August 20, 2015

In Detroit, Marco Rubio plans to say Hillary Clinton wants 'to drive in reverse'

@PatriciaMazzei

Marco Rubio will speak Thursday to the Detroit Economic Club, casting his presidential campaign as the way forward for a city that once was "the heart of the old economy."

He will discuss his tax plan -- which has been criticized by some conservatives -- by speaking in personal terms about an auto-servicing shop owner and a young single mother working there, according to speech excerpts released by his campaign. Throughout his political career, Rubio has repeatedly gone back to the image of the single mother to illustrate what government might do to improve her life.

Jeb Bush  spoke to the Detroit Economic Club in February, before he was a formal candidate.

Rubio also plans to take a jab at Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, once again labeling her as a candidate of the past.

"Hillary Clinton believes the way to win the race for the future is to drive in reverse –- to revert back to more regulations, higher taxes and bigger government," Rubio plans to say. "I believe the way forward is to embrace the future and modernize our government. I believe if we once again make America the best place in the world to create jobs, and empower every American to fill those jobs, then our generation will embrace The New American Economy and lay the foundation for A New American Century."

Read all the excerpts below.

Continue reading "In Detroit, Marco Rubio plans to say Hillary Clinton wants 'to drive in reverse'" »

August 19, 2015

Venezuelan president publicizes video naming Marco Rubio, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen as anti-government protest financiers

@PatriciaMazzei

On Tuesday night, Marco Rubio was flying back to Miami from a presidential campaign trip to Iowa. Meantime, his name was being invoked on state-run television -- in Venezuela.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro publicized a video in which an accused murderer claims last year's protests against the Venezuelan government were financed in part by Rubio and another Miami Republican, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Both politicians denounced the allegations as absurd.

Prisoner José Rafael Pérez Venta offers no details in the video about how much money was involved or how it was obtained, other than the say it came through a woman he identified as Betti Grossi, according to a Spanish-language report by the EFE news agency.

Pérez Venta also claims ties to Maduro's political opponents in Venezuela, and says further financing for protests came from a U.S. embassy worker and from the government of former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. Uribe, Rubio and Ros-Lehtinen are vocal Maduro critics.

The video is of a purported interrogation in which an off-screen interrogator whose voice has been distorted asks questions to Pérez Venta, who has been accused with dismembering a woman whose body parts were find on the side of a Caracas road. Venezuela is one of the world's most dangerous countries.

Continue reading "Venezuelan president publicizes video naming Marco Rubio, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen as anti-government protest financiers" »

August 18, 2015

Marco Rubio rejects Donald Trump's proposal to reject birthright U.S. citizenship

via @learyreports

DES MOINES - Marco Rubio said Tuesday he does not agree with Donald Trump's call to end so-called birthright citizenship for children of illegal immigrants, though he said some abuses should be addressed.

"I'm open to doing things that prevent people who deliberately come to the U.S. for purposes of taking advantage of the 14th Amendment. But I'm not in favor of repealing it," Rubio told reporters before embarking on a quintessential presidential campaign tour of the Iowa State Fair.

Rubio said he had only read news accounts of Trump's immigration plan and said some ideas "have merit, but the majority of it is really not a workable plan that could ever pass Congress. It's a serious issue. We have to confront it as a country. But it's much more complex than people sometimes give it credit for."

For Rubio, the issue is personal. He was born in Miami in 1971 and his parents, though in the country legally, did not become citizens until 1975. (That was not uncommon back then, experts say.)

While some candidates have latched onto Trump's birthright citizenship stance, including Scott Walker, others such as Jeb Bush disagree. It could not easily be undone.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

August 16, 2015

Donald Trump spells out immigration plans -- and goes after Marco Rubio

@PatriciaMazzei

Donald Trump's newly released immigration policy includes not one but two mentions of rival Marco Rubio. And they're not complimentary.

In its second sentence, Trump's plan derides "the Schumer-Rubio immigration bill" -- the bipartisan Senate legislation that Rubio wrote in 2013 along with seven other senators -- as "nothing more than a giveaway to the corporate patrons who run both parties." 

Later, Trump hit Rubio over his support for legislation that would increase the number of H1B visas, a top goal for software giants in Silicon Valley to attract skilled foreign workers.

