June 20, 2015

With national HQ in Miami, Jeb Bush says Florida HQ will be in Tampa

via @learyreports

Jeb Bush told an ecstatic crowd in Tampa tonight that his state campaign headquarters would be in Tampa.

Miami will remain the national headquarters.

"I know we can fix the problems in Washington, D.C. because we did it here," Bush said. 

This is the second straight presidential election cycle in which Tampa will feature prominently in the Republican party's strategy. In 2012, the city hosted the Republican National Convention.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

June 19, 2015

'People of faith must come together,' Jeb Bush says after Charleston shooting

via @learyreports

WASHINGTON - Jeb Bush made the case for a strong faith element in government during a speech before Christian conservatives this morning, recounting his actions as governor and vowing to make the U.S. a defender of religious freedom around the globe.

"I stood on the side of Terri Schiavo and her parents,” Bush said, recalling his controversial role in the end-of-life case that drew worldwide attention.

"How strange in our time today to hear our faith and our moral traditions spoken as some kind of backwards or oppressive force. When in fact, it is really the moral foundation of our country," Bush said to applause before the Faith & Freedom Coalition gathering.

Bush said as Florida governor he protected the "most vulnerable," including abused mothers and people with developmental disabilities. He said he was “shocked” at the "total lack of regulation" on abortion clinics in Florida and pushed for more oversight. "I signed into law a partial-birth abortion ban."

"We can shut down government if we all acted on our sense of consciousness about helping others," he said. "If we restore that front and center as the guiding principle of what it is to be a successful person, the demands on government would subside. We'd all be conservatives, which should be the objective."

He declared that religious freedoms are “under attack” and vowed not to hide his faith if elected.

“We should not push aside those who believe in traditional marriage,” Bush said to more applause.

Bush, who launched his presidential campaign on Monday, began the speech with a remembrance of the victims in the Charleston church shooting. He was to campaign in the city on Thursday but canceled.

“I don't know what was on the mind or heart of the man who committed these atrocious crimes, but I do know what was in the heart of the victims. They were meeting in brotherhood and sisterhood in that church ... they were praying, they were learning and studying the word of the Lord.

"In times of great national mourning, people of faith, all of us, must come together and at least reflect on this and fortify our strength, love Christ, love of God, to be able to continue to go forth. This has had a big impact on me."

--ALEX LEARY

June 18, 2015

Jeb Bush cancels South Carolina town hall in light of shooting

@PatriciaMazzei

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Republican Jeb Bush canceled a town hall-style political event planned for Thursday morning in South Carolina in light of a mass shooting inside a church Wednesday night that left nine people dead.

"Governor Bush’s thoughts and prayers are with the individuals and families affected by this tragedy," spokeswoman Allie Brandenburger said in a statement.

Charleston police received a call about the shooting at the Emanuel AME Church at 9:05 p.m. Wednesday. A manhunt for the suspect, described as a white man with sandy-blond hair and about 21 years old, continued into the wee hours Thursday. Police described the shooting as a hate crime.

Bush's event, part of a swing through three early-primary states following his 2016 presidential campaign launch Monday in Miami, had been scheduled for 10:15 a.m. Thursday at the Charleston Maritime Center, which is about half a mile from the church. Known as "Mother Emanuel," the historic black church at 110 Calhoun St. bills itself as one of the oldest and largest black congregations south of Baltimore.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton held a Wednesday afternoon event in nearby North Charleston, site of a deadly police-involved shooting in April.

"Heartbreaking news from Charleston - my thoughts and prayers are with you all," Clinton posted on Twitter after midnight Thursday.

Continue reading "Jeb Bush cancels South Carolina town hall in light of shooting" »

June 17, 2015

Jeb Bush says undocumented immigrants should have path to legal status -- or citizenship if they're DREAMers

@PatriciaMazzei

Jeb Bush maintained Wednesday that the families of the young undocumented immigrants who interrupted his presidential announcement Monday in Miami should be offered a path to legal status. But the young people themselves, he added, should have a path to citizenship if they were brought into the country illegally as children.

