July 20, 2015

Jeb Bush's mixed record 'devolving Mount Tallahassee'

Jeb Bush returns to the Florida capital Monday brining the same anti-big-government message he used to win the Governor’s Mansion to his quest to take the White House in 2016.

The former governor, who served from 1998-2006, will kick off the first of a series of speeches outlining  his priorities at Florida State Universit. His target: “Mount Washington,’’ as he portrays himself as an outsider ready to reform.

 "Gov. Bush will talk about putting America's financial house in order and why that requires a president willing to challenge the culture of our nation's capital,’’ his campaign said. 

It’s the same approach Bush took 17 years ago, when he derided the state capital as “Mount Tallahassee” --  bureaucracy-laden and bereft of fresh ideas.In his first year as governor, Bush said he preferred community-based solutions and opposed “topdown” systems.

 “The expectation here isn't that you're supposed to be waiting for a message via pigeon from Mount Tallahassee,” he said. 

Continue reading "Jeb Bush's mixed record 'devolving Mount Tallahassee'" »

July 19, 2015

Poll: Jeb Bush leads Marco Rubio in Miami-Dade County -- even among Cuban-Americans

GOP 2016 Bush(3)

@PatriciaMazzei

For Republicans in Miami-Dade County, the only place in the country that can boast two local entries in the 2016 presidential race, one favorite son is more favorite than the other, a new poll shows.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush leads U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio 35-25 percent among registered GOP voters, according to the public-opinion survey conducted by Bendixen & Amandi International for the Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald. No other contender in the Republican field of 15 declared candidates cracked double digits in the poll of Miami-Dade, the most populous county in the nation’s largest swing state.

Perhaps the most surprising finding in the poll is that Bush is more popular than Rubio even among Cuban-American Republicans, by 43-31 percent — even though Rubio is the son of Cuban immigrants. The other Cuban American in the race, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, drew 7 percent support (so did “Undecided”).

“In spite of the fact that Jeb enjoys honorary Cuban status, he does that much better than the person who would be the first potential Cuban-American president of the United States,” pollster Fernand Amandi said. “It could be a very difficult number for Marco. When he can’t win over the heart of his base, what does that mean for his prospects of winning the primary in Florida?”

More here.

Photo credit: AP

July 18, 2015

Miami-Dade is key to presidential candidates’ fundraising

via @adamsmithtimes @learyreports @eli_mur

The story of Jeb Bush versus Marco Rubio in the Sunshine State, new presidential campaign finance reports show, is a tale of two cities.

First, look to Tallahassee to see which 2016 candidate the GOP establishment favors:

Former Gov. Bush, whose onetime aides, advisers and operatives dominate the lobbying corps centered in the Florida capital, outraised former House Speaker Rubio by 15-to-1, more than $198,000 to nearly $13,000, according to an analysis by the Tampa Bay Times.

Then look to Miami, where both candidates reside, to see how formidable a rival Rubio is to Bush:

Rubio raised $512,000 in Miami-Dade, the county where both men launched their presidential campaigns, nearly as much as Bush’s $557,000.

The reports detail donations to the actual campaign, which are capped at $2,700 for the primary and $2,700 for the general election. There again, Bush’s support from GOP elites is more apparent than his support from rank-and-file Republicans, who tend to make smaller donations.

“Marco’s done a great job over the last few years staying in touch with the base, and it’s paying off in small-dollar donations,” said Republican consultant John Wehrung.

More here.

July 16, 2015

Jeb Bush, from 'Mount Tallahassee' to 'Mount Washington'

@PatriciaMazzei

Jeb Bush is bringing back one of the phrases he loved to use as governor -- "Mount Tallahassee" -- only now that he's running for president, he's talking about "Mount Washington."

Bush plans to speak in the state capital Monday about how we would reform how the federal capital works. It's part of a series of speeches about what his priorities would be as president, spokeswoman Allie Brandenburger said.

The speech, to be held at Florida State University, will give Bush a chance to portray himself as a can-do outsider intent on changing Washington D.C. As Florida governor, the Republican likes to boast that he vetoed scores of budget items and slashed the public workforce. His campaign also noted Thursday that he backed a lobbyist gift ban and financial disclosure laws.

During his time in the Governor's Mansion, Bush derided "Mount Tallahassee" as a slow and myopic bureaucracy. The first time a Miami Herald reported tied the phrase to Bush was in 1999, his first year in office.

In San Francisco, a Miamian asks Jeb Bush about gun policy

via @learyreports

SAN FRANCISCO – Brad Skaf is a new employee at Thumbtack in San Francisco. But the Miami native got a prime opportunity to ask Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush a question during his visit to the startup on Thursday.

Skaf, 27, praised Bush's record governor, citing education and immigration, but challenged him on background checks. “We have background checks in Florida and it's helpful," Bush replied.

The candidate went on to espouse a pro-gun stance and said the controversial “stand your ground” law he signed was not a factor in the Trayvon Martin shooting – at least not as a defense used by George Zimmerman.

Afterward, the Tampa Bay Times asked Skaf what he thought of Bush’s response, as well as Bush’s overall appeal and Marco Rubio’s argument that “yesterday’s” leaders should step aside for a new generation.

