July 24, 2017

Bush: Scaramucci will help Trump

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via @learyreports

WASHINGTON - Before he discovered unyielding love for Donald Trump, Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director, was a Jeb Bush man.

"Jeb has the forward-looking vision and executive experience to lead our country and ensure our economy grows at its full potential,” Scaramucci said in September 2015 after joining Bush’s national finance commiteee. He had initially been with Scott Walker.

“As governor of Florida Jeb turned words into action and brought real reform to the state, creating an environment for job growth and economic prosperity, I know he will do the same as president,” Scaramucci said in a news release from Bush’s campaign.

Bush was eager to show strength — and not scare off donors — as his poll numbers were weakening. “Anthony’s decision to join our organization is evidence of Jeb’s appeal as the executive with the most conservative, results-oriented record in this entire race,” Jack Oliver, Bush’s national finance co-chairman said.

Bush’s prospects never turned around and Trump overtook the Republican primary field. Scaramucci, the hedge fund manager and TV commentator known as the Mooch, eventually turned to Trump, whom he had criticized as a “hack” and other things in the past (he’s been deleting negative tweets).

He steps into the White House at a critical time.

“Anthony is a real talent,” Bush told the Tampa Bay Times in an email on Monday. “He is quick, smart and a whole lot of fun. I think he will help the president.”

Bush crossed paths with Scaramucci in May, when the former governor attended Scaramucci’s SkyBridge Alternatives Conference in Las Vegas. Trump naturally came up and Bush offered some advice: Stop tweeting.

“When he tweets he also gives our enemies all sorts of nuances and insights,” Bush said. “These things matter. We are living in a dangerous world. He is the leader of the free world. There are lots of reasons that you don't want to send out signals to our adversaries.”

Scaramucci on Monday signaled the return of on-camera White House press briefings.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

Photo credit: Associated Press

May 30, 2017

Jeb Bush makes endorsement in special Florida House race

@PatriciaMazzei

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush made a foray Tuesday into a special Florida House election in Miami, endorsing one of two Republicans who have entered the race so far.

Bush backed Jose Mallea, one of his former aides, for House District 116. 

"There is no question Jose Mallea is the right leader for District 116," Bush said in a statement. "Jose has an inspiring personal story of working hard to achieve success in both business and public service, and now wants to ensure that same American dream is attainable for everyone, not just a select few. I know that Jose will effectively put his conservative principles and leadership skills to work in Tallahassee for the community he loves and for our great state.”"

Mallea was senior adviser to Bush's 2016 presidential campaign. He also worked as special assistant in the White House for Andrew Card, former President George W. Bush's chief of staff.

The other Republican candidate in the contest is Daniel Anthony Perez. Qualifying for the ballot ends June 6.

Jeb Bush drops bid for Miami Marlins

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via @doug_hanks

Jeb Bush has dropped his pursuit of purchasing the Miami Marlins, according to a source close to the talks.

The source, confirming a report by the Associated Press, did not offer an explanation for Bush’s change of course. “He just decided to take a step back,” the source said.

The former Florida governor and candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination had teamed with retired New York Yankees star Derek Jeter in a bid to buy the franchise from Jeffrey Loria, the current owner.

Bush and Jeter faced competition from a team assembled by Tagg Romney, son of former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

The source close to the Bush talks said he did not think Jeter was withdrawing from the chase for the Marlins.

“I think he will try to do it on his own,” the source said of Jeter.

The news removes the only known local suitor for the Marlins. The team has suffered from weak attendance and political backlash still lingering from the 2009 deal to use local taxes to build the team a new stadium in Little Havana.

This developing story will be updated here.

Photo credit: Andrew Harnik, Associated Press file

April 25, 2017

Marlins expected to finalize sale to Jeb Bush, Derek Jeter

0104241457via @flasportsbuzz

Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria reached an agreement in principle to sell the team to a group led by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and including former New York Yankees star Derek Jeter, pending Major League Baseball approval and other details to be worked out in the drawing up and execution of a contract, according to an MLB source.

According to the source, Bush’s group has agreed to pay $1.3 billion for the team.

A source said the Marlins and Bush group are very optimistic a deal will be finalized, but the process could take months to conclude.

Bush plans to be the Marlins’ “control person,” the individual who would have ultimate control over franchise decisions, according to the source.

Jeter, the former All-Star player who lives in Tampa, plans to take an active role with the franchise. 

Bush’s group includes at least five investors, and it’s unclear which of those investors has the most money invested in the bid.

Loria does not plan to retain a piece of the team he has owned since 2002, the source said.

Bush was informed this week that his bid was selected over overtures from at least two others — New York businessman Wayne Rothbaum and a group led by Massachusetts businessman Tagg Romney, son of former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

The Marlins declined to comment on where the process stands.

