July 07, 2015

Marco Rubio calls higher education system a 'cartel'

@PatriciaMazzei

Marco Rubio sought to portray himself as the candidate of fresh economic ideas Tuesday by delivering a speech in Chicago focused on overhauling the country's higher-education system.

The Florida Republican derided existing colleges and universities as running a "cartel" more interested in blocking new competitors than embracing low-cost ways to teach students. As president, Rubio said, "within my first 100 days, we will bust this cartel by establishing a new accreditation process that welcomes low-cost, innovative providers."

Rubio has also proposed requiring universities to tell students in advance how much money they can expect to make with a given degree and allowing corporations to essentially pay for a student's tuition in return for a percentage of the student's paycheck after graduation. Elsewhere in his remarks, Rubio called for cutting the corporate-tax rate to 25 percent and rewriting immigration laws to give priority to workers needed in the economy rather than to family reunification.

Rubio has offered most of his ideas before, and critics were quick to point out Tuesday that he has not been able to pass any of them as law -- and in some cases hasn't even tried -- while he's been in the U.S. Senate. Some conservatives, including the Wall Street Journal's editorial board, have slammed Rubio's tax plan as a bad idea.

Still, Rubio used the speech as an opportunity to again try to cast the 2016 presidential race as one between the past and the future -- a contrast his campaign thinks will benefit the 44-year-old Cuban American.

Continue reading "Marco Rubio calls higher education system a 'cartel'" »

July 06, 2015

Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott make PolitiFact Florida's Top 5 in June

In June, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announced at Miami-Dade College that he was officially launching his bid for the presidency in 2016.

Bush dominated PolitiFact Florida's Top 5 most clicked-on reports in June. Also on our Top 5 list was an article about one of Bush’s rivals -- U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio -- as well as a repeated claim by Gov. Rick Scott about the environment.

Turn to PolitiFact Florida to find our most clicked on item in June.

Pro-Marco Rubio political group says it's raised $15.8M

@PatriciaMazzei

Conservative Solutions Project, a political nonprofit formed by backers of 2016 Republican candidate Marco Rubio, said Monday it has collected $15.8 million since it was established last year.

The haul will allow the tax-exempt group to nationally air a television ad criticizing President Obama's nuclear talks with Iran, the nonprofit said in a statement Monday. The spot had so far only been broadcast on more limited cable networks. The group says it has spent more than $3.3 million in ad buys.

"We're also pleased to announce that, with more than $15.8 million raised already, Conservative Solutions Project is nearly two-thirds of the way to our overall fundraising goal," nonprofit President Pat Shortridge said in the statement. "These funds will allow us to continue the fight to restore our military and our nation's role in the world, and given the recent news about the nation's stagnant economy, advocate for conservative solutions to an inefficient tax code and education reform so all Americans have a chance to pursue their dreams."

The nonprofit is separate from but related to Conservative Solutions, a Super PAC also backing Rubio. Both are ostensibly independent from Rubio's campaign -- they're not allowed to "coordinate" -- but run by Rubio supporters. The difference between the nonprofit and the Super PAC is that the Super PAC must periodically disclose its financial donors, while the nonprofit can keep them secret.

July 05, 2015

Jeb Bush condemns Donald Trump's comments as 'extraordinarily ugly'

@PatriciaMazzei

Jeb Bush, who had already criticized Donald Trump's comments about Mexicans, took the harshest line yet of any 2016 Republican presidential contender Saturday when he called Trump's remarks "way out of the mainstream."

"To make these extraordinarily ugly kind of comments is not reflective of the Republican Party. Trump is wrong on this," Bush said in New Hampshire. (On Friday, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio issued a statement denouncing Trump's comments as "offensive and inaccurate.")

Trump then issued a statement bashing Bush as "out of touch":

I am very proud to be fighting for a strong and secure border. This is a very important issue, which all the other candidates would have ignored had I not started this important discussion. I will fix the border — no one else knows where to begin.

Today, Jeb Bush once again proves that he is out of touch with the American people. Just like the simple question asked of Jeb on Iraq, where it took him five days and multiple answers to get it right, he doesn’t understand anything about the border or border security. In fact, Jeb believes illegal immigrants who break our laws when they cross our border come “out of love.”

As everybody knows, I never said that all Mexicans crossing the border are rapists. Jeb is mischaracterizing my statements only to inflame. As seen with the tragic and unnecessary death of Kathryn Steinle this past week in San Francisco at the hands of an illegal immigrant who was previously deported five times, our unsecured border is a national security threat.

Jeb will never be able to secure our border, negotiate good trade deals, strengthen our military or care for our veterans. The biggest difference between Jeb and me on the border is that I believe in securing our border by building a wall, which will protect our safety, economy and national security. This is a vital step in Making America Great Again!

July 04, 2015

Marco Rubio, Chris Christie hosted in New Hampshire by Mitt Romney

@PatriciaMazzei

Mitt Romney found out Marco Rubio and Chris Christie would be in New Hampshire for July Fourth parades. So he invited them to stay at his vacation home in Wolfeboro, the Associated Press reported.

Rubio aide Jim Merrill tweeted a photo Friday night of Rubio and his wife, Jeanette, with Romney. Rubio, Christie and Romney were also spotted in a local ice-cream shop.

Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, has yet to pick a candidate in the crowded 2016 race. He is scheduled to meet with Jeb Bush next week in Kennebunkport, according to the Washington Post.

Bush is also in New Hampshire for the holiday weekend.

July 02, 2015

Miami-Dade GOP legislators make a push for presidential candidates to campaign in favor of immigration reform

While presidential candidates who oppose immigration reform may gain support from a slice of GOP voters in early voting states, that stance will cost the GOP in battleground states in the general election, according to a new poll.

A group of Miami-Dade Republican officials hosted a teleconference with reporters Thursday to discuss the results of a poll of likely voters about their stances on immigration and make the case that presidential candidates should campaign in favor of immigration reform.

The poll was conducted in the early primary and caucus states with 400 GOP voters a piece in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. A similar poll was conducted of 800 voters in 10 battleground states including Florida which represented 23 percent of the respondents. The polls took place in April and May.

The poll was done by Burning Glass Consulting and The Partnership for a New American Economy, a group that brings together mayors and business leaders to make an economic case for changing immigration laws.

Rudy Fernandez, a former special assistant to President George W. Bush in the White House, speaking on behalf of the Partnership, said that the poll shows while an anti-immigration candidate may “gain a little bit and win favor with extremists” in early states, “you lost a lot in the general election.”

Continue reading "Miami-Dade GOP legislators make a push for presidential candidates to campaign in favor of immigration reform" »

July 01, 2015

CNN/ORC poll: Jeb Bush rises and Marco Rubio falls but Hillary Clinton ahead of them both

A new CNN/ORC poll shows former Gov. Jeb Bush on the rise and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio down since May while Democrat Hillary Clinton continues to lead all GOP candidates in general election match-ups.

Bush stands at 19 percent, up from 13 percent in May. Trump follows at 12 percent, up from 3 percent before his announcement.

Rounding out the top five were former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (8 percent), neurosurgeon Ben Carson (7 percent) and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (7 percent).

Rubio was absent from the top five but just barely: he stood at 6 percent, down from 14 percent in May. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker who has not yet announced was also at 6 percent.

Clinton holds wide leads over other Democratic challengers. In a general election match-up, she holds leads over all the GOPers including Bush (54-41), Trump (59-34) and Rubio (56-39).

The poll was conducted by telephone June 26-28, among a random national sample of 1,017 adults. The margin of sampling error for results among the full sample is plus or minus 3 percentage points. 

On Cuban embassy news, Marco Rubio restates vow to oppose ambassador

@CAdamsMcClatchy

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a key voice opposing the United States’ opening to Cuba, reacted to the news that the two nations are set to establish their embassies by repeating his vow to oppose one of the next steps in the thawing process -- the confirmation of an ambassador to the island nation -- until certain conditions are met.

The opening to Cuba was first announced in December. It is a multi-pronged effort that has already relaxed some travel and financial restrictions and is quickly moving toward the establishment of a greater diplomatic presence in Havana. On Tuesday, word leaked that the two nations were planning to open embassies in their respective capitals; a formal announcement on that is expected Wednesday.

The thawing could eventually lead to a full lifting of the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba and open travel there. The White House can accomplish some steps on its own, while Congress would need to weigh in on other aspects.

Rubio, a Republican from West Miami who is in the top tier of GOP presidential candidates for the 2016 nomination, is a leading voice against the Cuban opening. While the politics of the Cuban opening are somewhat mixed, other GOP lawmakers tend to defer to Rubio on the issue.

Continue reading "On Cuban embassy news, Marco Rubio restates vow to oppose ambassador " »

June 30, 2015

PolitiFact looks at claims about same-sex marriage by Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker

The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Obergefell v. Hodges means that same-sex marriage is legal nationwide -- a decision derided by some GOP presidential candidates and celebrated by Democratic candidates, including Hillary Clinton.

Before the 5-4 ruling, about three dozen states, including Florida, allowed same-sex marriage.

For President Barack Obama, the ruling means the fulfillment of a campaign promise he made to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. PolitiFact’s Obameter rated his promise to support the repeal of DOMA as Promise Kept. We also rated his promise to support adoption by same-sex couples as Promsie Kept.

We’ve fact-checked a number of 2016 presidential candidates including former Gov. Jeb Bush and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio on LGBT issues or looked at their track record on support for same-sex marriage. Here’s a summary of some of our more notable findings.

Turn to PolitiFact for the rest of our story.

June 29, 2015

Marco Rubio to launch TV ads in November

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio will launch his presidential advertising in the early nominating states starting in November.

Rubio’s campaign has reserved TV time in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada in November through February, a Rubio aide confirmed. (Hat tip to the Wall Street Journal  which reported on the news earlier this morning.)

Iowa holds caucuses the first week of February followed by the New Hampshire primary Feb. 9th and the South Carolina primary Feb. 20th. The Nevada caucus is Feb. 23.

Florida’s primary is March 15.

Rubio is fundraising Monday and Tuesday in Kentucky and California and has no public events scheduled this week.

Jeb Bush's campaign wouldn't comment about TV buys but The Tampa Bay Times reported that the Right to Rise USA PAC supporting Bush sought advertising rates in the Naples/Fort Myers market. 

Bush is in South Carolina today where he met with pastors.

This blog was updated to include information about Bush's campaign.