November 13, 2015

PAC says Ted Cruz stopped Marco Rubio's push for 'amnesty'

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s leadership role on a 2013 bill to change immigration laws continues to draw fire for him in the GOP presidential primary.

The Courageous Conservatives PAC, which supports U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, has attacked Rubio’s position in a radio ad in Iowa:

"We all loved how Marco Rubio took apart Jeb Bush in the debate. Wasn’t it great? But what’s Rubio ever done? Anything? Other than his Gang of Eight Amnesty bill, can anyone think of anything Marco Rubio’s ever done? Anything at all besides amnesty?" says the narrator who then switches to praise Cruz. "When Chuck Schumer and Marco Rubio tried to push amnesty, it was Ted Cruz who stopped them."

We decided to research Cruz’s role in the death of Rubio’s bill, and we’ll explain the problems with labeling it as "amnesty."

See how PolitiFact Florida rated this claim.

Fact-checking Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and rest of GOP presidential field before the Sunshine Summit

GOP presidential candidates including U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush speak at the Republican Party of Florida Sunshine Summit in Orlando today.

Here is a link to PolitiFact’s Truth-O-Meter records of all the 2016 candidates including Donald Trump and Ben Carson.

Let’s take a look at a recent fact-check for some of the candidates:

Bush: "My plan actually gives the middle class the greatest break: $2,000 per family." Middle-class families could potentially realize a higher percentage tax break, based on Bush’s plan. But that’s only counting those who would file their tax returns using the standard deduction, something the wealthy aren’t likely to do. Even with caps on itemized deductions, a range of experts said the wealthiest Americans stand to benefit more than the middle class, thanks to Bush’s proposed changes in corporate, estate and other taxes. We rated this statement Mostly False.

Rubio: "Welders make more money than philosophers." It made for a great soundbite, but neither salary nor labor statistics back up Rubio’s claim. Statistically, philosophy majors make more money than welders -- with much more room to significantly increase pay throughout their careers. We rated this statement False.

Carson: Says Hillary Clinton told her daughter and a government official that Benghazi "was a terrorist attack, and then tells everybody else that it was a video."  Carson is oversimplifying and distorting Clinton’s comments to portray a complex situation in the worst possible light. He has a point that Clinton told her daughter that terrorists attacked in Benghazi, and she told the Libyan president that a terrorist group had taken responsibility. But those were private comments made hours after the attack.  Carson misleads when he said that she told everybody else that it was a video. We rated this statement Mostly False.

Trump: Says President Dwight Eisenhower "moved 1.5 million illegal immigrants out of this country." Trump is referring to a 1954 campaign known as "Operation Wetback." While the idea that the operation resulted in more than 1 million deportations is not pulled out of thin air, historians widely cite that number as far too high for a variety of reasons -- including the fact that hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants would have had to self-deport. We rated this statement Half True

Has Marco Rubio proposed $1 trillion in new military spending?

The word conservative was uttered 18 times during the Fox Business News Republican presidential debate on Nov. 10, 2015.

The first 17 references made in the Milwaukee Theatre were done with particular emphasis by U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. (Ohio Gov. John Kasich used the word once.)

Paul called himself the only fiscal conservative among the eight candidates on stage -- and made a point to contrast himself with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, in one of the more contentious exchanges of the night.

Rubio had just defended his proposal to increase a child tax credit when Paul interjected.

"We have to decide what is conservative and what isn't conservative. Is it fiscally conservative to have a trillion-dollar expenditure? We're not talking about giving people back their tax money. He's talking about giving people money they didn't pay. It's a welfare transfer payment," Paul said of Rubio’s tax credit plan.

"So, here's what we have. Is it conservative to have $1 trillion in transfer payments -- a new welfare program that's a refundable tax credit? Add that to Marco's plan for $1 trillion in new military spending, and you get something that looks, to me, not very conservative."

Keep reading from PolitiFact.

November 12, 2015

Marco Rubio rallies Florida GOP to take on Democrats

Rubio orlando


LAKE BUENA VISTA -- His star in the presidential race on the rise, Marco Rubio dropped in Thursday on one of the groups that knows him best: the Republican Party of Florida.

