June 03, 2015

Jeb Bush doesn't think 'good friend' Marco Rubio called him an 'outdated leader'


LAKE BUENA VISTA -- Without naming names, Marco Rubio took aim Tuesday at older candidates running for president in 2016. 

"While our economy is transforming, our policies and our leaders are not," the Florida senator said in a video played at a Republican candidate forum. "Our outdated leaders continue to cling to outdated ideas."

Hours later, his one-time mentor, former Gov. Jeb Bush, addressed the same crowd.

Did Bush think Rubio was talking about him being, essentially, too old for the job?

"It's kind of hard to imagine that my good friend Marco would be critical of his good friend Jeb," Bush said.

June 02, 2015

Fact-checking Marco Rubio's claim at Rick Scott's economic summit about dying businesses

At the economic summit for Republican presidential candidates convened by Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., expressed concern about entrepreneurialism in the United States.

"For the first time in 35 years, we have more businesses dying than we do starting," Rubio said at the June 2, 2015, event.

Is that correct? We took a closer look.

We located a May 2014 report by the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based think tank, titled, "Declining Business Dynamism in the United States: A Look at States and Metros."

In that report, coauthors Robert Litan and Ian Hathaway published data that supports Rubio’s claim. Their calculations come from a collection of U.S. Census Bureau data called Business Dynamics Statistics.

"Recent evidence points to a U.S. economy that has steadily become less dynamic over time," they wrote.

Keep reading Louis Jacobson's fact-check from PolitiFact

Economic Growth Summit: Marco Rubio


LAKE BUENA VISTA -- Marco Rubio was first in the lineup to speak at Florida Gov. Rick Scott's candidate forum in Orlando. But he decided to stay in the Senate to vote on the USA Freedom Act after the legislation was delayed by his presidential rival Rand Paul.

"It's a vote I couldn't miss," Rubio told the Orlando crowd via a five-minute video.

PERSONAL NARRATIVE: As he does most things, Rubio tied his economic ideas to his life experience (unsaid: as an immigrant): "My parents worked service-sector jobs, including for many years in a hotel just like the one where you're gathered today. My parents never got rich, but they were successful because just a few years removed from poverty and despair, they had achieved a happy life."

ON MESSAGE: Rubio, who turned 44 last week, cast new economic policies as being tied to fresh candidates: "While our economy is transformed, our policies and our leaders are not. Our outdated leaders continue to cling to outdated ideas."

ECONOMIC PITCH: Reform higher education, lower the corporate tax rate, increase the child-tax credit.


June 01, 2015

Fact-checking GOP presidential contenders on economy

The Republican field of presidential aspirants (and those likely to become presidential aspirants) will gather in Orlando on June 2 to share their views on how they would improve the national economy.

Organized by Florida Gov. Rick Scott, the event includes declared 2016 presidential candidates, such as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and potential candidates such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush,Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Texas Gov. Rick PerryNew Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Scott will give introductory and closing remarks.

The presidential contenders will give a speech and/or take questions for 30 minutes. If you hear a claim we should fact-check tweet us #PolitiFactThis ortruthometer@politifact.com

PolitiFact has fact-checked all of the speakers. Here is a summary of some of their claims about the economy.

In letter to administration, Rubio vows to block ambassador to Cuba unless reforms made


U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio vowed to oppose the confirmation of any nominee to be U.S. ambassador to Cuba unless he sees “concrete results” on a set of democratic and human rights issues.

The Republican from West Miami, Fla., who is running for president in a crowded GOP field, wrote Secretary of State John Kerry, laying out his demands.

Rubio has been a leader in Congress in pushing back on the White House’s opening to Cuba, which was announced in December. His comments echoed previous statements on the matter; in February, for example, he noted there are “multiple ways to stop an ambassador nomination, and I reserve the right to use all of them.”

The opening to Cuba 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. It could eventually lead to a full lifting of the trade embargo with the country. The White House can accomplish some steps on its own, while Congress would need to weigh in on other aspects.

As it stands now, the U.S. diplomatic presence in Havana can function without a confirmed ambassador, and some experts on Cuban issues are skeptical the Senate would confirm one, no matter Rubio’s stance.

Rubio’s position, laid out in his letter, address four concerns: the lack of political reforms on the island; the harboring of known terrorists and other fugitives from U.S. justice; the outstanding American property claims and judgments against the Cuban government; and the limitations that continue to be placed on American diplomats working in Havana.

He wrote: “I hope to see a free and democratic Cuba, but that means we must confront the authoritarian Castro regime that suppresses its own people, not acquiesce to their demands.”

