April 28, 2016

Jeb Bush: 'I don't know which Donald Trump to believe'


Jeb Bush, to no one's surprise, has not had a change of mind over Donald Trump.

In an interview Thursday, Bush told CNN that he's "seen nothing" since leaving the Republican presidential race to persuade him that Trump would make a good president. Last month, Bush backed Trump rival Ted Cruz.

"I don't think he's a serious person," Bush said.

But the former Florida governor has clearly remained abreast of the campaign. He referenced Trump's foreign-policy speech Wednesday.

"I don't know which Donald Trump to believe: the one that read from a TelePrompTer a speech that was inside the ones, or the one that wants to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it," he said. "Which Donald Trump is the one that's expressing these views? There's two of them, and I think we need a president with a steady hand."

CNN has posted other bits from its Bush interview here and here.

This post has been updated.

April 21, 2016

Donald Trump's misleading claims about "rigged" elections


As Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has led the delegate chase, he has complained that the "corrupt and crooked" elections have been "rigged" against him.

But he has repeatedly failed to prove his case that states have stacked the deck against him.

Trump has received a plurality of delegates so far, but he yet hasn't hist a majority, which is 1,237. It is that process of delegation selection that has fueled many of his complaints.

We have fact-checked three claims by Trump or his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski related to delegate selection or the primary voting system. Two of the claims were about Florida’s March 15 primary, while the third pertains to the Colorado caucus and state convention. We rated all three statements False on the Truth-O-Meter.

Keep reading from PolitiFact Florida to see how we rated Trump's claims.

April 18, 2016

Donald Trump wrongly blames Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush for Florida's winner-take-all primary


Donald Trump has been on a tear accusing the Republican establishment of rigging the system to hurt him, despite the fact that he leads the delegate count in the primaries.

One of the states where leaders are out to get him is Florida, he says. The state’s March 15 primary was "winner-take-all," which means all of the delegates went to one winner, who ended up being Trump.

"You speak about what’s unfair, so in Florida you had 99 delegates," he said in aspeech in Rome, N.Y. "And Jeb Bush had it set -- Jeb Bush or Rubio, both of them. They had it set so that the winner takes everything, because they wanted to make sure that I didn't get anything."

Did Bush and Rubio set the Florida primary for winner-take-all because they wanted to prevent Trump from getting any delegates?

Republican officials did hope a winner-take-all primary would benefit Bush or Rubio, but Trump gets some of his key facts wrong. Keep reading from PolitiFact Florida.

Photo by the Associated Press.

April 15, 2016

Donald Trump thinks Jeb Bush should move to New York

via @learyreports

“You say, what are NY values? Number one, honesty and straight talking. It’s a work ethic, hard working people. It’s about family. New York — believe it — is about family. So important.

"It’s the energy to get things done. Big energy. If Jeb Bush came here, I’m telling you, he’d have much more energy than he has right now. I’m telling you. He should move to New York, right?"

--Donald Trump on Thursday night at the New York State Republican Gala in Manhattan.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

April 11, 2016

The campaign-finance legacy of Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio

via @learyreports

WASHINGTON -- $235 million.

Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio burned through that much cash before joining the heap of failed 2016 presidential candidates, an astounding figure even in the big-money era.

But more important, the Floridians pushed new boundaries of campaign finance, setting examples likely to be copied by other candidates while leaving behind a string of complaints from watchdog groups contending laws were broken.

“They are pilgrims on the path to destroying the campaign finance system,” said Fred Wertheimer of Democracy 21, an advocacy group that filed complaints with the Federal Election Commission, the IRS and the Justice Department.

For months, Bush insisted he was not a candidate while traveling the country to collect millions for a super PAC. The undeclared status allowed Bush to work closely with Right to Rise and take in unlimited donations instead of the $2,700 individual contribution limit his campaign faced.

By the time Bush announced, he had amassed most of his $100 million “shock and awe” war chest.

Rubio benefitted from a nonprofit that also collected huge donations — at least $16 million — and financed TV ads in early nominating states. The tax-exempt group provided donors with the cloak of anonymity, injecting untraceable “dark money” into the political discourse.

“He took the outside-money world from unlimited contributions to unlimited secret contributions and created a very dangerous precedent,” Wertheimer said.

More here.

