February 17, 2016

New urgency for Jeb Bush on South Carolina campaign trail

Jeb

@PatriciaMazzei

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. -- For Jeb Bush, the crushing phone call came Wednesday afternoon.

It was Nikki Haley, South Carolina’s wildly popular governor and Republican Party darling. She had decided to endorse a candidate ahead of Saturday’s GOP presidential primary.

Not Bush — even though his brother, former President George W. Bush, paid her a deferential visit Monday. Instead, Haley backed Jeb Bush’s fiercest primary rival, Marco Rubio.

Moments later, Bush was due at a campaign event at the Summerville Country Club, northwest of Charleston. He showed up in shirtsleeves, no tie — and, now that he’s realized they aged him, no glasses — and grabbed the microphone, uttering not one word of the Haley news.

But Bush was suddenly edgy, speaking with new urgency three days before the “first in the South” primary that helped seal his father’s and brother’s nominations — but where Bush is battling for third or fourth place.

“On Saturday, y’all can make a choice of who you want to have in the Oval Office, the sacred ground of the White House,” Bush said. “The leader of the free world. That’s who you’re selecting.”

Clearly frustrated, Bush added: “I’ve got more detailed plans than you know what to do with!”

But that’s not enough, and Bush knows it. Which is why, for the second time in a single day, he pounded Rubio as an inexperienced, first-term “back-bench” U.S. senator too green for the job. Rubio has poked Bush repeatedly in recent days for having “no foreign policy experience.”

More here.

Photo credit: Andrew Harnik, AP

Democratic group files complaint against Jeb Bush and Right to Rise super PAC

A Democratic group has filed an election complaint against Jeb Bush and the Right to Rise PAC which supports the former Florida governor.

The American Democracy Legal Fund, a Democratic group led by operative Brad Woodhouse, filed the complaint Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission.

The complaint alleges that Bush decided to run for president in January 2015 but didn't formally announce until June and therefore failed to register with the FEC within 15 days of deciding to run for president. The complaint also alleges that Bush raised funds for the super PAC.

The complaint expands upon earlier complaints filed by the same group.

 

 

February 16, 2016

Jeb Bush fires up Twitter with shot of personalized gun

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via @learyreports

Jeb Bush found a way to stir up Twitter.

By posting a photo of a handgun with the caption, "America." 

He had gotten it earlier during a tour of FN Manufacturing, a major firearms maker in Columbia, S.C. But Bush posted the caption without context, leading to the range of emotion you'd expect. By 9 p.m. Tuesday it had been retweeted more than 15,500 times.

And Twitter was ready to respond. Some altered the inscription on the gun. Others named another location — often a fictional location — and the "weapon of choice" from that location. 

Here are some examples:

Continue reading "Jeb Bush fires up Twitter with shot of personalized gun" »

Did Medicaid spending rise twice as fast under Jeb Bush than John Kasich?

Every Republican presidential candidate opposes Obamacare, but Ohio Gov. John Kasich stands out for being the only one who took advantage of the program’s Medicaid expansion option. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush wasn’t going to let that choice go unnoticed. Bush touted his opposition to expansion in Florida during a debate in South Carolina.

"The (Florida) governor was supportive of doing what John did," Bush said Feb. 13. "So was the Florida Senate. A committed speaker of the House asked me to go as a private citizen to make the case against the expansion. I did, and it wasn't expanded there."

To which Kasich shot back, "When Jeb was governor -- his first four years as governor -- his Medicaid program grew twice as fast as mine. Okay? It's just a fact."

We can’t resolve which man is more fiscally responsible, but we can compare Medicaid spending trends. A decade and a half separates the periods -- 1999-2003 for Florida and 2011-15 for Ohio -- but with due regard for the vast change in circumstances, the numbers can speak for themselves.

See what Jon Greenberg of PolitiFact found.

George W. Bush debuts on campaign trail for Jeb

GOP 2016 Bush

via @lesleyclark

He’s back.

George W. Bush ended years of self-imposed political exile on Monday with a full-throated defense of his brother Jeb, who could face a last stand in Saturday’s South Carolina primary. Never mentioning his little brother’s chief tormentor and Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump by name, the former president made it clear before a crowd of hundreds of supporters that he considers the brash real estate magnate unfit for the presidency – and his brother ready to serve.

“These are tough times and I understand Americans are angry and frustrated, but we do not need someone in the Oval Office who mirrors and inflames our frustration,” Bush said to cheers. “We need someone who can fix the causes and that’s Jeb Bush.”

Real strength, Bush insisted, isn’t a loud voice and bluster, but “integrity and character.”

Bush’s debut on the campaign trail comes as his brother, the former Florida governor who had sought to run as his “own man” has increasingly leaned on his family despite the risks.

And George W. Bush remains popular in some Republican circles, particularly in South Carolina where Trump tops the polls and where Bush must finish in the top tier Saturday or face pressure to drop out and support one of the other establishment candidates who finish ahead of him.

Jeb Bush, a bit of a policy wonk, ran the risk that he’d look wan in comparison with his gregarious brother. But he thundered through his remarks in a cavernous conference center, clearly energized by his brother’s appearance.

“Who’s done it? Who’s done it?” he shouted at one point, ticking off his accomplishments as Florida governor. “We need a president with a steady hand who runs to the challenge.”

