November 02, 2015

Richard Corcoran, Marco Rubio's ex-chief of staff, backs Jeb Bush


Jeb Bush landed a presidential endorsement Monday from Richard Corcoran, the incoming Florida House speaker and one of the top elected officials in the state who had yet to pick a side between Bush and home state rival Marco Rubio.

Corcoran is also a former Rubio legislative chief of staff and one of only a couple of speakers who hadn't already backed Bush.

Here's the statement from Corcoran, who will accompany Bush on a three-stop Florida tour Monday of Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville as the former governor tries to recharge his campaign with the release of a new book:

I have known Jeb Bush for over 20 years. As Governor, Jeb Bush set the standard against which all other conservatives in this state are measured - no one in Florida would argue that. Jeb Bush always stepped up and was true to his principles, even if that meant facing difficult consequences. I saw him in moments when it would have been easy to cave to the special interests and just go along with the status quo; yet he never did. He is without question, the most courageous, conservative in this race. That’s what I want in a leader, and what I know the electorate deserves. When the people of this country get to know the Jeb Bush that I know, they will have no doubt that he is the right choice to become the next President of the United States.

Jeb Bush attacks Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul for number of bills passed in Congress

The three senators running for the Republican presidential nomination have slim records in Congress, said former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

On NBC’s Meet the Press Nov. 1, Bush said that he, on the other hand, "got to be governor of a state and accomplish big things."

"This is about public service, about solving problems. If you look at the three people on the stage from the United States Senate, all three of them have a combined two bills that became law that they've sponsored. If you look at Hillary Clinton, in 10 years, three bills she sponsored that became law. This is the gridlock that I'm running to try to break up."

We wondered if Bush was right that the GOP race’s three sitting senators -- Rand Paul, R-Ky., Marco Rubio, R-Fla. and Ted Cruz, R-Texas -- have only had a combined two bills become law so far. (In March, we looked into Cruz’s track record, and we looked at Clinton’s in June.)

See what Lauren Carroll of PolitiFact found.

New Jeb Bush email book tells Florida story that's yet to gain traction on campaign trail



Jeb Bush has found it difficult to translate his accomplishments as Florida governor on the presidential campaign trail. Now he’s hoping his old emails will help do it for him.

His new book, Reply All, released Monday, covers Bush’s eight years in Tallahassee through the electronic correspondence the Republican exchanged with staff, friends and constituents over matters large (the death penalty) and small (the short-lived proposal for a state commissioner of barbecue).

Bush’s campaign hopes the book, planned nearly a year ago, will show off the workaholic politician they remember, the one who freely gave out his email address, (he still does), and then hop on his laptop — and later his BlackBerry — at all hours to respond, revealing his dedication, emotions and sense of humor.

“I was about to fall in love for the second time in my life,” Bush writes in the book before a Sept. 1, 2001, email introducing him to the BlackBerry. He would eventually include the device in his official gubernatorial portrait.

Bush was ahead of his time in terms of technology, pushing the state from the get-go to put services and documents online and taking the unusual step of responding directly to about a third of the 300 or so emails he received daily, by his estimation. That contrasts sharply with Democrat Hillary Clinton, who in one memorable email as U.S. secretary of state asked for assistance with working a fax machine.

“I was digital before digital was cool. Now it’s commonplace,” Bush said when he announced the e-book in December. (It’s also available in print.)

That was before Bush was even a candidate — and long before his campaign started to sputter.

What was innovative during Bush’s time as governor seems nostalgic now. And that’s precisely where Bush, 62, has struggled as a presidential candidate: turning his executive state experience into a compelling presidential sales pitch.

More here.

Photo credit: Phil Coale, Associated Press

November 01, 2015

'The presidency's not a bookkeeping job,' Marco Rubio says, defending experience


Marco Rubio defended his qualifications for the White House in a Sunday interview on CBS News' Face the Nation, saying he has the right "ideas, "judgment" and "understanding" of major issues to be president.

"The presidency's not a bookkeeping job. It is not some glorified accounting job," Rubio said. "The job of a president is to craft a vision for America's future."

President Obama, the Florida Republican senator said, "has now been president for seven years. He has significant executive experience, and he's still making mistakes, in my opinion." Why? Because "his ideas do not work," Rubio argued.

"It is true that the presidency is not like being a U.S. senator. But it's not like being a governor," Rubio told John Dickerson. "There is no office in the world like the United States presidency. What I have shown over the last five years especially is judgment -- good judgment -- and underderstadning of the major issues before America, particularly on foreign policy. I do not believe there is anyone else in the race that's shown better judgment on the issues before america today than I have, and better understanding on them, especially on foreign policy."

Rubio also vowed not the "badmouth" other Republicans, in particular his friend and rival, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

"You're never going to hear me badmouth him. He was a great governor of Florida. He's someone I have tremendous personal affection for," Rubio said.

He then seemed to aim at Bush, though without naming him: "I know there are people running that have more experience than I do on the issues we faced 17 years ago. But on the issues before America today, that's what we should be debating."

Marco Rubio has 'given up' on Senate, Jeb Bush says


Jeb Bush offered a defense Sunday for his debate performance last week, arguing CNBC moderators didn't let him respond to Marco Rubio.

Bush didn't back off from his criticism of Rubio's poor Senate attendance record in the interview with NBC News' Meet the Press.

