February 09, 2015

Marco Rubio to promote book at Miami Dade College

@PatriciaMazzei

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio only sounded like he was talking about his new book when he spoke Monday at a Miami Dade College graduation for small-business owners. He will be making another trip to the university later this month to formally promote the policy book, American Dreams: Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone.

The Center for Writing and Literature at Miami Dade College announced that Rubio will make a book-tour stop at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 20. The event will take place at the Building One Auditorium of the college's downtown Wolfson Campus, 300 NE Second Ave.

Admission is free, but an RSVP is required here.

In Miami, Marco Rubio touches on themes of upcoming book tour, possible presidential run

@PatriciaMazzei

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio's national book tour -- a way for him to test the waters for a possible presidential run -- won't begin until Friday in Iowa. But the Florida Republican used a short speech Monday in Miami to touch on the same themes of his book, and of his potential campaign.

"The American Dream isn't about how much money you make. Or about how many things you own on the day you die," Rubio told a group of graduating small-business owners at Miami Dade College. "The American Dream is about being able to do with your life what you wanted to do."

Rubio's new book is titled American Dreams. Unlike his earlier memoir, An American Son, Rubio's latest is about policy -- a kind of blueprint for a presidential campaign that builds on his years-long political narrative about American exceptionalism.

Rubio didn't mention the book, or his plans, in his four-and-a-half-minute speech to the graduates of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program who gathered in downtown Miami's Freedom Tower. But a swarm of reporters stormed the stage and surrounded Rubio as soon as the event was done and asked about his edict to aides last month to "prepare for a presidential campaign."

"We're considering our options with regards to where is the best place for me to serve this country in this time in my life and in my career," he said about his presidential intentions. "We'll have a decision to make over the next few weeks."

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Politico profiles Marco Rubio, FIU professor

Our former colleague Marc Caputo, now at Politico, writes about U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio testing themes for a potential GOP presidential campaign at the class he teaches at Florida International University:

Imagine, he tells his students at one point, that “despite your message, you can’t get through [to minority voters] because they’re convinced you hate them. That’s going to be a problem, too.”

Rubio explains the GOP’s dilemma like this: “Basically, Barack Obama got eight out of 10 votes from the fastest-growing groups in America. And Mitt Romney got 90 percent of his votes from the group that is diminishing in terms of its overall percentage of the population. And from that, political scientists and other political observers will say, ‘Boy, Republicans are doomed. You just take that out 20 years, 15 years, 10 years and that’s the end of Republicans as a viable national party.’ That’s what some people will argue.”

But the senator finishes on an optimistic note. “I would encourage you to challenge that thought,” he tell the class.

More here.

February 06, 2015

Marco Rubio to speak at Goldman Sachs event in Miami

@PatriciaMazzei

As he revs up for a national book tour and potential presidential candidacy, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio will speak Monday at the first graduation of a small-business program in Miami.

The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program helps educate local small-business owners. Rubio, a Florida Republican, will deliver remarks Monday in downtown Miami's Freedom Tower, which is part of Miami Dade College.

Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein and MDC President Eduardo Padrón will also speak, according to Rubio's office.

February 05, 2015

Rubio asks Obama to enforce Venezuela sanctions

@PatriciaMazzei

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio wants President Obama to take full advantage of a new law that mandates the U.S. to freeze assets and restrict visas of people involved in human-rights violations in Venezuela.

Rubio, who may run for president, has highlighted his foreign-policy credentials at every turn, including earlier this week when he chaired the first congressional hearing on Obama's new policy thaw towards Cuba.

Obama signed the Venezuela law on Dec. 18. But Rubio says the administration hasn't fully implemented it, and the Florida Republican wants more action by Feb. 12, which marks one year since violent protests roiled the South American country.

