October 01, 2015

Donald Trump needs to 'put on his big boy pants,' Jeb Bush says


A reporter asked Jeb Bush late Wednesday for his response to Donald Trump's remark that the friendship between Bush and opponent Marco Rubio is "political bullshit."

Except CNN's Dana Bash didn't want to repeat the swear word at the candidate. And a jolly Bush joshed her until she did.

Then he answered her question:

"I'm pretty sure Marco can put his big boy pants on. I know I can. Like, we're friends. I can take criticism. He can as well," Bush said.

He then poked at Trump, calling him thin-skinned -- just as Rubio has, to apparent effect, given that Rubio has been Trump's favorite foil as of late.

"Donald seems to have a harder time taking criticism," Bush said. "He probably needs to put on his big boy pants, too."

As for Rubio, Bush concluded: "We're close friends, and I admire him greatly...Every debate we have it turns out we're going to the same church to pray at noon."

Trump, he said, "has no knowledge of my relationship with Marco Rubio."

UPDATED Jeb Bush: 'It's not known' if Marco Rubio has sufficient leadership skills


Jeb Bush has subtly changed his argument over the past two days about why he thinks he'd make a better president than Republican rival from Florida Marco Rubio.

Bush told MSNBC's Morning Joe on Thursday morning that he's a proven leader -- and Rubio is not.

"It's not known" if Rubio has the required skills, Bush said.

He also repeated a line he told CNN on Wednesday that Rubio "followed" Bush's lead when both served in Tallahassee.

Here's a transcript of the Morning Joe exchange:

JOHN HEILEMANN: Let me just ask you a question about Marco Rubio. You talked -- there was a quote attributed to you yesterday, I believe is accurate that said you compared him to President Obama.  You said, "Look we had a president who came in and said the same kind of thing -- new and improved, hope and change -- and he didn't have the leadership skills to fix things." I just want to be direct about this. Are you saying that Senator Rubio does not have the leadership skills to fix things?  

JEB BUSH: There were two thoughts in that sentence that I had. But yeah, I think I have the leadership skills to fix things and that's my strength and that's what I talk about, and Marco was a member of the House of Representatives when I was governor, and he followed my lead and I'm proud of that.

HEILEMANN: Right. But you don not think he has the leadership skills to fix things?  

BUSH: It's not known. Barack Obama didn't end up having them, and he won an election based on the belief that people had that he could, and he didn't even try.

The Bush campaign was clearly pleased with their candidate's performance on the show, disseminating a link to the video where the former Florida governor appeared at ease and spoke at length about foreign policy.

UPDATE: Here's the different line Bush had about Rubio's experience in 2012 on the Charlie Rose Show, when Rubio was considered a potential Mitt Romney running mate:

CHARLIE ROSE: Marco has enough preparation to be one heartbeat away from the presidency?

BUSH: I believe so. Look, he has more experience than Barack Obama had when he ran, more practical experience. And certainly got the intellectual acumen and the fortitude to be a good president. And I have a special place in my heart for him, it's hard to describe the pride I feel for his incredible success, and how well he has moved into the job of being United State Senator with humility, not trying to be an arrogant guy, to learn the trade if you will. He's got great people in Washington, I really admire him.

--with Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times

September 30, 2015

'It's political bullshit,' Donald Trump says of Jeb Bush-Marco Rubio friendship


Donald Trump surprised reporters -- and got big applause -- Wednesday at a New Hampshire town hall where he cursed at least twice, including to dismiss the friendship between Republican presidential rivals Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush.

"It's political bullshit," Trump declared. 

"They hate each other," he insisted. "Trust me. I know."

Here are the tweets from reporters who were there or watching live:

And here's the video (cursing towards the end):


Trump's other swear word came up on the topic of Iraq: 

Jeb Bush: Marco Rubio 'followed my leadership' in Tallahassee


Jeb Bush got in a couple of subtle digs at rival Marco Rubio in an interview Wednesday with CNN: He called him a follower in Tallahassee and suggested electing another first-term senator as president to follow Barack Obama would be foolish.

Obama, Bush said, has "been the greatest, most divisive president in modern history," according to CNN. "What we need is someone with proven leadership to fix things, and I believe I have those skills."

Bush has slid in early polls, while Rubio has seen a rise, particularly since Rubio's strong performance at the last Republican presidential debate.

The difference between the two men, Bush insisted, is his track record as Florida governor.

"I disrupted the old order in Tallahassee," Bush said. "I relied on people like Marco Rubio and many others to follow my leadership, and we moved the needle."

ABC News: Jeb Bush doesn't think Washington Redskins should change name

From ABC News:

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush is siding with the Washington Redskins’ right to keep the team’s name, despite protests from Native American groups and pressure from Congress to force a change.

