August 03, 2015

McClatchy poll: Republican voters like Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio. A lot don't like Donald Trump.

via @LightmanDavid

WASHINGTON -- Republicans like Jeb Bush. And a lot really don’t like Donald Trump.

In fact, more than half find Trump a distraction from the primary process, not a serious candidate.

With the first Republican presidential debate coming up Thursday, a new McClatchy-Marist poll finds that a majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents personally like Bush, saying they view him favorably rather than unfavorably. Large numbers also like Marco Rubio and Mike Huckabee, far more than dislike them.

But nearly half dislike Trump, suggesting that the billionaire businessman who leads national Republican polls will have a hard time reaching those personally hostile voters and growing his constituency, while a host of others have room to surge.

The debate in Cleveland, the first of a monthly series, will feature the 10 Republicans, plus ties, atop an average of national polls. As many as seven other candidates will not qualify and instead can participate in a late afternoon forum.

More here.

August 01, 2015

Miami donors dug deep for hometown candidates Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush

@NickNehamas @lesleyclark @CAdamsMcClatchy @PatriciaMazzei

Miami’s political sugar daddies bankrolled — in a big way — the outside groups supporting hometown presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.

And it wasn’t just donors in the Magic City who dug deep. The “super” political action committees enlisted to do heavy fundraising for Rubio and Bush hauled in more money from Florida than anywhere else, underscoring the pitched battle between the two Republicans to win their home state.

Norman Braman, the Miami auto magnate and civic activist, made good on his promise to stand behind Rubio, whom he called the “candidate of the future.” Braman gave the Conservative Solutions committee backing Rubio a tidy $5 million, according to a financial report the group filed Friday.

“I believe he’s the only Republican who can beat Hillary Clinton,” said Braman, who is said to be willing to give Rubio $10 million. “All the others have been there. I don’t believe in dynasties. I don’t believe in crowning nominees.”

His money — in three checks of $1.5 million, $1.5 million and $2 million in April, May and June — topped the list of contributors to the committee and amounted to nearly a third of the group’s $16.1 million total. About $11.4 million of that came from Florida.

The biggest donor to the Right to Rise USA committee supporting Bush was also a local: Coral Gables healthcare mogul Mike Fernandez, a longtime Bush friend who hosted a March fundraising soiree, contributed $3 million. Right to Rise raised a whopping $103 million in support of Bush’s presidential bid, with Florida donations comprising about $29 million.

Story here. Interactive money graphic here.

Interactive graphic: The money race between Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio

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@PatriciaMazzei

You've got questions: How much have Miami's two Republican presidential candidates raised so far? Who did it come from? How much did top donors give?

We've got answers.

Check out our interactive graphic, where you can peruse the top national, Florida and South Florida donors to the super PACs backing Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush. We've also got a county-by-county breakdown of how much they hauled for their campaigns in Florida.

Take a look here.

July 31, 2015

In Fort Lauderdale, Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton offer glimpse into what 2016 general election could look like

@PatriciaMazzei @AmySherman1

Forget the primary. For a moment Friday in Fort Lauderdale, it seemed as though next year’s general election had already arrived.

Democrat Hillary Clinton took direct aim at Republican Jeb Bush — who in turn made a pitch to the voters whose support he would need to defeat Clinton.

Clinton didn’t name Bush when she spoke to the annual conference of the National Urban League, a civil-rights organization that welcomed five 2016 presidential candidates. But she referred to the “right to rise” — the name of a political action committee raising money for him.

“Too often we see a mismatch between what some candidates say in venues like this, and what they actually do when they’re elected,” Clinton said.

“I don’t think you can credibly say that everyone has a ‘right to rise’ and then say you’re for phasing out Medicare or for repealing Obamacare. People can’t rise if they can’t afford health care. They can’t rise if the minimum wage is too low to live on. They can’t rise if their governor makes it harder for them to get a college education. And you cannot seriously talk about the right to rise and support laws that deny the right to vote.”

That last line, alluding to some of Bush’s policies as Florida governor, prompted a round of enthusiastic applause. Bush’s administration purged the voter rolls and shortened early-voting hours, two measures that disproportionately hurt African Americans.

“What people say matters, but what they do matters more,” Clinton said.

More here.

Did Jeb Bush win 60 percent of Hispanic vote in 2002?

