’t yet confirm if the FIU event will be open to the public or invite only.

For months, Clinton faced some criticism for not holding many public events and giving few interviews to reporters although she has increased them in recent weeks.

In May, Clinton’s campaign said she might do a public event while in South Florida but ultimately she only did fundraising events in Miami, Parkland and Orlando.

This blog post will be updated if more details become available about the FIU event. 

Did a Miami-Dade commissioner spill the beans on Lauren Book's Florida Senate run?

@PatriciaMazzei

Lauren Book, daughter of mega-lobbyist Ron Book, plans to announce her candidacy for the Florida Senate on Sept. 1.

At least that's according to an invitation Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sally Heyman sent her friends Tuesday asking them to attend a fundraiser for Book at Il Gabbiano, a posh Italian restaurant in downtown Miami, on Sept. 18.

"As you have probably heard, my very close personal friend, Lauren Book, is planning to launch a campaign for an open Senate seat on September 1, 2015," read Heyman's email, which was obtained by the Miami Herald.

But Book herself has not revealed her plans. She told the Herald that's because she has yet to make up her mind. Book recently got married.

"We are looking at all of our options and have not made a decision of what we're going to do," she said, conceding that she nevertheless has several events on her calendar. "We haven't made any final, final, final decisions yet."

Book, who runs Lauren's Kids, a nonprofit that raises awareness about children victims of sexual abuse, has made no secret of her intention to run for the Broward seat being vacated by Sen. Eleanor Sobel, a Hollywood Democrat. 

Book created a political action committee, Leadership for Broward, last September. It has collected nearly $640,000; some of her donors, such as the Miami Dolphins and GEO Group, a private prison company, also happen to be her dad's clients.

Liberal think tank faults Jeb Bush for Stand Your Ground law ahead of Urban League speech

@PatriciaMazzei

The "stand your ground" law Jeb Bush signed as Florida governor has left a "deadly legacy" in the black community, according to a new report by the campaign arm of a liberal think tank.

The Center for American Progress Action Fund released its report, titled "Jeb Bush's License to Kill," ahead of the Republican presidential candidate's scheduled remarks Friday to the National Urban League conference in Fort Lauderdale. The gathering of largely African-American activists will focus at least in part on criminal justice, in the wake of a series of high-profile black deaths at the hands of police.

The report faults Florida in general and Bush in particular for adopting stand your ground in 2005, prompting 23 other states to pass "expansive self-defense laws."

"And while Gov. Bush touted his as a significant achievement at the NRA convention in April, the reality is that the legacy of his leadership on this issue has left a dark footprint on the country," report author Chelsea Parsons argues. "It has led to an increase in homicides in states that have enacted these laws, as well as a racially skewed application that results in white perpetrators more frequently being relieved of liability for killing black victims."

Bush has defended the law, saying it was not intended to protect someone like George Zimmerman, who shot and killed unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012.

"Stand your ground means stand your ground," Bush said after Trayvon's death. "It doesn't mean chase after somebody who's turned their back."

Continue reading "Liberal think tank faults Jeb Bush for Stand Your Ground law ahead of Urban League speech" »

Miami-Dade's mayor is going to Denver with a big crew to discuss transit

@doug_hanks

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez is flying to Denver next week for a look at the city's transit systems and how officials funded the expansion there. He's bringing with him a large delegation of elected leaders, lobbyists and business executives.

His office on Tuesday released the current delegation list of about 40 people. Most are paying their own way, while Miami-Dade is likely picking up the tab for county officials and elected leaders on the trip. (Gimenez's office did not have a trip budget immediately available Tuesday night.) 

The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce organized the Aug. 5 to 7 trip, which is being billed as a "Transportation Fly-In." Registration costs were $200, plus lodging and airfare.   

Gimenez spokesman Michael Hernández described the trip in a statement: 

The purpose of the Fly-in will be to meet with political, business and community leaders from Denver and learn first-hand how the area has been successful in implementing their transportation vision- the Denver FastTracks Program. FastTracks include 122 miles of new commuter rail and light rail and 18 miles of bus rapid transit implemented through innovative joint development and public private partnerships.

What follows is a delegation list provided by the mayor's office. 

