Marco Rubio

Jeb Bush pouts, Marco Rubio struggles and Donald Trump smirks

Jeb Bush is not endorsing Marco Rubio. Clearly Bush is still pouting. He may loathe Donald Trump, but with Rubio it's personal and nothing would please Bush more than to see Rubio lose the Florida primary.

Meanwhile, Rubio is rediscovering his home state. The man who adorned the cover of Time magazine, has spent little time worrying about the day-to-day lives of Floridians. That's the downside of seeing your picture on the cover - rock stars start to forget the fans back home. Rubio

Nine out of 10 Florida political insiders polled this week (more than 160) by the Tampa Bay Times say they expect Rubio to lose Florida. Rubio's campaign is deeply worried. One Rubio adviser told Crowley Political Report that if Rubio loses Florida, there is no road to continue the campaign.

Even if Bush were to suddenly decide that he must endorse Rubio to stop Trump, there really is no reason to believe that Bush's endorsement would be of much help. Bush was a dismal presidential candidate. Polls showed him trailing Trump badly in Florida. The vaunted Bush machine proved to rusty and out-of-step. Many of those who did support Bush are still bitter and his inner circle never forgets.

Tomorrow marks the seventh anniversary of the formation of the Marco Rubio exploratory committee. On March 4, 2009, Rubio formed the committee to prepare for 2010 U.S. Senate race. At the time, he said he would switch to running for governor if Republican Governor Charlie Crist decided to run for the senate.

Crist did. Rubio decided to take him on. He pushed Crist out of the GOP. In a three way race against Democrat Kendrick Meek, and newly no-party candidate Crist, Rubio won with 49 percent of the vote.

It was impressive. National Republican leaders were excited. Rubio became a rock star. Ambitious and confident, Rubio wouldn't even budge from the presidential race under the withering pressure of the House of Bush. 

Now Rubio is at a crossroad. Should he continue his struggle to win the nomination? Should he quit if he loses Florida? Should he quit before Florida?

There is no easy answer.

Jeb artMeanwhile, Bush continues to pout apparently not caring if Trump is the nominee.

And Trump continues to smirk.



Mitt Romney slashes Donald Trump adopts Marco Rubio con artist phrase

Maybe it was just a coincidence but among the many notable things about Mitt Romney's attack on Donald Trump today was his use of the phrase "con artist."  That term as become a favorite of Marco Rubio who has repeatedly called Trump a con artist as the campaigns entered Super Tuesday.

Romney did not endorse anyone. Instead, Romney urged Rubio, Ted Cruz and John Kasich to win their home states, do well elsewhere and deny Trump the 1,237 delegates needed to win the nomination. The result would be a brokered convention.

Below is a text of Romney's speech as prepared for delivery.

I am not here to announce my candidacy for office. I am not going to endorse a candidate today.

Instead, I would like to offer my perspective on the nominating process of my party. In 1964, days before the presidential election which, incidentally, we lost, Ronald Reagan went on national television and challenged America saying that it was a "Time for Choosing." He saw two paths for America, one that embraced conservative principles dedicated to lifting people out of poverty and helping create opportunity for all, and the other, an oppressive government that would lead America down a darker, less free path. I'm no Ronald Reagan and this is a different moment but I believe with all my heart and soul that we face another time for choosing, one that will have profound consequences for the Republican Party and more importantly, for the country.

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Florida insiders say Marco Rubio will lose Sunshine State

Grim news for Marco Rubio if Florida political insiders are correct. An overwhelming number of those surveyed by the Tampa Bay Times - 90 percent - say they expect Rubio to lose the Florida primary on Super Tuesday.

The Times Insider Poll includes top Republicans, Democrats and no party insiders. Crowley Political Report - no party - is among those surveyed.

Nine in ten said of the 160 surveyed said Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee. And more than 8 out of 10 said Rubio should end his campaign if he loses Florida.

Read more here.


Rubio campaign email calls Donald Trump a dangerous con artist

Marco Rubio's campaign wasted little time asking for money in an email sent out as Super Tuesday voters were still being counted. The email warns against handing "our party over to a dangerous con artist.''

On the campaign trail during the last few days, Rubio has repeatedly called Donald Trump a "con artist." Rubio, who remains far behind Trump, is hitting Trump hard in his effort to trip the frontrunner.

An excerpt from the Rubio email:

Thanks to the hard work of Marco and supporters and volunteers like you, we’re going to come away from tonight with a good chunk of delegates from a diverse range of states. Marco’s message is ready to go national, and he’s the only one who can unify the party against Donald Trump.