Former Gov. Jeb Bush is courting Hispanic voters to build momentum for his presidential run, pointing out that he relied upon the demographic during his gubernatorial campaign.

"In my re-election in 2002, I won the majority," he told Telemundo’s José Díaz-Balart in Spanish during a July 27 interview. "I won more Hispanic votes than Anglo votes, 60 percent in the state. It can be done."

Bush has some advantages over most of his GOP rivals when it comes to Hispanic voters: He speaks Spanish fluently and his wife, Columba, is a native of Mexico. But did he really win re-election as governor with 60 percent of the Hispanic vote, higher than his percentage with white voters? We decided to revisit the polls and find out.

See what Joshua Gillin of PolitiFact Florida found.

Super PAC backing Jeb Bush reveals list of major donors, led by Coral Gables billionaire

via @lesleyclark @NickNehamas

Coral Gables healthcare mogul Mike Fernandez topped the list of major donors to a super PAC backing former Gov. Jeb Bush, with a $3 million contribution.

Nearly two dozen donors gave at least $1 million to Right to Rise USA, which accepts unlimited donations and reported in a filing Friday that it raised more than $103 million in support of Bush’s bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

In addition to the Cuban-American Fernandez, the major donors include Rooney Holdings, Inc., of Tulsa, Okla., which gave $2 million.

California investor William E. Oberndorf, a board member of Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education, contributed $1.5 million.

San Francisco investor Helen O. Schwab, wife of financier Charles Schwab, also contributed $1.5 million.

American Pacific International Capital, Inc. contributed $1.3 million and North Palm Beach-based Nextera Energy, Inc. gave $1 million.

Other million dollar donors included Republican mega-financier Al Hoffman, the founder and former chairman of WCI Communities Inc.; hedge fund billionaire Louis M. Bacon; Raul Rodriguez, president of Miami-based Clinical Medical Services, Inc.; and Hushang Ansary, a former Iranian ambassador to the United States whose wife, Shahla Ansary, also gave $1 million.

The numbers demonstrate the former Florida governor’s extensive network in Florida, with Right to Rise raising about $29 million in the state — the most of any state. Bush’s family roots in Texas also show, with $17 million raised from the state.

More here.

National Urban League: Jeb Bush

@PatriciaMazzei

Jeb Bush refused the engage in cross-fire with Hillary Clinton when he took the stage Friday as the fifth and final 2016 presidential candidate to address the National Urban League in Fort Lauderdale. Clinton had alluded to Bush in her earlier remarks, but Bush stuck to his script -- which included praising each of the contenders who preceded him by name for showing up. (His campaign did respond to Clinton on his behalf.)

Bush was interrupted several times by mild applause, and a few people stood up at the end, but the only candidates to receive full ovations were Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

DIDN'T GET THE 'JEB!'-NOT-BUSH MEMO: National Urban League President Marc Morial introduced Bush as someone "from a family that is no stranger," who is "looking to win the trifecta."

HE'S GOT JOKES: "I'm pleased to see the other candidates here as well –- Secretary Clinton, Governor O'Malley, Senator Sanders and a good man who's bringing a lot of wisdom to the Republican side, Dr. Ben Carson," Bush said. "By the way, I am very glad he will likely make it into the top 10 for next week's debate. Before that thing's over we might just need a doctor. Just sayin'."

LEARNED HIS LESSON: Bush didn't mention his infamous 1994 remark when he was asked at a debate for governor what he would do for African Americans. "Probably nothing," he said at the time. But he nevertheless alluded to the moment on Friday, noting his loss in that race.

"I went through a period of what some might call 'self-reflection' but I referred to it as 'listening and learning," Bush said. "I converted to my wife's Catholic faith. I went to family courthouses where there were cases of children abused or neglected. And parents trying but unable to meet their obligations because of barriers -– language, skills, or otherwise -– that held them back."

HAT TIP: Bush praised the Democrat sitting in the White House, an unusual move for a GOP presidential candidate that earned him applause: "When President Obama says that 'for too long we've been blind to the way past injustices continue to shape the present,' he is speaking the truth."

APPLAUSE LINE: "We should not be wasting times agonizing over the easy calls," Bush said. For example? "Fourteen years ago, when the question was whether to keep the Confederate flag on the grounds of the Florida State Capitol, I said no, and put it in a museum where it belongs."

