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October 2015

Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush about to get ugly

Like lovers spurned, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio now can barely stand the sight of each other.

The campaign has become much like the one Bush ran against Democratic Florida Governor Lawton Chiles. In 1994, Bush was the 41-year old Republican candidate who suggested the 64-year old Chiles needed to step aside for a new generation with new ideas.

Today, Bush is 62  and being challenged by 44-year old Rubio who suggests Bush needs to step aside for a new generation with new ideas.

Interestingly, the Bush campaign continues to dismiss all the other Republican presidential candidates convinced that the likes of Donald Trump, Ben Carson and others are simply today's favorite fast food. Instead, Bush sees Rubio has the only serious threat to winning the GOP nomination.

As first reported by U.S. News, a 112 power-point presentation given this week by the Bush campaign to major donors, spent a great deal of time chatting about how to attack Rubio.

Here's the talking points:

Marco chart

Well so much for being buddies.

It was not that long ago when the Bush/Rubio image looked like this:

Jeb and marco


 Apparently Bush now has a new definition of campaigning "joyfully."

Bush campaign launches Jeb Can Fix It Florida tour

There has been little good news for Jeb Bush since a disastrous debate performance this week. Now, the campaign is retooling and apparently looking for some home state love with a three-city Florida tour on Monday.

Bush, Florida's former two-term governor will attend campaign events in Tampa, Winter Park and Jacksonville. The tour is the start of a new campaign theme - Jeb Can Fix It."

According to the Bush campaign, he will be speaking at 10:30 a.m. at the Tampa Garden Club. At 1 p.m. he will be at the Conductive Education Center of Orlando in Winter Park. At 4 p.m., Bush will be at Kaman Aerospace in Jacksonville.

Bush's campaign has made it clear that it considers Florida U.S. Senator Marco Rubio to be Bush's most serious challenger for the GOP nomination.  This Jeb Can Fix It tour is likely a start to a Bush campaign effort to keep Rubio from winning the Sunshine State primary.

Expect Bush to come out swinging in effort to prove that he is tough enough to continue the battle for the nomination.


Should Jeb Bush step aside for the political future of George P Bush?

Jeb art
Last April, Crowley Political Report asked the question - should Jeb Bush step aside for Marco Rubio?

Now, with Bush's bid for the Republican presidential nomination in deep trouble, Bush the father may well start wondering if a humiliating defeat could harm the political future of his son, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush.

George P is the next chapter of the Bush family political legacy that started with his great-grandfather, the late U.S. Senator Prescott Bush. He is only two years younger than his father when Jeb first ran for Florida governor in 1994 - and lost. There seems to be little doubt that George P. could run for Texas governor or the U.S. Senate. 

Rubio was 39 when he won his first statewide race in 2010. George P. was 38, when he won his first statewide race last year.

They are the new generation of Republicans. And Rubio can make essentially the same case that Bush did when he ran for governor.

This presidential campaign is a reminder that Jeb Bush has only faced one serious opponent in his campaigns and he lost. In fact, it is notable that George W. Bush won Florida in the 2000 presidential election by just 537 votes - with his brother as governor.

The fact is Bush's electoral successes have had more to do with the weaknesses of his opponents. 

Bush has not run against a Republican in more than 20 years.

A look back at where he was tells us a lot about where Jeb is now.

As we reported in April:

Bush has not been in a Republican primary since 1994. Bush was 41. He ran against three candidates - all of whom had years in elected office. Bush had not spent a day as an elected official.

In the general election he ran against the late Democrat Lawton Chiles, who was 64. Bush lost. Four years later the Bush machine cleared the Republican decks for him. The then-45 year old Bush defeated Democrat Buddy MacKay who was 65.

In each of those races, one of Bush's themes was that it was time for a new generation. It was time for those 60-something guys to take their stale ideas into retirement. Bush would be fresh, new, invigorating, and ready to take Florida in a new direction.

Bush is 62. Most of his campaign has been a rehash of the same ideas he was talking about in 1994. So far, the Bush of that era seems to be missing in this campaign. In 1994, there was energy. In 2015, there is a sense of entitlement.

In 1994, Republicans were excited about Bush's potential. Even though he lost, they never lost faith. His victory in 1998, stirred the GOP. It would begin the next two decades of GOP dominance in Tallahassee.

Whether you agreed or disagreed with Bush's ideas, he was always suited up, ready to play. Politics for him was a full-contact sport but his mission was to remake Florida.

Continue reading "Should Jeb Bush step aside for the political future of George P Bush?" »

Jeb Bush saying no to Florida sugar growers

According to the Washington Post, Jeb Bush is calling for an end to federal subsidies for the powerful sugar industry. 

