January 26, 2016

Terri Schiavo's husband slams pro-Jeb Bush TV ad using her photo

via @adamsmithtimes

The Right to Rise super PAC helping Jeb Bush is airing an ad in South Carolina that features a photo of Terri Schiavo, the Pinellas County woman, who died 10 years ago despite Bush's efforts to halt the removal of her feeding tube. The ad features a picture of Mrs. Schiavo as well as an image of what appears to be someone at the vigil outside her hospice holding a Jeb! campaign sign.


Says the narrator: "He's a man of deep faith who fought time and again for the right to life."

"It is simply disgusting that Jeb Bush and his super Pac would exploit my wife’s tragedy for his crude political gain.  Shame on Jeb Bush," said Michael Schiavo, Terri's husband, who said she did not want to be kept alive in that state and was repeatedly challenged by Bush and Schiavo's parents and siblings.
"Using his disgraceful intervention in our family’s private trauma to advance his political career shows that he has learned nothing. He’s proud of the fact that he used the machinery of government to keep a person alive through extraordinary artificial means -- contrary to the orders of the court that were based on the courts determination, made over 6 years of litigation, that doing so would be against her wishes," he said. "What the campaign video shows is that if he ever got his hands on the power of government again, he would do the same thing again, maybe next time to your family."

--ADAM C. SMITH, Tampa Bay Times

January 25, 2016

South Florida mayors press Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush on climate change


Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush have given little priority to climate change on the Republican presidential campaign trail, and a group of South Florida mayors have had enough.

Fifteen mayors from cities in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties wrote the two Miami candidates a letter asking them to meet with local leaders to "discuss the risks facing Florida communities due to climate change and help us chart a path forward to protect our state and the entire United States."

"As mayors representing municipalities across Florida, we call on you to acknowledge the reality and urgency of climate change and to address the upcoming crisis it presents our communities," both letters begin. "Our cities and towns are already coping with the impacts of climate change today. We will need leadership and concrete solutions from our next president."

Most of the mayors are Democrats, and most of them serve in nonpartisan posts. But at least two are Republican, Tomás Regalado of Miami and Jim Cason of Coral Gables. Regalado is a Rubio supporter who showed up to the Florida senator's fundraiser at the InterContinental Hotel downtown two weeks ago.

"We are in ground zero, and we need to have our candidates from Florida address the issue," Regalado told the Miami Herald on Monday. "I understand that it's a very delicate issue for them, because some of their constituents do not agree or understand."

The mayors were prompted to sent the letter by ClimateTruth.org, a liberal environmental activist organization formerly known as Forecast the Facts.

Regalado said the mayors, some of whom have already worked together dealing with Florida Power & Light's proposed new power lines, "aspire to get climate change into the national conversation."

"We don't have any leverage with the Trumps and the Christies or the Cruzes of the nation, but I think that they are closer to home," he said of Bush and Rubio.

During high tides scientists say have been worsened by sea-level rise, Miami has seen flooding in its Upper Eastside and Brickell neighborhoods, Regalado said. The city created a committee to take on the issue only recently and needs resources, he added. Miami-Dade has had a task force in place for a couple of years; the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact, which comprises Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, was formed in 2009.

The mayors who signed the letters, in addition to Cason and Regalado, are: Peggy Bell, Cutler Bay; Joy Cooper, Hallandale Beach; Daniel Dietch, Surfside; Eugene Flinn, Palmetto Bay; Connie Leon-Kreps, North Bay Village; Cindy Lerner, Pinecrest; Mayra Peña Lindsay, Key Biscayne; Jeri Muoio, West Palm Beach; Martin Packer, Bal Harbour; Gary Resnick, Wilton Manors; Jack Seiler, Fort Lauderdale; Glenn Singer, Golden Beach; and Philip Stoddard, South Miami.

Download the letter to Rubio

Download the letter to Bush


January 23, 2016

The make-or-break primaries for Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush

GOP 2016 Debate (1)


Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, who have struggled to break through in the Republican presidential election, will definitely be on the Florida ballot come March 15.

But that’s just because the ballots are already done.

Whether either of them will actually still be in the race is a different story. How it turns out largely depends on five words: Iowa. New Hampshire. South Carolina.

Bush and Rubio need to “do well” in those first three voting states, their campaigns say. What that means, exactly, is a little like that famous quote about pornography: You know it when you see it.

All three states will be done with their elections in the next month.

Rubio, who’s never been the GOP front-runner, needs to prove only that he can win silver or bronze to remain eligible to compete for gold. Bush, who entered the race as the prohibitive favorite, could see it all come to an end with a poor finish in New Hampshire.

That’s not how the two men like to put it.

“We are trying to bring as many people as possible onto our team, and I feel very good about the momentum we have in Iowa and even here in New Hampshire,” Rubio told reporters Thursday.

“We’ve not identified any state that is a must-win or a must-place,” Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell told the Miami Herald, emphasizing that the campaign’s national organization will become a bigger asset as the long primary season grinds along.

Both Bush and Rubio have prepared for an extended contest leading to the GOP’s July nominating convention in Cleveland. But early results will determine whether either of them can build all-important political momentum to carry them from February into March — or whether poor showings will force them out altogether.

