July 14, 2015

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."

Jeb Bush: Iran nuclear deal is 'appeasement'

@PatriciaMazzei

Jeb Bush had nothing nice to say Tuesday about the announced agreement with Iran over its nuclear program. He has been critical of the negotiations in the past and, like 2016 Republican presidential rival Marco Rubio, has drawn a contrast with President Obama and other Democrats over the deal.

The nuclear agreement announced by the Obama Administration today is a dangerous, deeply flawed, and short sighted deal.

A comprehensive agreement should require Iran to verifiably abandon – not simply delay – its pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability.

Based on initial reports and analysis, it appears this agreement does not 'cut off all of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon' – in fact, over time it paves Iran’s path to a bomb. Most of the key restrictions last for only 10 to 15 years.  Even before the deal expires, it could allow Iran to develop an industrial-scale enrichment program and continue its R&D on advanced centrifuges and development of an ICBM.  

The deal does not require Iran to come completely clean up front about possible military dimensions of its nuclear program or include true anytime/anywhere inspections necessary for a nuclear program shrouded in deception and lies.

President Obama has acknowledged the agreement would end the United Nations' conventional arms embargo, a critical tool to combat Iran’s support for terrorism and destabilizing activities in the region.

The deal would provide more than $100 billion in sanctions relief that will breathe new life into Iran's malevolent and corrupt regime, enabling its projection of terror and power as well as its repression of the Iranian people – who aspire for, and deserve, a more democratic future.

The clerical leaders in Tehran routinely preach  'death to America' and 'death to Israel' – and through their acts of terror, they mean it.  We must take these threats seriously and should not base any agreements on the hope their behavior will moderate over time.

The people of Iran, the region, Israel, America, and the world deserve better than a deal that consolidates the grip on power of the violent revolutionary clerics who rule Tehran with an iron fist.

This isn’t diplomacy – it is appeasement.

July 13, 2015

Miami-Dade County, home to Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, is no 'sanctuary' but does defy immigration authorities

@PatriciaMazzei

The murder of a young woman taking a stroll on a San Francisco pier two weeks ago might have been received by a jaded public as just another big-city homicide, had the man who says he shot her to death not been previously deported five times to Mexico — and had the case not been adopted as a cause célèbre by insurgent Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Trump seized on the fatal and apparently random shooting of 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, who confessed to pulling the trigger in a jailhouse interview aired on local television, as proof that the candidate’s controversial characterization last month of Mexican border-crossers as criminals and rapists was true, even if studies that go beyond tragic incidents have shown that notion to be false.

“This senseless and totally preventable act of violence committed by an illegal immigrant is yet another example of why we must secure our border immediately,” Trump said in a statement after Steinle’s death. “This is an absolutely disgraceful situation and I am the only one that can fix it. Nobody else has the guts to even talk about it. That won’t happen if I become President.”

As the real-estate mogul has taken off in the polls, Trump’s comments have forced other Republicans, who are still grappling with how best to handle his entry into the race, to weigh in on the San Francisco case. Their position: to oppose local governments that limit their cooperation with federal immigration authorities, a practice that means different things in different places but is derided by critics as the creation of “sanctuary” cities.

That includes the two candidates from Miami, whose own home county doesn’t fully cooperate with the feds on immigration enforcement.

More here.

Hillary Clinton name-checks Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio in speech on economy

@PatriciaMazzei

Democratic presidential Hillary Clinton didn't shy away from naming some of her Republican counterparts Monday -- including Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio -- in a speech laying out her proposed economic policy.

Here's what she said on Bush:

You may have heard Governor Bush say last week that Americans just need to work longer hours. Well, he must not have met very many American workers.

Let him tell that to the nurse who stands on her feet all day or the trucker who drives all night. Let him tell that to the fast food workers marching in the streets for better pay. They don’t need a lecture – they need a raise.

The truth is, the current rules for our economy reward some work – like financial trading – much more than other work, like actually building and selling things the work that's always been the backbone of our economy. 

And what she said on Rubio:

Another priority must be reforming our tax code.

Now we hear Republican candidates talk a lot about tax reform. But take a good look at their plans. Senator Rubio's would cut taxes for households making around $3 million a year by almost $240,000 – which is way more than three times the earnings of a typical family. Well that's a sure budget-busting give-away to the super-wealthy. And that's the kind of bad economics you're likely to get from any of the candidates on the other side.

Bush's campaign responded with a statement and a video from Bush's "aspiration" for 4 percent economic growth, a number some some analysts have called unrealistic.

Continue reading "Hillary Clinton name-checks Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio in speech on economy" »

GOP tries for Hispanic vote again, this time with 2 Florida presidential hopefuls

via @learyreports

KISSIMMEE -- In a strip mall on a busy road in this fast-growing city, signs of hope emerge for Republicans trying to win the White House. Spend a little time at Melao Bakery or Espiritu De Vida bookstore, ask about Marco Rubio and blank stares give way to interest.

“I’m not Republican, but he represents us,” said 44-year-old Luis Cruzado who, like many in Kissimmee, was born in Puerto Rico. He has found a comfortable life doing drainage work for Osceola County. “He would be the first Hispanic. That feels good to me.”

Rossie Sevilla was helping out at the Christian bookstore and hadn’t heard much about Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants from Miami. Nor has she voted before. But the 55-year-old said a fellow Hispanic on the ticket would be motivation. “I know Hillary Clinton is good, but I will give my vote to Rubio because he knows our roots.”

At a restaurant next door, Eli Gomez, a 27-year-old Republican, said she would have to know what Rubio stood for other than a common heritage. But, she added, Hispanics would be as full of pride as African-Americans were when Barack Obama made history in 2008. Her friend, Alisa Lorenzo, agreed.