"Mark Zuckerberg's personal Senator, Marco Rubio, has a bill to triple H-1Bs that would decimate women and minorities," Trump wrote, referring to Facebook's chief executive.

Rubio's campaign didn't respond to a request for comment. Trump didn't call out any other GOP presidential contender. 

August 15, 2015

For-profit colleges tied to Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush

Phoenix 14 One PAB

@MrMikeVasquez @PatriciaMazzei

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign spent the past week touting her new plan to make college affordable — in part by cracking down on “predatory” colleges, and forcing schools to “spend federal dollars on things that benefit students, like teaching and research, not marketing campaigns.”

What Clinton didn’t mention: Her husband Bill has been paid more than $16 million as “honorary chancellor” of Laureate Education, the world’s largest for-profit college company. The firm is being sued by several online graduate students for allegedly dishonest practices, and a 2012 U.S Senate report found that more than half of Laureate’s online Walden University revenue went to marketing and profit.

Republicans quickly went on the attack. “Clinton’s College Hypocrisy Tour Rolls On” read the subject line from a Republican National Committee e-mail to reporters. 

What the RNC didn’t mention: The GOP field of 2016 presidential hopefuls is filled with candidates who have close ties to for-profit colleges. Marco Rubio listed two for-profit executives (and the industry’s former top Florida lobbyist) as “contributors” to his 2006 book,100 Innovative Ideas for Florida’s Future. Jeb Bush gave a keynote speech at the for-profit industry’s Washington trade association last year, for which he was paid $51,000. 

Republican frontrunner Donald Trump is being sued by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for his now-shuttered “Trump University” business school. Schneiderman has said Trump University used false promotional materials and “was a scam from top to bottom.”

Trump denies the allegations, and says the investigation by Schneiderman, a Democrat, is politically motivated. 

In Florida and across the country, students who say they were victimized by for-profits are usually poor or working class. Many are single moms, or military veterans. 

More here.

Photo credit: Peter Andrew Bosch, Miami Herald staff

August 14, 2015

Marco Rubio wants U.S. to intervene in Haiti, Dominican Republic migration crisis

@PatriciaMazzei

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio wants the U.S. to work with the governments of the Dominican Republic and Haiti to resolve -- or at least ease -- turmoil between the neighboring countries over looming mass deportations.

In 2013, a Dominican court stripped citizenship from thousands of Dominican-born children of Haitian migrants, effectively leaving them stateless and prompting international outcry. The Dominican government now has a "registration" plan for the undocumented to legalize their immigration status, but the situation remains tense.

Rubio wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday asking him to reach out to the Dominicans. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Rubio is an avid letter-writer to Kerry, especially over Cuba and Venezuela policy.

"I respectfully ask that you work with the Dominican government to ensure that the registration process for Dominicans of Haitian descent is fair and inclusive of those born in the country and provides them with the opportunity to live in the Dominican Republic," the Florida Republican and 2016 presidential candidate wrote.

"I also ask that you work with the Government of Haiti to ensure those who decide to return to that country are treated humanely and receive appropriate assistance. It is important that all individuals who are affected by this ruling are afforded all their rights as citizens of either the Dominican Republic or Haiti and that no one is left stateless."

Read Rubio's full letter below.

This post has been updated to include the PDF of Rubio's letter.

Continue reading "Marco Rubio wants U.S. to intervene in Haiti, Dominican Republic migration crisis" »

Marco Rubio to denounce 'dangerous' Cuba, Iran deals in Friday speech

via @lesleyclark

Marco Rubio will mark the U.S. flag being raised in Havana for the first time in more than 50 years with a speech in New York, assailing President Barack Obama for making "dangerous deals" with Cuba and Iran.

The Republican presidential candidate, who will appear Friday morning at an event hosted by the Foreign Policy Initiative, will announce that if elected president he'd invite dissidents of repressed countries from across the world, including Cuba, Iran and China "to be honored guests at my inauguration."

His remarks come as Secretary of State John Kerry is to raise the U.S. flag at the embassy in Havana and Rubio will charge that Obama "has been quick to deal with the oppressors, but slow to deal with the oppressed." Cuban dissidents won’t be attending the flag-raising in Havana, but Kerry will meet with them later in the afternoon at a smaller event.

