August 28, 2015

Marco Rubio to deliver China policy speech

@PatriciaMazzei

Marco Rubio previewed his China policy speech, scheduled for Friday in North Charleston, South Carolina, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed:

Over the past week, we have been dealt a painful reminder of just how important U.S. policy toward China is in the 21st century. On Monday, due largely to a crash in China’s stock market, U.S. markets suffered their worst day in four years. Insecurity and anxiety about the future—already high for American families—climbed even higher. It was a jarring illustration of how globalization is changing the U.S. economy.

China presents both opportunities and challenges. Trade with its growing middle class has opened American businesses to hundreds of millions of new customers. But Beijing’s protectionist economic and trade policies increasingly endanger America’s financial well-being. China is also a rising threat to U.S. national security. Earlier this year, it was behind the largest cyberattack ever carried out against the United States.

President Obama has continued to appease China’s leaders despite their mounting aggression. In addition to his insufficient responses to economic and national-security concerns, he has ignored the Chinese government’s mass roundups of human-rights advocates, oppression of religious minorities, detention of political dissidents, ever-tightening controls on the Internet, and numerous other human-rights violations. He has hoped that being more friendly with China will make it more responsible. It hasn’t worked.

The U.S. must continue to pursue cooperation with China when possible, but we can no longer succumb to the illusion that more rounds of cordial dialogue with its rulers will effect a change of heart. That is why President Xi Jinping’s visit to Washington next week should not be canceled, but rather downgraded to a working visit from a state visit. This is an opportunity to speak bluntly to this authoritarian ruler and achieve meaningful progress, not to treat him to a state dinner.

More here.

August 27, 2015

Quinnipiac poll: Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio tied nationally -- in 3rd place, with single digits

@PatriciaMazzei

Florida rivals Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are tied at 7 percent in Quinnipiac University's latest national poll, putting them in third place in the Republican presidential field behind Donald Trump and Ben Carson.

Trump remains the frontrunner, drawing 28 percent support in the poll -- up from 20 percent in Quinnipiac's last national survey July 30. The latest poll has Carson at 12 percent; Ted Cruz is tied for third with Rubio and Bush.

On the Democratic side, the poll found Joe Biden -- who is not a presidential candidate, at least not yet -- fares a bit better in hypothetical match-ups against leading Republicans than Hillary Clinton.

Polls this early in the race mean little -- especially national polls, since presidential nominees are elected state by state. Some of the other data deep in the Quinnipiac poll are more interesting than the horse race.

Rubio has a net favorability rating a 14 percent (41 percent of poll respondents think of him favorably and 27 percent unfavorably), second only to Carson. Bush's is minus 9 percent. Trump's is minus 18 percent. Among Republican voters alone, Rubio is viewed even more favorably, 72-3 percent, for a net rating of 69 percent. Bush's rating is 42 percent. 

Pollsters also asked respondents to say the first word that came to mind about Clinton, Bush and Trump. The top three Clinton words: "liar," "dishonest" and "untrustworthy." Bush: "Bush," "family," "honest." Trump's: "arrogant," "blowhard," "idiot."

August 26, 2015

Donald Trump thinks Jeb Bush should call Marco Rubio 'disloyal'

via @learyreports

Donald Trump has found a way to knock Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, together.

During a rally yesterday in Iowa, Trump said Bush should go after Rubio for having the gall to run against his mentor. “People thought it was very disrespectful to a person that brought him along — slowly,” Trump said.

“If I were Bush and I brought somebody along … and all of a sudden the guy, the young guy that I brought along, said: ‘I’m running against you and it's not my turn but I don't care because I'm really anxious, I'm really driven’ … I would really go after that guy. I’d say ‘He’s the most disloyal guy. He’s a terrible person. He’s horrible and I hate him.’ ”

Trump couldn’t believe how Rubio and Bush were friendly at the first GOP debate. “They're hugging and they're kissing and they’re holding each other. Very much like, actually, what Chris Christie did with the president."

