July 28, 2015

Political group spends cash on Marco Rubio in debate lead up

via @learyreports

A political group that does not disclose its donors has put Marco Rubio in the lead of early TV advertising, spending $2.6 million already in advance of next week’s GOP debate.

Conservative Solutions Project’s ads have focused on the Iran deal, producing spots before it was announced and on the day. “July 14th, 2015 – Barack Obama makes a deal giving Iran a clear path to a nuclear bomb,” a narrator says. “Congress can stop it. Marco Rubio is leading the fight.”

Rubio has been missing a lot of work in Washington to campaign but returned last week for a Foreign Relations hearing on the deal, his campaign using social media to highlight his confrontation with Secretary of State John Kerry.

NBC News, which had access to ad buying data, put the pro-Rubio group first in ad spending. He was followed by a pro-John Kasich group, New Day for America, with $2.1 million. Kasich is trying to lift his profile so he can make the cut for the first debate next week in Cleveland.

Rick Perry, also struggling to emerge from the lower end of the pack, is aided with $1.3 million in spending from the Opportunity and Freedom PAC. Bobby Jindal is backed with $1.1. million from Believe Again PAC. Chris Christie benefits from $500,000 from his campaign and America Leads PAC.

Total spending so far: almost $8 million, NBC News reports. “By comparison, only about $1 million was spent at this point in the 2012 GOP presidential contest, per SMG Delta. The only Democratic entity that has been spending money on a presidential candidate is the Super PAC supporting Martin O’Malley – and it’s just $25,000.”

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

July 27, 2015

'It's just wrong,' Jeb Bush says of Mike Huckabee's Holocaust reference. Marco Rubio declines to comment.

via @learyreports

Reporters on Monday asked Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio about Mike Huckabee saying President Obama’s deal with Iran is marching Israelis to “the door of the oven.”

Bush, in Orlando, said: “The use of that kind of language, it’s just wrong. This is not the way we’re going to win elections.”

Rubio, in Columbia, S.C., declined to weigh in. “You'll have to ask Gov. Huckabee what he meant by that,” he said, adding, "I don't generally comment on what other candidates say.”

Bush and Rubio both say the Iran deal is a bad one.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

July 24, 2015

With 2 hometown candidates expected on stage, Miami-Dade Republicans plan debate watch parties


Just how eager are Miami-Dade County Republicans to see two of their own make their 2016 presidential debate debuts?

Plans are under way two weeks in advance for parties to watch the first debate, which will be aired Aug. 6 by Fox News. 

The Miami-Dade GOP has not endorsed Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush, yet it has invited supporters to gather at a location at least geographically closer to Rubio: the Rebeca Sosa Multipurpose Facility in Rubio's hometown of West Miami, named after his political godmother.

Some of Rubio's friends, though, have organized an event of their own.

Bernie Navarro and his wife, Claudia, along with Navarro's Benworth Capital Partners, a real-estate investment firm, will hold a watch party at Miami Dade College's Koubek Center in the city of Miami. Navarro hosted Rubio and close supporters the day before the candidate launched his campaign in April, as well as Rubio's first local fundraiser as a presidential contender.

Fox News and the Republican National Committee will limit the number of candidates on the first debate stage to 10 (16 have filed to run so far). Bush and Rubio are expected to make it, since both are polling near the top of the field.

Mason-Dixon poll: Florida support for Marco Rubio drops


Jeb Bush holds a 28-16 percent lead in Florida over fellow home state Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio, according to a new poll.

Rubio's popularity has fallen sharply since he kicked off his campaign, the survey by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research shows. In April, Rubio was effectively tied with Bush 31-30 percent.

"I've been up higher than I am today," Rubio said in a Friday interview on CBS This Morning, without referring specifically to the new Mason-Dixon poll. "I've been lower than I am now."

He told Fox News the night before that "it's hard to be president of the United States if you can't win the primary of your own state."

Accounting for the difference is the rise in the poll of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who only recently made his candidacy official, and the addition to the race of real-estate mogul Donald Trump. They polled at 13 and 11 percent, respectively. No others in the GOP race received double-digit support.

"This is the first Florida poll taken entirely since Trump's remarks regarding John McCain's Vietnam War service," pollster Brad Coker wrote in an analysis of the results, which were first reported by Politico. "His 11% showing in Florida is far below his support in recent national polls. This could be the result of the home state advantage of both Bush and Rubio.

"However, the fact that Walker has slipped ahead of him may be a stronger sign that his candidacy is fading. Furthermore, there is a clear ceiling that Trump has among Florida Republicans."

Among Florida Democrats, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continues to lead the field with 58 percent, followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders with 17 percent and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley with 2 percent. Other candidates didn't register in the poll.

Twenty-three percent of Democrats said they were undecided, compared to 13 percent of Republicans. The poll's error margin is 4.5 percentage points.

Does the Iran deal mean that the U.S. has to defend Iran as Marco Rubio says?

Sen. Marco Rubio says that part of the Iran deal could force the United States into the position of helping Iran defend itself against our allies, including Israel.   

"At the last minute, they were able to get all sorts of outrageous concessions including the concession that I talked about earlier which now says this: Iran, we have to help Iran protect itself against sabotage," Rubio said on Fox News July 22. "If any other country tries to undermine their nuclear program, we have to help them defend themselves against Israel, Egypt, Saudis, our own allies."

As the Republican from Florida campaigns for president, he has repeatedly criticized the recently negotiated nuclear deal with Iran. Is he correct that the deal would force the United States to defend Iran from Israel and Egypt and Saudia Arabia?