More here.

Photo credit: Matt Rourke, Associated Press

February 14, 2016

Fact-checking the GOP debate in South Carolina

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Six Republican presidential candidates opened Saturday’s CBS debate with a solemn remembrance for the life of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died hours earlier Feb. 13 in Texas.

Then the infighting took over.

Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio picked up their fight on immigration reform, accusing each other of lying about support for amnesty. Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush quibbled over Medicaid spending and expanding Obamacare.

And then billionaire Donald Trump, frank as ever, dismissed Cruz as a "nasty guy" for saying he supported federal funding of Planned Parenthood and drew boos from the audience for insulting Bush’s older brother, former President George W. Bush.

"While Donald Trump was building a reality TV show, my brother was building a security apparatus to keep us safe," Bush replied. "And I'm proud of what he did."

Trump interrupted: "The World Trade Center came down during your brother's reign, remember that."

The attacks were fast and furious. But whose punch packed the most truth?

Here’s a rundown of statements PolitiFact rated from the ninth Republican debate.

That striking GOP debate moment when Ted Cruz broke into Spanish -- and Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush didn't follow

@PatriciaMazzei

The first Republican to speak Spanish on a presidential debate stage this election wasn't one of the two candidates fluent in the language. It was the one some Latino accuse of not being Hispanic enough.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz surprised the audience in Greenville, South Carolina, on Saturday night when he taunted Florida Sen. Marco Rubio -- in Spanish.

Cruz has called his mastery of his Cuban immigrant father's native tongue as "lousy." But that didn't stop him from turning to Rubio and encouraging to repeat past remarks Rubio had made on immigration reform to Univision, the Spanish-language news giant. 

"Marco went on Univision in Spanish and said he would not rescind President Obama's illegal executive amnesty on his first day in office," Cruz began.

Retorted Rubio: "Well, first of all, I don't know how he knows what I said on Univision because he doesn't speak Spanish."

That's when Cruz went for it.

"Ahora mismo, díselo ahora en español si quieres," Cruz said, haltingly. Right now, tell them right now in Spanish if you want. (It appeared on CBS' rush debate transcript as a quintessential minority moment: "CRUZ: (SPEAKING SPANISH).")

Rubio, who is also Cuban American, is fully bilingual. But this was a nationally televised debate ahead of next Saturday's primary in deeply red, deeply traditional South Carolina. So Rubio didn't respond en español. Neither did former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is also fluent. (Rubio, who has been pretty consistent on the need to eventually repeal Obama's executive action on immigration, used the moment to add to his argument that Cruz is a liar.)

Republicans have been desperate to connect with Latino voters crucial to winning a general election. But the two candidates who talk most often about growing the GOP shied away from their opportunity Saturday night.

February 13, 2016

Florida politicians react to Justice Antonin Scalia's death

@PatriciaMazzei

Republican presidential candidate and former Gov. Jeb Bush

Today we lost a great man whose principled service left our nation vastly better off. This afternoon at Mass, Columba and I prayed for Justice Scalia, who was devout in faith and has been brought home to God in heaven. Our prayers are also with his wife, Maureen, his children and his 28 grandchildren.

Justice Scalia was a brilliant defender of the rule of law--his logic and wit were unparalleled, and his decisions were models of clarity and good sense. I often said he was my favorite justice, because he took the Constitution, and the responsibility of judges to interpret it correctly, with the utmost seriousness. Now it is up to all of us to fight for the principles Justice Scalia espoused and carry forth his legacy.

Republican presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio

Today, our nation has suffered a deep loss. Justice Scalia was one of the most consequential Americans in our history and a brilliant legal mind who served with only one objective: to interpret and defend the Constitution as written. One of the greatest honors in my life was to attend oral arguments during Town of Greece v. Galloway and see Justice Scalia eloquently defend religious freedom. I will hold that memory forever. The next president must nominate a justice who will continue Justice Scalia's unwavering belief in the founding principles that we hold dear. Jeanette and I mourn the loss of Justice Scalia, and our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Maureen and his family.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson

I am stunned since Justice Scalia seemed to be in the prime of his life. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. And I take very seriously our constitutional responsibility to fill this vacancy.

Continue reading "Florida politicians react to Justice Antonin Scalia's death" »

February 12, 2016

Jeb Bush allies blast Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz for not confronting Donald Trump

@PatriciaMazzei

A new TV ad from Jeb Bush's campaign allies pounds Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio for not confronting Donald Trump as much as Bush does.

"While some candidates suck up to Trump," the ad by Right to Rise USA says -- as it shows a picture of Cruz, "or run away from him in fear" (while showing a graphic illustration of Rubio as a robot), "Jeb Bush isn't afraid."

 

Pro-Jeb Bush Super PAC takes on Donald Trump, at last

@PatriciaMazzei

Did Jeb Bush's allies finally listen to the candidate?

Bush likes to attack Donald Trump. His super PAC, Right to Right USA, likes to attack Marco Rubio. The disconnect has been evident for weeks: Bush says one thing, the TV ads supporting him say another.

On Friday, though, following Bush's finish ahead of Rubio in New Hampshire, Right to Rise released a new national TV ad -- bashing Trump: "Look past the boasting, and you'll see right through him."