August 20, 2015

Asked about drug addiction, Jeb Bush gets personal


Heroin and prescription drug use worries New Hampshire voters, who frequently ask 2016 presidential candidates what they would do to tackle the addiction surge.

Republican Jeb Bush got the question once again in Merrimack on Wednesday. And he made reference to his own daughter's past struggle with drug use.

Addiction is a "lifetime challenge," he said, and addicts need help from friends and family to adopt recovery as a "philosophy."

"People need to stay together in this regard," Bush said, noting he had gone to a private roundtable earlier in the day to discuss the issue. "And, look, I have some personal experience with this, just as a dad, and it is the most heartbreaking thing in the world to have to go through."

Noelle Bush, then in her 20s, was arrested in 2002 in Tallahassee and charged with trying to fill a false drug prescription. Her father was Florida governor and her uncle George W. Bush was president, so the arrest made headlines. She is now in her late 30s and occasionally appears with her father on the campaign trail, including an event lat month in Orlando, where she lives.

Quinnipiac poll: Donald Trump up, Hillary Clinton down in Florida


Donald Trump has climbed to the top of the 2016 Republican presidential field in Florida, according to a new poll that shows him ahead of hometown favorites Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.

Perhaps even more noteworthy: Democrat Hillary Clinton's popularity has taken a tumble, the poll shows, and she now trails Bush and Rubio and is essentially tied with Trump in potential general-election match-ups.

The Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday shows Trump leading the GOP field in Florida with 21 percent, followed by Bush (17 percent) and Rubio and Ben Carson (both at 11 percent). Carson is a neurosurgeon who retired to West Palm Beach. No other candidate tops 7 percent support, and 8 percent are undecided.

Trump received merely 3 percent support in the last Quinnipiac survey of Florida in June, a sign of his summer surge.

At the time, Clinton led the Democratic field with 64 percent support. Now she's at 48 percent, with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at 15 percent, Vice President Joe Biden (who for now is not a candidate) at 11 percent and 17 percent undecided.

In head-to-head match-ups, Rubio leads Clinton 51-39 percent, Bush leads her 49-38 percent, and Trump leads her 43-41 percent, a statistical tie. The poll has an error margin of 3 percentage points.

If Trump were to run as a third-party candidate, then the poll shows Clinton at 37 percent, Bush at 36 percent and Trump at 19 percent in Florida.

"Hillary Clinton's poll numbers are like a leaky faucet: drip, drip, drip, drip. She is now getting less than half the vote in all three states' Democratic primaries,", said Peter A. Brown, the poll's assistant director, who also surveyed voters in Ohio and Pennsylvania. "Gov. Jeb Bush got middling debate grades and slips in the GOP horse race. Yet he does very well when voters rate the leading Republican candidates on personal characteristics."

Rubio continues to show high favorability ratings, the measure his campaign considers most important this early in the presidential race because it shows he has potential to grow as the campaign chugs along and more voters start paying attention.

August 19, 2015

Jeb Bush: Donald Trump is not conservative


Jeb Bush refined his line of attack against Donald Trump on Wednesday, arguing the celebrity presidential frontrunner is hardly the sort of Republican voters want in the White House.

"We're a conservative party, aren't we?" Bush said at a town hall-style event in Merrimack, New Hampshire. "Mr. Trump doesn't have a proven conservative record. He was a Democrat longer in the last decade than he was a Republican."

He rattled off a list of issues where Trump has changed his mind, including his support for a single-payer healthcare system most Republicans consider socialism, and painted him as a pro-government Democrat. 

"Let's support someone where we don't have to guess where he stands," Bush said, citing his own record as Florida governor.

The sharpened line was something Bush's campaign seemed proud of, quickly cutting a video clip of the candidate's answer and emailing it to reporters.


Bush emphasized the steep price tag of Trump's plan to deport immigrants in the country illegally and called Trump's language on the subject "pretty vitriolic" -- even suggesting it was un-American for Trump to want to deny citizenship to U.S.-born children of immigrants already in the country illegally. Bush has criticized women who come to the U.S. solely to give birth to "anchor babies."

It was Bush who brought up Trump's name after a voter obliquely referred to the celebrity rival. Bush said it was OK to name him, and called Trump the frontrunner.