"As the situation spirals out of control and there is a greater divide between the Venezuelan people's aspirations for democratic order and economic prosperity and [Venezuelan President Nicolás] Maduro’s government's determination to cling to power by whatever means necessary, the provisions in the Venezuelan Defense of Human Rights and Democracy Act give you powerful means to ensure persons involved in human rights violations in Venezuela pay a heavy price for their actions," Rubio wrote Thursday in a letter to Obama.

"While I support the decision by the Department of State to deny U.S. visas to an additional but undetermined number of human rights violators in Venezuela, I am deeply concerned about the lack of progress in imposing the more powerful financial sanctions mandated by this law."

February 03, 2015

Alliegro testifies against ex-Rep. David Rivera and wonders: Where's the indictment?

@MarcACaputo

David Rivera’s former girlfriend repeatedly told a federal grand jury that the ex-congressman was the mastermind behind a complicated campaign finance scheme that landed her and another in prison.

Nearly two dozen times, Ana Alliegro says, she testified that Rivera supplied more than $81,000 used in the crime, that he plotted the cover-up and he then helped her twice escape to a getaway in Nicaragua.

Yet she’s angry Rivera has yet to be indicted, despite her hour-long Dec. 18 testimony and a mountain of evidence: corroborating witnesses, a trove of emails, a handwritten note from Rivera and even fingerprints. Also, a federal judge last year demanded Rivera be named in open court.

“Are politicians above the law? I don’t get it,” Alliegro told the Miami Herald in an interview. Rivera, who has long maintained his innocence, couldn’t be reached.
Alliegro said she suspects that Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas J. Mulvihill’s phlegmatic pace has delayed the prosecution of the crime, which was first uncovered by the Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

“I think Mulvihill is the reason he hasn’t been charged,” Alliegro said.

Alliegro pointed to a memo, which she said Rivera authored, that claimed Mulvihill approached the then-Republican congressman in June 2011 when the prosecutor said he was “bitter and disappointed” because, years earlier, he had not been appointed U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.

Rivera allegedly claimed that go-betweens of Mulvihill later wanted Rivera to advocate on his behalf with the congressman’s longtime friend, GOP Sen. Marco Rubio, if Republican Mitt Romney became president the following year.

Asked by email about the issue and the state of the case against Rivera, Mulvihill didn’t respond. But a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office did. “While we have no comment on this investigation, the specific allegations about AUSA Mulvihill referenced in your e-mail are completely false,” Marlene Fernandez-Karavetsos wrote.

More here

Swing-state Q poll: Jeb Bush matches best against Hillary Clinton, who leads overall

@MarcACaputo

Hillary Clinton is still tough to beat in three of the most-important states in the nation: Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University. Note: this is a way-early poll, it basically rewards name ID. So Jeb Bush is doing best in the GOP field. Also, if you 'unskew' the Q poll (blending the average turnout by party ID from the last two presidential elections) Bush goes from trailing Clinton by 1 point to leading her by about 3, 46-43% in Florida, which Republicans must win to carry the White House).

Here's an excerpt from its press release:

Overall, Gov. Bush runs best of any Republican listed against Clinton, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll finds. The Swing State Poll focuses on Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania because since 1960 no candidate has won the presidential race without taking at least two of these three states.
Clinton’s favorability rating tops 50 percent in each state, while Republican ratings range from negative to mixed to slightly positive, except for Bush in Florida and Kasich in Ohio.

Of three “Native Son” candidates, measured against Clinton only in their home states, only Ohio Gov. John Kasich gives the Democrat a good run, getting 43 percent to her 44 percent.
• Florida: Clinton at 44 percent to Bush’s 43 percent;
• Ohio: Clinton over Bush 47 – 36 percent;
• Pennsylvania: Clinton tops New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie 50 – 39 percent

FLORIDA

While Clinton is locked in a veritable tie with Bush, she tops other Republican contenders by comfortable margins:
• 51 – 33 percent over Christie;
• 50 – 38 percent over U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky;
• 51 – 34 percent over former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee;
• 49 – 39 percent over U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, the Native Son.