Alice Bravo: Miami-Dade County Director, Transit

Alicia Cervera: Cervera Real Estate Managing Partner

Alyce Robertson: Miami Downtown Development Authority Executive Director

Ana Sotorrio: ASTS, INC President

Anna Ward: Citizen's Independent Transportation Trust First Vice Chair

Barry Johnson: Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce President/CEO

Bruno Barreiro: Miami-Dade County Commissioner

Carlos Gimenez: Miami-Dade County Mayor

Charles Scurr: Citizen's Independent Transportation Trust Executive Director

Danet Linares: Blanca Commercial Real Estate Vice Chair

Daniel Tapia: Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Direcotr, Governmental Affairs

Dennis Moss: Miami-Dade County Commissioner

Ed Marquez: Miami-Dade County Deputy Mayor

Eric Riel: Miami Downtown Development Authority Planning, Design + Transportation

Esteban Bovo: Miami-Dade County Commissioner

Francis Suarez: City of Miami Commissioner

Gerard Philippeaux: Miami-Dade County Chief of Staff to the Chair

Glenn Downing: Citizen's Independent Transportation Trust Second Vice Chair

Harold Desdunes: Florida Department of Transportation

Humberto Alonso: Atkins Global Vice President

James Cromar: Broward MPO Director of Planning

Javier Betancourt: Miami Downtown Development Authority Deputy Director

Jean Monestime: Miami-Dade County Chairman of the Board

Jesus Guerra: Miami Dade MPO Director

Joe Rasco: Miami-Dade County Director, Intergovermental Affairs

Jose Fuentes: Becker & Poliakoff Government Affairs Consultant

Jose Gonzalez: Florida East Coast Industries Senior Vice President

Joseph Yesbeck: T.Y. Lin International Vice President

Kathie Brooks: City of Miami Beach Assistant City Manager

Marc Sarnoff: City of Miami Commissioner

Harold Desdunes: District Director of Transportation, Systems Development

Margeret Daly: Friends of the Underline Founder

Michael Reininger: All Aboard Florida President/CEO

Mitch Bierman: Weiss Serota

Neisen Kasdin: Akerman Managing Partner

Paul Schwiep: Citizen's Independent Transportation Trust Chair

Alex Ferro: Gimenez's chief of staff [Not on the original list, Gimenez's office identified Ferro as an additional attendee.]

Judges lift injunction in 'Docs v. glocks' lawsuit

A law banning doctors from asking patients about guns has gone into effect after a federal appeals court lifted a ruling that prevented it from being enforced.

As of Tuesday, physicians in Florida could risk license suspensions and disciplinary action from the Board of Medicine if they talk to patients about gun ownership or use when it's not directly related to the treatment being given.

Gov. Rick Scott signed the bill into law in 2011, but before it could go into effect, doctors and medical groups including the state chapters of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Physicians sued the state, calling the law unconstitutional. The U.S. District Court in Miami agreed but was overturned last year by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

An injunction granted by the District Court was still in effect while the Circuit Court considered if it would re-hear arguments. The Circuit Court judges lifted that order on Tuesday.

"When a patient enters a physician’s examination room, the patient is in a position of relative powerlessness," the Circuit Court judges wrote. "The patient must place his or her trust in the physician’s guidance and submit to the physician’s authority. With this authority comes responsibility. To protect patients, society has long imposed upon physicians certain duties and restrictions that operate to define the boundaries of good medical care. In keeping with this tradition, the State passed the Act."

But the doctors who sued the state have called the law a gag order preventing doctors from discussing important safety issues with their patients.

In a statement, executive director Howard Simon of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, which filed a brief in the case, called the ruling "a sad day for Florida doctors, their patients and for free speech."

“The Legislature’s unconstitutional effort to stop doctors from talking to their patients about measures to keep kids safe when there are guns in the home is not simply a violation of doctor’s free speech, it is also dangerous policy," he said.

Florida Senate: We broke anti-gerrymandering law

@PatriciaMazzei

Because it's not every day that the Florida Senate admits it violated the state's constitution.

From a legal settlement in which the Senate agreed to redraw district boundaries:

IMG_5201

The Florida House wants everyone to know it wasn't its fault.

From a joint statement by House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Senate President Andy Gardiner:

IMG_5202

Legislature sets special session for October to redraw Florida Senate districts

@JeremySWallace

The Florida Legislature has set yet another special session, this time for October to redraw the Florida Senate district lines that opponents had argued violated the state constitution prohibition on gerrymandering to favor or disfavor politicians.

