July 16, 2015

In San Francisco, a Miamian asks Jeb Bush about gun policy

via @learyreports

SAN FRANCISCO – Brad Skaf is a new employee at Thumbtack in San Francisco. But the Miami native got a prime opportunity to ask Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush a question during his visit to the startup on Thursday.

Skaf, 27, praised Bush's record governor, citing education and immigration, but challenged him on background checks. “We have background checks in Florida and it's helpful," Bush replied.

The candidate went on to espouse a pro-gun stance and said the controversial “stand your ground” law he signed was not a factor in the Trayvon Martin shooting – at least not as a defense used by George Zimmerman.

Afterward, the Tampa Bay Times asked Skaf what he thought of Bush’s response, as well as Bush’s overall appeal and Marco Rubio’s argument that “yesterday’s” leaders should step aside for a new generation.

 

--ALEX LEARY

Donald Trump's misleading claim about Jeb Bush and sanctuary cities

Donald Trump criticized GOP primary rival Jeb Bush’s stance on immigration, implying the former governor allowed parts of Florida to shield illegal immigrants from federal laws while Bush was in office.

"The polls just came out, and I'm tied with Jeb Bush. And I said, oh, that's too bad, how can I be tied with this guy? He's terrible. He's terrible. He's weak on immigration," Trump said during a speech in Phoenix on July 11, 2015. "You know, the sanctuary cities, do you know he had five of them in Florida while he was governor? Can you believe this? I didn't know that."

Trump was practically tied with Bush according to a poll released the same day. But more importantly, Trump seized upon an increasingly used talking point in the presidential campaign --  so-called "sanctuary cities" that thwart federal immigration law.

Bush’s stance on illegal immigration has wavered a bit over the years, but he was known for being in favor of deportation while in the Governor’s Mansion. Did five sanctuary cities exist in Florida during his time in office? Not according to any official metric, but the Internet is a big place.

Turn to PolitiFact Florida to see what we found.

July 15, 2015

Jeb Bush put $388K of his own cash into campaign

@PatriciaMazzei @AmySherman1 @NickNehamas

Jeb Bush’s first campaign-finance report left no doubt that the former Florida governor, who is by far the most prolific fundraiser in the jam-packed 2016 presidential field, has many loyal friends with comfortably thick wallets.

Of the $11.4 million Bush raised in the first two weeks of his campaign, most of the donations reported Wednesday — nearly $9.2 million, or about 80 percent — came not from mom-and-pop supporters scraping together a few bills but from corner-office types who right off the bat gave Bush the maximum allowed by law, $2,700.

Small donors, who sent in $200 or less, made up about 3 percent of the total haul — about $368,000, according to the report filed with the Federal Election Commission. Bush himself put more than that into his account, spending nearly $389,000 of his own cash to pay for trips, legal advice and other expenses before becoming a formal candidate.

Campaign-finance watchdogs have hounded Bush over his extensive travel and fundraising in the five months leading to his June 15 campaign launch, arguing he was running afoul of the law by saying he wasn’t a candidate when he was nevertheless acting like one. By disclosing that he paid for those expenses himself, the Republican can counter he was complying with the law that allows potential candidates to “test the waters.”

“Jeb 2016’s first report affirms what we have publicly stated over the past few months: that if Governor Bush engaged in any testing-the-waters activities that they would be paid for appropriately, and that if Governor Bush decided to run for office that any testing-the-waters expenses would be reported at the required time,” spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said in a statement.

More here.

This post has been updated.

Jeb Bush calls Miami congresswoman, gets voicemail, sings 'Happy Birthday'

@PatriciaMazzei

Wednesday is Miami Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's birthday.

Her pick in the 2016 GOP presidential race, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, called to congratulate her. He got her voicemail.

So he sang to her machine instead. The full song.

"Happy birthday dear Ily," he intoned. Then: "This is Jeb." 

Ros-Lehtinen, true to form, posted the message to Twitter. Bush managed her first campaign for Congress, in 1989.