Hugging and kissing?

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

August 25, 2015

Rubio gets highest job approval rating yet in new Florida poll

@JeremySWallace

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio may be stuck in the middle of the pack in the race for the White House, but back home he is getting his best ratings ever from Floridians for the job he is doing in the U.S. Senate.

A new Quinnipiac University poll shows 57 percent of 1,093 voters said they approve of the job Rubio is doing as senator. It is the highest rating Rubio has ever had from the polling organization, which regularly polls Florida.

In April of this year, 54 percent approved of how Rubio was doing his job – tying a previous record high he last enjoyed in 2012.

Rubio’s current 57 percent approval rating is about 8 percentage points higher than he had in a Quinnipiac Poll and 10 percentage points up from their February poll.

And it is light years ahead of where he was at the start of his tenure in the Senate. In February 2011, just 42 percent approved of Rubio’s performance, though he had only been in office for a month at that point.

Rubio’s approval rating is well ahead of both Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, and Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat. Both had an approval rating of 45 percent in the latest Quinnipiac Poll.

August 21, 2015

For now, Marco Rubio's happy in middle of presidential pack

via @learyreports

WEST DES MOINES -- The rain began and the rooftop bar, jammed with 400 people who just heard from Sen. Marco Rubio, cleared out. Scott Maanum hoped to meet him, but others surrounded Rubio for selfie after selfie and then the Republican presidential contender was gone, too.

“He was very inspiring,” said Maanum, a 35-year-old physician. “He drives the point home about making a better future, and that really connects with me.”

Four months after launching his campaign in Miami, declaring “yesterday is over” in an unambiguous shot at Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, Rubio has made the generational argument his focus, and he used it repeatedly during a whirlwind trip to Iowa.

It’s a way to project optimism that has been a winning formula for past presidents and to confront the challenge posed by his inexperience as a first-term senator who draws comparisons to Barack Obama.

“We inherited from our grandparents and parents the greatest nation in the history of the world, so now it’s our turn,” Rubio, 44, told the bar crowd Tuesday evening. “I know some people go around talking about making America great again,” he said, referring to Donald Trump. “America is great.”

But while Rubio left audiences impressed, he is mired in the middle of a sprawling pack of Republicans — many of whom are trying to capitalize on public disgust with Washington and are warning voters about taking a leap on another inspirational speaker.

Rubio and his advisors insist they are in the place they want, using a slow and steady playbook and avoiding the media glare that top candidates face.

More here.

Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio mired in Donald Trump's 'anchor babies' controversy

via @learyreports

Donald Trump this week injected “anchor babies” into the immigration debate and Florida’s Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio were pulled in. Both got burned, in different ways.

Rubio and Bush sought to massage the issue, saying they did not want to get rid of the 14th Amendment’s birthright citizenship but do want a crackdown on clear abuses.

But Bush made the political mistake of calling the children “anchor babies,” which some consider a slur. Hillary Clinton, who is dealing with a growing email problem and may need a distraction, jumped all over Bush with tweets and a video. Just about every liberal and immigrant rights group criticized him as well.

For Bush, points with the conservative base probably aren’t worth the distraction and implication Trump is getting the better of him. Or the damage it could do in a general election. Or that Bush looks like a hypocrite.

Rubio, true to form, used more finesse.

He said Tuesday that abuses should be looked at but didn’t say “anchor babies,” calling such children “human beings” in an appearance on CNBC.

That provoked unwanted problems on Rubio’s right. Twitter and a story on Breitbart News are littered with scorching comments that harken back to Marco “amnesty” Rubio, part author of the Senate’s comprehensive immigration bill.

Continue reading "Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio mired in Donald Trump's 'anchor babies' controversy" »

Marco Rubio: 'We have an Army that just cut 40,000 spots'

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said at the Iowa State Fair that to face threats from across the globe, ranging from the Middle East to Asia to Russia, the United States needs to keep its military strong.