The Legislature will meet from Oct. 19 to Nov. 6, according to a joint statement put out by House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Senate President Andy Gardiner.

It will mark the third special session this year. In June, legislators met in special session to finish a budget that was not completed during the regular session in the spring. In August, legislators will be in special session again to redraw the state's 27 congressional districts, which the Florida Supreme Court ruled earlier this month violated the state consitution.

The court had not instructed the Legislature to redraw the Senate lines yet, but Senate leaders have agreed to make the changes now based on they said was a new precedent the Supreme Court set in throwing out the Congressional lines.

In its landmark ruling, the Supreme Court invalidated the state's congressional map after political operatives "infiltrated" the process, used fake email accounts to submit the maps as nonpartisan private citizens and created districts that found their way into the final maps approved by lawmakers. Because those actions violated the Fair Districts provisions of the state Constitution, the court ordered lawmakers to redraw eight congressional districts and provided guidelines on how to do it.

A trial over the Senate map was scheduled to begin Sept. 28 in Leon County Circuit Court in a case in which two Democrat-leaning groups, the League of Women Voters and Common Cause, argue that 28 of the 40 Senate districts were designed to favor incumbents and the Republican Party, violating the Fair Districts amendments to the state Constitution.

Real Clear Politics: Scott Walker again suggests he'll skip Florida primary

From Real Clear Politics:

Scott Walker has insisted he will be able to “compete anywhere in the country” as a candidate for president — but, at a private event in St. Louis on Sunday, Walker said he does not plan to compete in Florida, contradicting his own public assertions that he would not skip that primary.

During a fundraiser at the St. Louis home of Rex Sinquefield, Missouri’s most active Republican donor, Walker reasoned that it “doesn't make a ton of sense for him to pour cash into Florida” with Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio in the race, said one person who was present for Walker’s remarks. Bush is a former Florida governor, and Rubio is senator from Florida.

Instead, Walker suggested he will focus on the Midwestern states with primaries around the same time, the source said — including Missouri, Illinois and Ohio, which are slated to hold their primaries March 15, the same day as Florida’s.

A second person who was present confirmed that Walker said it would not make sense for him to try to compete in Florida with Rubio and Bush in the race.

More here.

UPDATE: Walker spokeswoman AshLee Strong, while not disputing the Real Clear Politics report, said Walker intends to compete "everywhere."

"The Governor is going to play everywhere as evidenced by his travel to 11 states since becoming a candidate," Strong said. "We have long said Governor Walker has appeal with voters of all kinds across all states but we have also acknowledged the obvious that there are two Floridians in the race."

Donald Trump wrongly says number of illegal immigrants is 30 million or higher

The day after Donald Trump visited the border in Laredo, Texas, he was armed with some fresh claims about illegal immigration, including how many immigrants are actually here.

"I don't think the 11 million -- which is a number you have been hearing for many many years, I've been hearing that number for five years -- I don't think that is an accurate number anymore," Trump said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe July 24. "I am now hearing it's 30 million, it could be 34 million, which is a much bigger problem."

Host Joe Scarborough then asked Trump, "Who are you hearing that from?"

Trump replied: "I am hearing it from other people, and I have seen it written in various newspapers. The truth is the government has no idea how many illegals are here."

Is Trump right that there are 30 million or more illegal immigrants? We decided to see what the latest evidence shows.

Turn to PolitiFact for the rest of our fact-check and see Trump's full Truth-O-Meter record.

Detzner tells counties updated voter database 'ready to go live'

Secretary of State Ken Detzner's office is telling Florida's 67 election supervisors that updated hardware on the state voter database is "ready to go live."

An alert from Division of Elections Director Maria Matthews went out Monday evening after details emerged of a critical state audit of the agency's management of the Florida Voter Registration System (FVRS). In addition, county election supervisors, who have repeatedly criticized Detzner for a lack of communication, called the audit findings "troubling."

Supervisors also struck a more cooperative tone in response to the state's action. Pasco County Supervisor Brian Corley, president of the supervisors' statewide association, said: "The FVRS hardware update is obviously welcomed by the supervisors of elections as the upgrade should provide a more stable platform going forward and we look forward to working with the Department of State on the software refresh."

The full text of Matthews' email to supervisors follows.

