Hours before Jeb Bush will formally announce his candidacy for U.S. president at Miami Dade College, the Democratic National Committee launched a preemptive strike Monday morning at Florida International University.
Flanked by members of South Florida's Hispanic caucuses and LGBT activists, DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz ripped the former Florida governor as an "extremist," criticized his track record in and out of office and attempted to lump him in with the GOP field, as well as his brother and father. In front of a small gaggle of media, she and others criticized Bush, calling his policies pro-Jeb and anti-Hispanic, anti-middle class, anti-woman, and anti-LGBT.
"Jeb Bush only looks out for himself and people like him," said Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston. "He never has and never will fight for middle class families. Maybe that's why we used to call him King Jeb here in Florida."
Wasserman Schultz gave a seven-minute speech from prepared remarks at 11 a.m. in FIU's Graham Center auditorium in Sweetwater. She started off by criticizing his brother George W. Bush's tenure as president, noting that the housing market burst and the auto industry was on "the verge of collapse."
"We're still digging out of that hole," she said.
She ripped his two terms as governor, saying he opposed a popular class-size amendment, and launched a $500 million boondoggle to generate 50,000 jobs by bringing Scripps Research Institute to the state to build a biomedical hub. Reuters reported in March that only 1,365 jobs were created.
Once out of office, Bush, she said, "created a multi-million dollar fund that operates like an offshore tax haven," "sat on the board of a company that was found to have defrauded investors out of millions of dollars, " and "managed to leverage his family name to reap profits for himself, cashing in on Wall Street while many Americans were hit by the financial crisis."
Wasserman Schultz also reached back to the 1990s, before Bush was elected as Florida's governor, and ripped his book, Profiles in Character, for a chapter she said advocated shaming women who have children out of wedlock and rely on government assistance.
Bush won statewide Florida races for governor twice in 1998 and 2002, helped grow Florida's Republican party into a powerhouse, and speaks Spanish, giving him a leg-up with the state's Hispanic voters. But Wasserman Schultz said he's no different than the rest of the GOP file, and dismissed his clout with Florida.
"He hasn't been on the ballot since 2002. So, that's a lifetime, an eternity in politics. There wasn't an iPhone in 2002. There wasn't almost any social media. The entire campaign, as you've seen from his fledgling, floundering campaign, he's not exactly had an easy go of the return to the campaign trail. I expect as time goes by Americans are going to have an opportunity to see the results of Jeb's policies as they were in Florida.... At the end of the day, Americans aren't going to sign up for a third Bush presidency."