 

--ALEX LEARY

Donald Trump's misleading claim about Jeb Bush and sanctuary cities

Donald Trump criticized GOP primary rival Jeb Bush’s stance on immigration, implying the former governor allowed parts of Florida to shield illegal immigrants from federal laws while Bush was in office.

"The polls just came out, and I'm tied with Jeb Bush. And I said, oh, that's too bad, how can I be tied with this guy? He's terrible. He's terrible. He's weak on immigration," Trump said during a speech in Phoenix on July 11, 2015. "You know, the sanctuary cities, do you know he had five of them in Florida while he was governor? Can you believe this? I didn't know that."

Trump was practically tied with Bush according to a poll released the same day. But more importantly, Trump seized upon an increasingly used talking point in the presidential campaign --  so-called "sanctuary cities" that thwart federal immigration law.

Bush’s stance on illegal immigration has wavered a bit over the years, but he was known for being in favor of deportation while in the Governor’s Mansion. Did five sanctuary cities exist in Florida during his time in office? Not according to any official metric, but the Internet is a big place.

Turn to PolitiFact Florida to see what we found.

July 15, 2015

Jeb Bush put $388K of his own cash into campaign

@PatriciaMazzei @AmySherman1 @NickNehamas

Jeb Bush’s first campaign-finance report left no doubt that the former Florida governor, who is by far the most prolific fundraiser in the jam-packed 2016 presidential field, has many loyal friends with comfortably thick wallets.

Of the $11.4 million Bush raised in the first two weeks of his campaign, most of the donations reported Wednesday — nearly $9.2 million, or about 80 percent — came not from mom-and-pop supporters scraping together a few bills but from corner-office types who right off the bat gave Bush the maximum allowed by law, $2,700.

Small donors, who sent in $200 or less, made up about 3 percent of the total haul — about $368,000, according to the report filed with the Federal Election Commission. Bush himself put more than that into his account, spending nearly $389,000 of his own cash to pay for trips, legal advice and other expenses before becoming a formal candidate.

Campaign-finance watchdogs have hounded Bush over his extensive travel and fundraising in the five months leading to his June 15 campaign launch, arguing he was running afoul of the law by saying he wasn’t a candidate when he was nevertheless acting like one. By disclosing that he paid for those expenses himself, the Republican can counter he was complying with the law that allows potential candidates to “test the waters.”

“Jeb 2016’s first report affirms what we have publicly stated over the past few months: that if Governor Bush engaged in any testing-the-waters activities that they would be paid for appropriately, and that if Governor Bush decided to run for office that any testing-the-waters expenses would be reported at the required time,” spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said in a statement.

More here.

This post has been updated.

Jeb Bush calls Miami congresswoman, gets voicemail, sings 'Happy Birthday'

@PatriciaMazzei

Wednesday is Miami Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's birthday.

Her pick in the 2016 GOP presidential race, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, called to congratulate her. He got her voicemail.

So he sang to her machine instead. The full song.

"Happy birthday dear Ily," he intoned. Then: "This is Jeb." 

Ros-Lehtinen, true to form, posted the message to Twitter. Bush managed her first campaign for Congress, in 1989.

July 14, 2015

Suffolk poll: Donald Trump leads GOP presidential field, ahead of Jeb Bush

@PatriciaMazzei

Donald Trump is ahead in the 2016 Republican presidential race, according to a new national poll.

The survey by Suffolk University and USA Today found Trump drawing 17 percent of GOP support, followed by Jeb Bush with 14 percent support. They were the only two Republicans with double-digit backing. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio came in fourth place with 5 percent.

A full 30 percent of the Republican electorate remains undecided, however. It's very early for polls -- especially national ones, as opposed to ones for early primary states -- to predict much. They reveal a snapshot in time given the still-small number of voters paying attention to the race.

In a hypothetical match-up against Democrat Hillary Clinton, Trump is upside down 51-34 percent. Bush fared best against the former Secretary of State, 46-42 percent. The poll's error margin is 3 percentage points.

"Trump is making daily headlines in advance of the primary season," said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University political Research Center. "This has vaulted him to the top of the pack on the backs of conservative voters. But when you expand the electoral pool to include Democrats and independents that potency dissipates."

Jeb Bush takes on Donald Trump's 'vitriol'

@PatriciaMazzei

Jeb Bush, a promoter of immigration reform whose wife was born in Mexico, took some political heat for not immediately denouncing Donald Trump's characterization of Mexican immigrants as criminals.

But Bush has warmed up to criticizing Trump now.

At an Iowa campaign event Tuesday, Bush decried "people that prey on people's fears and their angst as well."

"We need to focus on the things that tie us together," he said. "And whether it's Donald Trump or Barack Obama, their rhetoric of divisiveness is wrong. A Republican will never win by striking fear in people's hearts."

 

Asked later by a reporter why, of all his GOP presidential rivals, Bush decided to go after Trump, the former Florida governor noted voters haven't brought up the real-estate mogul. But Bush answered anyway.

"I don't want to be associated with the kind of vitriol he's spewing out these days," he said of Trump.

At a campaign rally in Arizona over the weekend, Trump mentioned that he's leading some national 2016 polls -- along with Bush.

"How can I be tied with Jeb Bush?" Trump said. "He's terrible."