"There ought to be some recognition that we're not going to send them back to a country they know nothing about," Bush told ABC News' World News Tonight in an interview taped in Iowa.

The protesters who stood up and chanted during his speech Monday wore T-shirts that read, "LEGAL STATUS IS NOT ENOUGH!" Bush, who didn't plan to say anything about immigration, ad-libbed that "the next president of the United States will pass meaningful immigration reform."

Bush has previously backed a path to citizenship, though these days he doesn't go that far and just calls for legal status.

In another part of the interview, Bush told anchor David Muir that he knows the campaign will be a long haul: "I'm a grinder. I'm really competitive. I'm really focused. I'm very disciplined. But it takes a lot of effort for someone who's introverted -- I admit I am."

President Obama has faced criticism for not doing enough to endear himself to other politicians, Muir noted. "It's work. It's required," Bush said. "That's not the president's forte."

Bush said he still plans to play with his grandchildren at home Sunday afternoons -- known as "Sunday Funday" -- and he confirmed an anecdote his son Jeb Jr. told CNN in an interview aired earlier this week about how Bush's wife, Columba, acceded to her husband's presidential run.

"She told a friend -- and then she told me -- that not allowing me to pursue this mission would be like telling a musician you can't play music," Bush said.

BuzzFeed News: Super PAC backing Jeb Bush has collected so much cash to give opponents 'heart attacks'

From BuzzFeed News:

The super PAC tied to Republican presidential candidate and former governor of Florida Jeb Bush has raised $17 million so far in the New York-area alone, according to a conference call between the super PAC officials and donors on Wednesday.

Mike Murphy, the longtime Jeb Bush confidant and consultant who is heading the Right to Rise super PAC, told a group of donors on a conference call Wednesday that they had so far raised $17 million in the Tri-State area to support Bush’s campaign for the presidency.

Telling the donors on the call they were “killers” who he was going to “set loose,” Murphy said the number the SuperPAC would be filing by the next July reporting deadline would give opponents “heart attacks” and discourage their rivals’ donors from opening their wallets.

More here.

How much did Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush pay to launch their campaigns at Miami Dade College?

@PatriciaMazzei

Miami Dade College housed not one but two presidential campaign kickoffs in a span of two months -- Marco Rubio's and Jeb Bush's -- not because the university endorsed the candidates but because the candidates paid to be there.

The nation's largest institution of higher learning is a public university with public facilities that can be rented by (hey!) the public. That includes the 2016 Republican presidential campaigns of both Miami candidates.

Rubio rented the Freedom Tower downtown, a place emblematic of Cuban exiles' arrival to the U.S. Bush leased the gymnasium and adjacent cafeteria of the campus in Kendall, a neighborhood representative of the university's diverse (largely Hispanic) student population.

How much did they pay, at least to the university?

Bush, who on Monday held the far larger of the two events, was charged $6,570, according to a facilities rental invoice obtained by the Miami Herald through a public-records request. The cost included the facilities (the gym, cafeteria, and a room) as well as audiovisual and lighting technicians, security, custodians, and "other" items, such as 600 chairs, 50 cocktail tables and one set of flags.

Rubio, whose April event took place at the much smaller Freedom Tower, was charged $2,352 for facilities and support services, including 40 chairs and 10 tables. (Except for the people behind Rubio, the audience at the Freedom Tower stood, while the audience watching Bush sat.)

It goes without saying that Bush's event was more disruptive to daily campus operations. But it also got widely noticed as a bigger production befitting the presumptive fund-raising front-runner.

Fact-checking Jeb Bush's attack on Hillary Clinton about her comment that religious beliefs "have to be changed"

As he tries to appeal to religious conservatives, Jeb Bush has portrayed Hillary Clinton as the enemy of those who believe in religious freedom.

"These have been rough years for religious charities and their right of conscience, and the leading Democratic candidate hinted of more to come," Bush said during his announcement speech at Miami Dade College on June 15. "Secretary Clinton insists that when the progressive agenda encounters religious beliefs to the contrary, those beliefs ‘have to be changed.’ That is what she said. That is what she said. And I guess we should at least thank her for the warning."