 It’s going to be a long fight against the con artist.

Marco has shown the country what putting up a real fight against Trump looks like: It takes a sense of humor, certainly, but it also takes a confidence in your own vision and own ideas to call him out for having absolutely nothing to offer the people he’s trying to swindle.

We are not going to let our party be taken over by a con artist, and we’re not going to nominate a candidate who’ll be totally steamrolled by the Democratic machine. Marco is not going to give up this fight -- he’ll do whatever it takes to stop Trump.

Marco Rubio team tells donors he will fight Donald Trump at the convention

No matter Super Tuesday's results, Marco Rubio is not going to give up his quest to win the the Republican nomination even if that means fighting Donald Trump at the convention.

According to Politico, top campaign adviser Terry Sullivan told donors Tuesday that Trump will not have enough delegates at the convention and that it is "mathematically impossible" for Trump to reach the needed 1,237,

From Politico:

Sullivan's comments that the Rubio campaign plans to take this all the way to the Republican National Convention echo a message he delivered in New York last week. And it dovetails with what Rubio himself has been saying on the stump since Saturday, vowing to "campaign as long as it takes" in order to prevent Donald Trump from winning the nomination and potentially upending the Republican Party as a whole.

. . .

Not everyone who attended left the meeting thinking the campaign had a workable plan to dethrone Trump as the party's expected nominee.

"It was a presentation that defied reality," said one Rubio backer. "They said their convention strategy was not contingent on winning any states... Even if you go to the [second ballot] why would anyone say Marco Rubio is the guy to give it to?"

Read more:

Jeb Bush's problem was never Donald Trump

“Please clap.”

It may have been the saddest moment in the political career of Jeb Bush – a moment when even he must have known that his campaign would soon end.

Everything was wrong with his campaign. He was the wrong candidate at the wrong time. He stubbornly stuck to talking points that had little resonance with voters.

Often, Bush sounded like an aging former high school quarterback talking about how he led his team to the state championship 20 years ago. His constant harping about his years as Florida governor (1999 to 2007) overshadowed the many policy papers he placed on his website outlining his vision for handling a wide variety of national issues.

His campaign never seemed to hit the right rhythm. Bush started with a “Right to Rise” theme that would quickly become the name of his super PAC. As that theme fizzled, the campaign came up with “Jeb Can Fix It” which was easily ridiculed by rivals who suggested it sound like he was a North Florida handyman. Jeb hed

Toward the end of his campaign the slogan switched again, this time to “Trusted Leadership” with all the resonance of a neighborhood bank. His slogans certainly did not stoke the imagination of “Make America Great Again.”

Bush’s prowess as a candidate was always a myth. Bush lost his first campaign for Florida governor in a close race against a sitting Democrat governor. When he ran again in 1998, the state’s GOP leadership cleared the field for him in the Republican primary. Bush went on to defeat Democratic Lt.Gov. Buddy, who ran a dismal campaign. Bush won reelection in 2002 running against a Tampa-based lawyer who had never run for political office.

What Bush did have was tremendous family connections built over six decades in Washington politics that helped him raise an incredible $150 million – most of which went to Right to Rise. In fact, so much of the money went to R2R that Bush legally could not tell R2R how to spend money. It was a little like George Patton going into Europe during WWII with someone else in charge of his tanks.

As he did in his unsuccessful 1994 campaign, Bush became JEB! The third child of George and Barbara would use the last name to raise money and campaign for him, but he wanted the voters to see him as just Jeb.

As he said in this campaign, Bush remained determined to be his “own man.” It was always a silly notion. With a father and brother as presidents, Bush only appeared disingenuous to suggest his last name didn’t matter. Finally, in the desperate final days of the South Carolina campaign he brought both his mother and older brother to campaign for him.

During most of the last nine months, Bush seem flummoxed by the very idea that the Republican Party his family helped build could possibly consider someone as outside of the Grand Old Party as Donald Trump. Bush wasted many months refusing to take Trump seriously. Right to Rise had a detailed plan for taking out Marco Rubio, but it too seemed to be following Bush into the Trump abyss.

Bush has always considered himself the smartest person in the room. He is thin skinned and takes the smallest slights as personal affront. He is accustomed to surrounding himself with younger acolytes who worship him and rarely confront him. A prince in a royal family, Bush was ill-prepared to deal with a loud bully. Bush thought a mere wave of the hand would be enough to dismiss Trump’s shout that Bush was low energy.

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New York Times explores Joe Scarborough and Marco Rubio feud

Is there a feud between Marco Rubio and Joe Scarborough? The New York Times explores this question and comes up with some interesting answers. 