"The most important obligation of the federal government is to keep you safe and me safe and our family safe," Rubio said on Aug. 18, 2015. "And it’s not doing that now, because we are eviscerating our defense spending."

One example he cited: "We have an Army that just cut 40,000 spots."

We were curious if that number was correct, so we decided to check it out. See what PolitiFact Florida found. 

August 20, 2015

Marco Rubio: Institutional racism 'doesn't just go away'

@PatriciaMazzei

The first question Marco Rubio got Thursday when he spoke in Detroit was not about the economy -- the subject of his speech -- but about anger in minority communities.

And Rubio continued to try to stand out in the crowded 2016 Republican presidential field by striking an empathetic tone on the issue of institutional racism.

"Many African-American males feel locked out of opportunity in this country," Rubio said.

He acknowledged that the country "has a history of discriminating against people" and that the issue "doesn't just go away." Congress can't write a single law to fix it, he added, noting that there needs to be a change in society from the bottom up.

"I hope we'll take that seriously," said Rubio, who is Cuban-American. "We can't be a great nation in the 21st century when a significant percentage of the population feels locked out."

Rubio took a similar tack last week in an interview on Fox News:

It is a fact in the African-American community around this country there has been for a number of years now, a growing resentment towards the way law enforcement and its criminal justice system interacts with their community. It is particularly endemic among African-American males. That in some communities in this country have a much higher chance of interacting with the criminal justice than higher education.

We do need to face this. It is a serious problem in this country.  There are a lot of different reasons for it. Not all of them have governmental answers. But it is something we need to confront.

Fact-checking claims about abortion by Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio

With the first Republican presidential debate over, Florida’s Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush are both ramping up their campaigns.

From time to time, PolitiFact Florida will check in on how they’re faring on our Truth-O-Meter. Here’s a look at the latest fact-checks of both including a few claims about abortion and Planned Parenthood.

We have fact-checked Rubio 102 times and Bush 49 times.

Turn to PolitiFact Florida to read a summary of our recent fact-checks of Rubio and Bush.

Quinnipiac poll: Donald Trump up, Hillary Clinton down in Florida

@PatriciaMazzei

Donald Trump has climbed to the top of the 2016 Republican presidential field in Florida, according to a new poll that shows him ahead of hometown favorites Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.

Perhaps even more noteworthy: Democrat Hillary Clinton's popularity has taken a tumble, the poll shows, and she now trails Bush and Rubio and is essentially tied with Trump in potential general-election match-ups.

The Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday shows Trump leading the GOP field in Florida with 21 percent, followed by Bush (17 percent) and Rubio and Ben Carson (both at 11 percent). Carson is a neurosurgeon who retired to West Palm Beach. No other candidate tops 7 percent support, and 8 percent are undecided.

Trump received merely 3 percent support in the last Quinnipiac survey of Florida in June, a sign of his summer surge.

At the time, Clinton led the Democratic field with 64 percent support. Now she's at 48 percent, with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at 15 percent, Vice President Joe Biden (who for now is not a candidate) at 11 percent and 17 percent undecided.

In head-to-head match-ups, Rubio leads Clinton 51-39 percent, Bush leads her 49-38 percent, and Trump leads her 43-41 percent, a statistical tie. The poll has an error margin of 3 percentage points.

If Trump were to run as a third-party candidate, then the poll shows Clinton at 37 percent, Bush at 36 percent and Trump at 19 percent in Florida.

"Hillary Clinton's poll numbers are like a leaky faucet: drip, drip, drip, drip. She is now getting less than half the vote in all three states' Democratic primaries,", said Peter A. Brown, the poll's assistant director, who also surveyed voters in Ohio and Pennsylvania. "Gov. Jeb Bush got middling debate grades and slips in the GOP horse race. Yet he does very well when voters rate the leading Republican candidates on personal characteristics."

Rubio continues to show high favorability ratings, the measure his campaign considers most important this early in the presidential race because it shows he has potential to grow as the campaign chugs along and more voters start paying attention.