March 28, 2015

Marco Rubio could announce presidential run in Miami April 13

by Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times:

Marco Rubio has reserved the Freedom Tower in downtown Miami for an undisclosed event April 13, which appears to be a potential, if not likely, spot for Florida’s junior senator to announce his candidacy for president.

A Rubio adviser stressed nothing has been nailed down for any kind of announcement, but the timing makes sense: Likely presidential candidate Rand Paul is expected to make things official April 7, followed by a five-day, five-state announcement tour, so Rubio presumably would not want to share the spotlight during that period.

All-but-announced candidate Jeb Bush appears to be in no rush to shift more formally into campaign mode, but Texas Sen. Ted Cruz made his announcement this week, and Democrat Hillary Clinton is expected to make her campaign announcement in April as well, though nothing has been set.

Rubio, 43, has been preparing for a potential presidential run for at least a year. While behind in most early polls, he has generated considerable buzz as a top-tier contender who offers the party a fresh face, foreign policy experience, charisma and substance.

Turn here for the rest of the story.



March 26, 2015

Jeb Bush: 'Stay the course' on Gitmo

From Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times:

Jeb Bush just wrapped up an interview with a Fox News radio host and said the U.S. should not close the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay.

The discussion began when the host asked Bush about the desertion charges facing Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

"To try to bring back someone who turns out to have been a deserter is just heartbreaking," Bush said, speaking from a cell phone on the road in Texas, while an aide in the back seat streamed the interview on Meerkat. "The president is totally focused on closing Guantanamo as an organizing principle. And it's all based on politics. It's not based on keeping us safe, which should be his first obligation. We shouldn’t be closing down Guantanamo. We shouldn’t be releasing Taliban that are openly organizing once again to attack us."

The host then asked more specifically about closing the prison. “We have a real challenge bringing people back inside of our criminal courts," Bush said. "It’s not going to be appropriate for every one of these folks. They themselves are threats to our country and so I’m not sure there is an easy answer to this. But closing it down for political purposes is not the right thing to do. Unless there is some compelling alternative, I do believe that we ought to stay the course."

Sen. Marco Rubio visited Guantanamo in 2012.

In a diss on Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, Rand Paul says he has best shot at beating Hillary Clinton

Among the potential Republican contenders, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., says he is best-positioned to take on likely Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race.

In an interview with Fox News host Megyn Kelly, who asked about his chances at a win, Paul said, "I think when you see my polling, the polling that's out there so far, nobody is doing better against Hillary Clinton than myself."

"Also though, when you poll people not just against each other, but against the other side, that shows which candidate has the best chance of picking up the independent vote," he added. "And right now I'm the only one that beats Hillary Clinton in certain purple states. I'm the only one that also scores above all the other Republicans in whether or not I can beat her."

We wondered if Paul really is doing the best in polls against Clinton in a hypothetical 2016 general election match-up. See what Lauren Carroll and Katharina Fielder of PolitiFact found.

March 24, 2015

Scorecards so far for Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Hillary Clinton and other presidential contenders

Ted Cruz announced his intention to run for president on Monday, formally kicking off the 2016 race for the White House. In the coming weeks and months, we expect more candidates to announce.

While we wait, we thought it was a good time to look at the scorecards of some of the people we believe are likely to run.  Below, you’ll see a snapshot of where their Truth-O-Meter scorecards stand today. Click the links on their names to access their dynamic scorecards, which update automatically when we post new fact-checks.

Turn to PolitiFact to see the scorecards for former Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio and more.

March 23, 2015

Fact-checking Patrick Murphy who will run for Marco Rubio's seat

U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, a Democratic political newcomer who ousted GOP firebrand Allen West in 2012, announced Monday morning that he will run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Marco Rubio. Murphy plans to run regardless of whether Rubio makes a presidential bid or not.

"I’m running for the U.S. Senate for the same reason I ran for Congress in 2012 – Washington is full of hyper-partisan politicians who can’t, or won’t, get anything done, and Florida deserves better," Murphy said in a prepared statement. "I’m a consensus-builder who is working to boost the economy by cutting waste in government, raise the minimum wage, strengthen Social Security and Medicare, and protect the Everglades. I’ve done all of this by being an independent voice for Florida, and that’s what the Senate needs more of right now."

With Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston and former Gov. Charlie Crist both announcing that they won’t seek the seat, the only other big Democratic name known to be weighing a run is U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando.