An excerpt:

In an election season marked by animosity, egos and insults, this feud transcends media, politics and state lines. It follows two men from the swamps of Florida politics to a presidential cycle in which Mr. Rubio, 44, has emerged as a leading candidate, and Mr. Scarborough, 52, as one of his fiercest critics.

. . .

On the surface, the fight seems to be a classic case of a celebrity host being snubbed and his feelings being hurt: Mr. Rubio has appeared on “Morning Joe” just once since becoming a senator.

While Mr. Rubio has boycotted the program, its hosts have derided him for everything from his fashion choices (“shagalicious”) to his lack of legislative accomplishments, producing the kind of memorable moments that have taken off on social media.

. . .

But many of Mr. Rubio’s allies, and even some pundits, view Mr. Scarborough’s distaste for him as driven by something more elemental: envy.

“Almost every election cycle since Joe left Congress, there is talk that he should run for U.S. Senate, governor, or something else,” said Brian Crowley, a former Florida political reporter, adding that after Mr. Rubio became the Florida House speaker, “he started crowding that space.” Mr. Scarborough is a former Republican congressman from the state’s panhandle.

Mr. Rubio and Mr. Scarborough have never actually met. But, as Mr. Crowley noted, Mr. Scarborough was known to think highly of Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, and had ties to Charlie Crist, whom Mr. Rubio defeated in the 2010 Senate race.

Mr. Scarborough dismissed such talk. “I don’t know Marco well enough to resent him,” he said. “I am paid to be an analyst, a political analyst, to tell viewers and influencers what my take is on the political system.”

Read the full New York Times story here.


Jeb Bush rips Marco Rubio

 In less than two minutes, Jeb Bush six times says Marco Rubio, "cut and run" saway from immigration reform when Rubio was a member of the bi-partisan Gang of Eight.

Bush questions Marco's leadership skills and says when he sees a problem he tries to solve. Bush suggests that he would have come up with a bi-partisan consensus that would have passed both the House and Senate.

The rivalry between Bush and Rubio has become highly personal. Bush and his most ardent supporters remain angry that Rubio, one a political friend and ally, dared to challenge Florida's former governor for Republican presidential nomination.

This video from today's press conference announcing the endorsement of South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham,  is one of Bush's more passionate moments. 

Lindsey Graham's odd moment with Jeb Bush



I have concluded without any hesitation Jeb Bush is that man.

For those worried about going it alone you don't have to worry with Jeb Bush.

Last night he did not talk the most but he made the most sense

Moments after Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina endorsed Jeb Bush for president he described Marco Rubio as someone who will be president someday.

It was a startling moment as Graham stood with Bush, who towered over the shorter Graham, praising the former Florida governor for his ability to be commander-in-chief.

Graham, who specializes in foreign policy and national security, said no one is better prepared to deal with terrorists than Bush.

"His plan to defeat Isil is the most comprehensive and most well thought out of anyone on both sides of the aisle," said Graham, who dropped out of the presidential campaign after failing to garner any significant support.

"Jeb Bush will put the country ahead of the party," said Graham.

Bush said one of his strengths is that,  "I've learned at the age of 62 to know what you don't know." Bush went on to describe South Carolina primary as "really important." Bush is hoping that the Palmetto State can help revive his struggling campaign if he does well enough in Iowa and New Hampshire to make it the first Southern primary.


But in one of those moments that seem to haunt the Bush campaign, Graham answered a question saying, "Marco Rubio will be president of the United States someday" adding that Rubio, at 44, is too young.

If Graham meant it as a slam at Rubio's youth, it didn't work. Instead, he gave the Rubio campaign a potentially useful soundbite: "Marco Rubio will be president of the United States someday."

Expect Rubio to say that day is now.

Marco Rubio campaign ads tough on amnesty and border security

 Marco Rubio has two news television ads on the heels of last night's Republican debate.