“I have not commented on the process and plan to keep it that way; thank you,” Marlins president David Samson said.

--BARRY JACKSON

Photo credit: Phil Coale, Associated Press

April 17, 2017

Does competition lift public schools as Jeb Bush says?

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via @PolitiFactNH

As New Hampshire considers the merits of a universal Education Savings Account bill, education reformers nationwide are watching - and weighing in.

Senate Bill 193 would allow parents to use 90 percent of the per-pupil grant the state gives to local public schools and instead put it toward alternative educational expenses, including private school tuition or homeschooling.

ESAs function basically like vouchers, but they give parents more options about how the money can be spent.  

Proponents of ESAs tout them as the next evolution in school choice. If SB 193 is passed by the House (it cleared the Senate in March), it would be one of the most expansive school choice laws in the country.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose Foundation for Excellence in Education is backing market-based education reform efforts nationwide, submitted an op-ed in New Hampshire papers this week, urging passage of the bill.

"This legislation (will not) hurt public schools. In fact, a large body of research, including that done in my home state of Florida, indicates quite the opposite. When public schools face increased competition, they get better and kids learn more," he wrote.

Critics of choice typically say that diverting funds from public schools hurt those schools. So putting aside the question of whether vouchers actually help the kids who use them, we wondered: Does research show that school choice, and specifically vouchers, help public schools get better?

See what PolitiFact New Hampshire found.

Anitere Flores gets love from Jeb Bush's education foundation with web ad

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@ByKristenMClark

A highly influential education policy foundation that was set up by former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush is running an online ad promoting Miami Republican Sen. Anitere Flores and her bill to address excessive standardized testing in Florida public schools.

The ad from the Foundation for Florida’s Future proclaims that “Sen. Flores is working to give teachers more time to teach” and directs viewers to a webpage, which offers the foundation’s explanation of the original versions of SB 926 and HB 773 — Flores’ and Hialeah Republican Rep. Manny Diaz Jr.’s testing legislation.

The foundation had a hand in crafting the legislation, according to Flores, and has a stake in ensuring its passage.

The legislation is a way for Republican lawmakers to delicately respond to intensifying complaints from parents and teachers upset about over-testing and the “high stakes” associated with those statewide exams. The education accountability system Florida uses today stems from Bush’s legacy of linking student assessment scores to school grades and funding.

Flores was Bush’s education policy chief in the early 2000s and has worked closely with the Foundation for Florida’s Future on several bills over the years, she said.

She said she was unaware of the foundation’s ad until told about it Monday by the Herald/Times. It’s unclear how long the ad has been online. Foundation officials did not respond to an email requesting comment.

Read the full story here, and below is a screen-grab of the ad:

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Photo credit: Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami. AP. Image credit: Screengrab by Herald/Times.

April 06, 2017

Jeb Bush among those in mix to buy Marlins, report says

Jebwithmarlin

George W. Bush owned the Texas Rangers before he ever became U.S. president. Now his brother, Jeb, could be stepping up to the plate to buy his own Major League team — the Marlins.

He’s not the only one.

Retired New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter is also showing interest in the club, according to Fox Business Network.

Marlins officials would neither confirm nor deny the reports.

“I have no comment,” said Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, who is in Washington to watch his team.

The former Florida governor expressed interest in ownership of the Marlins in 2013. But that was before team officials announced the franchise was for sale.

 
Keep reading here.

March 26, 2017

Jeb Bush: Trump should 'stop saying things that aren't true'

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@PatriciaMazzei

Jeb Bush has a little unsolicited advice for President Donald Trump, his former primary rival.

"He should stop saying things that aren't true, that are distractions from the task at hand," Bush told Miami Herald news partner WFOR-CBS 4 in an interview that aired Sunday on "Facing South Florida."

In his first in-depth local interview since dropping out of the presidential race more than a year ago, Bush offered a mixed assessment of Trump's first 60 or so days in office. He praised several of Trump's Cabinet secretaries, including Betsy DeVos for education, John Kelly for homeland security and Rex Tillerson for state.

"The president made some really good appointments," Bush said. "He's acted decisively on some areas I think are important, particularly on the regulatory side."

But Bush said Trump "hasn't shifted to being president in the way that people are used to, and I think that's the problem."

"He's a distraction in and of himself," Bush said. "He's got a lot of work to do, and some of these things -- the wiretapping and all of this stuff -- is a complete distraction that makes it harder to accomplish the things I know he wants to do."

Asked host Jim DeFede: Does that diminish the office of the president? "A little bit," said Bush, who said he hasn't spoken to Trump since the inauguration.

Reflecting on his failed presidential campaign, Bush said he didn't regret running but acknowledged his personality and style didn't work for the electorate.

