November 20, 2015

Donald Trump: Close down mosques. Jeb Bush: 'That's just wrong.' Marco Rubio: Close down any place inspiring radicals

via @learyreports

Donald Trump wants to close down mosques in the U.S. and create a database to track Muslims — post-Paris efforts that have stirred debate and backlash.

Jeb Bush denounced Trump this morning on CNBC, going farther than other Republican candidates. “You talk about internment. You talk about closing mosques. You talk about registering people. That’s just wrong,” Bush said. “I don’t care about campaigns. … It’s not a question of toughness. It’s manipulating people’s angst and their fears. That’s not strength, that’s weakness.”


Marco Rubio last night on Fox News was asked a more focused question about the mosques. “It’s not about closing down mosques. It’s about closing down any place - whether it's a cafe, a diner an Internet site - any place where radicals are being inspired." Rubio went on to say the bigger problem is finding out where the places are, citing limits on intelligence gathering. "Any facility that is being used to radicalize and inspire attacks against the United States should be a place that we look at."


--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

November 19, 2015

Jeb Bush plans final Miami fundraiser of 2015


Jeb Bush's Miami-Dade County campaign invited loyal supporters Wednesday to the candidate's final local fundraiser of 2015, raising the stakes for the event ahead of the campaign's next fundraising deadline Dec. 31.

The reception will take place Dec. 4 at the Key Biscayne home of Roxana and Raul Henriquez. The minimum contribution is $1,000, with hosts committing to raise $25,000.

"It is critical that this event be the success we know it will be, as all eyes will be watching to see if our support has increased or not as we prepare for the first primary elections in Iowa and New Hampshire in mid February," Bush's county campaign chairman, Jorge Arrizurieta, wrote in the email sent with the invitation.

New Spanish-language TV ad targets Republicans over immigration


A political action committee for a major national labor union released a new Spanish-language television ad Thursday hitting several Republican presidential candidates, including the only two Hispanics seeking the job, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

The groups behind the ad are iAmerica Action and SEIU-COPE, the Service Employees International Union Committee on Political Education. The union has endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton for president.

The ad, which will air nationally on networks Univison and Telemundo, condemns Republicans' opposition to the actions President Barack Obama took using executive authority that protect some immigrants in the country illegally from deportation. The actions are known as DACA and DAPA; DAPA, which Obama pushed a year ago, has not been implemented due to an ongoing lawsuit.

"One year ago President Obama took historic action, standing up for all families striving to achieve the American Dream," said Rocio Saenz, executive vice president of SEIU International and president of iAmerica Action’s President. "Since then, we have reached one full year of consistent attacks against Latino and immigrant families. It's simply inexcusable."

The groups say they will spend six figures on the ad campaign, which include digital ads in English in Florida, Nevada, Colorado and Texas.

The spots quote Rubio, Cruz and Donald Trump -- and also picture Jeb Bush. All have said they would end DACA (and DAPA, if it ever moves forward). Bush has generally taken a more empathetic tone toward immigrants, and Rubio has indicated he might let the program stand for a while before canceling it, to give Congress some time to reform immigration laws. He says he would cancel it even if Congress doesn't act, however.

Here's the English-language script:

Rubio: We need to get rid of all these illegal executive orders the President has put in place.

Cruz: I think amnesty is wrong.

Rubio: DACA is going to end.

Trump: They have to go.

Voice over: These candidates may be different, but their messages are all the

same: No to DAPA, no to DACA, np to immigrant families.

Now it’s time for our community to say no.

We will not accept hate. We will not allow anti-immigrant attacks.

We will not support the status quo.

Because if they win, we lose.

Here's the Spanish-language spot:


November 18, 2015

Jeb Bush calls for U.S.-led ground troops against ISIS


Jeb Bush laid out a defense policy Wednesday that proposed a U.S.-led coalition of ground troops fighting ISIS, if that's what military leaders recommend.

The United States should not delay in leading a global coalition to take out ISIS with overwhelming force.   

As the words of French President Hollande have made clear, the United States will not be alone in galvanizing this global effort.  

Militarily, we need to intensify our efforts in the air – and on the ground.   

While air power is essential, it alone cannot bring the results we seek. The United States – in conjunction with our NATO allies and more Arab partners – will need to increase our presence on the ground.  

The scope of which should be in line with what our military generals recommend will be necessary to achieve our objective.  

But the bulk of these ground troops will need to come from local forces that we have built workable relationships with.  

Here are his full remarks:

Continue reading "Jeb Bush calls for U.S.-led ground troops against ISIS" »

FAU poll: Jeb Bush fades to 5th in Florida


Jeb Bush's popularity continues to drop in his home state, according to a new robopoll by Florida Atlantic University that shows the former Florida governor in single digits and in fifth place among his Republican presidential rivals.

Bush trails Donald Trump, who holds a comfortable lead in the field with 36 percent. The lineup after Trump? Marco Rubio (18 percent), Ben Carson (15 percent) and Ted Cruz (10 percent). Bush garnered 9 percent support -- half of Rubio's and a quarter of Trump's.

"Despite conjecture that Donald Trump has plateaued, his support in Florida remains very strong and could be growing," Kevin Wagner, associate professor of political science at FAU and a research fellow of the Initiative, said in a statement.

The poll's error margin is 5.2 percentage points, which means Bush is effectively tied with Cruz and perhaps not that far removed from Carson. Bush's campaign has acknowledged the bad polls but insisted Bush's budget cuts and revamped approach -- focusing more on early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire -- will eventually push his numbers back up.

FAU, which is based in Boca Raton, is relative newcomer to the state's presidential polling scene. In its last presidential poll in September, it found Trump in first place, followed by Rubio, Bush, Carson and Carly Fiorina.