'RESTORATIVE' JUSTICE: "In this country, we shouldn't be writing people off, denying them a second chance at a life of meaning," Bush said. He didn't bring up support for mandatory minimum sentences known in Florida as 10-20-Life.

National Urban League: Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton attacked Jeb Bush's stances on health care and Medicare during her speech to the National Urban League.

Clinton didn’t name Bush but she made a series of attacks based on the Right to Rise PAC which is supporting his campaign.

“Race still plays a significant role in determining who gets ahead in America and who gets left behind,” Clinton told the mostly black audience at the event in Fort Lauderdale.

Here are some highlights of her speech:

JEB BUSH’S RIGHT TO RISE: “I don’t think you can credibly say that everyone has a ‘right to rise’ and then say you’re for phasing out Medicare or for repealing Obamacare. People can’t rise if they can’t afford health care. They can’t rise if the minimum wage is too low to live on. They can’t rise if their governor makes it harder for them to get a college education. And you cannot seriously talk about the right to rise and support laws that deny the right to vote.”

(Here is some background about Bush's recent statement on Medicare.)

DISCRIMINATION IN MORTGAGES: Clinton said Americans would be surprised to learn that  “African-Americans are nearly three times as likely as whites to be denied a mortgage or how in 2013 median wealth for white families was more than $134,000 but for African-American familes it was just $11,000.”

SCHOOL SEGREGATION, PRISONS AND VOTING RIGHTS: “A lot of people don’t realize that our schools are more segregated than in 1968 or even African-Americans are sentenced to longer prison terms than white people for the same crimes. Or political operatives are trying every trick in the book to prevent African-Americans from voting.” (PolitiFact recently rated a similar statement she made about school segregation Mostly True.)

CHILDREN’S HEALTH CARE: “African-American children are 500% more likely to die from asthma than white kids.”

RACIAL PROFILING: “We need to try best we can walk in one another's shoes and imagine what it would be like sit our son down and have the talk or if people followed us around stores or locked their car doors when we walked past.”

Clinton now heads to Florida International University to call for lifting the U.S. Trade embargo with Cuba. See her Truth-O-Meter record from PolitiFact.

McClatchy poll: As 3rd-party candidate, Donald Trump could send Hillary Clinton to the White House

via @LightmanDavid @corinneskennedy

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump could do to the 2016 general election exactly what Ross Perot did a generation ago – with a Clinton pulling away from a Bush and a wealthy business mogul drawing a surprisingly large share of the vote.

A new McClatchy-Marist poll finds Hillary Clinton leading every potential Republican rival one on one. And while her lead has narrowed over several, it expands greatly in a race against Jeb Bush if Trump decides to jump in as a third-party candidate, as he has suggested is possible.

The poll projects a virtual rerun of 1992. That year, husband Bill Clinton won the White House with 43 percent of the popular vote. President George H.W. Bush, Jeb Bush’s father, came in second with 37.5 percent. Perot, running as an independent, got 19 percent.

This time, Hillary Clinton gets 44 percent, Bush gets 29 percent and Trump gets 20 percent, according to the poll.

The results come as the Republicans prepare for their first debate, Thursday in Cleveland, with Trump leading national polls of GOP voters. Should he fall short of winning the Republican nomination, which party insiders expect, Trump has opened the door to a third-party bid.

Trump would badly wound Bush, according to the nationwide McClatchy-Marist survey conducted July 22-28.

He would siphon votes from Republicans and independents, but not from Democrats. He’d get 28 percent of the Republican vote, while Bush would sink to 63 percent support from his own party. Meanwhile, Clinton would hold 86 percent of the Democrats.

More here.

July 30, 2015

Florida Senate minority leader to Jeb Bush: Apologize to black community

@PatriciaMazzei

The office of state Sen. Arthenia Joyner of Tampa, the Democratic minority leader, sent over a letter Joyner addressed to Jeb Bush ahead of his speech Friday to the National Urban League's annual conference in Fort Lauderdale.

Joyner, who is black, used the letter to fault Bush for purging the Florida voter rolls and shortening early-voting hours as governor. Those are among the challenges Bush faces in addressing a primarily black audience as part of a campaign that he says will reach out to groups that vote overwhelmingly Democratic.

"If you are indeed sincere about being inclusive, then you need to first acknowledge your mistakes and unequivocally apologize directly to the community you wronged," Joyner wrote.

Here's the full text of her letter:

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