So is that what she actually said about the need for religious beliefs to change? We looked at when and where she made her comments, and found Bush is taking her words out of context.  

Turn to PolitiFact to see how we rated Bush's claim.

Jeb Bush hires Miami firm to work on Hispanic digital outreach

@PatriciaMazzei

One of the perks of running a 2016 presidential operation out of Miami is finding Spanish speakers to assist is easy.

Jeb Bush, whose crew is headquartered in West Miami-Dade County, has hired Pinta, a Miami Beach-based marketing firm, to help with Hispanic strategy, particularly online.

Mike Valdés-Fauli, the company's president and chief executive, emailed friends over the weekend urging them to attend Bush's launch Monday at Miami Dade College. As part of the invitation, he mentioned he would be working for the campaign.

"I've long admired the Governor for his significant accomplishments in both the public and private sector, preference for reason over ideology, unparalleled grasp of the issues, and penchant for celebrating (as opposed to begrudging) diversity in our society," Valdés-Fauli wrote in the email, which was obtained by the Miami Herald. "For those reasons, I'm incredibly proud that Pinta has been formally engaged to assist his cause with Hispanic strategy, digital content and social media."

Valdés-Fauli declined an interview request from the Herald over his expected role. The campaign has been focused on Bush's announcement and subsequent tour of early-primary states and did not respond to a request for comment.

Jorge Arrizurieta, a friend of Bush's who also knows Valdés-Fauli, characterized the hire as noteworthy as part of a "robust" organization.

Continue reading "Jeb Bush hires Miami firm to work on Hispanic digital outreach" »

Jeb Bush shows off español, sips coquito on Jimmy Fallon

@PatriciaMazzei

Jeb Bush got a chance to play straight man to Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight show Tuesday, slow-jamming the news and sharing a laugh over his Jeb! logo's enthusiasm.

Bush kept a little grin on his face during the slow-jamming, in which Fallon urged the audience to "listen to my man Jebediah."

"He gots lots of experience down South," Fallon said. "He came from Texas, where everything is bigger, to turn Florida from a limp peninsula to a virile member of the U.S. economy."

Bush then got to talk about immigration -- in Spanish.

"Somos una nación de inmigrantes y creo que todo el mundo debería tener la oportunidad de alcanzar el sueño americano," Bush said to cheers.

"I know you just got back from Miami, but I didn't think I was interviewing Gov. Pitbull," Fallon quipped. ("Fireball!" Bush said.)

In a sit-down with Fallon later, Bush called Miami "a pretty rocking place" and praised his brother former President George W. Bush as "a significantly better artist than I am -- I'm still doing stick drawings." Jeb Bush said he speaks "Spanish most of the time" with wife Columba, "and all the time when she's mad at me."

Fallon asked about the Jeb! logo: "Do I shout it? Did Regis Philbin come up with it: Jeb!" 

The segment ended with Fallon bringing out two glasses of Puerto Rican coquito -- eggnog with coconut milk -- forcing Bush to break his Paleo diet to toast. "Whew," Bush said, taking a sip.

AP: Jeb Bush 'slow jams' the news with 'Tonight' show's Jimmy Fallon

From the Associated Press:
 
NEW YORK -- Republican Jeb Bush "slow jammed" the news, told about meeting his wife, offered a guacamole recipe and oddly compared his presidential father and brother during a "Tonight" show appearance.

One day after announcing his bid for the presidency, Bush entered the entertainment world on the nation's most popular late-night talk show. Americans don't expect their presidents to be song-and-dance entertainers, but they at least expect them to appear comfortable and quick-witted opposite television hosts.

He was featured Tuesday night on the show's recurring "slow jam the news" skit with host Jimmy Fallon. The job required Bush to recite lines about his candidacy while Fallon, stylized as a 1970s soul man and backed by the Roots, offered a series of double entendres. Bush took the straight man role that was most often filled by NBC's suspended anchorman, Brian Williams.