March 27, 2015

Jeb Bush's claim about Florida's achievement gap

In his first foray into New Hampshire as a potential Republican presidential contender, former Gov. Jeb Bush talked up Florida’s record on education during his tenure.

Bush, who was governor between 1999 and  2007, talked about how the state stopped automatically moving up third-graders to fourth grade if they weren’t deemed ready. (The old approach has sometimes been called "social promotion.") And he also touted that during his tenure Florida started the state’s voluntary prekindergarten program.

Such policies paid off, Bush said.

"We had significant gains, particularly with kids in poverty," Bush said at a business roundtable in Hudson, N.H., March 13. "Florida continues to be one of the states that does the best with low-income kids, and we are one of the few states that has actually had a narrowing of the achievement gap based on income, or based on race or ethnicity."

Is Bush correct that Florida is one of the few states that narrowed the achievement gap for minorities and the poor? PolitiFact Florida took a closer look and here is Bush's full Truth-O-Meter record.

March 26, 2015

Jeb Bush: 'Stay the course' on Gitmo

From Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times:

Jeb Bush just wrapped up an interview with a Fox News radio host and said the U.S. should not close the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay.

The discussion began when the host asked Bush about the desertion charges facing Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

"To try to bring back someone who turns out to have been a deserter is just heartbreaking," Bush said, speaking from a cell phone on the road in Texas, while an aide in the back seat streamed the interview on Meerkat. "The president is totally focused on closing Guantanamo as an organizing principle. And it's all based on politics. It's not based on keeping us safe, which should be his first obligation. We shouldn’t be closing down Guantanamo. We shouldn’t be releasing Taliban that are openly organizing once again to attack us."

The host then asked more specifically about closing the prison. “We have a real challenge bringing people back inside of our criminal courts," Bush said. "It’s not going to be appropriate for every one of these folks. They themselves are threats to our country and so I’m not sure there is an easy answer to this. But closing it down for political purposes is not the right thing to do. Unless there is some compelling alternative, I do believe that we ought to stay the course."

Sen. Marco Rubio visited Guantanamo in 2012.

In a diss on Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, Rand Paul says he has best shot at beating Hillary Clinton

Among the potential Republican contenders, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., says he is best-positioned to take on likely Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race.

In an interview with Fox News host Megyn Kelly, who asked about his chances at a win, Paul said, "I think when you see my polling, the polling that's out there so far, nobody is doing better against Hillary Clinton than myself."

"Also though, when you poll people not just against each other, but against the other side, that shows which candidate has the best chance of picking up the independent vote," he added. "And right now I'm the only one that beats Hillary Clinton in certain purple states. I'm the only one that also scores above all the other Republicans in whether or not I can beat her."

We wondered if Paul really is doing the best in polls against Clinton in a hypothetical 2016 general election match-up. See what Lauren Carroll and Katharina Fielder of PolitiFact found.

March 25, 2015

MSNBC: Former GOP Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison says she will back Jeb Bush in 2016

Former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison appeared on MSNBC on Wednesday and said she is going to support Jeb Bush for president.

"I think he is exactly what we need right now that will take us in the right direction," Hutchison said on MSNBC's NOW w/Alex Wagner.

"I think he will have a vision and I think he will implement the vision because he's been a governor, he's run things.  He knows business and I think he will help our economy," she said.

She also described as being a "Floridian" as opposed to a Texan.

Said the former senator: "I think he is his own person.  He is not a Texan.  He's a Floridian.  He has a great record as governor in his own right in Florida."

When Jeb Bush helped launch the rescue operation for Ethiopian Jews

via @learyreports

Jeb Bush this week has worked to assert his pro-Israel credentials after criticism from the right surfaced over comments James Baker, an adviser to Bush’s presidential campaign in waiting, made about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Bush first issued a statement distancing himself from Baker’s remarks, made to the liberal J Street on Monday, and on Wednesday, penned a National Review column bashing the Obama administration's relationship with Israel. This afternoon Bush's PAC put out anemail soliciting donations to support candidates who “stand with Israel against a nuclear Iran.”

What Bush hasn’t mentioned is his role in a little-remembered secret mission to rescue an obscure sect of Jews from starvation.

As head of the Miami-Dade GOP in the early 1980s, Bush became a fixer of sorts, "tooling around Dade in a silver Thunderbird," as a Miami Herald story put it. He was not shy about contacting the White House when issues arose, sometimes to the annoyance of officials there, including, it seems, Baker, who was President Reagan’s chief of staff.

“James Baker explained several times that the White House could not be involved in any exemption decision,” a presidential aide wrote in a memo after Jeb Bush passed along a complaint from a supporter about federal noise regulations at airports.

In 1984, Bush heard from a Miami attorney Ron Krongold about Ethiopian Jews, the Falashas, who had fled their homeland due to famine for a refugee camp in Sudan. Bush, according to a report a decade later in the Herald, tipped off his Vice President father and the U.S. got involved in a top-secret mission, “Operation Moses,” to rescue them.

Thousands of people were airlifted to Israel, though the U.S. involvement dealt with hundreds of those, according to news reports at the time.

In Texas, the Bush family chases campaign cash together

via @learyreports

Jeb Bush's race for cash takes him to Texas Wednesday to begin a series of fundraisers featuring his family.

George W. and Laura Bush will attend a fundraiser in Dallas today. On Thursday, George H.W. and Barbara Bush will attend one in Houston.

Per the Dallas Morning News: The invitation, with the list of about 50 Texas supporters, indicates the millionaire-business class that have been big backers of establishment Republicans in Texas.

Among those joining the event are real estate developer Woody Hunt, oil man T. Boone Pickens, attorney Mike Boone, former U.S. Commerce Secretary Don Evans, former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, former ambassador to Switzerland Pam Willeford, homebuilder David Weekley, former U.S. Rep. Tom Loeffler and beer distributor John Nau.

ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

March 24, 2015

Scorecards so far for Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Hillary Clinton and other presidential contenders

Ted Cruz announced his intention to run for president on Monday, formally kicking off the 2016 race for the White House. In the coming weeks and months, we expect more candidates to announce.

While we wait, we thought it was a good time to look at the scorecards of some of the people we believe are likely to run.  Below, you’ll see a snapshot of where their Truth-O-Meter scorecards stand today. Click the links on their names to access their dynamic scorecards, which update automatically when we post new fact-checks.

Turn to PolitiFact to see the scorecards for former Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio and more.

March 22, 2015

March 19, 2015