Here’s how the next month could play out.

More here.

Photo credit: Morry Gash, Associated Press

January 22, 2016

Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio on PolitiFact's Truth-O-Meter


In less than two weeks, the nation will start the process of voting for our next president -- and Florida will play a pivotal role.

Two Republican candidates -- U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush -- are longtime Florida residents. And there are other candidates who live at least part of the time in Florida, including Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.

Before the Feb. 1 Iowa caucus, PolitiFact Florida decided to check in on how Bush and Rubio are faring on our Truth-O-Meter. Floridians start voting by absentee ballot in February leading up to the March 15 primary. Here’s a look at some of the latest fact-checks of both.

Barbara Bush makes web video appearance for Jeb


Former First Lady Barbara Bush, who once famously questioned whether another Bush should seek the White House, appears in a new campaign web video for her son, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

"His heart is big," she says. "When push comes to shove, people are going to realize Jeb has real solutions."


January 21, 2016

Jeb Bush vs. John Kasich in New Hampshire

via @learyreports

Things have gotten ugly between Jeb Bush and John Kasich in New Hampshire. The candidates, both whom view a strong showing in the state as critical, are fighting in TV ads released Thursday by their respective super PACs.



--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times


Boston Globe: Marco Rubio says Jeb Bush was 'missing in action' for years


The Boston Globe caught up with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in New Hampshire this week. Rubio took a swing at Republican presidential rival Jeb Bush, alluding to the fact that Bush was out of the political fray from the end of his term as Florida governor in 2006 until last year.

Rubio also said Bush, his onetime mentor, lacked the partisan fire to mount a strong fight against the Democratic nominee. “Governor Bush, while we’ve been having these big fights against Barack Obama, he’s been missing in action,” Rubio said.

Bush, in his own Globe interview, countered Rubio doesn't have the kind of executive experience needed for the White House -- or the conviction to stand by his proposals.

“Marco’s record is not one of — he hasn’t been in a position where he’s had to make a tough decision,” Bush said. “And when he had a chance to make a tough decision, which I was pleased that he did — which was the immigration bill — he cut and run.”

Read the Globe story here.

January 20, 2016

$91M and counting spent by Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio on ads

via @learyreports

Florida’s a big money state and that’s translating to the presidential race, where Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio have unleashed a combined $91 million in ads. Compare that with the $8 million Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have spent.

Absorb that for a minute.

The numbers come from NBC News and its ad tracking partner SMG Delta.

Ad spending to date:

• Team Bush: $58.8 million ($55.9M from Right to Rise Super PAC, $2.9M from campaign)

• Team Rubio: $32.6 million ($11.6M from campaign, $11.2M from Super PAC, $9.9M from 501c4)

• Team Sanders: $12.8 million (all from campaign)

• Team Clinton: $11.6 million ($11.4M from campaign, $200K from Priorities USA Super PAC)

• Team Christie: $11.4 million ($10.9M from Super PAC, $480K from campaign)

• Team Kasich: $10.8 million ($267K from campaign, rest from outside groups)

• Team Carson: $4.6 million ($4.4 million from campaign, $200K from Super PAC)

• Team Cruz: $4.2 million ($1.9M from campaign, rest from outside groups)

• Team Trump: $4 million (all from campaign)

• Team Fiorina: $1.0 million (all from Super PAC)

• Team O’Malley: $219,000 (all from Super PAC)

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

Team Jeb Bush spends campaign cash on policy booklet, mailed video


Jeb Bush hasn't broken through to voters on nationally televised debates. He and his allies have dropped millions of dollars into TV ads that at best have stopped Bush's slide in the polls, without giving him much of a boost.

So Team Bush is trying something different. The campaign published a nearly 50-page booklet outlining Bush's policies.

"Too many candidates in this race are running on rhetoric, not their records and not solutions," Bush's policy director, Justin Muzinich, said in a statement. "Jeb has a plan to make us safer, stronger and freer and is ready to be Commander-in-Chief."

The booklet, titled "Jeb's Plan for America" and available for download online, was handed out to voters in New Hampshire on Wednesday, according to CNN.

Meanwhile, the pro-Bush super PAC, Right to Rise USA, already under fire for its apparently ineffective TV ad buys, spent serious dollars to mail top New Hampshire backers the 14-minute video it produced of "The Jeb Story."

Jeb Bush dismisses Donald Trump as a 'junkyard dog'


In an interview with conservative Newsmax on Tuesday, Jeb Bush was asked if Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump is a "nasty man" -- a phrase Trump used to describe rival Ted Cruz.

"He's a junkyard dog, that's for sure," Bush said. "I seem to be the target of most of his attacks. I don't know why he's so worried about me -- maybe he thinks I'm a real threat to him. Because I am. I'm the only one who's taken him on."

The interview came on the same day former GOP vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin endorsed Trump. Bush said he and Palin, whose son has Down Syndrome, share a "common bond" to help the disabled and oppose abortion.

"She's gifted in many ways," Bush said. "I can't explain why she's supporting this guy."