May 07, 2015

Jeb Bush says poverty rate higher now than in the 1970s

When asked about the death of Freddie Gray, a black man who died following an April 12 arrest in Baltimore, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush turned the subject to poverty.

"We need as a nation to have a conversation about why is it we are creating these big pockets of poverty where people are completely dependent, they can’t live a life of independence," Bush told reporters at the North Carolina GOP headquarters May 1. "And have a meaningful discussion about it -- not saying we need more money. We've had a war on poverty since the 1960s where we've spent trillions of dollars, and there are more poor people today as a percentage of our population than the 1970s."

Are there more poor people today as a percentage of our population than the 1970s? By the official measure, yes, but experts also rely on a different calculation that changes the results. 

Turn to PolitiFact Florida to read our fact-check.

WMUR poll: Jeb Bush ahead in New Hampshire

@PatriciaMazzei

Another day, another poll in the early days of the 2016 presidential campaign. This one is good for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who according to the survey is ahead of the Republican pack in New Hampshire, which holds the first primary.

The WMUR Granite State poll shows Bush drawing 15 percent of likely GOP primary voters who responded to the poll, followed by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio at 12 percent, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at 11 percent and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul at 10 percent. The survey's error margin is 3.7 percentage points, which means the crowded candidate field remains tight.

"Bush, Rubio, Walker, and Paul seem to be separating themselves slightly from the rest of the field but this is likely due to press attention rather than any real campaign work," said Andrew Smith, Director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center.

Sixty percent of respondents hold a favorable opinion of Rubio, the best-liked candidate so far. That number is 51 percent for Paul and 50 percent for Walker. On the flip side, 34 percent have an unfavorable opinion of Bush.

May 06, 2015

Quinnipiac poll: Jeb Bush trails early in Iowa

@PatriciaMazzei

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a still-undeclared candidate, trails other Republicans in the early 2016 presidential field in Iowa, a new poll has found.

The survey by Quinnipiac University found Bush in seventh place, far behind his rivals, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker holds a 21-percent lead among GOP caucus-goers, ahead of Rubio and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (13 percent), Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (12 percent), former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (11 percent), retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson (11 percent) and Bush (5 percent).

When asked which candidate they would not vote for, 25 percent of respondents said Bush, and 20 percent said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Rubio drew the highest favorability rating, with 69 percent of respondents saying they have a favorable opinion of him, compared to 9 percent who don't.

"The first few months of the Iowa Republican caucus race show Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as the early leader," assistant pol director Peter Brown said in a statement. "U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, on the strength of an impressive candidacy roll out, has moved from the bottom of the pack into a tie for second."

With the candidate field still in flux, and Bush yet to make his candidacy official, a poll this early in the campaign means relatively little. It does underscore, however, that Iowa may not be the most natural fit for Bush. He has long been viewed as a stronger player in New Hampshire, for example, and Nevada, two early-primary states where an electorate less focused on social issues might be more receptive to Bush's brand of conservatism.

May 05, 2015

May 04, 2015

WSJ/NBC poll: Jeb Bush leads 2016 GOP field, but Marco Rubio is catching up, has broader support

@PatriciaMazzei

Hey, Miami: Are you ready to have two hometown Republicans leading the pack of 2016 presidential contenders?

It might already be happening, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush remains the leading GOP candidate in the poll, with 23 percent of respondents listing him as his first choice, compared to 18 percent for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio. But a wider swath of voters -- 74 percent compared to Bush's 70 percent -- say they could see themselves voting for Rubio, the poll found. Its error margin is 6.19 percent.

Rubio got a big boost from his April campaign launch (Bush has yet to make his official), and the large Republican field is still very much in flux. Sixty-one percent of respondents said they could see themselves voting for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is also not a formal candidate, and the poll included seven other GOP hopefuls. All Republicans trail Democrat Hillary Clinton, with Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky faring best against her.

For all those reasons, Rubio's camp has been quick to dismiss his strong showings in other polls. But the survey is still good news for him as he fund-raises across the country to keep up with Bush, who has a head start and established political-donor network.

Claims by Jeb Bush topped the Truth-O-Meter in April

Claims by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a GOP presidential contender, dominated PolitiFact Florida's most-clicked fact-checks posted in April.

We fact-checked Bush’s claims about gun permitsschool spending and Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Our article about claims related to same-sex marriage and a fact-check about gun sales were also popular.