Continue reading "Detzner tells counties updated voter database 'ready to go live'" »

Mason-Dixon poll: Floridians support solar energy but would vote down industry-backed amendment

via @KirbyWilson88

A new poll shows that Florida voters would vote down a constitutional amendment proposed by the solar industry despite Floridians' overwhelming support for more solar energy in the state.

The amendment, titled, “Limits or Prevents Barriers to Local Solar Electricity Supply,” promises that it “Limits or prevents government and electric utility imposed barriers to supplying local solar electricity." Just 30 percent of voters support this proposal, compared with 45 percent who oppose it, per the poll, conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research.

The poll also shows Floridians widely favor an amendment from the utility companies that "establishes a right under Florida's constitution for consumers to own or lease solar equipment installed on their property to generate electricity for their own use." 66 percent of voters polled said they would support this deal, compared with just 22 percent who would not.

The difference between the support for the two amendments can be attriubted to the confusing wording of the first proposal and the relatively clear wording of the second, according to the poll's analysis.

"Such a sharp difference in the results of two questions related to solar energy can only be explained by the ballot language," says the analysis. "The solar industry amendment is much more confusing to the average voter than the language offered in the counter-amendment."

Continue reading "Mason-Dixon poll: Floridians support solar energy but would vote down industry-backed amendment" »

Florida Republicans discontinue presidential straw poll again

@JeremySWallace

One cycle after reviving the Florida straw poll, the state Republican Party is scrapping it again.

A spokesman for the RPOF said when the party holds its new Sunshine Summit for presidential candidates in October, it will not include either a nationally televised debate or a straw poll that was an on-again-off-again tradition dating back to Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign.

In 2011, the RPOF revived the straw poll during what was its Presidency 5 event that included a nationally televised debate with all of the major contenders. A shocking upset victory by former pizza company CEO Herman Cain over Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Mitt Romney in the straw launched Cain into national contention for at least a few months before he dropped out of the contest entirely.

That straw poll was once seen as a bellweather because the winners of the first 3 straw poll events all went on to win the GOP nomination. In 1979, Reagan impressively won the straw poll that many expected was going to be a close fight with former Texas Gov. John Connally. After Reagan’s big win in 1979, George H.W. Bush won it in 1987 and then Bob Dole in 1995. The poll was then discontinued until the 2011 cycle.

Continue reading "Florida Republicans discontinue presidential straw poll again" »

Political group spends cash on Marco Rubio in debate lead up

via @learyreports

A political group that does not disclose its donors has put Marco Rubio in the lead of early TV advertising, spending $2.6 million already in advance of next week’s GOP debate.

Conservative Solutions Project’s ads have focused on the Iran deal, producing spots before it was announced and on the day. “July 14th, 2015 – Barack Obama makes a deal giving Iran a clear path to a nuclear bomb,” a narrator says. “Congress can stop it. Marco Rubio is leading the fight.”

Rubio has been missing a lot of work in Washington to campaign but returned last week for a Foreign Relations hearing on the deal, his campaign using social media to highlight his confrontation with Secretary of State John Kerry.

NBC News, which had access to ad buying data, put the pro-Rubio group first in ad spending. He was followed by a pro-John Kasich group, New Day for America, with $2.1 million. Kasich is trying to lift his profile so he can make the cut for the first debate next week in Cleveland.

Rick Perry, also struggling to emerge from the lower end of the pack, is aided with $1.3 million in spending from the Opportunity and Freedom PAC. Bobby Jindal is backed with $1.1. million from Believe Again PAC. Chris Christie benefits from $500,000 from his campaign and America Leads PAC.

Total spending so far: almost $8 million, NBC News reports. “By comparison, only about $1 million was spent at this point in the 2012 GOP presidential contest, per SMG Delta. The only Democratic entity that has been spending money on a presidential candidate is the Super PAC supporting Martin O’Malley – and it’s just $25,000.”

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

$14 billion Florida beer industry means big business

Florida loves a cold brew — a lot, according to a new study that says beer pumps $14 billion into the state's economy every year.

The beer industry accounts for more than $5 billion in wages and benefits for more than 125,000 jobs in the state, according to the study commissioned by the Beer Institute and National Beer Wholesalers Association, an industry group of distributors who transport bottles, cans and kegs from breweries to stores and bars. And the industry brought in $3 billion in tax revenues to state coffers last year.

"Beer is more than our nation's favorite adult drink — it is a powerhouse in job creation, commercial activity and tax revenue," Jim McGreevy, Beer Institute president and CEO, said in a statement.

