August 26, 2015

The State: Jeb Bush Jr. calls Donald Trump 'divisive'

From our colleagues at The State newspaper in South Carolina:

Jeb Bush Jr. visited Columbia on Wednesday to open his father’s 2016 South Carolina presidential campaign headquarters on Huger Street.

The 31-year-old Florida businessman spoke with The State about how his father, the former Florida governor, can overcome Bush fatigue, attract young voters and handle criticism from 2016 GOP presidential rival Donald Trump.

How does your father break out of such a large Republican field or from those who might not wants a third Bush in the White House?

“Folks know him as Jeb. You’ve got to work on people not knowing that it’s George’s brother or George’s son but as Jeb. And I think as his story gets out people will know him (that way).” Jeb Bush earned his own record as governor with school choice, tax cuts and hurricane preparedness, his son said.


How does your father fight the rise of Donald Trump? “It’s disappointing to see someone do exactly the opposite of what dad’s been doing. He’s been extremely divisive. Dad is trying to unite the party.” 

More, including video, here.

Chris Christie bashes Jeb Bush for...speaking Spanish?


Chris Christie, who is not bilingual, apparently doesn't think Jeb Bush should flaunt that he speaks Spanish fluently. (Or at least he shouldn't do that, and then criticize Asians.)

Fox News' Megyn Kelly asked Christie Tuesday night how Republican candidates should try to appeal to Hispanic voters without alienating their conservative base.

"By telling the truth and enforcing the law," Christie said. "I mean, the fact is that you don't need to be pandering to one way or the other. I'll tell you the way you don't do it. You don't do focus group-tested trips to the border, speak Spanish and then criticize Asians."

"He's referring to Jeb Bush, for those of you who are at work the last couple of days," Kelly added.

Bush visited McAllen, Texas, on Monday and later held a news conference in which he fielded questions in both English and Spanish. He was asked about using the term "anchor babies," which he tried to explain as referring to "fraud" by "mostly Asians" who come to the U.S. to give birth.

Christie has been struggling in the polls far behind Bush. His underdog campaign appeared pleased with the New Jersey governor's TV performance: It sent reporters video and a transcript of the exchange with Kelly, highlighting the hit on Bush.

Later in the interview, Christie noted Bush's trouble trying to clarify his "anchor baby" position, which offended both Hispanic and Asian groups.

"We don't need a candidate who's looking backwards who can't even answer a question on anchor babies," Christie said. "We need to have someone who is going to be looking forward and doing things the right way. And I'm not trying to be coy about it. The fact is that if Governor Bush cannot stand up to answer those questions with two or three tries at it, what's going to happen when he has to look at Vladimir Putin?"

Christie might not speak Spanish himself -- or find it helpful for other Republicans to do so -- but his reelection campaign in 2013 made a point of releasing at least one Spanish-language ad geared at Hispanic voters. 


This post has been updated.

Donald Trump thinks Jeb Bush should call Marco Rubio 'disloyal'

via @learyreports

Donald Trump has found a way to knock Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, together.

During a rally yesterday in Iowa, Trump said Bush should go after Rubio for having the gall to run against his mentor. “People thought it was very disrespectful to a person that brought him along — slowly,” Trump said.

“If I were Bush and I brought somebody along … and all of a sudden the guy, the young guy that I brought along, said: ‘I’m running against you and it's not my turn but I don't care because I'm really anxious, I'm really driven’ … I would really go after that guy. I’d say ‘He’s the most disloyal guy. He’s a terrible person. He’s horrible and I hate him.’ ”

Trump couldn’t believe how Rubio and Bush were friendly at the first GOP debate. “They're hugging and they're kissing and they’re holding each other. Very much like, actually, what Chris Christie did with the president."

Hugging and kissing?

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

Jeb Bush: 'The federal government right now does not deport criminals'

Jeb Bush says that the federal government needs to start deporting criminals.

"The federal government right now does not deport criminals," he said at a town hall in New Hampshire on Aug. 19. "I don't believe that we should take people that are here in the shadows and deport them all -- the cost of that would be in the hundreds of billions of dollars, it would rip up communities -- it's not appropriate. But criminals should be deported, and right now the Obama administration is not doing that."