Read the full poll:


November 17, 2015

A preview of Jeb Bush's defense policy


Jeb Bush had already planned to give a speech Wednesday about defense policy before the Paris terror attacks happened. Now the presidential candidate will focus more intently on ISIS while laying out his proposals, according to his campaign.

At The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, Bush will push for growing the U.S. military, reversing budget cuts to the Defense Department and revamping defense contracting in an effort to increase competition and cut costs.

Bush plans to criticize the Obama administration for not pushing a more forceful anti-ISIS strategy and for shrinking the size of the military and the Defense Department's budget. The former Florida governor will call for more U.S. involvement in NATO, and for more focus in the Indo-Pacific region. He will pledge to grow the active-duty military and step-up air force investment.

Bush has already endorsed sending more U.S. help to Iraqi security forces, Kurds and Syrian moderate rebels, and to implement a no-fly zone in Syria.

Here's what he had to say about his plans Tuesday:


Here's an outline of his ideas, as provided by Bush's campaign:

Continue reading "A preview of Jeb Bush's defense policy" »

AP: Jeb Bush open to letting properly vetted Syrian Muslims into U.S.

From the Associated Press:

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush is making it clearer that his call for the U.S. refugee program to give preference to Christians fleeing Syria does not exclude Muslims.

His campaign says Bush supports accepting women and children regardless of their religion and does not exclude Syrian Muslims broadly, as long as the refugees can be effectively vetted.

President Barack Obama has rebuked what he called a "shameful" religious test in the refugee policies of some Republican candidates. Both Bush and Ted Cruz have said preference should be given to Syrian Christians.

Bush spokesman Tim Miller said Tuesday that Bush believes the refugee policy should favor women and children as well as persecuted Christian minorities, but no one should be allowed in when there is not enough information about them.

Miller said Bush does not believe the U.S. should eliminate support for refugees. He said Bush believes refugees are a "noble tradition in our country for decades," but that they should not be accepted "if there's any kind of concern" about their backgrounds or intention.

In an earlier address to business leaders during a South Carolina campaign swing, Bush called the struggle against the Islamic State group "the war of our time."

November 16, 2015

Florida politicians opine on U.S. policy after Paris attacks

via @learyreports

The Paris attacks swiftly became a political issue in the U.S., with Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio positioning themselves as ready to confront the Islamic State and even Florida Senate candidates weighing in.

Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, on Monday shot off a letter to Obama that said Syrian refugees should  not be allowed in. "It is clear that radical Islam is waging war against America and Western civilization," Buchanan wrote. "We cannot allow terrorists to seep through a porous refugee screening process to kill Americans."

Rep. David Jolly, R-Indian Shores, sent his own letter to the president calling for a tougher approach to Isis. “Together with our allies and willing world partners, we must dramatically enhance our engagement with the enemy to accomplish one clear objective – to immediately destroy ISIS and its partners in terror,” the U.S. Senate candidate wrote.

Jolly’s rival Ron DeSantis on Monday issued a news release to ask if Democrats Alan Grayson and Patrick Murphy will “reject Obama's risky refugee gambit?” (The administration has not backed off plans to allow some refugees in.)

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama want the United States to take tens of thousands of Syrian refugees despite the terrorist attacks in Paris and the government's inability to screen them for terrorist sympathies. Do Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson agree with them?” DeSantis asked.

Gov. Rick Scott on Monday called on Congress to oppose the refugees.

On refugees, Bush and Rubio over the weekend showed a divide among presidential candidates.

Bush said the focus should be on accepting “Christians that are being slaughtered.”

Rubio said none should come in because “there’s no way to background check” them.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

Does it take a year to process a refugee as Jeb Bush says?

A Syrian passport found on the body of a dead suicide bomber in the Paris attacks has prompted some to question President Barack Obama’s plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees.

Obama’s deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes noted on Nov. 15’s Fox News Sunday that there are "very robust vetting procedures for those refugees" and said the administration will still continue to take them. But that’s "untrue" and, in fact, "there’s virtually no vetting," according to Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., who chairs the House Subcommittee on Terrorism.

Elsewhere on the airwaves, Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush suggested that the vetting process was at least enough to distinguish between Christians — whom the United States should focus on, according to Bush — and everyone else fleeing Syria.

"It takes almost a year for a refugee to be processed in the United States," Bush noted on CNN’s State of the Union.

We were curious if that’s how long the refugee vetting process takes. We found that Bush is actually understating the duration, especially for those from Syria and other countries where terrorism is a concern.

See what Linda Qiu of PolitiFact found.

November 14, 2015

Ben Carson opposed Jeb Bush's intervention in Terri Schiavo case

via @adamsmithtimes

ORLANDO -- To underscore his credentials as a social conservative, Jeb Bush regularly reminds audiences how in 2005 he led the charge to bypass court rulings to force the re-insertion of feeding tubes for Terri Schiavo, the Pinellas County woman declared by medical experts to be in a "persistent vegetative state."

The Tampa Bay Times asked Ben Carson, a medical doctor and a favorite of evangelical voters, what he thought at the time about governmental intervention into the matter.

"I said at the time, 'We face those kinds of issues all the time and while I don't believe in euthanasia, you have to recognize that people that are in that condition do have a series of medical problems that occur that will take them out,' " Carson said. "Your job is to keep them comfortable throughout that process and not to treat everything that comes up."

So was it appropriate for Bush, the Florida Legislature and Congress to intervene?

"I don't think it needed to get to that level," Carson said. "I think it was much ado about nothing. Those things are taken care of every single day just the way I described."

--ADAM C. SMITH, Tampa Bay Times