“I don’t think it should change it,” Bush said on the inaugural episode of "The Arena" radio program, set to debut Friday afternoon on Sirius XM’s POTUS Channel 124. “But again, I don’t think politicians ought to be having any say about that, to be honest with you. I don’t find it offensive. Native American tribes generally don’t find it offensive.”

Bush cited the NCAA’s decision to let Florida State University keep its Seminoles nickname in 2005, while Bush was the governor of Florida, in explaining his thinking on the name for Washington’s football franchise.

“We had a similar kind of flap with FSU, if you recall, the Seminoles. And the Seminole tribe itself kind of came to the defense of the university and it subsided,” he said. “It’s a sport, for crying out loud. It’s a football team. Washington has a huge fan base -- I’m missing something here, I guess.”

More here.

UPDATE: Democratic National Committee chairwoman and Weston Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz issued a statement on Bush's remarks:

Jeb Bush's support of the Washington football team's name and mascot is extremely insulting to Native American people and is one of many reasons he will not earn the Native American vote. The team's name is a racial slur that perpetuates negative stereotypes of Native American people, and reduces proud cultures to an insulting caricature.

Over the past few weeks, Jeb Bush has shown a shocking disregard for America's diverse society. First, during an exchange about immigration from Latin America, he slurred American children born in this country to immigrants. Then, he clarified that the offensive term he used was, 'frankly, more related to Asian people.' Last week, he insulted African-Americans, implying that they only voted for Democrats because of 'free stuff,' and also said America should not have a multicultural society. So much for the Republican Party's plan to appeal to minorities.

Liberal group files another campaign-finance complaint against Jeb Bush

via @learyreports

For the second time this month, a liberal group has accused Jeb Bush’s campaign of violating election law.

The latest FEC complaint from American Democracy Legal Fund argues that two Bush backers — Fred Cooper and Emil Henry — helped raise money for Bush’s campaign but also participated in a super PAC “soft money event by providing in-kind contributions for catering at such events to raise money to support Mr. Bush’s federal candidacy.”

“Additionally, public reports indicate that three individuals – Kris Money, Trey McCarley, and Debbie Aleksander – simultaneously worked as fundraisers for Jeb 2016, Inc. and Right to Rise,” the complaint reads.

While people can wear “two hats” in some circumstances, the complaint reads, FEC “precedent has not been extended to permit an agent of a candidate to raise soft money when that soft money will be used to aid the candidate on whose behalf the agent is working.  Indeed, the Commission has stated that even if an agent has been explicitly instructed not to raise soft money on behalf of a candidate, his or her solicitation of soft money is still imputed to the candidate. Therefore, when an agent of a presidential candidate solicits soft money contributions for a single-candidate Super PAC supporting the presidential candidate, the individual is inherently raising soft money in his or her capacity as the candidate’s agent in violation of federal law.”

The last complaint, one in a string of accusations against Bush’s fundraising machine, said Bush may have violated law by financing testing-the-waters activity through his Right to Rise super PAC.

Bush’s campaign has not responded to either complaint. Officials have insisted they are following the law.

The FEC is deadlocked with three Democrats and three Republicans and few see an aggressive enforcement effort.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

September 29, 2015

First taxes, then regulation, now energy: Jeb Bush continues policy rollout


A President Jeb Bush would do away with a ban on U.S. oil exports, lift restrictions on oil and gas production and build the Keystone XL pipeline and lessen environmental regulations, including President Barack Obama's plan requiring power plants to reduce carbon emissions.

The former Florida governor outlined his energy policy Tuesday, touching on classic Republican economic principles that Bush argued would create jobs and lower energy costs.

Bush's policy roll-out at Rice Energy near Pittsburgh was the third proposal he presented in September, after laying out principles for taxes and regulations. As he's seen his popularity slip in early presidential polls. Bush has stressed his wonky bona fides to GOP voters.

"I'm sick and tired of people thinking that the Chinese are eating our lunch," Bush said. "I've laid out a plan to lift our spirits a little bit."

The friendly crowd at the Pennsylvania oil and gas company gave Bush particularly strong applause over his support for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which Democrat Hillary Clinton recently opposed.

"I would approve the XL pipeline, for crying out loud," Bush said. "That is the lowest-hanging fruit."

He also pledged to staff his administration with private-sector types -- "When I'm elected president, the political hacks and the academics are going to take a back seat" -- and said he "won't be pressured" by "radical environmentalists."

Democrats and their allies quickly criticized Bush as endangering the environment.