Turn to PolitiFact Florida for a look at our Top 5 among new fact-checks and articles we posted this month, counting down to the most popular.

May 01, 2015

Columba Bush, stepping gingerly into spotlight, will join husband at Miami fundraiser

@PatriciaMazzei

Three eager backers of Jeb Bush's likely 2016 presidential bid -- Miami Republican Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and former Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart -- will host a fundraiser for Bush later this month.

But what's perhaps most noteworthy about the event is that Jeb isn't the only Bush listed on the invitation. His wife, Columba Bush, also received top billing.

That's a big moment for the former Florida first lady, who has largely shied away from the spotlight as her husband, the former governor, has gone around the country to raise money and build a campaign organization. His wife has slowly stepped into the fray, speaking to political donors at a retreat earlier this week on Miami Beach.

Columba Bush should feel at home at the May 18 reception: It will take place at the Jorge Mas Canosa Youth Center in West Miami-Dade County -- not too far, relatively speaking, from her Coral Gables townhouse.

The invitation asks for a $25 contribution, which will go to Jeb Bush's "leadership" political action committee and not his "super PAC," which has been raising oodles of money. Both have the same name, Right to Rise.

Jeb Bush hires Jose Mallea, Marco Rubio's Senate campaign manager, for Hispanic outreach

@PatriciaMazzei

He'd been in talks with Jeb Bush's would-be campaign for several weeks, but it wasn't until Jose Mallea was featured as a panelist Monday in Bush's political-donor retreat on Miami Beach that he was outed as a Jeb Guy.

Soon, he will become part of the payroll: Bush's political action committee, Right to Rise, plans to hire Mallea to advise the former Florida governor's likely 2016 presidential campaign on Hispanic outreach and engagement.

Mallea's first paid job in politics was on Bush's 1998 gubernatorial campaign, and worked for President George W. Bush from 2001-05. But he has known Marco Rubio since 2006 and ran Rubio's successful 2010 U.S. Senate campaign -- so which Republican presidential contender would he pick?

"The decision in terms of who's going to be a better president and who's ready to be president -- that wasn't hard," Mallea told the Miami Herald on Friday in his first public comments about his new gig, which was first reported by Politico. "It was a no-brainer for me."

"It's tough on a personal level," he added. "I'm incredibly proud of what Marco has accomplished."

Mallea said he let Rubio know, through mutual friends, about his Bush post, which is not yet official. Friday marked Mallea's last day as national strategic director for the Libre Initiative, a Hispanic political outreach group connected to the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers. He also co-owns Biscayne Bay Brewing Co. in Doral.

Mallea said he was persuaded to join Bush full-time in part after speaking at length to Jeb Bush Jr., who has been traveling the country asking young Republicans to raise money for his dad.

"Jeb doesn't need to be told how to reach out to Hispanics," Mallea said.

Bush, whose wife is Mexican American, speaks Spanish and has lived for 30 years in culturally Hispanic Miami. As adviser, Mallea's job will be to help Bush execute a strategy to bring more Latino voters to the GOP. Bush has already more forcefully embraced immigration reform in his stump speech than have other Republicans in the crowded field, including Rubio.

In his time at the Libre Initiative, Mallea helped Republicans get elected in two key congressional districts, including Carlos Curbelo in Florida's 26th. Curbelo is expected to back Bush once he formalizes his candidacy. Miami's two other Cuban-American Republican House members, Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, have already endorsed him.

Jeb Bush to conservative journal: 'You're wrong on immigration'

via @lesleyclark

WASHINGTON -- Jeb Bush defended his support for a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants before a conservative audience Thursday, saying his critics are simply wrong.

The expected Republican presidential contender’s stance on immigration and Common Core education standards have proven a sticking point with conservatives, but Bush says the opposition is misplaced.

"I love you and I love National Review, I just think you're wrong on immigration," Bush told National Review editor Rich Lowry, who moderated an hour long session with the former Florida governor. “You think I'm wrong."

Bush said an immigration overhaul is critical to restoring the U.S. economy. He said he backs narrowing the number of immigrants who arrive for family reasons, and expanding the number of economic immigrants.

“If you’re going to grow at 4 percent per year, rather than 2 percent, you need younger, more dynamic people,” he said. “You can’t do it with a declining population.”

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