Florida's sugar producers have long called the shots on host of state and local issues. And few industries have as much political influence in Tallahassee and Washington. Bush has long supported the sugar growers but it appears that may be coming to an end.

Apparently, the Bush campaign feels ticking off Florida sugar growers is a small price to pay to win support among Iowa farmers who have long opposed the sugar subsidies.

From the Washington Post:

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, a longtime ally of his state’s wealthy sugar producers, is parting ways with the industry and calling for an end to government subsidies that have boosted company profits for decades.

The move, a surprise to industry lobbyists, could help the Republican’s struggling presidential campaign court conservative activists and competing industries that decry the sugar program as “crony capitalism.”

Continue reading "Jeb Bush saying no to Florida sugar growers" »

New Jeb Bush video slams Hillary Clinton but is she the right target?

 In a new campaign video, Jeb Bush goes after Hillary Clinton as if she is the one he has to defeat.  Perhaps it is the right strategy to ignore his Republican rivals for the GOP presidential nomination. 

Still, this seems like an odd campaign ad to release just hours before tonight's Republican debate. Would Bush have been better off taking on Donald Trump, Ben Carson or Marco Rubio? 

Here's the video:


Jeb Bush calls for cutting Social Security for wealthy and increasing retirement age

Continuing his series of major policy initiatives, Jeb Bush today offered his ideas for reforming Social Security and Medicare. He also notes that much of this would require bi-partisan support - something that is increasingly difficult in Washington.

Talking about policy is where Bush feels most comfortable. He is always certain of the correctness of his ideas and pushes hard to get them done - sometimes with mixed results.

Unfortunately for Bush, right now Republican voters seem less interested in policy discussions and leaning more toward political outsiders who have a lot less to say about specific policy changes. 

Another question - what will seniors say? 

From the Bush campaign:

Jeb Bush: My Plan to Preserve, Protect and Reform Medicare and Social Security

October 27, 2015

As a great, prosperous and compassionate nation, we must ensure access to health care and retirement income security for our seniors.  But we must also face the fact that changes are needed to preserve and protect these programs for future generations.

In 1965, health care programs and Social Security spending were less than a sixth of Washington’s budget, but today they consume almost half of all federal spending and crowd out other national priorities. Without action, the problem will only get worse: Spending will more than double – as a share of our economy – by 2040.  Unless we make changes to Medicare and Social Security, their trust funds will be exhausted and benefits will be cut.  In Medicare, hospital benefits will be cut by nearly 15 percent in 2030.  In Social Security, benefits will be cut by more than 20 percent in 2034.

If we do not have an honest conversation about what it will take to protect Medicare and Social Security, we fail seniors and we will fail the next generation of Americans.

If we do not have an honest conversation about what it will take to protect Medicare and Social Security, we fail seniors and we will fail the next generation of Americans.

I have a proven record of leadership on fixing entitlement programs like Medicaid. We stabilized Medicaid spending, modernized a 1960s-era program and gave patients real control over their health care. The Weekly Standard said,“On health care, no governor has attacked Medicaid, whose costs are swamping state budgets, more boldly…” and The Club for Growth called me a “champion of reforming entitlement programs.”  I don’t just talk about problems – I know how to solve them.

Here’s how I will strengthen Medicare:

Continue reading "Jeb Bush calls for cutting Social Security for wealthy and increasing retirement age" »

Jeb Bush forced to cut staff as campaign falters, is dropping out next?

JEB BUSH _Things are looking grim for Jeb Bush's campaign. He is laying off staff and cutting salaries while he struggles to woo Republican voters. Even Florida, where is ran three races for governor - losing one and winning twice, is looking grim.

Recently national and state polls have Bush in singles digits. Even in Florida he is coming up fourth. Donors are nervous. Supporters are having second thoughts. The campaign is in damage control.

One long-time Bush acolyte now thinks Bush may quit the race by the end of the year.

Another, believes Bush cannot surpass Marco Rubio. Another laments that maybe people were right when they said voters would not support a "third Bush."

The most surprising thing about conversations this week was the number of people who wondered if Bush would finally call it quits.

"There comes a point where you just have to accept the reality that maybe this is not going to happen," said a Washington GOP consultant.

No one wanted to be named because they still have deep feelings for Bush and wanted to be free to speak candidly.

Part of Bush's problem has been his own flubs on the campaign trail - the most recent being his description of Supergirl as "hot." Generally not the kind of think presidential candidates say - although that seems pretty mild compared to some of Donald Trump's more outrageous statements.

