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.”

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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


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.

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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.

June 26, 2015

Florida politicians react to SCOTUS legalizing same-sex marriage


The U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states Friday. Here's how Florida politicians reacted to the 5-4 ruling, updated as they come in:

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida and 2016 Republican presidential candidate

I believe that marriage, as the key to strong family life, is the most important institution in our society and should be between one man and one woman. People who disagree with the traditional definition of marriage have the right to change their state laws. That is the right of our people, not the right of the unelected judges or justices of the Supreme Court. This decision short-circuits the political process that has been underway on the state level for years.

While I disagree with this decision, we live in a republic and must abide by the law. As we look ahead, it must be a priority of the next president to nominate judges and justices committed to applying the Constitution as written and originally understood.

The next president and all in public office must strive to protect the First Amendment rights of religious institutions and millions of Americans whose faiths hold a traditional view of marriage. This is a constitutional duty, not a political opinion. Our nation was founded on the human right of religious freedom, and our elected leaders have a duty to protect that right by ensuring that no one is compelled by law to violate their conscience.

I firmly believe the question of same sex marriage is a question of the definition of an institution, not the dignity of a human being. Every American has the right to pursue happiness as they see fit. Not every American has to agree on every issue, but all of us do have to share our country. A large number of Americans will continue to believe in traditional marriage, and a large number of Americans will be pleased with the Court’s decision today. In the years ahead, it is my hope that each side will respect the dignity of the other.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush, 2016 Republican presidential candidate

Guided by my faith, I believe in traditional marriage.  I believe the Supreme Court should have allowed the states to make this decision.  I also believe that we should love our neighbor and respect others, including those making lifetime commitments.  In a country as diverse as ours, good people who have opposing views should be able to live side by side.  It is now crucial that as a country we protect religious freedom and the right of conscience and also not discriminate.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida

Today's ruling reaffirms one of the paramount principles of America that we're all created equal and have the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

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June 25, 2015

Pro-Marco Rubio group airs cable TV ad on Iran

via @learyreports

Marco Rubio is getting a boost from a political nonprofit that launched a cable TV ad blasting the nuclear deal with Iran.

"President Obama is negotiating a bad deal with Iran. Senator Marco Rubio is fighting to stop it," a narrator says as it flashes to Rubio and then Bibi Netanyahu.

Conservative Solutions Project, a group that does not have to disclose its donors, said the ad will air on national cable, as well as on radio and online. The group engages in issue advocacy and technically does not back a single candidate. But it has ties to a Super PAC backing Rubio and has likely gotten funding from Norman Braman, the Miami businessman in the Florida Republican's corner.

A source says the ad buy tops $1 million for the first week, a substantial amount. Advertising will continue as the Senate considers the deal with Iran.


--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

Governor Scott ducks question on Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush


If Florida Gov. Rick Scott has a favorite in the Republican presidential primary, he sure is not ready to share it with the media.

During an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Thursday morning, Scott was asked directly if he is with former Gov. Jeb Bush or Sen. Marco Rubio – the two Florida Republicans that seem to be dividing loyalties in the Sunshine State among the GOP.

“Let me ask you, Jeb or Marco,” Host Joe Scarborough, a former Florida congressman, asked. “Who is it? Jeb or Marco.”

Scott did not answer, instead, pointing out other candidates who have ties to Florida.

“You know, we’ve got Donald Trump in our state, Ben Carson in our state, Mike Huckabee,” Scott said.

Pressed again, Scott wasn’t budging.

“I like all the Republican candidates,” Scott said. “How is that?”

Florida politicians react to SCOTUS ruling on Obamacare


The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld subsidies for the Affordable Care Act, allowing Obamacare to continue as it exists today. Here's the reaction from Florida politicians, updated as they come in:

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida (also 2016 presidential candidate)

I disagree with the Court’s ruling and believe they have once again erred in trying to correct the mistakes made by President Obama and Congress in forcing Obamacare on the American people.

Despite the Court’s decision, ObamaCare is still a bad law that is having a negative impact on our country and on millions of Americans. I remain committed to repealing this bad law and replacing it with my consumer-centered plan that puts patients and families back in control of their health care decisions. We need Consumer Care, not ObamaCare.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush, 2016 Republican presidential candidate (also released a video statement)

I am disappointed by today’s Supreme Court ruling in the King v. Burwell case. But this decision is not the end of the fight against Obamacare.

This fatally-flawed law imposes job-killing mandates, causes spending in Washington to skyrocket by $1.7 trillion, raises taxes by $1 trillion and drives up health care costs.  Instead of fixing our health care system, it made the problems worse.

As President of the United States, I would make fixing our broken health care system one of my top priorities.   I will work with Congress to repeal and replace this flawed law with conservative reforms that empower consumers with more choices and control over their health care decisions.

Here is what I believe:  We need to put patients in charge of their own decisions and health care reform should actually lower costs.  Entrepreneurs should be freed to lower costs and improve access to care – just like American ingenuity does in other sectors of the economy. 

Americans deserve leadership that can actually fix our broken health care system, and they are certainly not getting it now from Washington, DC.  

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June 24, 2015

Miami archbishop says Pope Francis’ words nudged Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush on climate change


Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski believes Pope Francis’ recent document on global warming is already changing the climate of the conversation in the presidential race, particularly among two friends, both members of his flock — and both angling for the most powerful position in the world.

Wenski said comments on climate change by Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, Republicans and devout Roman Catholics from Miami, have been noticeably milder in tone since Francis weighed in.

“Both of them, at least from what I can gather, have walked back some of their earlier comments,” Wenski told the Miami Herald in an interview Wednesday. He called the presidential contenders’ willingness to talk about how to solve the problems created by global warming an encouraging sign. “What the pope is saying is, ‘Let’s talk about this.’ And that requires — whether you’re Democrat or Republican or left or right — it requires that you transcend your particular interest or ideological lens and look at the issue from the common good.”

Rubio’s and Bush’s campaigns dispute that their candidates altered anything as a result of Francis’ encyclical, a teaching document published last week by the popular pope, who argued a religious case for protecting the environment.

The two politicians have said if humans are causing temperatures to rise — and they’re not convinced they are, despite broad scientific evidence to the contrary — a president must still promote policies that benefit the economy over ones that benefit the environment. Both are trying to raise campaign cash from some affluent donors, including the industrialist Koch brothers, who strenuously oppose policies that would curb carbon emissions.

But the candidates have not dismissed Francis’ intervention in the debate.

More here.