From his news release:

 The first ad, “Support,” features Kelly Terry-Willis, whose brother, Brian, was murdered protecting the U.S. border in 2010. Brian’s murder exposed the Obama Administration’s infamous Fast and Furious operation. Kelly supports Marco because she knows he will give U.S. border patrol agents like Brian the support they need to their job, and as commander-in-chief he will keep our country safe. 
“My brother, Brian, sacrificed his life while serving our country on the southern border, so my family knows firsthand how important it is to once and for all secure it,” Kelly said in a statement about the new ad. “And for seven years now, Barack Obama has done nothing. Such a scandal never would have happened with someone like Marco Rubio in the White House. For my family, there is no greater priority than electing a president who will keep us safe. That’s why I’m proud to support Marco Rubio. As president, I trust him to secure the border and keep America safe. Senator Rubio is not just someone who can win the nomination. He is a standard bearer that can make it to the White House. "


 The second ad, “Happening,” sets the record straight on Jeb Bush’s desperate false attacks. As Marco does on the campaign trail, he says there will be no amnesty, promises to cancel President Obama’s unconstitutional executive orders, and deport criminal illegal aliens. Marco also describes his plan to protect the U.S. Southern Border with 700 miles of fencing and 20,000 additional border agents.


Jeb Bush hopes to beat expectations and be viable in March primaries

No candidate may have more to lose tonight during the Fox Business News debate than Jeb Bush. While there is some polling that suggests he is slowing moving up in New Hampshire, his campaign still needs a moment to set fire-up voters. So far, that moment has been elusive.

Bush has not been a stellar debater and with the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary just weeks away, Bush is betting heavily on attacking Donald Trump and Marco Rubio in a series of new campaign ads.

Bush seems baffled by the 2016 race. He clearly blames most of his problems on Trump. Below is a revealing interview with the Associated Press that appeared Wednesday. 

Bush tells AP that "he didn't know what to plan for," when he decided to run for president. Anyone remotely familiar with the very deep planning for his campaign that took more than a year, would be surprised to hear Bush's comment.

He also repeats the notion that he was "uncomfortable" being called the front runner early last year. 

Bush calls this election year "dramatically different." People are showing their "anger and angst....very different than any time I can recall."

He says the "conservative cause" is "being hijacked by Donald Trump."

Bush's body language seems revealing. He appears uncomfortable and sounds a touch uncertain. At one point he says he believes he must fight to protect the conservative cause and "I don't know what the consequences politically for me are . . ." A comment that hardly sounds like someone confident of victory.

Bush notes that he has a "national campaign" and a Super Pac (Right to Rise) that "has a lot of resources." He also points out that he is on the ballot in every state. 

Bush then says he hopes to "beat expectations" in the early states and "move in March as a candidate who that's viable. We'll be viable."

Viable? That's not where the folks who contributed over $100 million expected Jeb Bush to be in January 2016.



Florida Governor Rick Scott loves Donald Trump

This is the kind of silliness that Florida Governor Rick Scott has become known for in the Sunshine State. In a lengthy Op-ed in USA Today, Scott sings the praises of Donald Trump and then says but golly, "I have no plans to endorse a candidate."

Well that's courageous as hell.

Scott shows his love for Trump throughout his opinion piece.

Political pundits are shocked that Donald Trump is leading in the polls. The same thing happened in 2010 when I entered the Florida gubernatorial race against the already anointed and establishment-endorsed sitting Republican attorney general. One establishment member even said to me “how can you be Governor? I don’t know you."

RickScottLet's pause: Did Scott just take a slap at establishment candidate Jeb Bush? Or Floirda U.S. Senator Marco Rubio?

Back to Trump:

I know Donald Trump personally, and while I currently have no plans to endorse a candidate before Florida’s March presidential primary, there is no doubt that Donald is a man who speaks and tweets his mind freely. But, I don’t think his ability to give the most interesting interviews or speeches is the only thing that has him leading in the polls. I think he is capturing the frustration of many Americans after seven years of President Obama’s very intentional government takeover of the American economy.

Let's pause again.

Not an endorsement? Seriously? 

We are mere weeks away from the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary and Scott writes high praise for one of the candidates. 

Once again, Scott proves that he really thinks most voters are a bunch of dummies. 

Soon Scott drifts off to brag about his accomplishments.  You can read Scott's non-endorsement, endorsement here.

Marco Rubio saying nothing brilliantly in this video

This is Marco Rubio at his video best. Looking earnest. Looking concerned. Looking determined.

And saying - well nothing really. But it sounds very good.

"We will have a foreign policy of moral clarity that is clear whose side we're on. We are on the side of freedom and democracy and those who are willing to fight for their own freedom and democracy.  And our enemies and our adversaries will not dare test us because they will know if they do they will not prevail"

 The ad concludes with this from an announcer:

"Marco Rubio, the one Republican Hillary hopes she never has to run against."

Now let's dissect a bit.

Is there a candidate not "on the side of freedom and democracy?"

Is there a candidate not on the side of those "willing to fight for their own freedom and democracy?"

And this bit: "our enemies and adversaries will dare not test us."

Let's just note that history would suggest otherwise.