"If Jeb Bush's energy plan sounds like it was written by oil companies and Dick Cheney, it's because he is relying on former officials from his brother's administration who would take our country back to the old policies that were in place while hard working Americans were burdened with sky high gas prices," Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Christina Freundlich said in a statement. "His dirty oil-driven plan has been tried before, and it was disastrous for the American people."

In Florida, Marco Rubio starts to overshadow Jeb Bush

Gop 2016 Rubio (2)

via @adamsmithtimes

THE VILLAGES -- When Marco Rubio launched his presidential campaign in the spring, a lot of people wondered how he would ever emerge from the shadow of his mentor, Jeb Bush.

On Monday, as Sen. Rubio campaigned to an overflow crowd in a sprawling central Florida development loaded with tens of thousands of relatively new Florida Republicans, the more immediate question was how Bush might escape the shadow of Rubio.

“Bush was fine as governor but he just doesn’t come across as authoritative, like Marco Rubio does,” said Pat McKay, who moved to The Villages 10 years ago from Philadelphia.

This booming, overwhelmingly Republican stronghold of more than 100,000 residents spreads across 32 square miles of Sumter, Lake and Marion counties. Bush spent plenty of time campaigning here in the area’s early years, but he left office nearly 10 years ago.

“Jeb doesn’t seem to have any energy, no excitement,” said Sid Sack, who retired to The Villages a year ago from Washington state, while waiting for Rubio to show up.

“He seems kind of like a marshmallow,” he said of Bush, a contrast given that Bush was known as perhaps the most energetic and ambitious governor in modern Florida history.

“We need somebody new. I like Rubio because he’s young,” agreed his wife, Billie, who also likes Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump.

Rubio drew more than 500 people to a big meeting space and two overflow rooms, an appearance that underscored one of the biggest challenges facing Bush’s presidential campaign: Countless Republicans know little about Bush beyond his last name, and that includes his home state with its ever-changing electorate.

More here.

Photo credit: George Horsford/Daily Sun via AP

September 28, 2015

Jeb Bush's misleading claim about growth under George W. Bush

During his 2016 Republican presidential bid, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has periodically had to answer for the record of his brother, George W. Bush, and he had to do it again on a recent edition of Fox News Sunday.

Host Chris Wallace asked Bush, "Whether it was Ronald Reagan's tax cuts or your brother's tax cuts, they did add greatly to the deficit."

Bush responded, "They didn't (add to the deficit) as greatly as the static thinkers on the left think. They created a dynamic effect of high growth. And that's what we need."

We didn’t recall rapid economic growth under Bush, so we thought we’d look at the past five presidents’ records in order to gauge Jeb Bush’s comments.

See what Louis Jacobson at PolitiFact found and see Bush's Truth-O-Meter record.

September 27, 2015

Fox News Sunday asks Jeb Bush if he needs 'a $3M tax cut'


Jeb Bush defended his tax plan and his recent remark about African-American voters on Fox News Sunday, in his first national Sunday morning show interview in four months.

Bush, who took host Chris Wallace to Little Havana's Domino Park and to Bush's recently opened Miami-Dade County field office in Coral Gables, dismissed criticism about saying last week that African-American voters didn't want "free stuff" -- a comment that echoed Mitt Romney in 2012.

"I think we need to make our case to African-American voters and all voters that an aspirational message, fixing a few big complex things, will allow people to rise up," Bush said. "That's what people want. They don't want free stuff. That was my whole point. You know, the left argues all the time taking things out of context."

Wallace pressed Bush on how his tax plan would result in a greater benefit for the country's highest earners -- the kind of argument that might particularly resonate against Bush, the son and brother of two former presidents who in 2013 reported earning more than $7 million.

Here's the exchange, according to a Fox News transcript:

WALLACE: The Tax Foundation says the middle class would see after tax income increase 2.9 percent. But the top 1 percent would get a boost of 11.6 percent.

An analysis of your tax returns for the last six years, which you have released to the public, the last six years indicates that you would save, under your tax plan, $3 million.

Does Jeb Bush need a $3 million tax cut?

BUSH: Look, the benefit of this goes disproportionately to the middle class. If you look at what the middle class pays today compared to what they would pay in our tax plan --  

WALLACE: But they get a 2.9 percent increase in after tax income --  

BUSH: Because higher income people pay more taxes right now and proportionally, everybody will get a benefit. But proportionally, they'll pay more in with my plan than what they pay today.

WALLACE: Well, I mean forgive me, sir, but -- but 2.9 seems like it's less than 11.6.

BUSH: The simple fact is 1 percent of people pay 40 percent of all the taxes. And so, of course, tax cuts for everybody is going to generate more for people that are paying a lot more. I mean that's just the way it is.