And then there is this new ad from Right to Rise, the Bush PAC.  It features a number of former Florida elected officials and lobbyists, yes lobbyists, who say Bush was just swell as governor. Even some of the former officials are now lobbyists.

Now how do you campaign about "changing Washington" with an ad featuring lobbyists praising you?

Good lord.

Here is the ad: 



Below it the campaign's explanation for the firings and other changes. It reads a lot like any company announcing "restructuring" and promising that all will be fine after the changes are completed. 

From the Bush campaign:

Message Points: Campaign Update

Top Line Message Points:

• Jeb is in this race for the long haul. We have made investments that have allowed us to do what serious, national campaigns must do to be competitive in the primary and general elections, including:

• Growing a real ground game in the early primary and caucus states; • Building a sophisticated data and digital operation; • Rolling out a serious policy agenda; • Getting on the ballot in every state in the nation.

• It’s no secret that the contours of this race have changed from what was anticipated at the start. We would be less than forthcoming if we said we predicted in June that a reality television star supporting Canadian-style single-payer health care and partial-birth abortion would be leading the GOP Primary.

• Ensuring we are in the most competitive position possible in this unpredictable field requires we remain as deft as possible, making strategic decisions quickly and intelligently.

• We are in this campaign to win. We will take every single step necessary to ensure Jeb is the Republican nominee and next President of the United States. We are unapologetic about adjusting our game plan to meet the evolving dynamics of this race to ensure that outcome.

• In order to achieve this end, the campaign is making aggressive changes to our campaign structure, putting as much money as possible into voter contact, and winning primaries and caucuses.

Campaign Structure:


Continue reading "Jeb Bush forced to cut staff as campaign falters, is dropping out next?" »

Florida Senate goes Back to the Future

In Tallahassee, some things never change. The current struggle for power in the Florida Senate, the driving undercurrent of redistricting, is all too familiar.

Consider this Associated Press report: The squabbling Florida Senate is finally getting down to the serious business of reapportionment with the disquieting realization this normally bloody process will be immeasureably complicated by the Senate’s internal power struggle.

That was 1982.

Much of what was happening then, is happening now. A battle over the Senate presidency.  A possible coalition of Democrats and Republicans. A fight over Senate terms.  Much of the work done in secret. Egos replacing public policy.

In 1982, the Senate President, Pensacola’s W.D. Childers was under siege. His former roommate, Panama City’s Dempsey Barron was at war with him. Their battle between the two Democrats was so ugly, two nearly came to blows on the Senate floor. The physically imposing Edgar Dunn got between them.

Barron had effectively taken control of the Senate away from Childers. There were 27 Democrats and 13 Republicans. Barron formed a coalition with the 13 Republicans and 9 Democrats – they became known as the Dempseycrats.

They could not take the presidency away from Childers but the Dempseycrats were determined to control redistricting and ensure that Childers could not be elected for an unprecedented second term – something Childers dearly wanted.

Childers, joined by House leaders, pushed for all Senators to face election after redistricting. He was convinced Barron would lose key members of his coalition. Barron insisted that senators already having two more years in their terms did not have to face reelection.

The case went before the Florida Supreme Court in April 1982. Attorney General Jim Smith, then a Democrat, argued in a 50-page brief, “it seems clear that (the state Constitution) requires four year terms for senators unless it is necessary to truncate a term in order to maintain staggered terms. That is not the case in 1982.  Generally neither the equal protection clause nor the right to vote are violated by incumbent senators being permitted (to complete their terms).”

Continue reading "Florida Senate goes Back to the Future" »

Jeb Bush raises $13 million has $10 million left

Electfinal_edited-1Not a bad three months for Florida's former governor as Jeb Bush raised more than $13 million last quarter. Fellow Floridian Marco Rubio raised just $6 million during the same period.

One could certainly argue that with the Bush family connections he was bound to raise more money than Rubio. And the Rubio folks have been quick to point out that he has $11 million in the bank while Bush has $10 million.

In a message to donors, Bush campaign manager Danny Diaz highlighted what he sees as the campaign status at this stage:



·      We raised $13,384,832 in the third quarter, which is double what Senator Rubio and Carly Fiorina raised in the same time.  In the same period in 2011, Governor Romney raised $14.2 million, despite having a much smaller field of competitors.

·      The last month of the quarter – September – was our best. We continue to have strong fundraising in October, including events today and tomorrow, which we expect will approach $1 million.