On the Republican side, there is a long list of Republicans who are prepared to potentially run if Rubio steps aside to seek the presidency. They include state CFO Jeff Atwater and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera.

Turn to PolitiFact Florida for our full story about Murphy including attacks by Republicans.


Patrick Murphy to run for Marco Rubio's Senate seat

As expected, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, announced Monday morning that he will run for the seat held by Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

“I’m running for the U.S. Senate for the same reason I ran for Congress in 2012 — Washington is full of hyper-partisan politicians who can’t, or won’t, get anything done, and Florida deserves better,” Murphy said in a prepared statement. “I’m a consensus-builder who is working to boost the economy by cutting waste in government, raise the minimum wage, strengthen Social Security and Medicare, and protect the Everglades. I’ve done all of this by being an independent voice for Florida, and that’s what the Senate needs more of right now.”

Murphy’s prospects on the Democratic side recently improved when Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston and former Gov. Charlie Crist announced that they would not seek the seat. But Murphy could face a challenge from U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando, who is popular with progressives.

Turn to the Miami Herald for our complete story and turn to PolitiFact Florida which has fact-checked several attacks about Murphy including his positions on the federal Affordable Care Act.


March 22, 2015

Marco Rubio picks up support from Miami-Dade lobbyist


Jorge Luis Lopez, a prominent Miami-Dade lobbyist, is raising money for Marco Rubio's potential presidential campaign.

In an email to clients and others, Lopez is pledging to raise $100,000 for Rubio and is seeking deep-pocketed donors to sign up for the same amount. "[J]oin us in standing with Marco at this critical time for Jeanette and Marco as they are discerning their family's future," Lopez wrote in an email Sunday, referring to Rubio and his wife, Jeanette.  The email was from Lopez and his wife, Marile

"Marile and I have committed to show them our gratitude for their sacrifice in public service and friendship by supporting them and by standing with Marco moving forward," Lopez wrote. 

The email, shared with Naked Politics, said Lopez is seeking nine others who will "donate and raise a total of $100,000 for the Rubio Victory Committee.

Lopez's email captures the team-picking underway among  Miami's political establishment as Rubio battles Jeb Bush for hometown dollars and support in the 2016 presidential race. Neither has formally declared as a candidate. 

March 20, 2015

March 19, 2015

California congressman marks up Sen. Marco Rubio's net neutrality op-ed in red pen


U.S. Rep. Mark Takano apparently didn't like U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio's op-ed in Politico this week explaining why he opposes the Obama administration's decision to regulate the internet -- an issue regulation supporters nicknamed "net neutrality."

So Takano, a California Democrat and former schoolteacher, marked up the Florida Republican's piece in red pen, gave him an "F" grade and posted it on Facebook. He's done this before, with a letter written by his GOP colleagues on immigration.

"I only break out the red pen on special occasions. So when I saw Marco Rubio’s recent op-ed on Net Neutrality, you know I couldn't resist. It is intentionally misleading, poorly researched, and littered with errors.

"Marco, please don't draft essays on your return flight from Iowa. See me in my office and I'll walk you through Net Neutrality."

So much for backroom conversations among members of Congress.

Takano post

March 18, 2015

Florida Senate approves March 15 primary date; Scott will sign into law

The Florida Senate on Wednesday signed off on a plan to make March 15 the date of the 2016 presidential primary.

The proposal (HB 7035) would put Florida in line Republican Party rules -- and enable the state to award all of its delegates to the winner of the GOP primary.

If Florida holds its primary election on March 1, as current law dictates, it would have to allocate its delegates proportionally. As a result, Florida would yield less influence in determining the Republican nominee for president.

"It makes Florida meaningful in the presidential primary elections," Republican Sen. Garrett Richter said of his proposal.

The bill won the unanimous support of the House last week, and passed 39-0 in the Senate.

Gov. Rick Scott said Wednesday afternoon that he planned to sign the bill "as soon as it gets to my desk."

Some Democrats on Wednesday alleged the proposal was only meant to help possible Republican candidates -- namely former Gov. Jeb Bush and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio. (The Democratic Party awards delegates on a proportional basis regardless of the state's primary date.)

But Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, said the bill would help the Democratic nominee, too.

"When you look back, when Hillary Clinton and then Sen. [Barack] Obama were running, they essentially boycotted the state of Florida," Gardiner said. "They came here and raised money, but they didn't participate in the election."


The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.