Florida gay-rights group compares Marco Rubio to Anita Bryant in fundraising pitch


Marco Rubio's comments to a Christian network last week over same-sex marriage made it onto an email fund-raising pitch from SAVE, the Florida gay-rights advocacy group.

The email, which SAVE sent supporters late last week, compared Rubio to Anita Bryant, the one-time singer and beauty pageant queen who became the most-high profile opponent to Miami-Dade County's human-rights law in the late 1970s.

"If Senator Rubio wants to be president in 2016, he should know that Floridians won't support anti-LGBT attacks at the ballot box -- just ask fellow equality opponent and Floridian celebrity Anita Bryant, whose effort to legalize anti-gay discrimination in Miami-Dade County was overturned by voters in 2002 with SAVE's help," the email read.

It cited Rubio's remark that Christianity faces a "real and present danger" from rhetoric that suggests same-sex marriage opponents are prejudiced -- and therefore their religion might be, too. The comment was widely mischaracterized after a liberal group inaccurately claimed Rubio had called same-sex marriage itself a danger.

SAVE didn't get into the level of detail; it only noted Rubio's opposition to same-sex marriage. He has said there is no constitutional right for same-sex couples to wed, though he has also said the issue should be left up to the states.


May 31, 2015

Will other GOP presidential hopefuls ignore Florida primary to Jeb vs. Marco?

via @adamsmithtimes

Leave it to Florida to host the best political soap opera of the presidential campaign.

The mega-state that all but delivered the Republican nomination to Mitt Romney in 2012 and John McCain in 2008, likely won’t reprise that role again because as many as two dozen states will weigh in before Florida. But the March 15 Sunshine State primary is shaping up as potentially spectacular theater nonetheless.

Jeb Bush versus Marco Rubio.

Two Florida favorite sons, longtime friends, mentor and protege, near neighbors in Miami-Dade facing off in America’s most important battleground state. What many viewed as almost unthinkable a few months ago — Rubio beating Bush among Florida Republicans — no longer seems far-fetched.

Other leading candidates already are pondering whether even to compete in Florida’s primary.

“I don’t think there’s a state out there we wouldn’t play in — other than maybe Florida, where Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are in some of the polls essentially tied, and they are going to eat up a good amount of that financial advantage that Gov. Bush is going to have,” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said on Laura Ingraham’s radio show last week.

More here.

Bloomberg/Des Moines Register poll: Jeb Bush lags in Iowa, Marco Rubio shows promise

From Bloomberg Politics:

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has expanded his early lead in Iowa, while former Florida Governor Jeb Bush continues to face headwinds and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida shows upside potential in the state that hosts the first 2016 presidential nomination balloting.

A new Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register Iowa Poll shows more than a third of likely Republican caucus participants say they would never vote for Bush—one factor in a new index to assess candidate strength in such a crowded field. Forty-three percent view him favorably, compared to 45 percent who view him unfavorably. 

Walker is backed by 17 percent as the state enters a busy summer of candidate visits, a planned straw poll, and campaigning at the Iowa State Fair. Tied for second are Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 10 percent, with Bush and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee next at 9 percent each. 

More here.

May 30, 2015

May 29, 2015

UPDATED Jeb Bush calls lifting Cuba terror designation a 'mistake,' Marco Rubio says it's a 'giveaway'


Jeb Bush, who last week basked in the hometown embrace of Miami Cuban-American hard-liners, stayed loyal to their cause Friday when he again denounced the Obama administration for removing Cuba from a list of terrorism sponsors.

"Neither continued repression at home nor Cuba's destabilizing activities abroad appear sufficient to stop President Obama from making further concessions to the Communist regime in Havana," Bush said in a statement. "Today's news is further evidence that President Obama seems more interested in capitulating to our adversaries than in confronting them. Iran's leaders are surely taking note."

He went further, referring to the action as a "mistake":

"The removal of Cuba from the State Sponsors of Terrorism List and the unilateral concessions to Havana, before it changes its authoritarian ways and stops denying the Cuban people their basic human rights, is a mistake," Bush said. "I call on Congress to keep pressure on Cuba and hold the Administration accountable."

Bush had taken a similar stance when lifting the designation was first announced. Congress had 45 days to try to block it but didn't try to do so. The change is effective as of Friday.

Sen. Marco Rubio, the other 2016 Republican presidential hopeful from Miami, has called the decision "terrible."

UPDATE: Here's video of Rubio from Friday criticizing the decision as a "giveaway":


Miami's three Cuban-American Republicans in Congress -- Carlos Curbelo, Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen -- also slammed the change in statements Friday. Diaz-Balart and Ros-Lehtinen have endorsed Bush, and Curbelo also seems likely to do so once Bush formalizes his candidacy.

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