July 14, 2015

Suffolk poll: Donald Trump leads GOP presidential field, ahead of Jeb Bush

@PatriciaMazzei

Donald Trump is ahead in the 2016 Republican presidential race, according to a new national poll.

The survey by Suffolk University and USA Today found Trump drawing 17 percent of GOP support, followed by Jeb Bush with 14 percent support. They were the only two Republicans with double-digit backing. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio came in fourth place with 5 percent.

A full 30 percent of the Republican electorate remains undecided, however. It's very early for polls -- especially national ones, as opposed to ones for early primary states -- to predict much. They reveal a snapshot in time given the still-small number of voters paying attention to the race.

In a hypothetical match-up against Democrat Hillary Clinton, Trump is upside down 51-34 percent. Bush fared best against the former Secretary of State, 46-42 percent. The poll's error margin is 3 percentage points.

"Trump is making daily headlines in advance of the primary season," said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University political Research Center. "This has vaulted him to the top of the pack on the backs of conservative voters. But when you expand the electoral pool to include Democrats and independents that potency dissipates."

Jeb Bush takes on Donald Trump's 'vitriol'

@PatriciaMazzei

Jeb Bush, a promoter of immigration reform whose wife was born in Mexico, took some political heat for not immediately denouncing Donald Trump's characterization of Mexican immigrants as criminals.

But Bush has warmed up to criticizing Trump now.

At an Iowa campaign event Tuesday, Bush decried "people that prey on people's fears and their angst as well."

"We need to focus on the things that tie us together," he said. "And whether it's Donald Trump or Barack Obama, their rhetoric of divisiveness is wrong. A Republican will never win by striking fear in people's hearts."

 

Asked later by a reporter why, of all his GOP presidential rivals, Bush decided to go after Trump, the former Florida governor noted voters haven't brought up the real-estate mogul. But Bush answered anyway.

"I don't want to be associated with the kind of vitriol he's spewing out these days," he said of Trump.

At a campaign rally in Arizona over the weekend, Trump mentioned that he's leading some national 2016 polls -- along with Bush.

"How can I be tied with Jeb Bush?" Trump said. "He's terrible."

Jeb Bush: Iran nuclear deal is 'appeasement'

@PatriciaMazzei

Jeb Bush had nothing nice to say Tuesday about the announced agreement with Iran over its nuclear program. He has been critical of the negotiations in the past and, like 2016 Republican presidential rival Marco Rubio, has drawn a contrast with President Obama and other Democrats over the deal.

The nuclear agreement announced by the Obama Administration today is a dangerous, deeply flawed, and short sighted deal.

A comprehensive agreement should require Iran to verifiably abandon – not simply delay – its pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability.

Based on initial reports and analysis, it appears this agreement does not 'cut off all of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon' – in fact, over time it paves Iran’s path to a bomb. Most of the key restrictions last for only 10 to 15 years.  Even before the deal expires, it could allow Iran to develop an industrial-scale enrichment program and continue its R&D on advanced centrifuges and development of an ICBM.  

The deal does not require Iran to come completely clean up front about possible military dimensions of its nuclear program or include true anytime/anywhere inspections necessary for a nuclear program shrouded in deception and lies.

President Obama has acknowledged the agreement would end the United Nations' conventional arms embargo, a critical tool to combat Iran’s support for terrorism and destabilizing activities in the region.

The deal would provide more than $100 billion in sanctions relief that will breathe new life into Iran's malevolent and corrupt regime, enabling its projection of terror and power as well as its repression of the Iranian people – who aspire for, and deserve, a more democratic future.

The clerical leaders in Tehran routinely preach  'death to America' and 'death to Israel' – and through their acts of terror, they mean it.  We must take these threats seriously and should not base any agreements on the hope their behavior will moderate over time.

The people of Iran, the region, Israel, America, and the world deserve better than a deal that consolidates the grip on power of the violent revolutionary clerics who rule Tehran with an iron fist.

This isn’t diplomacy – it is appeasement.