“I’d at least look to see what he has to offer,” the 34-year-old Democrat said of Rubio.

After two presidential elections with abysmal results among Hispanic voters, the GOP is making a determined push to gain support among the increasingly important electorate.

More here.

Jeb Bush says his average federal tax rate was 36 percent. Was it?

When former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush released 33 years of tax returns, he suggested we are all paying too much in taxes -- himself included.

"I paid the government more than one in three dollars that I earned in my career," Bush wrote on his campaign website June 30. "Astounding. The total effective rate was 36 percent. I think I speak for everyone, no matter your tax rate: We need to get more money back in your pocket and less in the federal kitty."

A chart highlighted Bush’s "average federal tax rate" as 36 percent.

Was Bush’s average federal tax rate 36 percent over the years? It was a figure that drew attention and criticism.

We found that it depends on how you calculate it.

Read more from PolitiFact.

July 09, 2015

Opponents bash Jeb Bush over 'people need to work longer hours' remark

via @learyreports

Democrats are pouncing on Jeb Bush's comments that Americans must "work longer hours" in other to grow the economy.

Bush in an interview Wednesday with The Union-Leader newspaper in New Hampshire, said: “My aspiration for the country and I believe we can achieve it, is 4 percent growth as far as the eye can see. Which means we have to be a lot more productive, workforce participation has to rise from its all-time modern lows. It means that people need to work longer hours."

He later clarified the remarks saying he meant part-time workers. "If we’re going to grow the economy people need to stop being part-time workers, they need to be having access to greater opportunities to work," Bush said. Asked by a reporter if full-time workers needed to put in more hours, Bush replied: "Absolutely not. Their incomes need to grow." (His full remarks are below.)

But Thursday, a wave of recriminations came from Democratic groups.

Continue reading "Opponents bash Jeb Bush over 'people need to work longer hours' remark" »

UPDATED Jeb Bush campaign raised $11.4M in first 16 days; Super PAC raked in $103M since January

@PatriciaMazzei

Just how vast a financial advantage Jeb Bush has so far over his 2016 presidential rivals started to become clear Thursday, when Bush’s team reported its fund-raising totals as of the end of June.

Bush’s campaign, which wasn’t official until last month, collected $11.4 million, a significant number in and of itself. But it was a pro-Bush political action committee that made the big headlines: The Right to Rise USA Super PAC amassed $103 million since January, bringing the total dollars raised on Bush’s behalf to more than $114 million.

“We are grateful for the overwhelming response from the thousands of donors who have been drawn to Jeb’s optimistic message of conservative renewal and reform,” Charlie Spies, Right to Rise’s treasurer and general counsel, said in a statement.

Bush is in a far stronger financial position than any other Republican or Democratic contender. Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, who kicked off her candidacy two months before Bush, and her allies have raised about $69 million. Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and four Super PACs have raised more than $51 million since March.

The only two other Republicans to have disclosed their campaign hauls are retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson ($10.5 million) and former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina ($4.8 million between herself and a Super PAC). Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s total is pending, though a pro-Rubio Super PAC and political nonprofit have raised $31.8 million total.

More here

This post has been updated.

July 08, 2015

Does Jeb Bush no longer support a path to citizenship as Hillary Clinton says?

In a rare national interview with CNN, Hillary Clinton took aim at Donald Trump’s comments bashing illegal Mexican immigrants and former Gov. Jeb Bush’s stance on pathway to citizenship.

"I feel very bad and very disappointed with (Trump) and with the Republican Party for not responding immediately and saying, 'Enough. Stop it,' " Clinton said July 7. "But they are all in the same general area on immigration: They don't want to provide a path to citizenship. They range across a spectrum of being either grudgingly welcome or hostile toward immigrants."

CNN’s Brianna Keilar then asked: "But what about Jeb Bush's approach to that?"

Clinton replied: "He doesn't believe in a path to citizenship. If he did at one time, he no longer does. As I said, they're on a spectrum of hostility, which I think is really regrettable in a nation of immigrants like ours."

Does Bush no longer believe in a path to citizenship?

See what PolitiFact found.

'Probably not,' Jeb Bush says about keeping U.S. embassy open in Cuba as president

@PatriciaMazzei

Jeb Bush, who has opposed President Obama's re-engagement with Cuba, said Wednesday that if he were elected he would likely not keep a U.S. embassy open in Havana.

"Probably not," Bush told the editorial board of the New Hampshire Union Leader newspaper.

Embassies in Washington and Havana are slated to open July 20. "I haven't given thought about undoing a work in progress," Bush said.

But he said that while he's willing to give Obama the "benefit of the doubt" about reaching out to opposing governments, he has seen few results from the closer relations with Cuba.

"We're negotiating without getting anything in return," Bush said. "While we're negotiating, the repression has actually increased."

That claim surprised the editorial board. Cuba news is no where near as prominent in New Hampshire as it is in Bush's hometown of Miami, where beatings and detentions attributed to Cuban security forces are regularly denounced by local members of Congress and discussed on Spanish-language media.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a Bush rival for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, published an op-ed Wednesday in the New York Times also arguing against Obama's policy.

In a lengthy piece released Wednesday afternoon, Cuba Now, a non-profit that promotes engagement with the island, questioned whether Raúl Castro's regime has in fact become more repressive. While "the human rights situation in the island remains of a grave concern," Cuba Now Executive Director Ric Herrero argued critics have cherry-picked statistics to make things seem worse than they are.

Opponents of the re-engagement have written pieces of their own documenting, among other things, the Cuban regime's ongoing political arrests.

Bush said in New Hampshire that he hears first-hand from his Miami friends and neighbors worried about life on the island. The Union Leader live-streamed the Bush interview online.

"I have a lot of friends who have suffered a lot," he said. 

This post has been updated.