See what PolitiFact Florida found.

July 23, 2015

Marco Rubio says 'no one' running for president has more experience on relevant issues than he does


Marco Rubio took on one of the fundamental questions of his presidential candidacy -- whether he's got enough experience for the job -- in a Fox News interview Thursday that asked him to respond to what his one-time mentor Jeb Bush said on the subject.

"I have more experience to be president," Bush told anchor Bret Baier, in a clip Baier played for Rubio. "We've had a president who was gifted, who was charismatic. His name was Barack Obama. There was nothing in his past that could suggest he could fix the things that were broken better for the country right now."

So, is Rubio like Obama?

"Barack Obama has failed as president because his ideas don't work. They wouldn't have worked had he served 50 years in the U.S. Senate," Rubio said.

"It is true there are people running for president that have lived longer than I have," he added. "The world is changing, and no one who is running for president has more experience than I do on the issues confronting our country right now."

Baier pressed Rubio on whether governors' executive experience better qualifies them to be president. (Rubio has backed former governors Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney in the past.)

Continue reading "Marco Rubio says 'no one' running for president has more experience on relevant issues than he does" »

Marco Rubio slams Iran deal in Senate hearing

via @PatriciaMazzei

Marco Rubio took a break from his presidential campaign Thursday to attend the first congressional hearing over the Obama administration's negotiated nuclear deal with Iran. In the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Rubio addressed Secretary of State John Kerry directly.

"Secretary Kerry, I do not fault you for trying to engage in diplomacy and striking a deal with Iran. I do fault the president for striking a terrible deal with Iran," Rubio said. He added, "This is your deal," referring to the administration as a whole, noting that the next president could undo or change it.

"I cannot see somebody just arbitrarily deciding, 'Let's go back to where we were,"" Kerry responded. "I don't think any president would do that."


July 22, 2015

Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush want Planned Parenthood investigation

via @learyreports

Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio today joined calls for a Congressional investigation into Planned Parenthood.

“The videos speak for themselves," Rubio said a news release. "The cruel and callous language used by senior Planned Parenthood officials is sickening, shows a complete disregard for innocent unborn life, not to mention Planned Parenthood’s clients, and speaks to an organization that is morally bankrupt. There is simply no justification for an organization that fosters this kind of culture to receive a penny of taxpayer funding, and there should be a serious and impartial investigation into the grotesque practices revealed by the video.”

Bush, campaigning at a pregnancy center in Spartanburg, S.C., said: "It just troubles me that you would sell body parts. It just makes no sense to me." 

If president, he would call for a review of funding for any organization with a "deep political agenda," according to CNN.

Planned Parenthood says the videos have been edited and distort the truth.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

Marco Rubio says Obama has 'no class,' cites Daily Show interview, likens him to Donald Trump


With Jon Stewart in his final weeks as host, President Obama made a visit Tuesday to Comedy Central's The Daily Show

Obama gave a lengthy interview in which he joked he had signed an executive order forbidding Stewart from leaving the show. He also defended the deal his administration negotiated to try to contain Iran's nuclear program.

"When you hear the critics talk about, 'Well, it's a bad deal; we could have got a better deal,' you then ask them, 'Well, what represents a better deal? What is it that you think could happen?'" Obama said.

"Typically they're vague, and they fall back on, 'Well, if you'd beat your chest a little bit more... Or if you'd brought Dick Cheney to the negotiations, then everything would be fine.'" ("Let's not get crazy," Stewart interjected.)

The Cheney line drew criticism Wednesday morning from Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio, himself a Daily Show veteran, who said on Fox News that he didn't like Obama's joke.

Rubio wove in the criticism of Obama as he slammed rival Donald Trump, telling Fox and Friends that Trump's style isn't fit for the Oval Office.

"It is important that we have– to conduct the presidency, it has to be done in a dignified way, with a level of class," he said. " don't think [Trump's] behavior the last few weeks is either dignified or worthy of office he seeks."

"We already have a president now that has no class," Rubio continued, referring to Obama. "I mean, we have a president now that does selfie-stick videos, that invites YouTube stars there, people that you know eat cereal out of a bathtub... You just saw the interview he did right now where he goes on comedy shows to talk about something as serious as Iran. The list goes on and on.

"It is important for us to have a presidency that restores dignity and class to the White House, and I don't believe that some of the language that Mr. Trump is employing is worthy of the office. I just do not."


Quinnipiac poll: Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush best Hillary Clinton in Colorado, Iowa and Virginia


Miami's two Republican presidential contenders, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, along with Wisconsin's Scott Walker, lead Democrat Hillary Clinton in hypothetical head-to-head match-ups in three key swing states, according to a new public-opinion survey.

The Quinnipiac University poll found Clinton trails or is statistically tied in Colorado, Iowa and Virginia with the three GOP candidates:

                               Colorado           Iowa            Virginia

Clinton                        38                    36                    41

Rubio                          46                    44                    43


Clinton                        36                    36                    39

Bush                            41                    42                    42


Clinton                        38                    37                    40

Walker                         47                    45                    43

In some cases in Iowa and Colorado, Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont does the same or better than Clinton against Bush, Rubio and Walker, according to the poll, which has an error margin of 2.8 percentage points. The results indicate the 2016 general election could be a close one, assuming Democrats nominate Clinton and Republicans nominate Walker, Bush or Rubio.

Clinton has negative favorability ratings in all three states -- but they're better than Republican Donald Trump, the most negatively viewed of all presidential candidates, according to the poll.