Much of that impact can be attributed to big names like Budweiser and MillerCoors, which account for most of the beer consumed in the U.S., even as craft breweries continue to boom.

According to the Beer Institute study, 70 percent of brewing jobs in the U.S. are with large and medium-sized breweries, and the distributors have increased their employment by 20 percent in the last decade.

It's not just the big guys that are growing. Craft breweries nationwide are on track to almost double their production from just three years ago, according to a separate study released Monday by their national group, the Brewers Association.

Right now, craft beer represents just a fraction of the total industry in Florida. With growth will come more jobs and greater impact on the state's economy as small breweries hire more employees to keep up with demand, said Josh Aubuchon, executive director of the Florida Brewers Guild.

"The (job-creating) benefit of the small craft brewer is that because the equipment is much less automated, you can't run the whole brewhouse with just one person like you can the big automated systems," Aubuchon said. "You need more boots on the ground."

He and others in the craft beer industry are hoping to see their market share continue to grow, especially after the legislative session this spring that included the passage of their marquee law, allowing breweries to sell 64-ounce growlers and open tasting rooms.

Florida leads nation in property at risk from climate change

via @jenstaletovich

Florida has more private property at risk from flooding linked to climate change than any other state, an amount that could double in the next four decades, according to a new report by the Risky Business Project.

By 2030, $69 billion in coastal property in Florida could flood at high tide that is not at risk today, the report found. That amount is projected to climb to $152 billion by 2050.

While projections for rising seas are not new, for the first time researchers tried to quantify the economic damage wrought by climate change by better understanding the risks to business and a rebounding economy. Growth in manufacturing and energy production have created a mini boom in the Southeast and Texas, the report said. But climate change threatens to undo that progress and cause widespread damage to the region’s economic pillars: manufacturing, agriculture and energy.

For Florida, the blows are significant and not only for property. Higher temperatures and rising seas could slow labor productivity, stress the energy industry and dry up cash pumped into the state by tourists.

“The sea-rise numbers are out there. The heat numbers are out there. What this study has done for the first time is really look at this from a business perspective,” former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who co-chaired the project, said in an interview with the Miami Herald.

More here.

July 27, 2015

Jeb Bush, en español, recalls 'dark-skinned' son's experience with discrimination

@PatriciaMazzei

There are some things Jeb Bush seems more comfortable saying in Spanish. 

In his second language, the one he polished to woo his Mexican-born wife, Bush has more than once opened up in interviews in ways he has not yet in English.

That may have to do with the questions Bush, an honorary Cuban American, gets asked in Spanish versus the ones he gets asked in English. But whether it's because of Bush or because of the interviewers, the former Florida governor has expressed himself in more personal terms en español.

In Puerto Rico earlier this year, Bush's answer to whether he'd attend a same-sex wedding -- "Claro que sí" -- was far warmer in Spanish than in English. Earlier Monday, he said in Spanish that he had been "hurt" by Donald Trump's comments about Mexicans.

And in the same interview with Telemundo's José Diaz-Balart, Bush opened up about a time one of his sons, now-Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, faced teasing because of the color of his skin.

Here's a transcript of the exchange, as translated by Telemundo:

Díaz-Balart: I know your three sons are bilingual. Were there times when they were younger where they were targeted either because of the color of their skin or their accent? And as a father how did you talk to them when they would tell you that they were laughed at because of their accent or the color of their skin?

Bush: It was important. I remember there was a time when my son went to Ocala to play baseball, a game on a team. And the team was a Miami team, the majority were Hispanics. My son George, he's dark-skinned. And they spoke horrible things about those from Miami. And naturally I had to explain or describe that people who hate are not the majority, and we just accept them and move forward. Because he was quite upset. Because he and his friends never -- since we live in Miami, we don't have a problem. But in other parts of the country, it exists. It's a good lesson to learn, to always remember that we still don't have a country that's full justice for all. We can see this in the African-American communities also, there's discrimination still. And in my life it's important to acknowledge this and to act about that -- yes.

Díaz-Balart: Act on it, but how?

Bush: When I was governor, I got to govern like this, bring in everybody who wanted to be with me. In regards of assigning judges, people in important positions in my administration. I had the greatest diversity from any other governor, and always be aware of the diversity of the state of Florida. It's a virtue. It's something positive. It should not divide us, but we should embrace diversity so that we can have better results.