·      We have more than $10 million cash on hand in primary dollars alone, and that comes after substantial investments in data and grassroots operations across the February and March states, as well as paid advertising in New Hampshire

·      The Right to Rise Super PAC has $33 million reserved for advertising in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.  The only other committee with reservations that even approach that amount is Senator Rubio and The Associated Press recently reported that with his current cash on hand he “cannot afford the space he has reserved.”

Investments & Priorities:

·      Secretary Hillary Clinton is putting together a massive data and grassroots operation that her campaign believes will be pivotal and determinative in the outcome of the general election contest.  Any campaign that is legitimately seeking the presidency must be able to compete with the Democrats.  There are very few GOP campaigns committed to building a real infrastructure and among those we are confident ours is best in class.  Some highlights in data and grassroots organization:


·      We have a database of approximately 260 million individuals with about 3,000 data points (e.g. hunting interest, magazine subscriptions, online habits, etc.).  We also have more than 30,000 tags built off of previous identification efforts and have made hundreds of thousands of calls into early state voters.

·      This data is being used to provide detailed MicroTargeting profiles of voters in key primary states.  We know exactly which Republicans are the most likely to vote and what issues matter to them

·      We are running thousands of simulated Election Days using the data we have collected in order to game out different scenarios and better allocate resources.

Ground Game:

·      Jeb 2016 has made more than one million voter contacts.

·      We have hundreds of volunteers who have already committed they will travel to the early states to turn out the vote for Jeb.

·      In the early states, news organizations and independent local leaders have noticed Jeb’s organization.

o   Iowa – 10 paid staffers, 2 offices – Jeb’s organization “is strongest on the ground now.”

o   New Hampshire – 12 paid staffers, 1 office – “Jeb grows ground operation, biggest in the state.”

o   South Carolina – 7 paid staffers, 2 offices – Expanded presence in South Carolina.

o   Nevada – 8 paid staffers, 2 offices – “When you ask voters in Nevada which campaign they are hearing from, the most common answer is Bush.”

·      We are going to build on this formidable organization in the early states, increasing staff and resources there as we approach the caucuses and primaries.

·      We’ve also invested in March states. CNN as well as other outlets have reported on our on-the-ground presence in SEC states and other key early battlegrounds, such as Illinois and Michigan.


·      Voters in Iowa and New Hampshire are notoriously late deciders.  In 2012, Rick Santorum won Iowa having just 2% in October.  In New Hampshire, exit polls showed 46% made their decision the week before the election.

·      This is a state-by-state campaign and, in New Hampshire and Iowa, the most recent public survey has us leading the other candidates who have previously held public office (3rd in NH, 4th in IA) including Senator Rubio and Governors Kasich and Christie, who have all had substantial paid advertising on their behalf in the early states.  

·      And when looking at the key attributes in deciding whom to support, Jeb stands head and shoulders above most other candidates.  For example, 78% of Republican primary voters say Jeb “has the right kind of experience to be president”, 76% say he is “honest and trustworthy” and 76% say he “has the right kind of temperament and personality to handle an international crisis.”

Other Indicators:

Continue reading "Jeb Bush raises $13 million has $10 million left" »

Jeb Bush strategist David Kochel has cancer

Jennifer Jacobs of Des Moines Register is reporting that Jeb Bush's chief campaign strategist was diagnosed over the weekend with an aggressive form of  leukemia.

From Jacobs' report:

Kochel, 51, has been splitting his time between Miami and Des Moines as he plots a victory for Bush in the presidential race. He remains a central part of the campaign – and was on a staff call Monday morning – but Bush said he wants Kochel to put his health first.

"Columba's and my prayers are with our friend David for a very speedy recovery," Bush said in a statement. "He is an integral leader of our team, and more importantly, a great human being. I look forward to having David healthy and at 100 percent as we take on the Iowa caucuses and beyond."

Kochel had been feeling under the weather for several weeks, and had undergone medical tests in Miami. When symptoms grew worse Friday, he was hospitalized in Des Moines, where the illness was identified as T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a particularly aggressive form of cancer.

Just moments ago, Kochel posted this on Twitter:

Here's my first chemo selfie! Also put a "dear Leukemia" note up on … #AllInForJeb

Embedded image permalink

Read more from the Des Moines Register.

New Jeb Bush ad knocks old order but is that the really the Bush family

 This new campaign ad for Jeb Bush comes from Right to Rise PAC, run by one of Bush's top advisers, Mike Murphy. 

The ad begins with a shot of President Obama and Hillary Clinton appearing to be on the steps of Air Force One. The video quickly shifts to Bush saying "We need to disrupt the old order in Washington, D.C."

