April 16, 2015

Jeb Bush treats himself in New Hampshire

@PatriciaMazzei

CONCORD, N.H. -- He's said no to pizza. He's turned down barbecue sauce. But Jeb Bush couldn't resist a slice of blueberry pie Thursday.

He couldn't, really, not at an event titled "Politics and Pie" where he had shown up with two key lime pies from Joe's Stone Crab in Miami Beach to contribute to the spread.

So Bush, whose paleo diet (and personal trainer) have become famous for helping him slim down remarkably, broke the rules and dug in. He hadn't had pie since December, he said, and added that key lime is his favorite but he would "save that for the people of New Hampshire."

Then he went for the blueberry.

"To hell with the diet!" Bush proclaimed before a throng of cameras trained on his first bite.

"Slow news day," he added.

Bush pie

Jeb Bush: Feds, Tallahassee should 'try to forge a compromise' on Medicaid expansion, hospital funding

Politics and Pie

@PatriciaMazzei

CONCORD, N.H. -- He's been traversing the country building the foundations a juggernaut 2016 presidential campaign, but former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush still keeps an eye on Tallahassee.

Bush commiserated with Republican voters -- and enjoyed a piece of blueberry pie, breaking his ongoing paleo diet -- Thursday evening at a clubhouse on the outskirts of New Hampshire's state capital. Then he took questions from reporters, including one about what how the Florida Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott might overcome a stalemate over funding hospital charity care and expanding Medicaid. 

The standoff has effectively halted the annual lawmaking session, with no state budget deal in sight. Scott said Thursday he intends to sue the Obama administration over its threat to withhold federal funds for hospitals that treat the poor.

Bush hadn't heard of the yet-to-be-filed lawsuit, but suggested all sides sit down and find a solution.

"The feds and the executive branch and representatives from the House and Senate ought to get together and try to forge a compromise," he said. 

But would such a compromise involve expanding Medicaid, as proposed under the Affordable Care Act and rejected by the GOP-controlled Florida government in the past?

"I don't know," Bush said. "That's their job, frankly. Expanding Medicaid without reforming it is not going to solve our problems over the long run." Bush's spokeswoman told the Miami Herald on Friday that he opposes Medicaid expansion.

On Thursday, Bush touted reforms begun while he was governor that turned over control of Florida's Medicaid program to managed-care companies. He told voters gathered for a "Politics and Pie" event that the federal government should allow states to innovate on Medicaid to better fit their needs.

"We need to reform Medicaid, and there's a plan to do that in Florida that's a pretty good one, so if it was part of that, and there are trade-offs and all that stuff -- that's how you get past an impasse," he later told reporters.

This post has been updated to include Bush's spokeswoman.

Fact-checking Jeb Bush's claim about median income falling

Jeb Bush is making economic opportunity a major theme of his not-yet-official presidential campaign. One of his main gripes with the economy is that income isn’t going up.

"If we grew at a far faster rate, the middle would no longer be as squeezed as they are," Bush said. "We are in the sixth year of recovery, and median income is below what it was at the start of the recovery."

Bush, the former Republican governor of Florida, made the remarks during a recent visit to Ohio, where he talked with Pittsburgh Tribune-Review political writer Salena Zito before addressing the Ohio Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting. (Zito paraphrased part of Bush’s quote in her article, but she provided us with the full text of Bush’s comment.)

We knew that the national employment picture has improved, slowly but surely, since the official end of the recession in mid 2009. But has the typical household income in the United States really fallen since the end of the recession? If true, that would be pretty startling.

See Louis Jacobson's fact-check from PolitiFact and see Bush's full Truth-O-Meter record.

Jeb Bush heads to Puerto Rico

@PatriciaMazzei

Jeb Bush's cross-country fundraising for his all-but-declared presidential campaign is taking him to Puerto Rico, that other Caribbean island to where many Florida Hispanic voters trace their roots.

His political action committee, Right to Rise, has scheduled a "conversation" with Bush event April 28 at Universidad Metropolitana de Cupey in San Juan. That will be followed by a town hall-style meeting later that day Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium in Bayamón.

The money will come in over lunch, at a reception co-hosted by former Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuño. Both Bush and Fortuño have espoused Puerto Rican statehood. The bilingual memorably campaigned in Puerto Rico for his father's 1980 presidential race.

Politico: George W. Bush calls himself Jeb's 'problem'

From Politico:

CHICAGO — Jeb Bush's candidacy has a problem, says brother George.

“Me.”

“It’s an easy line to say, ‘Haven’t we had enough Bushes?’ After all, even my mother said, ‘Yes,’” the former president told an audience of 7,000 health IT experts here on Wednesday.

“That’s why you won’t see me out there, and he doesn’t need to defend me, and he’s totally different from me. The role of family is not to be a political adviser or a policy adviser — there are plenty of those around — the role is to say, ‘Hey man, I love you.’