In the Clinton-Bush matchup, women back the Democrat 50 – 41 percent, while men go Republican 45 – 37 percent.

Against other Republicans, Clinton’s margins among women range from 18 percentage points to 25 points.

She gets a 53 – 39 percent favorability rating from Florida voters, compared to Bush’s 46 – 38 percent favorability. Scores for other Republicans are:

• Negative 28 – 41 percent for Christie;
• 30 – 25 percent for Paul;
• 31 – 31 percent for Huckabee;
• 36 – 36 percent for Rubio.

“Not surprisingly, Mrs. Clinton’s worst state among the three is Florida. In the trial heat against the Sunshine State’s former governor, Jeb Bush, she and he are statistically tied. Another Native Son., U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, trails 49 – 39 percent,” Brown said.

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February 02, 2015

Marco Rubio losing book-sale war to Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee

From NewsMax:

"If potential Republican presidential candidates' recent book sales are a strong indication of their electability, then Ben Carson is the winner by a landslide.

The retired neurosurgeon's latest book has sold 347,752 hardcover copies, according to the latest figures from Nielsen BookScan.

"Sarah Palin's 2009 book "Going Rogue" sold 1,393,161 copies, but her latest book has sold far fewer copies – just 77,000

"Interestingly, book sales can't seem to be pinned on a candidate's popularity. Marco Rubio’s new book, "American Dreams: Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone," has sold a paltry 2,080 copies since its release Jan. 13.

"However, Mike Huckabee is considering a 2016 bid and his new book "God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy" hit No. 3 on the New York Times bestseller list, already selling 14,588 copies since Jan. 20."

More here

 

Marco Rubio PAC might have 'inside track,' but raises less than Cruz and Paul

From an Open Secrets report on the leadership PAC hauls made by the three U.S. Senators interested in running for president in 2016 -- Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz:

"...when it comes to the biggest donor of all — at least in terms of disclosed contributions — the year-end filing for Marco Rubio’s PAC suggests he might have the inside track. Reclaim America PAC reported two intriguing donations in late December. Shelly Adelson, the daughter of casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who donated more than $92 million to conservative super PACs in 2012, made a $5,000 donation to the PAC on Dec. 31.

"Rubio’s PAC also got $5,000 donation from Patrick Dumont, a vice-president of Adelson’s Sands casino in Las Vegas.

"Another positive sign for Rubio’s ultimate ambitions and his ability to tap into the universe of big-dollar donors — or perhaps rally them to any super PACs backing him — was a $5,000 donation from Paul Singer, the New York hedge fund manager known for his prolific donations and major support for conservative super PACs. That donation was made on Dec. 24. Singer is being courted fiercely by representatives of the various 2016 candidates, with his support considered particularly influential among others.

"Rubio’s leadership PAC raised just $87,000 in the final weeks of 2014, less than Paul’s PAC, and less than during the filing period immediately before it, when it raised only $131,000

"The leadership PAC of Sen. Ted Cruz  (R-Texas), the Jobs Growth and Freedom Fund, had a slightly better month, raising $102,997...."

More here

January 30, 2015

Fact-checking Debbie Wasserman Schultz's claim about Marco Rubio's position on immigration reform and pathway to citizenship

As U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., considers a bid for president, Democrats are attacking him on his signature issue: immigration.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of South Florida had this to say about her fellow Floridian:

"Marco Rubio needs to first figure out which way the wind is blowing when it comes to committing on his position on any given issue," said the Democratic National Committee chair. "He was for immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship before he was against it. It is really unfortunate that he has chosen the most politically expedient path on issues that matter the most to people here in Florida."

Has Rubio back-tracked? While Rubio has changed his opinion on how the legislation should be passed, we also found that he hasn’t changed his views on the underlying policy issues. Turn to PolitiFact Florida to see how we rated her claim