'Joyful tortoise' Jeb Bush campaigns in Central Florida

via @adamsmithtimes

MAITLAND -- Repeat after Jeb Bush: He is not angry. Not even a tiny bit.

Florida’s Republican former governor is happy — joyful even. And campaigning throughout Orlando Monday the merriest of presidential candidates reminded supporters over and over again that he is nothing like some of his churlish counterparts in the GOP primary.

“Here’s the deal: I don’t have anger in my heart,” he told about 200 people at a community center in Maitland Monday evening. “We shouldn’t be scolding people. We shouldn’t be saying outrageous things that turns people off to the conservative message.”

“I’m not a grievance candidate,” he told more than 150 fans in Longwood, warning that the race was sure to be a long one and poll numbers would rise and fall. “I’m the tortoise in the race — but I’m a joyful tortoise.”

And in Longwood, after predicting his “hopeful, optimistic message” would win him strong support among Hispanic voters, he chided former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee for having compared the Obama administration’s nuclear agreement to the Holocaust.

“We need to tone down the rhetoric,” Bush said. “The use of that kind of language is just wrong. This is not the way we’re going to win elections.”

At a time when Donald Trump is drowning out most of the other Republican candidates calling rivals idiots and losers, Bush appears perfectly content to come off as a different kind of Republican candidate.

More here.

Cuban-American lawmakers react with alarm to Cuba's upgrade on trafficking report

@CAdamsMcClatchy

Cuban-American lawmakers reacted incredulously to the upgrade that Cuba received from the U.S. State Department in its annual “Trafficking in Persons Report.”

The report, released Monday, is a compilation of nations that have made inadequate progress preventing activities such as sex trafficking or forced labor.

This year, 23 countries were on the on the report’s Tier 3 –- nations such as Iran, North Korea, Libya, Russia and others “whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.”

Gone from the list? Cuba.

In a briefing, Under Secretary of State Sarah Sewall detailed serious problems that remain in Cuba, and noted that the designation for nations such as Cuba “does not mean that a country is free from problems or free from human trafficking.”

Cuba was upgraded, she said, because of progress by its government in addressing and prosecuting sex trafficking -– as well as the commitments it has made to become compliant with the minimum standards.

The U.S. remains concerned about Cuba in part because of its “failure to recognize forced labor as a problem or to act to combat it,” she said.

Continue reading "Cuban-American lawmakers react with alarm to Cuba's upgrade on trafficking report" »

Jeb Bush tells Telemundo he felt 'hurt' by Donald Trump's comments about Mexicans

@PatriciaMazzei

Jeb Bush spoke Monday in more personal terms than he has in the past about Donald Trump's claim that many Mexicans who cross the border into the U.S. are criminals and rapists.

How did Trump's comments make him feel, considering that his wife was born in Mexico, Telemundo news anchor José Díaz-Balart asked Bush in a Spanish-language interview taped in Orlando.

"Hurt," Bush said. "To hear a person speak in such vulgar fashion. This makes solving this problem more difficult."

Bush added that, "when politicians speak that way, offend millions of people who are here legally" and get in the way of fixing the problem. "It doesn't make sense."

The former Florida governor, who routinely answers questions in Spanish from reporters in cities with a strong Spanish-language media presence, also elaborated on how his family deals with its Hispanicness.

"Columba is very Mexican -- proud of her citizenship in this country, of course, but we eat Mexican food at home," Bush said, referring to his wife. "Our children are Hispanic, in many ways."

Spanish is spoken at home, he added, "particularly when my first lady is mad at me." 

Díaz-Balart's brothers, U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart and former U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, both Miami Republicans, have endorsed Bush.

This post has been updated.

'It's just wrong,' Jeb Bush says of Mike Huckabee's Holocaust reference. Marco Rubio declines to comment.

via @learyreports

Reporters on Monday asked Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio about Mike Huckabee saying President Obama’s deal with Iran is marching Israelis to “the door of the oven.”

Bush, in Orlando, said: “The use of that kind of language, it’s just wrong. This is not the way we’re going to win elections.”

Rubio, in Columbia, S.C., declined to weigh in. “You'll have to ask Gov. Huckabee what he meant by that,” he said, adding, "I don't generally comment on what other candidates say.”

Bush and Rubio both say the Iran deal is a bad one.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times