According to excerpts of his speech released in advance, the Florida Republican senator will say that he believes Obama's push for a nuclear deal with Iran and his outreach to the Cuban government in Havana "represent the convergence of nearly every flawed strategic, moral, and economic notion" of his foreign policy.

He will say the two deals demonstrate that the administration “has placed politics before policy, adversaries before allies, and legacy before leadership.”

Rubio is to say that as president, he'd tell the ruling Castro brothers that the diplomatic overtures would be erased unless they carry out "meaningful political and human rights reforms." And he will say he'd restore Cuba to the state sponsor of terror list and provide support to Cuba’s pro-democracy movement.

The speech also comes as the Obama administration seeks to ramp up support for an agreement aimed at preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Rubio, who opposes the deal, will say that a President Rubio would reimpose sanctions on Iran and ask Congress to pass "crushing new measures that target human rights abusers and Iran’s leaders involved in financing and overseeing Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism."

Rubio is also to say that he’d end the defense sequester and position forces in the Middle East "to signal readiness and restore a credible military option." He will also say he'd also link any nuclear weapons talks to Iran’s "broader conduct, from human rights abuses to support for terrorism and threats against Israel."

--LESLEY CLARK, McClatchy Washington Bureau

August 13, 2015

Marco Rubio wants paper trail on trafficking report that upgraded Cuba's status

@PatriciaMazzei

The U.S. upgraded Cuba in a human-trafficking report last month, drawing the ire of Cuban-American lawmakers who suspected the move was driven by politics rather than a real improvement on the island.

Now Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a 2016 Republican presidential candidate, wants Secretary of State John Kerry to turn over the drafts of the report, the names of who in his department signed off and a copy of Cuba's plan to combat trafficking -- all because Rubio thinks the report was "politicized."

"The decision to upgrade Cuba without substantial evidence of improvement is the worst form of politicization of an important anti-trafficking tool," Rubio wrote Kerry on Thursday. "Cuba is a human slave state."

Read the full text of his letter below.

Continue reading "Marco Rubio wants paper trail on trafficking report that upgraded Cuba's status" »

Marco Rubio's claim about parental consent for abortion vs. tattoos

Teenagers getting inked is apparently subject to greater parental say than getting an abortion, according to U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

In an Aug. 4 interview with Southern Baptist Convention President Russell Moore, Rubio joined other Republicans in criticizing Planned Parenthood amid the release of videos by an anti-abortion group that accuse the group of harvesting fetal tissue for profit. A day earlier, Florida’s Republican senator had been among those whovoted to defund Planned Parenthood, a measure that failed to get the required 60 votes to advance.

In his interview, Rubio raised concerns about nationwide access to abortions for minors:

"The idea that a minor can go get a tattoo," he said, before quickly correcting himself to say "cannot get a tattoo without parental consent -- but can get an abortion without parental consent -- is just mind-shattering for the vast majority of Americans. ... People who believe that a young child, a minor, should be able to get an abortion easier than a tattoo -- they are the extremists."

We decided to check whether minors need their parents’ permission to get a tattoo, but don’t need permission to get an abortion.

See what PolitiFact Florida found. 

20 fact-checks from the first GOP debate

The crowded Republican field has kept PolitiFact busy since the first GOP debate. So far, we’ve compiled 20 fact-checks of statements the candidates made on Aug. 6 in Cleveland including claims by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, former Gov. Jeb Bush and Donald Trump.

Here is the full list.

1. Marco Rubio: Says Hillary Clinton has "been in office and in government longer than anybody else running here tonight." Mostly False.

2. John Kasich: "I took the state of Ohio from an $8 billion hole … to a $2 billion surplus." Mostly True.

3. Donald Trump: Illegal immigration "wasn’t a subject that was on anybody’s mind until I brought it up at my announcement." False.

4. Donald Trump: "The Mexican government ... they send the bad ones over."Pants on Fire!

5. Marco Rubio: "This is the most generous country in the world when it comes to immigration. There are a million people a year who legally immigrate to the United States." Mostly True.

Turn to PolitiFact for our complete list.