January 27, 2016

What Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio had to say about Donald Trump's plans to skip GOP debate

@PatriciaMazzei

Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush showed no patience for Donald Trump's decision to skip Thursday night's Republican primary debate in Des Moines, the last one before Monday's Iowa caucuses.

Bush took to Twitter on Tuesday:

Rubio issued a statement Wednesday:

America is heading in the wrong direction, and people are right to be angry about it. But it’s not enough just to be angry. The next President has to have a real plan to turn the page on Obama and his disastrous policies, and they have to be willing and able to sell that plan to the American people. That’s why these debates are so important.

These kinds of theatrics by Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are an entertaining sideshow, but they have nothing to do with defeating Hillary Clinton. I’m going to stay focused on uniting the Republican Party so we can defeat Hillary Clinton and turn the page on eight years of liberal failure. We don’t have time for these kinds of distractions.

Neither Floridian could match another GOP presidential contender, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who quipped to Fox News on Wednesday: "The IQ of the debate went up a couple dozen points, I would say."

What a Jeb Bush campaign office in Iowa looks like, days before caucuses

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@PatriciaMazzei

 WEST DES MOINES -- Tuesday night, exactly six days until the first Republican presidential ballots are cast in the Iowa caucuses, volunteers at Jeb Bush's campaign office here hunched over computers, dialing voter after voter to try to get them to commit to backing the former Florida governor.

It was 6 p.m., after dark. Several volunteers had just returned from knocking on doors. They snacked on cold cuts and cheese.

Bush's team says it's got volunteers making calls starting at 9 a.m. every day.

Jeb Bush allies attack Marco Rubio's Florida GOP card spending

From the Tampa Bay Times:

The Right to Rise super Pac backing Jeb Bush has released a new ad in Iowa that attacks Marco Rubio for his personal use of Republican Party of Florida credit card.

It is the first time an opponent has used the controversy surrounding the credit card in an attack ad.

For years, Rubio has tried to get past the scandal of his spending on the RPOF credit card when he was speaker of the Florida House. Last November, he took the unusual step of releasing nearly two years of American Express statements to show how he spent the party's money.

In the new commercial, Right to Rise says Rubio put "$22,000 in personal expenses on a Republican Party credit card.

Rubio's communications director Alex Conant told the Times, "It's pathetic that Jeb Bush's PAC would recycle this false attack that the establishment flopped with in 2010. Jeb Bush endorsed Marco in 2010 and recommended him to be vice president in 2012 knowing these issues are totally false and discredited. It's sad how this campaign has changed Jeb into a desperate establishment politician reaching for new lows in order to save himself."

January 26, 2016

Terri Schiavo's husband slams pro-Jeb Bush TV ad using her photo

via @adamsmithtimes

The Right to Rise super PAC helping Jeb Bush is airing an ad in South Carolina that features a photo of Terri Schiavo, the Pinellas County woman, who died 10 years ago despite Bush's efforts to halt the removal of her feeding tube. The ad features a picture of Mrs. Schiavo as well as an image of what appears to be someone at the vigil outside her hospice holding a Jeb! campaign sign.

 

Says the narrator: "He's a man of deep faith who fought time and again for the right to life."

"It is simply disgusting that Jeb Bush and his super Pac would exploit my wife’s tragedy for his crude political gain.  Shame on Jeb Bush," said Michael Schiavo, Terri's husband, who said she did not want to be kept alive in that state and was repeatedly challenged by Bush and Schiavo's parents and siblings.
 
"Using his disgraceful intervention in our family’s private trauma to advance his political career shows that he has learned nothing. He’s proud of the fact that he used the machinery of government to keep a person alive through extraordinary artificial means -- contrary to the orders of the court that were based on the courts determination, made over 6 years of litigation, that doing so would be against her wishes," he said. "What the campaign video shows is that if he ever got his hands on the power of government again, he would do the same thing again, maybe next time to your family."

--ADAM C. SMITH, Tampa Bay Times

January 25, 2016

South Florida mayors press Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush on climate change

@PatriciaMazzei

Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush have given little priority to climate change on the Republican presidential campaign trail, and a group of South Florida mayors have had enough.

Fifteen mayors from cities in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties wrote the two Miami candidates a letter asking them to meet with local leaders to "discuss the risks facing Florida communities due to climate change and help us chart a path forward to protect our state and the entire United States."

