February 12, 2016

Pro-Jeb Bush Super PAC takes on Donald Trump, at last

@PatriciaMazzei

Did Jeb Bush's allies finally listen to the candidate?

Bush likes to attack Donald Trump. His super PAC, Right to Right USA, likes to attack Marco Rubio. The disconnect has been evident for weeks: Bush says one thing, the TV ads supporting him say another.

On Friday, though, following Bush's finish ahead of Rubio in New Hampshire, Right to Rise released a new national TV ad -- bashing Trump: "Look past the boasting, and you'll see right through him."

 

 

February 11, 2016

Dubya to join Jeb in South Carolina on Monday

@PatriciaMazzei

Jeb Bush's presidential campaign has finally set a date for when former President George W. Bush will hit the campaign trail: Monday, in North Charleston, South Carolina.

The ex-president will appear at a 6 p.m. rally. He's already been on TV and radio for his brother in the Palmetto State, which holds its primary Feb. 20.

Were Jeb Bush's picks for the Florida Supreme Court consistent conservatives?

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s positions on some issues, such as immigration, have been to the left of other members of the GOP presidential field. But last month, Bush laid down a marker on his own conservatism: his selection of conservative judges.

"I have a proven record of appointing conservatives to the Florida judiciary as governor, and my administration devoted substantial time to vetting nominees,"Bush wrote in an article for Medium. "We sought judges who had shown humility, courage, an appreciation of the duties of a judge, a respect for the will of the people, and devotion to full application of the law without equivocation. My two appointments to the Florida Supreme Court, Raul Cantero and Kenneth Bell, have earned reputations as its most consistent conservatives. Additionally, two of the appellate judges I named as governor, Charles Canady and Ricky Polston, are now serving with distinction on the Florida Supreme Court."

We wondered whether Bush was right that Cantero and Bell "have earned reputations as its most consistent conservatives." Our research suggests that Bush has a point, though the case is stronger for Bell than for Cantero.

See what Louis Jacobson of PolitiFact found.

February 10, 2016

Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush turn to South Carolina

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@PatriciaMazzei

They yearned for clarity in New Hampshire. Marco Rubio hoped to crystallize his position as the Republican Party’s great presidential hope heading into the South Carolina primary. Jeb Bush intended to prove his political muscle could still be as powerful as his family name and donor fortune.

Neither succeeded.

Bush and Rubio wound up in fourth and fifth place, respectively: Bush topped by another governor, John Kasich of Ohio, and Rubio undone by three minutes of woeful debating on national television. Their results Tuesday made it possible to survive, barely.

Now Bush and Rubio head to the first-in-the-South primary Feb. 20 still competing toe-to-toe with each other for the same spot — and there is, at best, only a single spot — in the GOP: to be the last man standing to confront front-runners Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, if someone can take them on at all.

What comes next won’t be pretty.

More here.

Photo credit: Jacquelyn Martin, Associated Press

February 09, 2016

Jeb Bush 'not dead' in New Hampshire, bests Marco Rubio to keep rivalry going

GOP 2016 Bush (14)

@PatriciaMazzei

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- They needed two tries, but Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders did Tuesday what traditionalists in their political parties had considered unthinkable just six months ago: They won the New Hampshire primary — both in crushing fashion — turning the once-fantastical candidacies of a celebrity businessman and a democratic socialist into undeniable realities.

So vast was Sanders’ lead that Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, the 2008 New Hampshire victor, conceded shortly after polls closed. Eight days earlier she had barely edged Sanders in the Iowa caucuses.

But the far more compelling story of the night was on the Republican side, over who trailed Trump, and by how much — a saga that continued late into the night in a third-place battle between Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, where just a few hundred votes separated the two as the count continued.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich pulled off a stunning second-place finish, catapulting his long-shot candidacy over six opponents who had bested him in Iowa.

Bush rode a swell of late momentum to top his chief rival, former Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

“It looks like you all have reset the race,” Bush told supporters gathered at Manchester Community College. “This campaign is not dead. We’re going to South Carolina!”