April 05, 2016

Jeb Bush super PAC lays out plan to refund $12M to donors

via @learyreports

Jeb Bush's Super PAC plans to give anyone who contributed $1,000 or more at least a 10 percent refund, part of a plan to return $12 million in unused funds.

"This process will entail making over three-thousand (3,000+) contribution refunds and we anticipate starting and completing this process in May," reads a letter from treasurer Charlie Spies.

Right to Rise raised a breathtaking $118 million and spent much of that trying to prop up Bush and knock down his opponents. Bush left the race on the night of the Feb. 20 South Carolina primary.

The Tampa Bay Times obtained the letter from a donor, and it appears in full below:

Continue reading "Jeb Bush super PAC lays out plan to refund $12M to donors" »

March 30, 2016

Jeb Bush returns to giving paid speeches

via @learyreports

Jeb Bush has returned to the paid speech circuit, his representative announced Wednesday, saying he "elevates the conversation on how to address the key challenges facing America today."

The gig pays very well. Bush earned nearly $10 million from 2007 through the end of 2014, according to documents released last summer by his presidential campaign.

The Washington Speakers Bureau said it is representing Bush exclusively and described him as below:

Continue reading "Jeb Bush returns to giving paid speeches" »

March 23, 2016

Jeb Bush endorses Ted Cruz


Jeb Bush on Wednesday endorsed Ted Cruz, calling on Republicans to coalesce around the Texas senator and “overcome the divisiveness and vulgarity Donald Trump has brought into the political arena.”

Bush, who declined to endorse Marco Rubio before the March 15 Florida primary, called Cruz “a consistent, principled conservative who has demonstrated the ability to appeal to voters and win primary contests.”

And Cruz did pick up Utah on Tuesday, though Trump won Arizona.

As as presidential candidate, Bush was the earliest target of Trump and also Trump's most vocal adversary as others — including Cruz and Rubio — took a hands off approach before joining the fight (too late, some Republicans contend).

“For the sake of our party and country, we must move to overcome the divisiveness and vulgarity Donald Trump has brought into the political arena, or we will certainly lose our chance to defeat the Democratic nominee and reverse President Obama’s failed policies,” Bush said. “To win, Republicans need to make this election about proposing solutions to the many challenges we face, and I believe that we should vote for Ted as he will do just that.”

Bush had criticized the first term senators in the field, arguing governors were more ready. But by passing over John Kasich, Bush appears to be doing simple delegate math.

In a statement, Cruz called Bush “an extraordinary governor of Florida, and his record of job creation and education innovation left a lasting legacy for millions of Floridians. His endorsement today is further evidence that Republicans are continuing to unite behind our campaign to nominate a proven conservative to defeat Hillary Clinton in November, take back the White House, and ensure a freer and more prosperous America for future generations."

- Alex Leary, Tampa Bay Times

March 16, 2016

PolitiFact Florida: Our most read fact-checks of Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush in 2016 GOP presidential race


What began as a battle between two Florida Republican politicians ended in a rout by New York billionaire Donald Trump Tuesday night when he slay the chance of any Floridian winning the GOP presidential nomination this year.

Marco Rubio lost the Florida primary by a landslide and suspended his campaign March 15. Weeks earlier, Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush dropped out after the South Carolina primary.

PolitiFact fact-checked several dozen statements by Bush and Rubio since they declared their candidacy in 2015. (Some fact-checks were completed before they announced.)

Keep reading here.

March 12, 2016

Jeb Bush backer says he told her he won't endorse anyone before Tuesday


Jeb Bush told a Miami backer Friday that he doesn't plan a Republican presidential endorsement before Florida's primary Tuesday.

Helen Aguirre Ferré, who campaigned extensively for Bush in Iowa while he was a candidate, told the Miami Herald she emailed the former Florida governor and got a response.

"I said, 'People are asking me what you are thinking of doing,' and I said, 'Are you going to endorse anyone?'" she said. "And he said he was not endorsing prior to Tuesday.

"He repeated it twice, that he was not endorsing prior to Tuesday. Does that mean a Tuesday morning endorsement? I don't know, you know. And what would that mean? And who would he be endorsing? I don't know."

Ferré stressed that the email exchange took place before GOP front-runner Donald Trump canceled a Friday night rally in Chicago, which was followed by raucous protests and condemnations from his remaining rivals.

Bush met separately earlier this week with Rubio, John Kasich and Ted Cruz while all three were in town for a debate at the University of Miami. None of the men have spoken publicly about what was discussed.