May 11, 2015

As he takes the foreign policy stage, Marco Rubio turns to 'Taken'


Sen. Marco Rubio, whose muscular foreign policy doesn’t hesitate to exert U.S. influence or military might around the worldrevved up an audience in South Carolina recently by referring to a line from the movie thriller “Taken.”

That’s the one where actor Liam Neeson vows to track down the people who had kidnapped his daughter. The same approach should be applied to global terrorists, said the Florida senator and presidential candidate.

“We will look for you,” Rubio went on, “we will find you, and we will kill you.”

A simple applause line from a Hollywood blockbuster says a lot about Rubio’s foreign policy, which has been central to his rise in Washington. It’s an approach that puts Rubio, a first-term Republican from West Miami, Fla., in the mainstream of his party’s thinking. But he’s also shown himself willing to go further than even his hawkish colleagues, and in some cases – such as his push-back on administration policy on Cuba – when there might not be a political advantage to doing so.

“What differentiates him from the rest of the field?” asked Christopher A. Preble, vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, a Washington think tank. “They’re all hawkish – just not to the extent he is. He’s a very strong supporter of intervention generally, and supported the use of force by President Obama as well as President Bush, even at a time it wasn’t politically popular.”

Rubio has, he said, “an aggressive enthusiasm for intervention abroad.”

More here.

Jeb Bush, like Marco Rubio, wouldn't undo Obama immigration order right away


Jeb Bush indicated in an interview to air Monday that he would wait until Congress pass an immigration overhaul before repealing President Obama's executive orders temporarily allowing some people in the country illegally to stay.

Bush reiterated to Fox News' Megyn Kelly that he would undo Obama's orders known as DACA and DAPA. DAPA isn't in place yet because it's been challenged in court, but DACA is. When Kelly asked Bush how he would undo that order, according to a transcript of the recorded interview, he said: "Passing meaningful reform of immigration and make it part of it."

The former Florida governor, a still-undeclared 2016 Republican presidential hopeful, had said in a Seattle radio interview last month that he would repeal both orders, noting that DAPA has yet to be implemented. "The better answer is to fix the immigration problem," Bush said at the time.

Bush's position sounds a lot like Marco Rubio's. The Florida senator, who is already a formal presidential candidate, has said he would do away with DAPA right away if it doesn't die in court first but leave DACA in place at first while pushing Congress to pass immigration legislation.

"At some point, it's going to have to end -- that can't become the permanent policy of the United States -- but on the short term I've said I won't remove it," Rubio told CNN en Español last month. "I would eliminate DAPA, the new measure, and I would use the position of president to advance a responsible immigration-reform process."

Bloomberg/Saint Anselm poll: Marco Rubio doing better, Jeb Bush doing worse in New Hampshire


U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who announced his 2016 presidential bid last month, has more than doubled his popularity among New Hampshire Republican voters since February -- while Jeb Bush, whose candidacy is still unofficial, has lost some traction, according to a new poll.

The public-opinion survey by Bloomberg Politics and Saint Anselm College found Bush and Rubio tied with 11 percent. That represents a six-percentage point increase for Rubio and a five-point loss for Bush compared to the February poll. When matched up against Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, Bush and Rubio fare exactly the same: Clinton leads against both Republicans, 44-42 percent.

The two Floridians trail Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who are tied with 12 percent. Walker, like Bush, is not yet a formal candidate. The survey's error margin is 4.4 percentage points.

Our usual disclaimer: It's way too early to read too much into polls, so consider this just an interesting snapshot of the early presidential race.

May 10, 2015

May 09, 2015

NYT: Norman Braman funded Marco Rubio's FIU gig

via @learyreports

The New York Times takes a look at Marco Rubio’s relationship with Norman Braman, the Miami billionaire who has vowed to plow millions into a Super PAC. One nugget stands out:

When Mr. Rubio left state government, determined to shore up his finances before running for the United States Senate, he landed a teaching job at Florida International University, agreeing to raise much of his salary through private donations.

Mr. Braman gave $100,000, according to records he shared with The New York Times. Dario Moreno, who oversaw the university center where Mr. Rubio worked and who taught classes with him, confirmed that Mr. Rubio had raised the money from Mr. Braman.

Rubio got the FIU job, which was never advertises, after leaving the state House due to term limits in 2008. His hiring was controversial at the time. Moreno refused to identify the money Rubio raised when the Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald wrote about the controversy.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

May 08, 2015

Hillary Clinton's claim about GOPers and pathway to citizenship

During a visit to a school in Nevada, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton positioned herself as an uncompromising advocate for immigration -- and in the process, she took a shot at the Republican presidential field for not joining her.