More here.

Photo credit: Steven Senne, Associated Press

Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio almost cross paths in New Hampshire

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@PatriciaMazzei

BEDFORD, N.H. -- For a moment, it almost seemed like a scene out of Miami.

Jeb Bush headed out of a high school polling place Tuesday. A few minutes earlier, in strolled Marco Rubio.

Except it was Bedford High School in New Hampshire. Snow piled on the ground. And Rubio and Bush were not just near-neighbors coinciding at a popular voting site. They were candidates rolling around in name-branded buses, chased by an entourage of reporters, trying to get a word in edgewise with voters.

"I feel good!" declared the former Florida governor, who was accompanied by his wife, Columba, son Jeb Jr. and longtime friend and Miami developer Sergio Pino. "But as you know, this is a volatile year."

Rubio hadn't advertised his appearance at the school. But by arriving after Bush, who had, he found himself surrounded by a phalanx of cameras anyway. That made it difficult to spend much quality time with locals. Rubio was also trailed by a man dressed up as a robot, holding a sign that read "#RobotRubio," referring to Rubio's tendency to sound scripted.

The Florida senator ignored him.

"We've got great energy!" asserted Rubio. "We're looking forward to Florida -- there won't be snow there."

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February 08, 2016

Forget Donald Trump's playlist. Here's what the crowd heard at a Jeb Bush Rotary Club lunch

@PatriciaMazzei

NASHUA, N.H. -- Much has been written about Donald Trump's pre-political rally playlist, which is heavy on classic rock, Broadway tunes and opera -- far different from most of his rivals.

But sometimes candidates can't control their warm-up songs. Like at a Rotary Club lunch Monday for Jeb Bush.

As Rotarians trickled into the Nashua Country Club, a pianist sat behind the keys and played the theme from PBS' Downton Abbey. Then, two Rotarians came over to sing along -- to Disney's "When You Wish Upon a Star," which is probably not the sort of message Bush's campaign would have liked to send a day before the New Hampshire primary, had his aides had any choice in the musical selection.

The instrumental repertoire got only more...aspirational.

There was "Over the Rainbow," from The Wizard of Oz ("Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue/And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true"). And "For Good," from the Wicked musical ("I'm limited/Just look at me"). And "Think of Me," from The Phantom of the Opera ("Think of me, think of me fondly/When we've said goodbye").

When Bush arrived, the pianist played the jazz standard "Misty" ("Look at me, I'm as helpless as a kitten up a tree"). Asked by a reporter if he would sing, the candidate said, "No!"

"I'm trying to save my voice," he explained. 

But when the room stood to say the Pledge of Allegiance, and then sing "America, the Beautiful," Bush joined in.

February 07, 2016

Jeb Bush, the day after the debate: 'Donald Trump, you're the loser!'

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@PatriciaMazzei

NASHUA, N.H. -– Jeb Bush packed a town hall Sunday with people who, in several cases, said they came to see him because they saw him take on Donald Trump in Saturday night’s debate.

“His performance in the debate last night was worthy to come see him,” said 47-year-old Bryan Harms of Amherst. “I love that he actually hits back against Trump. Someone’s got to do that a little bit – at least he has the guts to do that.”

Harms, an independent voter, plans to cast his ballot for Bush rival John Kasich. But he had brought a friend to see Bush anyway.

And Bush drew undecided voters too.

“I thought he did a good job showing he had experience,” said 51-year-old Republican Kevin Giroux of Nashua. He’s torn between Bush and Chris Christie, whom he said had the most memorable debate moment when he hammered Marco Rubio.

“He was ducking the questions,” Giroux said of Rubio.

Bush played up his feud with Trump, repeating his debate attack on Trump’s support of eminent domain and adopting a Trumpian tone to call the celebrity businessman out for bashing combat veterans like Arizona Sen. John McCain.

“Donald Trump, you’re the loser!” Bush said. He received a standing ovation.

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