July 13, 2015

Miami-Dade County, home to Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, is no 'sanctuary' but does defy immigration authorities

@PatriciaMazzei

The murder of a young woman taking a stroll on a San Francisco pier two weeks ago might have been received by a jaded public as just another big-city homicide, had the man who says he shot her to death not been previously deported five times to Mexico — and had the case not been adopted as a cause célèbre by insurgent Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Trump seized on the fatal and apparently random shooting of 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, who confessed to pulling the trigger in a jailhouse interview aired on local television, as proof that the candidate’s controversial characterization last month of Mexican border-crossers as criminals and rapists was true, even if studies that go beyond tragic incidents have shown that notion to be false.

“This senseless and totally preventable act of violence committed by an illegal immigrant is yet another example of why we must secure our border immediately,” Trump said in a statement after Steinle’s death. “This is an absolutely disgraceful situation and I am the only one that can fix it. Nobody else has the guts to even talk about it. That won’t happen if I become President.”

As the real-estate mogul has taken off in the polls, Trump’s comments have forced other Republicans, who are still grappling with how best to handle his entry into the race, to weigh in on the San Francisco case. Their position: to oppose local governments that limit their cooperation with federal immigration authorities, a practice that means different things in different places but is derided by critics as the creation of “sanctuary” cities.

That includes the two candidates from Miami, whose own home county doesn’t fully cooperate with the feds on immigration enforcement.

More here.

Hillary Clinton name-checks Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio in speech on economy

@PatriciaMazzei

Democratic presidential Hillary Clinton didn't shy away from naming some of her Republican counterparts Monday -- including Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio -- in a speech laying out her proposed economic policy.

Here's what she said on Bush:

You may have heard Governor Bush say last week that Americans just need to work longer hours. Well, he must not have met very many American workers.

Let him tell that to the nurse who stands on her feet all day or the trucker who drives all night. Let him tell that to the fast food workers marching in the streets for better pay. They don’t need a lecture – they need a raise.

The truth is, the current rules for our economy reward some work – like financial trading – much more than other work, like actually building and selling things the work that's always been the backbone of our economy. 

And what she said on Rubio:

Another priority must be reforming our tax code.

Now we hear Republican candidates talk a lot about tax reform. But take a good look at their plans. Senator Rubio's would cut taxes for households making around $3 million a year by almost $240,000 – which is way more than three times the earnings of a typical family. Well that's a sure budget-busting give-away to the super-wealthy. And that's the kind of bad economics you're likely to get from any of the candidates on the other side.

Bush's campaign responded with a statement and a video from Bush's "aspiration" for 4 percent economic growth, a number some some analysts have called unrealistic.

Continue reading "Hillary Clinton name-checks Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio in speech on economy" »

GOP tries for Hispanic vote again, this time with 2 Florida presidential hopefuls

via @learyreports

KISSIMMEE -- In a strip mall on a busy road in this fast-growing city, signs of hope emerge for Republicans trying to win the White House. Spend a little time at Melao Bakery or Espiritu De Vida bookstore, ask about Marco Rubio and blank stares give way to interest.

“I’m not Republican, but he represents us,” said 44-year-old Luis Cruzado who, like many in Kissimmee, was born in Puerto Rico. He has found a comfortable life doing drainage work for Osceola County. “He would be the first Hispanic. That feels good to me.”

Rossie Sevilla was helping out at the Christian bookstore and hadn’t heard much about Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants from Miami. Nor has she voted before. But the 55-year-old said a fellow Hispanic on the ticket would be motivation. “I know Hillary Clinton is good, but I will give my vote to Rubio because he knows our roots.”

At a restaurant next door, Eli Gomez, a 27-year-old Republican, said she would have to know what Rubio stood for other than a common heritage. But, she added, Hispanics would be as full of pride as African-Americans were when Barack Obama made history in 2008. Her friend, Alisa Lorenzo, agreed.

“I’d at least look to see what he has to offer,” the 34-year-old Democrat said of Rubio.

After two presidential elections with abysmal results among Hispanic voters, the GOP is making a determined push to gain support among the increasingly important electorate.

More here.