On the campaign trail, Rubio likes to note that he’s twice defied the Florida GOP establishment: in 2010 when he ran for the U.S. Senate against the sitting Republican governor and now as a candidate in the same race as former Gov. Jeb Bush.

Rubio made sure to remind Republicans — light-heartedly — of his track record Thursday night.

“Five years ago when this party was under different leadership, I couldn’t even get a table, because I happened to be running against the then-sitting governor of Florida for U.S. Senate,” Rubio began, referring to Charlie Crist. “Apparently he’s now running for the Congress as a vegetarian.... Yeah, he’s running out of parties indeed.”

Rubio spoke at the party’s annual Statesman’s Dinner, a sold-out fundraiser that drew nearly 1,000 people on the eve of the Sunshine Summit, a two-day event featuring 13 of the 15 Republicans running for the 2016 presidential nomination. He played the role of motivator to party stalwarts ahead of the 2016 election.

“Tomorrow you’re going to hear from a bunch of candidates running for president that are going to ask you to vote for them, and I’ll be one of them,” Rubio said. (“One out of six Republicans is running for president,” he joked.) “Tonight, I want to talk to you about why the next president needs to be a Republican, because we simply cannot afford another four years like the last eight.”

More here.

Marco Rubio unveils campaign chairs in all Florida counties


ORLANDO -- Marco Rubio unveiled a list Thursday of supporters for his presidential candidacy in every Florida county.

Rubio has lagged behind Jeb Bush in home-state endorsements. But the sitting U.S. senator is the one climbing in presidential polls, sticking to his strategy of rolling out his campaign slowly and methodically in an effort to save money and not peak too soon.

His campaign published the names a few hours before Rubio was scheduled to speak at the Republican Party of Florida's annual Statesman's Dinner in Orlando, and before a two-day party event featuring Rubio and 12 of his rivals for the 2016 nomination. Rubio will open the Sunshine Summit on Friday.

Rubio named a campaign chairman in all 67 Florida counties, and named other supporters from the state legislature and municipalities. In June, Rubio announced his Florida effort would be headed by U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney and former House Majority Leader Rep. Adam Hasner.

"These county chairs are proof that Floridians are tired of electing the same politicians with the same 20th Century ideas and are eager to embrace Marco's vision for a vibrant 21st Century," Rooney said in a statement. 

In his own statement, Hasner noted many of them are "new to the political arena."

Notable South Florida backers include Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado, Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez, Miami-Dade County Commissioners Esteban Bovo and Rebeca Sosa. Sosa was Rubio's political godmother in West Miami, where he began his career in elected office; two current city leaders -- West Miami Mayor Eduardo Muhina and Vice Mayor Juan Blanes -- have endorsed Rubio.

The Miami-Dade list also includes Miami Young Republicans President Jessica Fernandez.

Here is the full list:

Continue reading "Marco Rubio unveils campaign chairs in all Florida counties" »

November 11, 2015

Marco Rubio's misleading claim about welders making more money than philosophers

Florida Senator Marco Rubio is a fan of vocational training. At the Fox Business Network GOP debate in Milwaukee, Rubio made a pitch for young Americans to put down the textbooks and pick up a blowtorch.

"For the life of me, I don’t know why we have stigmatized vocational training," Rubiosaid. "Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers."

It was a big moment for Rubio, but was he correct? Philosophically and statistically speaking, no.

See what Clayton Youngman of PolitiFact found.

Another post-debate victory lap for Marco Rubio on TV


For Marco Rubio, the best part of debate night is the morning after.

Sure, he has to get up when it's still dark. But it's for good reason: to be a guest on morning news shows that give candidates who do well the night before a chance to recap their performance. It's to sort of so-called "earned" media -- free exposure, without having to pay for advertising -- that presidential contenders crave.

Wednesday morning, Rubio appeared on NBC's Today Show, CBS This Morning, ABC's Good Morning AmericaFox & Friends and NPR's Morning Edition. All asked him about immigration, the question some of his rivals had to tackle Tuesday night that didn't come to him.