"As mayors representing municipalities across Florida, we call on you to acknowledge the reality and urgency of climate change and to address the upcoming crisis it presents our communities," both letters begin. "Our cities and towns are already coping with the impacts of climate change today. We will need leadership and concrete solutions from our next president."

Most of the mayors are Democrats, and most of them serve in nonpartisan posts. But at least two are Republican, Tomás Regalado of Miami and Jim Cason of Coral Gables. Regalado is a Rubio supporter who showed up to the Florida senator's fundraiser at the InterContinental Hotel downtown two weeks ago.

"We are in ground zero, and we need to have our candidates from Florida address the issue," Regalado told the Miami Herald on Monday. "I understand that it's a very delicate issue for them, because some of their constituents do not agree or understand."

The mayors were prompted to sent the letter by ClimateTruth.org, a liberal environmental activist organization formerly known as Forecast the Facts.

Regalado said the mayors, some of whom have already worked together dealing with Florida Power & Light's proposed new power lines, "aspire to get climate change into the national conversation."

"We don't have any leverage with the Trumps and the Christies or the Cruzes of the nation, but I think that they are closer to home," he said of Bush and Rubio.

During high tides scientists say have been worsened by sea-level rise, Miami has seen flooding in its Upper Eastside and Brickell neighborhoods, Regalado said. The city created a committee to take on the issue only recently and needs resources, he added. Miami-Dade has had a task force in place for a couple of years; the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact, which comprises Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, was formed in 2009.

The mayors who signed the letters, in addition to Cason and Regalado, are: Peggy Bell, Cutler Bay; Joy Cooper, Hallandale Beach; Daniel Dietch, Surfside; Eugene Flinn, Palmetto Bay; Connie Leon-Kreps, North Bay Village; Cindy Lerner, Pinecrest; Mayra Peña Lindsay, Key Biscayne; Jeri Muoio, West Palm Beach; Martin Packer, Bal Harbour; Gary Resnick, Wilton Manors; Jack Seiler, Fort Lauderdale; Glenn Singer, Golden Beach; and Philip Stoddard, South Miami.

Download the letter to Rubio

Download the letter to Bush

 

January 23, 2016

The make-or-break primaries for Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush

GOP 2016 Debate (1)

@PatriciaMazzei

Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, who have struggled to break through in the Republican presidential election, will definitely be on the Florida ballot come March 15.

But that’s just because the ballots are already done.

Whether either of them will actually still be in the race is a different story. How it turns out largely depends on five words: Iowa. New Hampshire. South Carolina.

Bush and Rubio need to “do well” in those first three voting states, their campaigns say. What that means, exactly, is a little like that famous quote about pornography: You know it when you see it.

All three states will be done with their elections in the next month.

Rubio, who’s never been the GOP front-runner, needs to prove only that he can win silver or bronze to remain eligible to compete for gold. Bush, who entered the race as the prohibitive favorite, could see it all come to an end with a poor finish in New Hampshire.

That’s not how the two men like to put it.

“We are trying to bring as many people as possible onto our team, and I feel very good about the momentum we have in Iowa and even here in New Hampshire,” Rubio told reporters Thursday.

“We’ve not identified any state that is a must-win or a must-place,” Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell told the Miami Herald, emphasizing that the campaign’s national organization will become a bigger asset as the long primary season grinds along.

Both Bush and Rubio have prepared for an extended contest leading to the GOP’s July nominating convention in Cleveland. But early results will determine whether either of them can build all-important political momentum to carry them from February into March — or whether poor showings will force them out altogether.

Here’s how the next month could play out.

More here.

Photo credit: Morry Gash, Associated Press

January 22, 2016

Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio on PolitiFact's Truth-O-Meter

JebshakesRubioshand

In less than two weeks, the nation will start the process of voting for our next president -- and Florida will play a pivotal role.

Two Republican candidates -- U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush -- are longtime Florida residents. And there are other candidates who live at least part of the time in Florida, including Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.

Before the Feb. 1 Iowa caucus, PolitiFact Florida decided to check in on how Bush and Rubio are faring on our Truth-O-Meter. Floridians start voting by absentee ballot in February leading up to the March 15 primary. Here’s a look at some of the latest fact-checks of both.

Barbara Bush makes web video appearance for Jeb

@PatriciaMazzei

Former First Lady Barbara Bush, who once famously questioned whether another Bush should seek the White House, appears in a new campaign web video for her son, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

"His heart is big," she says. "When push comes to shove, people are going to realize Jeb has real solutions."

 

January 21, 2016