"Reasoning, in this environment where people are angry, is hard, and I wasn't capable of giving them a sense that there is a better path," he said. "They wanted to have their anger remediated -- more than a five-point plan.... President Trump's great skill was to understand that."

Bush also said he learned "something unusual": "People customize their news to validate what they believe, and it makes them increasingly less tolerant of other people's views that rely on another set of facts," he said. "That is dangerous for our democracy."

He said his top concern for the country is restoring "some sense of what it is to be an American citizen again, and have it be a unifying theme."

While Bush wouldn't rule out another political run -- "I don't rule out anything" -- he sounded content to be a private citizen again in Coral Gables.

"I sleep at night at home more often than not, and I've got my life organized pretty nicely," he said. "My church, my gym, my golf course. My office is less than a mile from my home, and it's two stop signs away. You can't beat that, man."

Bush also shied away from handicapping the big 2018 Florida governor and U.S. Senate races, though he noted that Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson has "never been knocked off as a candidate for Senate."

"You gotta assume that incumbents have a certain advantage, if they've won two or three times," Bush said. "But on the other hand,t he person who's likely to run against him is also an incumbent -- so that'll be a good race for sure."

He was referring -- without mentioning him -- to Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

Photo credit: Andrew Harnik, Associated Press

March 22, 2017

Jeb Bush joins board of Boca Raton communications-tower firm

APTOPIX GOP 2016 Bush
@PatriciaMazzei

Jeb Bush has joined the board of directors of Vertical Bridge, a communications-tower company based in Boca Raton.

In a statement released by the company, the former Florida governor and 2016 presidential hopeful praised Vertical Bridge's growth "and the smart capital deployment" of its parent Company, Digital Bridge.

"I have long been a strong proponent of the role that improved telecommunications infrastructure can and should play in enhancing our quality of life in so many diverse ways," Bush said. "I look forward to contributing to the continued progress at Vertical Bridge."

The company, which is three years old, says it's the largest private owner and manager of telecommunications assets in the country. It's looking to Bush's expertise as the federal government moves to expand infrastructure for an integrated communications network for first responders, said Marc Ganzi, Vertical Bridge's executive chairman and co-founder.

"Public safety is going to be a big growth area," Ganzi said. "Having a public servant like the governor on our board -- who understands public safety, first responders and public agencies -- that was the real, strategic push for why we brought him in."

Ganzi's relationship with the Bush family dates back decades. (Ganzi even interned in then-President George H.W. Bush's White House.) Jeb Bush also sits on the board Dock Square Capital LLC, a Miami-based merchant back whose affiliate, Dock Square Communications LP, is investing in Vertical Bridge now that Bush is one of its directors.\

This post has been updated to correct Ganzi's title.

Photo credit: Jacquelyn Martin, Associated Press

March 01, 2017

How Trump's speech echoed Rick Scott, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush

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via @learyreports

WASHINGTON -- President Trump’s speech last night can be viewed through three of Florida’s top political figures: Rick Scott, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush.

First there was Trump’s passage about Obamacare.

“We should give our state governors the resources and flexibility they need with Medicaid to make sure no one is left out," he said.

That could be lifted directly from Scott’s talking points from several recent trips to Washington. Scott says the state could more effectively design ways to use the funding. Scott in 2013 backed Medicaid expansion under Obamacare but was blocked by the House and then said he was against expansion, followed by calls for flexibility.

Next there was Trump’s call for “merit-based” immigration. As a senator and presidential candidate, Rubio has called for a major shift from family-based immigration to that based on what a person can contribute economically.

"Today, we have a legal immigration system for permanent residency that is largely based on whether or not you have a relative living here. And that’s the way my parents came legally in 1956,” Rubio said in an October 2015 presidential debate.

“But in 2015, we have a very different economy. Our legal immigration system from now on has to be merit-based. It has to be based on what skills you have, what you can contribute economically, and most important of all, on whether or not you’re coming here to become an American, not just live in America, but be an American.”

Bush as a cadidate also talked about a shift that rewards people with work skills rather than the family-based immigration system in place.

Finally, Trump spoke of education, calling it “the civil rights issue of our time.” He said: "I am calling upon members of both parties to pass an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth, including millions of African-American and Latino children. These families should be free to choose the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school that is right for them.”

That’s straight from Bush’s playbook. Making the tie even stronger, Trump pointed to a young woman in the audience, Denisha Merriweather, a Jacksonville woman who benefited from the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program. It was Bush who first highlighted her story and Merriweather appeared on the campaign trail with him.

“We want all children to be able to break the cycle of poverty just like Denisha,” Trump said.

On Twitter, Bush wrote:

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

Photo credit: Jim Lo Scalzo, pool photo via Associated Press