On immigration: "This belief that the Hispanic community is in favor of illegal immigration is false. It's just not true.... I think all Americans want to see our immigration system work better. We want to be realistic but responsible about the people that are here illegally."

On Jeb Bush allies planning to go after him: "Obviously if we're attacked we're going to respond."

Continue reading "Another post-debate victory lap for Marco Rubio on TV" »

November 10, 2015

Jeb Bush jumped in and Marco Rubio stayed out of GOP scuffle over immigration, the issue that could still cleave the party

GOP 2016 Debate


Jeb Bush’s best moment in a presidential debate so far came Tuesday night when he did what he promised to do long before he was a formal candidate: stick by his principles even if it means upsetting Republican primary voters.

Bush delivered an impassioned defense of immigration, an issue so toxic with much of the conservative base that on the debate stage it seemed to cleave the primary race into two camps — one with candidates like Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who staked out a relatively moderate position, and another with candidates like real-estate tycoon Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who endorsed far harsher enforcement.

“Twelve million illegal immigrants, to send them back, 500,000 a month, is just not — not possible,” Bush said. “And it’s not embracing American values. And it would tear communities apart. And it would send a signal that we’re not the kind of country that I know America is.”

“And even having this conversation sends a powerful signal — they’re doing high-fives in the Clinton campaign right now when they hear this,” Bush added, to applause. A Hillary Clinton aide did, in fact, confirm high-fives on Twitter.

Cruz thundered in response: “The Democrats are laughing, because if Republicans join Democrats as the party of amnesty, we will lose.... We should enforce the law. We’re tired of being told it’s anti-immigrant. It’s offensive.”

The exchange, which began with Trump, continued with Kasich and concluded with Bush and Cruz, might have been the most revealing of the fourth Republican primary debate, which took place in Milwaukee and was hosted by Fox Business Network and the Wall Street Journal.

More here.

Photo credit: Morry Gash, Associated Press

Marco Rubio's small bills on Florida GOP card raise spending questions

GOP 2016 Rubio(7)

@PatriciaMazzei @learyreports

For five years, Marco Rubio has tried to put behind him the controversy of his spending on a Republican Party of Florida credit card, taking the unusual step over the weekend of making public nearly two years of American Express statements to show how he spent the party’s money.

In some ways, however, the statements, which he previously refused to make public, raise more questions about how Rubio used the card, rather than laying them to rest.

Some big-ticket expenses he rang up on the card — $1,625 at the St. Regis Hotel in New York, $527 for food and drinks at Disney, $953 for a meal at Silver Slipper, the Tallahassee steakhouse — are the kind of eye-catching charges expected for someone doing party business.

But a slew of small charges at gas stations and for cheap meals — at a time when Rubio was struggling with his personal finances — suggest Rubio made the most of the ample leeway and little oversight party leaders gave employees and lawmakers to spend the party’s cash.

The Florida GOP issued corporate cards, intended for business use, during flush years a decade ago. A spending scandal threw the party into crisis five years later, around 2010, when some of the AmEx statements — including Rubio’s from 2007-08 — were made public. Rubio’s presidential campaign released the remaining two years of statements from 2005-06 on Saturday to show Rubio had repaid the party when he misused the card for personal charges.

An analysis by the Herald/Times of the new statements, however, found Rubio spent freely on the sort of items that are difficult to prove — or disprove — as party business expenses.

More here.

Marco Rubio formally opposes ambassadorship for Roberta Jacobson


U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio doesn't want Roberta Jacobson, the assistant secretary of state who negotiated the reestablishment of U.S.-Cuba diplomatic relations, to serve as ambassador to Mexico.

He formally announced his opposition in a statement from his Senate office Tuesday, ahead of a Senate Foreign Relations committee vote that moved along her nomination. Rubio, who heads a Western Hemisphere subcommittee, was in Milwaukee preparing for the evening's presidential debate, but senators can vote by proxy at committees. Rubio was in the minority, voting no.

Here's his statement:

Continue reading "Marco Rubio formally opposes ambassadorship for Roberta Jacobson" »