The Donald himself was holding a town hall of his own at the same time in Derry, New Hampshire, about 10 miles away.

Meanwhile, Marco Rubio spokesman Alex Conant got in this on Twitter -- which looked like a jab at Bush but Conant said was intended only at Trump, who said incorrectly that Rubio planned TV ads against him:

A peek inside Jeb Bush's Iowa campaign office


via @learyreports

DES MOINES -- "The only hangup I have with Jeb Bush is he's already had a father and brother as president. It's the family business. It's enough of a problem that I'm not even going to look at him."

That's Jonn Nebbe, 44, who was at the Iowa State Fair on Wednesday to see Rick Perry take the Des Moines Register soapbox.

The dynasty problem is not hard to find in Iowa, nor are disappoinitng poll numbers. But Jeb Bush's team is kicking into gear. Bush spent more than four hours at the fair on Friday, and not far away his office in West Des Moines is up and running, already hosting phone banking and organizing Saturday door knocking sessions.

On Thursday, Bush's son, George P. Bush, will attend the opening of the east Iowa headquarters in Cedar Rapids.

Marco Rubio was supposed to open his HQ in Ankeny Wednesday but canceled, citing his kids' first day of school. A visit to the office this afternoon revealed a work in progress.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

The John Kasich threat to Jeb Bush


via @adamsmithtimes

PETERBOROUGH, N.H. -- Forget the bombastic Donald. What Republicans really need to win back the White House is someone who has successfully governed a mega swing state, a straight talker who might sometimes tick off the GOP’s base but has proven how a conservative problem-solver can have broad appeal.

If that sounds like an argument for Jeb Bush, think again.

It’s Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a late entrant into the crowded Republican presidential field, who could pose a real problem for the former Florida governor if he keeps winning over the pragmatic Republican voters that Bush is banking on to deliver him the nomination.

Kasich (pronounced KAY-sik) is virtually tied with Bush in New Hampshire polls — the average compiled by has Trump with 24.5 percent support, Bush at 11 percent, Kasich at 10, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at 7.5 — after the well-received debate performance earlier this month.

“Thank God for Donald Trump. Twenty-four million people tuned in to see,” Kasich quipped at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire last week.

If you divide the Republican primary field into lanes — religious conservative, anti-establishment, arch-conservative — Bush, 62, and Kasich, 63, clearly occupy the center-right, establishment lane. They are largely competing for the same voters, and in Peterborough it was easy to see the big opening Bush has left for Kasich.

“I’ve really got to see more enthusiasm from [Bush]. I just don’t know that he’s got his heart in it yet. Maybe he will, but it doesn’t feel like he’s that interested in running,” said Diane Loomis, a bookkeeper in Hancock, who said Kasich impressed her much more with his enthusiasm, intellect and experience.

Judith Wilkins of Greenville is most interested in Kasich or Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, because Bush has turned her off: “He is so intelligent, but I want to shake him and tell him, ‘How about some strength, some emoting.’”

More here.

Photo credit: Jim Cole, Associated Press

Jeb Bush wrestles with Common Core: Higher standards yes, federal government no

via @lesleyclark

Jeb Bush on Wednesday sought to put space between himself and his support for controversial Common Core education standards -- but said all states need to set high bars for students.

The standards -- and Bush’s support -- have been a sticking point for conservatives who fear a federal role in education, but Bush said Wednesday at an education forum that standards are critical.

“The debate needs to be about real accountability, school choice, high standards - if people don’t like Common Core, fine - just make sure your standards are much higher than the ones you had before,” Bush said. “We can’t keep dumbing down standards.”

Pressed on how states could determine whether they have high standards if there is not an overall standard, Bush acknowledged: "It's not like pornography where you know it when you see it, but clearly low standards, you know it. That's what most states have had.”

Bush went on to say the federal government should have “nothing to say” about the standards -- a move that earned applause from the New Hampshire audience.

Continue reading "Jeb Bush wrestles with Common Core: Higher standards yes, federal government no" »

August 17, 2015

In South Carolina, Jeb Bush notes advice he got from Bob Graham


Jeb Bush gave a hat tip Monday to one of his predecessors -- a Democrat -- for giving him good advice as he entered the Florida Governor's Mansion.

Former Gov. Bob Graham suggested Bush create a state military base committee to deal with issues affecting Florida service members, Bush said at a town hall-style meeting Monday in Columbia, South Carolina.

"'Go talk to the commanders of the commands, on your military bases,'" Bush recalled. (Florida is home to U.S. Central Command in Tampa and U.S. Southern Command in Doral, outside Miami.)

The Republican took the Democrat's advice. Bush said he met quarterly and then twice a year with base leaders.

"We did it -- everything that they advised, from buying pristine lands around military bases so encroachment didn't take place," to giving military children a first shot at getting their preferred schools, Bush said. The state also gave service members free hunting and fishing licenses, he added -- a move the town hall moderator concluded must have been "popular."

"Huge," Bush said with a smile. "It was a cheap date."

The event was timed with the release of Bush's proposed plan to reform veterans' health care.

August 15, 2015

For-profit colleges tied to Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush

Phoenix 14 One PAB

@MrMikeVasquez @PatriciaMazzei

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign spent the past week touting her new plan to make college affordable — in part by cracking down on “predatory” colleges, and forcing schools to “spend federal dollars on things that benefit students, like teaching and research, not marketing campaigns.”

What Clinton didn’t mention: Her husband Bill has been paid more than $16 million as “honorary chancellor” of Laureate Education, the world’s largest for-profit college company. The firm is being sued by several online graduate students for allegedly dishonest practices, and a 2012 U.S Senate report found that more than half of Laureate’s online Walden University revenue went to marketing and profit.

Republicans quickly went on the attack. “Clinton’s College Hypocrisy Tour Rolls On” read the subject line from a Republican National Committee e-mail to reporters. 

What the RNC didn’t mention: The GOP field of 2016 presidential hopefuls is filled with candidates who have close ties to for-profit colleges. Marco Rubio listed two for-profit executives (and the industry’s former top Florida lobbyist) as “contributors” to his 2006 book,100 Innovative Ideas for Florida’s Future. Jeb Bush gave a keynote speech at the for-profit industry’s Washington trade association last year, for which he was paid $51,000. 

Republican frontrunner Donald Trump is being sued by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for his now-shuttered “Trump University” business school. Schneiderman has said Trump University used false promotional materials and “was a scam from top to bottom.”

Trump denies the allegations, and says the investigation by Schneiderman, a Democrat, is politically motivated. 

In Florida and across the country, students who say they were victimized by for-profits are usually poor or working class. Many are single moms, or military veterans. 

More here.

Photo credit: Peter Andrew Bosch, Miami Herald staff

August 14, 2015

Jeb Bush eats his way through Iowa State Fair


It must have been cheat day for Paleo dieter Jeb Bush, where he spent a full fours at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines on Friday doing what presidential candidates are supposed to do at state fairs: trying lots of fatty foods.

At one point, according to reporters there, his staff tried to usher him out but Bush insisted on staying a while longer.

Bush also spoke to fair goers, some of whom peppered him with questions about his Middle East policy and his brother's war in Iraq.

Here's a sampling of Bush's fair snacks:

Fried Snickers



Jeb Bush selectively recounts details of Iraq and ISIS

In a major foreign policy speech this week, Jeb Bush forcefully argued that the current problems in Iraq -- especially increasing violence and the rise of the Islamic State -- are due to President Barack Obama, supported by his former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton.

That argument forecasts Bush’s hopes of being the Republican nominee who takes on Clinton and the Democrats in November 2016.

But Bush’s look back at U.S. failures in Iraq doesn’t tell the whole story. A review by PolitiFact shows he leaves out some key turning points.

"Why was the success of the surge followed by a withdrawal from Iraq, leaving not even the residual force that commanders and the joint chiefs knew was necessary?" Bush asked. "That premature withdrawal was the fatal error, creating the void that ISIS moved in to fill – and that Iran has exploited to the full as well. ISIS grew while the United States disengaged from the Middle East and ignored the threat."

That’s a very selective reading of the facts about Iraq. First of all, we know the timetable to leave was in place when Obama took office. We also know elements of ISIS existed long before the U.S. troop withdrawal, all the way back to when President George W. Bush launched the Iraq war. Finally, Clinton’s role isn’t nearly as clear-cut as Jeb Bush suggested.

Keep reading Joshua Gillin's story from PolitiFact.