"This is where I differ with everybody on the Republican side," Clinton said during the May 5, 2015, event. "Make no mistake: Not a single Republican candidate, announced or potential, is clearly and consistently supporting a path to citizenship. Not one. When they talk about legal status, that is code for second-class status."

We wondered whether Clinton was correct. So we took a look closer look at where the GOP field stands on the issue including former Gov. Jeb Bush and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

See what Louis Jacobson of PolitiFact found.

May 07, 2015

WMUR poll: Jeb Bush ahead in New Hampshire


Another day, another poll in the early days of the 2016 presidential campaign. This one is good for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who according to the survey is ahead of the Republican pack in New Hampshire, which holds the first primary.

The WMUR Granite State poll shows Bush drawing 15 percent of likely GOP primary voters who responded to the poll, followed by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio at 12 percent, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at 11 percent and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul at 10 percent. The survey's error margin is 3.7 percentage points, which means the crowded candidate field remains tight.

"Bush, Rubio, Walker, and Paul seem to be separating themselves slightly from the rest of the field but this is likely due to press attention rather than any real campaign work," said Andrew Smith, Director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center.

Sixty percent of respondents hold a favorable opinion of Rubio, the best-liked candidate so far. That number is 51 percent for Paul and 50 percent for Walker. On the flip side, 34 percent have an unfavorable opinion of Bush.

May 06, 2015

Quinnipiac poll: Jeb Bush trails early in Iowa


Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a still-undeclared candidate, trails other Republicans in the early 2016 presidential field in Iowa, a new poll has found.

The survey by Quinnipiac University found Bush in seventh place, far behind his rivals, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker holds a 21-percent lead among GOP caucus-goers, ahead of Rubio and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (13 percent), Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (12 percent), former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (11 percent), retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson (11 percent) and Bush (5 percent).

When asked which candidate they would not vote for, 25 percent of respondents said Bush, and 20 percent said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Rubio drew the highest favorability rating, with 69 percent of respondents saying they have a favorable opinion of him, compared to 9 percent who don't.

"The first few months of the Iowa Republican caucus race show Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as the early leader," assistant pol director Peter Brown said in a statement. "U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, on the strength of an impressive candidacy roll out, has moved from the bottom of the pack into a tie for second."

With the candidate field still in flux, and Bush yet to make his candidacy official, a poll this early in the campaign means relatively little. It does underscore, however, that Iowa may not be the most natural fit for Bush. He has long been viewed as a stronger player in New Hampshire, for example, and Nevada, two early-primary states where an electorate less focused on social issues might be more receptive to Bush's brand of conservatism.

May 05, 2015

Fact-checking Marco Rubio's claims about nuclear weapons, aircraft, bombers and subs

PolitiFact Florida fact-checked two claims by Sen. Marco Rubio about the military. 

Speaking at the Iowa Faith and Freedom summit on April 25, Rubio said that threats worldwide "require strong American leadership, which we cannot exert as long as we eviscerate military spending, which is what we are doing now. We are placing our nation at a dangerous position."

Then he said this about the country’s nuclear stockpiles: "We are the only nation that is not modernizing its nuclear weapons." See how we rated this claim.

We also fact-checked Rubio's claim that "We are the only nation that is not building the aircraft, the long-range bombers, the additional aircraft carriers, the nuclear submarines that we need for our national defense." See how we rated this claim.

And here is Rubio's full Truth-O-Meter record.

May 04, 2015

WSJ/NBC poll: Jeb Bush leads 2016 GOP field, but Marco Rubio is catching up, has broader support


Hey, Miami: Are you ready to have two hometown Republicans leading the pack of 2016 presidential contenders?

It might already be happening, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush remains the leading GOP candidate in the poll, with 23 percent of respondents listing him as his first choice, compared to 18 percent for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio. But a wider swath of voters -- 74 percent compared to Bush's 70 percent -- say they could see themselves voting for Rubio, the poll found. Its error margin is 6.19 percent.

Rubio got a big boost from his April campaign launch (Bush has yet to make his official), and the large Republican field is still very much in flux. Sixty-one percent of respondents said they could see themselves voting for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is also not a formal candidate, and the poll included seven other GOP hopefuls. All Republicans trail Democrat Hillary Clinton, with Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky faring best against her.

For all those reasons, Rubio's camp has been quick to dismiss his strong showings in other polls. But the survey is still good news for him as he fund-raises across the country to keep up with Bush, who has a head start and established political-donor network.