"The basic point with Marco isn't that he's not a good person or he's not a gifted politician; everybody can see that," Bush told host Chuck Todd. "It's that I have proven leadership skills. I got to be governor of a state and accomplish big things. And in this era of gridlock, it's really hard to break through, and I think he's given up. And I think that's the wrong thing to do.  This is about public service, about solving problems."

Bush also said he was "cut off" by moderators -- which is true, though it was Bush who had inserted himself in the question about Rubio's attendance in the first place.

"I know that I got to get better doing the debate," Bush conceded in the interview, taped Saturday at the scenic Pérez Art Museum Miami. "I gotta go earn it," Bush added about the Republican presidential nomination. "This is not done by as we say in Miami por dedo, by decree."

Jeb Bush strategist announces his cancer is in remission


via @learyreports

David Kochel, a top campaign strategist to Jeb Bush, is in remission. He announced the news Friday:

Tests came back today from the bone marrow aspiration, and Dr. Ravandi confirms that my leukemia is in remission.

All of this was expected, but incredibly welcome news. My blast cells measured below 1%, my CT scans were clear, and everything is headed exactly in the right direction for a win. Still a long road of treatment ahead, but a huge milestone is now passed.

Settling in now for round two of chemo. I checked in to the hospital at MD Anderson earlier this afternoon and am currently awaiting the start of methotrexate, which will go on for 24 straight hours. Then I get cytarabine every 12 hours, and a few other things over the next four or five days. I'm told it's tough but that just makes me happy because a) I'm tougher than whatever chemo has to offer, and b) the tougher the better as far as the disease is concerned. I really don't care how bad these are, in fact I do look at it as a challenge and an opportunity to guarantee that I won't be back here again when all of these treatments are done. It's strange to write this, but I think I was specially built to take this on, physically and emotionally.

The plan now is to head back to Iowa between treatments. I was prepared to do whatever/wherever/whenever, but the doctor isn't concerned about anything, and I believe the support network in Iowa will help me stay on track in important ways.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

October 31, 2015

'Keep the faith,' Jeb Bush's Miami-Dade chairman urges team


The man charged with rallying Jeb Bush's loyal supporters in his hometown of Miami-Dade County wrote to his team Friday urging calm after a tumultuous week for the presidential campaign.

"Please keep the faith. This is just the beginning," Miami-Dade Chairman Jorge Arrizurieta emailed his group, under the subject line, "Full Speed Ahead!" "This election will not be solely decided by sound bites or debates but by actual substance and leadership."

The email, obtained by the Miami Herald, reflects the message Bush insiders have repeated over and over again in the aftermath of Bush's campaign restructuring last week and lackluster debate performance this week. They've preached patience and promised adjustments. Bush himself pledged to donors in a conference call Thursday that he intends to do better.

It didn't help Bush that news trickled out Friday that his chief operations officer, Christine Ciccone, left the campaign, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal. Ciccone parted ways with Jeb 2016 a couple of weeks ago, the Herald learned, and played no strategic role in the operation, though finance records show she made about $12,000 a month (which amounts to about $144,000 a year). Still, her departure was seen as another sign of upheaval inside Bush's West Miami-Dade headquarters.

Continue reading "'Keep the faith,' Jeb Bush's Miami-Dade chairman urges team" »

October 30, 2015

Bruised Jeb Bush returns to Florida, where he's most at ease


The past week has been rough for Jeb Bush (he had to say Thursday that his presidential campaign is "not on life support"). For the next few days, though, he'll be in the place he's most at ease: his home state of Florida.

Bush plans to commemorate his management of Hurricane Charley in Punta Gorda on Friday. Then, on Monday, after the release of his new e-book, Bush will campaign in Tampa, Orlando and Tallahassee. Campaign aides say the Tampa speech in particular will underscore Bush's rebranded "Jeb can fix it" message. 

The slogan refers to Washington, but the real question is whether Bush will be able to fix is flailing candidacy.

October 29, 2015

'Terminal' Jeb Bush campaign? 'That's pretty funny,' he says

via @learyreports

Jeb Bush on Thursday stood by his criticism of Marco Rubio’s absenteeism and scoffed at talk his campaign was “terminal.”

“We have more than 100 days left before we go to the Iowa caucuses,” he on Fox News from New Hampshire. “I knew this was going to be a long journey. But to suggest the campaign is 'terminal,' come on, that’s pretty funny.”

Bush complained that his critique of Rubio’s missed votes was cut off by a debate moderator. It's fair game, he said. “This is not personal. I’m not attacking his character. I’m just saying that people need to show up for work … They need to use their office in a way that can help their constituents.”

He compared Rubio to Barack Obama, implying the country should not be “fooled” again by a “gifted politician.”


--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

Where do Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and rest of GOP presidential field stand on pot?

Colorado voters in 2012 resoundingly approved a proposal legalizing recreational use of marijuana by adults as did voters in Washington state. Two years later, voters in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C. embraced similar changes.

Heading into the Republican presidential debate airing from Boulder, Colo., on CNBC, PolitiFact Texas wondered where the candidates stand on such moves.

For this rundown, we relied on a compilation of candidate positions put together by the Marijuana Policy Project, which says in its vision statement it envisions "a nation where marijuana is legally regulated similarly to alcohol, marijuana education is honest and realistic, and treatment for problem marijuana users is non-coercive and geared toward reducing harm." But we also verified each quotation from its originating source.

Let's smoke 'em out.

Keep reading here to find out what former Gov. Jeb Bush, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and other candidates have said about marijuana.