“The president needs people around him who are there to say they want to help. Imagine if instead Laura had been saying to me, ‘What the hell did you get us into this for?’ You’re living in a museum. It’s cold. It’s not your furniture. It’s Jefferson’s furniture.”

More here.

April 14, 2015

They agree on this: Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio want Cuba to remain on terror list

@PatriciaMazzei

President Obama's decision Tuesday to no longer consider Cuba a terrorist nation prompted sharp rebukes from newly declared Republican presidential contender Marco Rubio and one of his likely rivals, Jeb Bush.

For Rubio, it was an opportunity to receive even more public attention a day after his campaign launch. For Bush, it's a chance to show off his savvy on Cuba and Latin America, honed from years of experience living in Miami and being the governor of Florida.

Of note: A version of Rubio's statement translated into Spanish differed slightly from his video statement in English. He did not say in English that Cuba harbors Medicare fraudsters -- but did point that out in Spanish. 

RUBIO

 

BUSH

President Obama embraced Cuba’s oppressive dictator, Raul Castro by removing Cuba from the State Sponsors of Terrorism List and consummating the Obama Administration’s rapprochement with the Communist police state. Coupled with this policy of accommodation with Cuba is the Administration’s failure to respond sooner and more forcefully to the deteriorating situation in Venezuela, where the policies of late dictator Hugo Chavez and his chosen successor, Nicolás Maduro continue to hurt their people. Beyond denying their citizens the basic freedoms all humans deserve, the Castro and Maduro regimes continue to engage in activities abroad that undermine stability in this pivotal region.

While I am concerned about the continuing assault on human rights and democracy in Latin America, I am encouraged by the signers of the ‘Declaration of Panama’ – Latin American democracies committed to expanding freedom and opportunity throughout this region. These brave defenders of liberty and democracy are the natural allies of the United States. Rather than breathing new life into corrupt regimes, the United States should stand with these leaders, and on the side of the Venezuelan and Cuban people who have for too long been denied the fundamental freedoms they so deserve.

Rick Scott's inviting GOP presidential contenders to Orlando

via @adamsmithtimes

Gov. Rick Scott is hosting an "Economic Growth Summit" in Orlando June 2, and has commitments from several leading candidates for the Republican presidential nomination to speak about the vision for economic growth. Candidates who have confirmed they will attend:

Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, and Scott Walker.

--ADAM C. SMITH, Tampa Bay Times

April 12, 2015

Jeb Bush hits Hillary Clinton on foreign policy in video

@PatriciaMazzei

In advance of Hillary Clinton's imminent 2016 presidential campaign kickoff Sunday, Jeb Bush -- still technically not a candidate himself -- released a web video jabbing the "Obama-Clinton foreign policy."

"Abroad, America should be respected by our allies and feared by our enemies," he said. "That's why it's critical we change the direction our country is heading. We must do better than the Obama-Clinton foreign policy that has damaged relationships with our allies and emboldened our enemies."

 

April 11, 2015

Politico: Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush sit next to each other on flight to Miami

From Politico:

In a sign of how literally close they are, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio sat next to each other on the same Friday night flight to Miami from Nashville, where they separately spoke at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention.

The coincidental encounter had a just-like-old-times feel to it, with the one-time mentor and one-time protégé talking like the friends they are – a stark contrast to the tensions being expressed by their top supporters, a source first told POLITICO.

“Jeb and Marco are friends. Jeb likes Marco and Marco has a great sense of humor,” the source said of the two likely presidential candidates.

Neither Bush nor Rubio’s spokesmen would comment for the record on what the two spoke about on the American Airlines flight 4229, which departed Nashville at 5:29 p.m. and arrived in Miami at 8:49 p.m. Aides said the two were serendipitously seated in the same row and decided to sit next to each other after an aide moved to make way. The two spoke for the entire three-hour flight.

More here.

Jeb Bush updates Miami-Dade voter registration that had listed him as 'Hispanic'

@PatriciaMazzei

Jeb Bush is back to being a regular white guy.

The Republican former Florida governor has updated his Miami-Dade County voter registration to correct the "race/ethnicity" field, which used to list him as "Hispanic." Now Bush is, accurately, "white, not of Hispanic origin," according to a form filed with the elections supervisor's office.

Bush filed the amendment, filled out by hand, on Tuesday after news reports that he had registered in 2009 as Hispanic, which is his wife and children's ethnicity but not his.

"I guess I signed the form and made a mistake," Bush said in Colorado Springs. "Clearly I am who I am. It's kind of bizarre to think that there's some kind of plot here. ... I must have signed the form when we moved. I am who I am. I'm proud of the fact that I live in Miami. I'm proud of the fact that I'm bilingual. But I'm certainly Anglo. I'm not sure what the big deal is."

He told Univision's Denver affiliate in a Spanish-language interview that he didn't read the 2009 form -- which had apparently been filled out before someone else -- before he signed it.