Bush was essentially bashing GOP frontrunner Donald Trump for his immigration plans, which include deporting millions of illegal immigrants. But is Bush correct that Obama's administration is not deporting criminals? In a word, no.

See what PolitiFact Florida found.

August 25, 2015

Jeb Bush's camp reveals title, publication date of new e-book -- which includes hurricanes chapter


Jeb Bush's forthcoming e-book about his years as Florida governor will be released Oct. 30 and titled "Reply All," a nod to his love of responding to email, his presidential campaign said Tuesday.

Pre-order sales will begin on Amazon at midnight. To pique readers' (i.e.: political reporters') interest, the campaign disseminated the book's chapter for 2004 -- the year four major hurricanes hit Florida, beginning to cement Bush's legacy as the hurricane governor.

Bush plans to hold a campaign event Wednesday in Pensacola trumpeting his emergency-management experience, advancing the trip with a video recalling the 2004-05 hurricane seasons.


The 2004 chapter follows the same organizational style as the book's opening, which was released in February, before Bush was a formal candidate for the 2016 Republican nomination. Bush introduces emails from staff, friends, reporters and average Joes and Janes, along with his response.

For Team Bush, the memoir is a chance to tout their candidate as engaging and transparent, especially compared to Democrat Hillary Clinton, who has been plagued by a slow drip of troubling revelations about the private email she used as U.S. Secretary of State. The Bush emails featured in the book, of course, are picked to cast Bush in a positive light. There are several from Democratic voters praising the Republican governor.

Continue reading "Jeb Bush's camp reveals title, publication date of new e-book -- which includes hurricanes chapter" »

Jeb Bush: Donald Trump 'was a Democrat longer in the last decade than he was a Republican'

After losing ground to Donald Trump in the polls following the first GOP presidential debate, Jeb Bush has gone on the attack, questioning the real estate mogul’s Republican bona fides.

"Mr. Trump doesn't have a proven conservative record," Bush said at a town hall in Merrimack, N.H., on Aug. 19, 2015. "He was a Democrat longer in the last decade than he was a Republican."

Bush also said Trump has given more money to Democrats than he has given to Republicans, a claim we’ve previously rated Mostly False. Bush tweeted video of the town hall the same night, calling Trump "a tax-hiking Democrat."

In his defense, Trump said on Face The Nation on Aug. 23 that living in Manhattan for years affected his alignment.

"I was from an area that was all Democrat," Trump said. "And, frankly, over the years, I have — and especially as I have gotten more and more involved — I have evolved."

We know Trump has changed his political affiliation several times over the years, but we wanted to figure out just when and how the billionaire liked to party.

See what Joshua Gillin of PolitiFact Florida found.

August 24, 2015

Jeb Bush relishes being remembered as the hurricane governor

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He stands in a bunker, wearing no jacket and no tie, warning Floridians to board up their homes, heed evacuation orders and stock 72 hours’ worth of food and water. Above him, a radar screen shows a menacing mess of winds and clouds swirling offshore.

This is the enduring image of Jeb Bush, hurricane governor.

Nine hurricanes slammed into Florida during Bush’s time in office, eight of them in a dizzying, 14-month span in 2004-05 — a record-breaking number that defined Bush as a steady executive in the face of disaster, the kind of leader he’d like to portray to the rest of the country now that he’s running for president and struggling to impress Republican voters.

“I believe it’s important to have leaders that actually roll up their sleeves and solve problems,” Bush said Friday in Ohio. “How would you liked to have been governor of a state that had eight hurricanes and four tropical storms, $100 billion of insured losses and billions of dollars of uninsured losses over 17 months? For me, it was the greatest joy of service that I could ever imagine....

“That’s when we show what kind of leaders we are.”

Bush will commemorate the storms at a town hall-style campaign event Wednesday in Pensacola. Even Floridians may need reminding of the storms Bush weathered: A Quinnipiac University poll published last week showed Bush trailing Donald Trump in Bush’s home state.

Bush’s ability to take charge in an emergency remains undisputed even among his critics, who note he left the Governor’s Mansion 15 months after the last storm with a high, 64-percent approval rating.

“His popularity with Floridians is probably tethered to those moments probably more than any policy,” said Democrat Dan Gelber, a former Miami Beach state senator.

More here.

Photo credit: Charles Dharapak, Associated Press

August 21, 2015

As governor, Jeb Bush loved manatees -- but sided with boaters

via @craigtimes

As a presidential candidate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush hasn’t said much about the environmental issues facing America. He’s waffled on climate change, and supported approval of the Keystone pipeline and drilling in the Arctic, and that’s been about it.

But when he was a gubernatorial candidate in 1998, he took pains to show his concern about the environment — particularly one of the state’s signature animals, manatees. He even helped SeaWorld release a pair of rehabilitated manatees, one of them named “Little Jeb.” After he was elected, during a 2000 Cabinet meeting, he made his interest in manatees even plainer.

“There’s an endangered species that’s close to being extinct in Florida waters, and I don’t want to be part of that,” Bush announced. “It’s my favorite mammal.”

Yet when Bush had a chance to solve one of the biggest problems in manatee protection, he backed off, deferring instead to is own conservative ideology.

What happened with Bush and manatees remains one of the great what-ifs of Florida environmental history and provides a window into how he might deal with similar situations as president.

More here.

Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio mired in Donald Trump's 'anchor babies' controversy

via @learyreports

Donald Trump this week injected “anchor babies” into the immigration debate and Florida’s Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio were pulled in. Both got burned, in different ways.

Rubio and Bush sought to massage the issue, saying they did not want to get rid of the 14th Amendment’s birthright citizenship but do want a crackdown on clear abuses.

But Bush made the political mistake of calling the children “anchor babies,” which some consider a slur. Hillary Clinton, who is dealing with a growing email problem and may need a distraction, jumped all over Bush with tweets and a video. Just about every liberal and immigrant rights group criticized him as well.

For Bush, points with the conservative base probably aren’t worth the distraction and implication Trump is getting the better of him. Or the damage it could do in a general election. Or that Bush looks like a hypocrite.

Rubio, true to form, used more finesse.

He said Tuesday that abuses should be looked at but didn’t say “anchor babies,” calling such children “human beings” in an appearance on CNBC.

That provoked unwanted problems on Rubio’s right. Twitter and a story on Breitbart News are littered with scorching comments that harken back to Marco “amnesty” Rubio, part author of the Senate’s comprehensive immigration bill.

Continue reading "Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio mired in Donald Trump's 'anchor babies' controversy" »

August 20, 2015

Jeb Bush says he shed tears over signing Florida death warrants


In an unusual moment Thursday in New Hampshire, a woman at a town hall-style meeting in Keene asked Jeb Bush if he ever cried in office when he was Florida governor.

Yes, he said.

"I cried for joy," Bush said. "You don't know the Bushes -- we're like cry babies."

He called himself a "converted Catholic" -- "It gives me a lot of serenity" -- and cited his responsibility as governor to enforce areas that "aren't in concert with your faith," like the death penalty.

"Signing death warrants and then participating in the process -- it's not like crying like sobbing crying," Bush clarified. "But there are moments in public leadership when -- quietly, you don't want to cry in public all the time -- yeah, of course."

He also spoke at length about working on issues for people with disabilities and crying tears of joy when they got care they needed.

"I'm a nerdball," Bush conceded. But he added, "this is about helping people. If you can't show your humanity..." (Americans don't want a president "from Mars.")

Earlier, Bush had made his pitch for the 2016 Republican nominee to wage a broad campaign that appeals to people one paycheck away from financial devastation.

"They're watching the political news, and they're going, 'This is completely irrelevant to my life,'" he said, without naming Donald Trump. "It's funny... Maybe it'll be a train wreck, it'll be fun to watch or whatever... We have to reach out to them with policies that are not liberal."

"You don't have to be liberal to care about people," he said.