February 18, 2016

Jeb Bush, like Marco Rubio, sides with Donald Trump in spat with Pope Francis

From the Associated Press:

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Jeb Bush says he doesn’t question Donald Trump’s Christianity nor anyone else’s, “because I honestly believe that’s a relationship you have with your creator.”

But he is objecting to any argument that securing the U.S. border with Mexico by a wall is “unchristian.”

Bush is telling reporters in Columbia, “I support walls and fencing where it’s appropriate,” along with other forms of border security measures such as drone aircraft monitoring.

As far as Pope Francis’ weighing in on a political debate, Bush says what he said in June before the Pope weighed in on climate change.

Bush, who is Catholic, says “I think it’s OK to get my guidance as a Catholic from the Pope. But certainly not economic policy or environmental policy.”

Nikki Haley says she backed Marco Rubio over Jeb Bush because of his 'passion'


ANDERSON, S.C. -- South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has only nice things to say about Jeb Bush

"Jeb is a dear friend," she told reporters Thursday. "He has been a great mentor and has helped me along the way."

Yet she threw her support Wednesday behind Bush opponent Marco Rubio anyway.

"This is not about picking friends," she said. "It's about picking who you think can be the best president." Then she pointed to Rubio. "I saw his fight. I saw his passion. And this is not a job that we can afford for anybody to fall on.

"And so I just wanted to make sure that I put somebody in there that was going to sleep, eat and breathe it every day until we got things right. And so I have a dear, great respect for Jeb."

But does she think Bush can't win?

"It's not about winning. I don’t pick people based on whether they can win or not," Haley said. "I pick people based on the fact that I think they can change our country. I know Marco Rubio can change our country. [If] this is about winners or losers, we all know where we would be," she added, referring to Donald Trump, the one Republican she ruled out as a contender for her endorsement.

Man to Jeb Bush: Can you be an S.O.B.?

Jeb (2)


SUMMERVILLE, S.C. -- When Jeb Bush gets asked about being someone's son, usually it's in reference to his famous father, former President George H.W. Bush.

The South Carolina man who stood up at a Bush campaign town hall Wednesday in Summerville had a slightly different question. 

He admired Bush's father, the man said. But did the son also have what it takes?

"'Will I be an S.O.B.' I think he said?" Bush translated to the rest of the crowd, shortening the man's phrase.

Bush didn't repeat the B-word.

"I will be tough, I will be resolute, I will be firm, I will be clear, I will be determined," Bush pledged.

Photo credit: Andrew Harnik, Associated Press

February 17, 2016

Miami politicians react to Obama's planned visit to Cuba


News of President Barack Obama's impending trip to Cuba -- in March, sources told the Miami Herald -- prompted quick backlash from Miami politicians, many of them of Cuban descent.

Here's reaction, which we will update as it comes in:

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who is running for president


Former Gov. Jeb Bush, who is running for president


Continue reading "Miami politicians react to Obama's planned visit to Cuba" »

New urgency for Jeb Bush on South Carolina campaign trail



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


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


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.