Bush appears in the ad speaking to a "town hall" gathering in what Donald Trump might call a "high energy" fashion.

The "old order" theme is interesting for Bush considering his family history. From his grandfather who was a U.S. Senator to his father who held several political offices before becoming vice president and then president to his brother George W., the Bush family has been part of Washington for most of the past 60 years.

Sen. Prescott Bush held office from 1952 to 1963.

George H.W. Bush was a congressman from 1967 to 1971, U.N. Ambassador 71-73, RNC chairman, 73-74, Chief of Liaison Office in China, 74-75, CIA director, 76-77, Vice President 81-89, President 89-93.

George W. Bush was president 2001 to 2009.

There are not a lot of gaps there in the Bush's family time spent involved in Washington politics.

Apparently, the definition of "old order" is just the last eight years.

One wonders if Bush would be better off embracing the family's Washington legacy than pretending he's not part of it while dearly trying to extend it.


Right to Rise put to music but Jeb Bush is not the lead singer

Sure this is probably just an odd coincidence, but with some folks (we're thinking of you Donald Trump) suggesting that Jeb Bush is a tad "low energy," perhaps his team should chat with these folks about using their version of "Right to Rise."

Of course then the question would be -  can this band work with the Oak Ridge Boys? After all, Elvira became a popular campaign song during Bush's races for Florida governor.

And with out further ado.....


PEW Poll finds Republican voters care more about new ideas than experience

Pew Research Center's new poll suggests that in the battle for primacy between Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, Bush's touting of his experience as Florida's governor for eight years may not be as effective in wooing Republican voters as is Rubio's claim of being the guy with new ideas.

Few polls go as deep or as complex as Pew Research Center's. 

One of the most interesting findings is this:

Since March, the share of all registered voters who say it is more important for a presidential candidate to have “new ideas and a different approach” has surged – with virtually all of the increase coming among Republican and Republican-leaning voters.

Today, by more than two-to-one (65% to 29%), Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters say it is more important that a candidate have new ideas than “experience and a proven record.” Just five months ago, GOP voters valued experience and a proven record over new ideas, 57% to 36%.

That finding also suggests a reason why Donald Trump is leading among GOP presidential candidates. 

Pew's also finds that among Democrats, new ideas are less of a concern.

Opinion among Democratic voters continues to be more evenly divided: 50% say it is more important for a candidate to have experience and a proven record, while 42% view new ideas and a different approach as more important. This is little changed from March (46% experience, 49% new ideas).

This is a very detailed poll and takes some time to absorb. It is well worth the effort to get a deeper understanding of how issues are playing out among voters. The poll also includes more than a dozen charts some of which are below. 

And unlike most media polls, it has significant sample size.

The latest national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted Sept. 22-27 among 1,502 adults, including 1,136 registered voters, gauges the impact of various issue positions on the preferences of possible Republican and Democratic primary voters.

Lean back, relax and read the entire survey here. 


GOP Voters' Views of 'New Ideas,' Experience and the 2016 Campaign


How Possible Republican and Democratic Primary Voters Assess Candidates' Positions

Economy Remains Top Campaign Issue

Support for the GOP Candidates Varies by Income, Education, Gender, Religiosity

Jeb Bush slaps Marco Rubio joyfully

For months, Marco Rubio has been sticking Jeb Bush with the suggestion that Bush is just an aging Baby Boomer who needs to get out of Rubio's political way.

Bush's campaign largely ignored him. Essentially Bush was patting Rubio on the head - "isn't he cute."

Not any more.

During an appearance today on Morning Joe, Bush stopped patting and hit Rubio upside the head during a Q & A with Bloomberg's John Heilemann.

"Are you saying Senator Rubio does not have the leadership skill to fix things?"

". . .I think I have the leadership skills to fix things and that's my strength. Marco was a member of the House of Representatives when I was governor and he followed my lead and I'm proud of that."

"But you do not think he has leadership skills to fix things?"

"It's not. (then with emphasis) No. Barack Obama didn't end up having them"

So not only does Bush say Rubio does not have leadership skills, but that Rubio is just like Obama.

So much for campaigning "joyfully."

The fact is that Bush has always been supportive of Rubio - that is until he decided to run for president. Now, the same Rubio he praised for his skills is apparently lost the skills somewhere on the campaign trail.

Of course, Rubio has been asking for it. His "next generation" campaign has been a thinly veiled attack on Bush who he needs to defeat if he has any chance of winning the Republican nomination.

Here's Bush on MSNBC: 



And in the next video, Bush says just the opposite, praising Rubio in comparing him to Obama: