September 15, 2015

Super PAC backing Jeb Bush hits TV airwaves with $24M in ads

via @adamsmithtimes

The Super PAC backing Jeb Bush today kicks off a $24-million TV campaign for Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina that aims to educate Republican voters who, according to the committee's internal polling, know surprisingly little about Bush beyond the last name.

"As governor, he helped create 1.3-million new jobs. He vetoed billions in government spending. He cut taxes $19-billion, balanced eight budgets, and shrank state government," says the narrator before Bush appears on the screen. "... The state was Florida. The governor was Jeb Bush. Proven conservative. Real Results."


The pro-Bush Right to Rise Super PAC raised $103-million through June 31, and its leader, media consultant Mike Murphy, said it will spend nearly a quarter of that to keep a pro-Bush message on TV in the three early voting states through the end of the year. The first ad starts in Iowa and New Hampshire today and starts in south Carolina in a week.

"People have a lot of curiosity of Jeb Bush, but outside of Florida they don't know much about him. They know he's from Florida, many know he was the governor, some know he was interested in education policy. That's about it," Murphy said, citing research by the Super PAC's pollsters. "So the first step in a long, process of both telling Jeb's story and talking about his conservative vision for the country is to talk about some of these most notable accomplishments."

Once viewed as the overwhelming frontrunner for the nomination, Bush has dropped to seventh place in Iowa and fifth place in New Hampshire, according the average of recent polls compiled by RealClearPolitics, while political outsiders including Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina and, especially, Donald Trump have surged. While Right to Rise plans to release a web ad contrasting Bush's positive message to "Trump, who is America's number one critic," Murphy said the reality star's political impact factored little in the message of the committee's first TV ads.

"Everybody knows Trump's story. That's why Trump has a ceiling. He has an appeal to maybe a third of the primary voters, which is why he'll never be nominated," said Murphy, Bush's longtime ad-maker and political adviser. "Our focus is Jeb's much wider appeal and how do we communicate that to voters in the early states."

Continue reading "Super PAC backing Jeb Bush hits TV airwaves with $24M in ads" »

September 14, 2015

Jeb and Columba Bush trade languages in Hispanic Heritage Month video


To mark the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, Jeb Bush showed off his Spanish-language skills in a campaign web video. In a twist, his wife, Columba, who was born in Mexico, is the one who speaks English.

Columba Bush has slowly made her way into her husband's campaign, appearing at events here and there, writing op-eds and holding meetings with voters (without reporters on hand).

"Todos somos americanos," Jeb Bush concludes in the video -- "we're all American."

Looks like he's continuing to ignore rival Donald Trump's request that he speak more English.


Jeb Bush's boasting about his Florida record only tells half the story

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is hoping to sell voters on the idea that his time in Tallahassee means sound policy in the White House.

"As governor, I cut taxes, cut spending, balanced budgets, and Florida led the nation in job creation," he said in a campaign ad released Sept. 8, 2015. Bush boasted that his "proven conservative record" during his two terms makes him more qualified than other GOP candidates.

PolitiFact Florida has examined many of the ad’s claims before, so let’s shed some light on Bush’s time leading the Sunshine State.

Turn to PolitiFact Florida for the rest of Joshua Gillin's story and see Bush's full Truth-O-Meter record.

September 12, 2015

'El flaco Jeb' opens Miami office, jabbing 'pobrecito' Donald Trump

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Jeb Bush wasn't on Miami time Saturday. He was due at his local field office opening in Coral Gables -- and the show was running early. 

Good thing, too: The storefront at 5430 SW Eighth St. on the 90-degree day was sauna-hot. Almost every single Bush sign that wasn't hanging from a wall had been turned into a handheld fan.

So Bush mercifully bounded on stage before the event had even been scheduled to start, after his staunch hometown backers worked the microphone for a crowd that needed no warming up.

"El flaco Jeb!" Bush said in Spanish, introducing himself as "skinny Jeb," the first thing most longtime Bush friends in Florida note about their former governor. He immediately took a shot at rival Donald Trump.

"El Sr. Trump dice que no puedo hablar español en los Estados Unidos. Pobrecito." Mr. Trump said I can't speak Spanish in the United States. Poor little thing.

Bush always seems most comfortable campaigning at home -- and in Spanglish --  and Saturday was no different. At one point he began unbuttoning his shirt -- a surprising move for any politician, though not entirely out of place in the sweltering heat -- only to reveal a vintage-design Reagan/Bush '84 T-shirt underneath.

"The party I believe in!" he said, before buttoning back up.

He introduced his wife, Columba, and children Noelle and Jeb Jr. before criticizing President Obama and Trump again, saying a president shouldn't rule por decreto, by decree. In all, Bush spoke only a few minutes, but he worked the room for much longer, posing for photos and shaking hands.

Though Bush's national headquarters opened in Miami in May, eager Bush loyalists had clamored for an easily accessible location to drop in to volunteer and feel connected to the campaign.

Now they have it -- though they might want to invest in some air conditioning.

This post has been updated.

Photo credit: Roberto Koltun, El Nuevo Herald

September 11, 2015

Ana Navarro on a potential Florida primary between Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio -- and Donald Trump

via @adamsmithtimes

Back in late 2014, GOP leaders in Florida were pretty certain of a couple things: Marco Rubio would never run for president if his mentor, Jeb Bush, did; And if either of them ran, he would be a lock to win Florida’s Republican presidential primary.

That’s why, after Bush signaled he was likely to run, Republican legislative leaders set the 2016 Florida primary for March 15 - and made the primary winner-take-all, rather than a primary in which several candidates could divide the state’s 100 or so delegates proportionally. It was a gift to Bush, to ensure he could count on winning a big pile of delegates in case he did not dominate earlier contests in places like Iowa and New Hampshire.

“Can we get that gift back?” Republican political consultant Ana Navarro, a zealous Jeb Bush advocate and ubiquitous TV pundit quipped Thursday night while speaking at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg.

Contrary to the old conventional wisdom, Rubio did get into the race and another giant force emerged to threaten everybody’s best laid plans. His name is Donald Trump, and Navarro acknowledged her fear that Trump could win Florida’s primary.

Rubio and Bush may well cannibalize one another’s votes, she said, leaving Trump to scoop up a winning plurality of anti-establishment votes.

“Nobody that’s voting for Trump is voting for Jeb or voting for Marco. I don’t think they eat from each other’s votes,” Navarro said. “I do think Jeb and Marco eat from each other’s votes.”

Continue reading "Ana Navarro on a potential Florida primary between Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio -- and Donald Trump" »

Did Florida lead the nation in job creation under Jeb Bush?

GOP presidential hopeful Jeb Bush implied in a new campaign ad that the jobs boom Florida enjoyed while he was governor can be a reality for the entire country if he’s elected to the Oval Office.

"As governor, I cut taxes, cut spending, balanced budgets, and Florida led the nation in job creation," he said in a Sept. 8, 2015, commercial.

We wanted to see if Bush’s claim about job creation really put Florida in front of all 50 states.

See what Joshua Gillin of PolitiFact Florida found.

September 10, 2015

Fact-checking Jeb Bush vs. Hillary Clinton

As the summer of 2015 draws to a close, presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush are attacking each other instead of focusing on their primary rivals.

Democratic candidate Clinton has gone after Bush’s record both as Florida’s governor and today, while the Republican has raised issues from Clinton’s days as a U.S. senator and secretary of state.

Turn to PolitiFact Florida for a look at some of the statements we’ve checked by both including claims related to the voter purge during Bush's years as governor, immigration, religious beliefs and emails.

GOP Florida House speakers past and present back Jeb Bush



Let there be no doubt that Florida's Republican establishment wants Jeb Bush for president.

Bush, who amassed a wealth of Tallahassee political capital in his eight years as governor, has nabbed formal endorsements from all but two recent GOP speakers of the Florida House of Representatives, several of whom have already been raising money for the candidate.

The list includes current Speaker Steve Crisafulli and his predecessor, Will Weatherford, as well as Dean Cannon, Larry Cretul, Allan Bense, Tom Feeney, John Thrasher and Daniel Webster. Webster, now a U.S. congressman, was the first speaker to take the House reins after it came under GOP control in 1996.

"Jeb Bush's conservative record as Governor is second to none," Cannon said in a statement provided by Bush's campaign. "He is exactly who our country needs as President."

The only speakers missing from the list? Bush's home state presidential rival, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, and Johnnie Byrd, who recently described Bush's leadership style as "my way or the highway." Bush didn't seek the support of former Speaker Ray Sansom, was accused of pursuing $6 million in state money for a hangar to benefit a GOP donor. A judge later dropped the charges. Sansom never presided over a regular legislative session.

The Bush campaign publicized the endorsements on the same day it's opening a state headquarters in Tampa, and two days before cutting the ribbon on its Miami field office -- all signs that Bush is preparing for a long primary that may require him to spend money to win Florida on March 15, 2016.

Continue reading "GOP Florida House speakers past and present back Jeb Bush" »

September 09, 2015

Did Jeb Bush cut spending more than anyone else in GOP presidential field?

Jeb Bush, otherwise known as "Veto Corleone" in Florida, says he has the fiscal conservative track record to back up his nickname.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who’s No. 2 in spending cuts according to the chart but No. 14 in the polls, begged to differ and tweeted at Bush with a different chart that shows the former Florida governor was actually the top spender in the field. (Jindal has used this chart to tout his own conservative bonafides before.)

We were curious about Bush’s claim that he’s the top spending cutter. We found that neither Bush’s chart nor Jindal’s chart is a perfect way to compare state budgets — but Jindal’s chart is less perfect.

See what Linda Qiu of PolitiFact found.

Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush open to U.S. accepting some Syrian refugees

via @learyreports

Jeb Bush said this morning that U.S. should accept some of the refugees spilling across Europe from Syria and other war-torn areas.

"We're a country that has a noble tradition of accepting refugees," Bush said on Fox & Friends. "We need to make sure that they’re not part of ISIS or something like that." But Bush quickly transitioned to say the real issue is fighting the Islamic state and he faulted the Obama administration on Syria.

Marco Rubio struck a similar tone in an interview Tuesday with Boston Herald Radio.

“We’ve always been a country that has been willing to accept people who have been displaced and I would be open to that if it can be done in a way that allows us to ensure that among them are not ... people who are part of a terrorist organization. The vast and overwhelming majority of people who are seeking refuge are not terrorists, of course, but you always are concerned about that.”

Other candidates have been less open. Donald Trump said the U.S. should "possibly" let some in, but added, "There’s only so much we can do. We have to fix our own country. Now, Europe is handling it."

So far, the U.S. has taken in a miniscule amount of Syrians.