So will this ad, done by the Rubio supporting PAC Conservative Solutions,  sway Iowa and New Hampshire voters? 

It may have less impact than Rubio's performance tonight at the Las Vegas debate.

You decide.


Jeb Bush starts Las Vegas debate with a new video

 Jeb bush's new video starts with this question - "What makes us who we are?"

It is a question that Bush has been struggling to answer since he launched his campaign for president. Recent polls suggest that Bush is largely an after thought, if that, for many Republican voters.

Still, Bush clings to the notion that when all is said and done, Republicans will reject Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson and all the rest of the GOP field in favor of someone who last held public office 9 years ago.

If Bush is right, it would be one of the biggest comeback stories in modern politics. 

While this ad suggests that Bush is the only one who can take on ISIS, Bush has a more pressing concern at tonight's debate in Las Vegas - proving he can take on Trump and the rest of the field.

Marco Rubio begins new television ad in Iowa and New Hampshire

Marco Rubio's new television ad is dubbed "About."  The ad begins tomorrow in Iowa and New Hampshire.

As he often does, Rubio simply faces the camera and using his best earnest voice speaks to the audience.

"This election is about the essence of America. About all of us who feel out of place in our own country. A government incredibly out of touch and millions with traditional values branded bigots and haters. This is about wages growing slower than the cost of living. A generation drowning in debt, and a president humiliated by Putin, Iran, and Islamic jihadists.

"I'm Marco Rubio. I approve this message because this is about the greatest country in the world and acting like it."


Marco Rubio second behind Donald Trump in new Quinnipiac poll

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It has become almost pointless to continue to note that national polls mean very little because the dynamic of how polls are being used this year make quality far less important than the buzz caused by the never-ending cycle of polls. Clearly this dubious enterprise has been grand for Donald Trump and a nightmare for Jeb Bush who must keep explaining to donors why he is in single digits.

Today's Quinnipiac Poll creates this narrative: nothing Trump does seems to hurt him; Marco Rubio's strength is growing; Bush continues to struggle.

Trump: 27

Rubio: 17

Carson: 16

Cruz: 16

Bush: 5

All others 3 or less.

8 percent undecided.

 "It doesn't seem to matter what he says or who he offends, whether the facts are contested or the 'political correctness' is challenged, Donald Trump seems to be wearing Kevlar," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

"Dr. Ben Carson, moving to center stage just one month ago, now needs some CPR. The Doctor sinks. The Donald soars. The GOP, 11 months from the election, has to be thinking, 'This could be the guy.'

From November 23 - 30, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,453 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones. The survey includes 672 Republicans with a margin of error of +/- 3.8 percentage points and 573 Democrats with a margin of error of +/- 4.1 percentage points.

 Read more about the poll here.

Rubio tells crowd none of our candidates under FBI investigation

Marco Rubio got cheers today when he told Florida Republicans, "we don't have any socialists running...and none of our candidates are under investigation by the FBI."

Rubio, the first presidential candidate speaking at the Sunshine Summit, took his shot at Democrats Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton near the start of his speech.

Sanders acknowledges being a socialist, while the FBI has apparently begun an investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server while secretary of state.

Rubio said he is the first presidential candidate to sign papers to become a candidate in the Florida primary.  "I had to bring my ID," he said.

Often stern, Rubio warned that America is "running out of time....both parties are too blame for this road we are on."

In an indirect shot at former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Rubio noted that he, "does not come a from rich and powerful family."

Giving much of his stump speech, Rubio talked about threats around the world ("a lunatic in North Korea...a gangster in Moscow"), a weakened military, the national debt, and his plans to fix it all.

Othere highligts:

"Religious liberty is not just the right to believe whatever you want but the right to exercise it at work and at home."

"We must always be the party that protects and defends the Second Amendment"

"Limited government, free enterprise, strong families....if we are not for those things than nobody is for those things."

ubio was cheered repeated and received a standing ovation after his speech.




Jeb Bush has skittles, Ben Carson cuts out and Marco Rubio sells clothes

Moments away from today's start of the Florida Republican Party's Sunshine Summit, folks are strolling by an assortment of candidate booths with some interesting choices for the GOP faithful.

Marco Rubio's booth looks like a discount clothing store packed with wearable items for those who support Florida's junior U.S. Senator.  Rubio store


While sales of Rubio-wear seemed less than brisk, the handing out of Rubio stickers by this young woman appeared to be doing well.



Mere feet away is the very popular life-size image of Ben Carson. Lots of folks paused for pictures.

Carson cutout2

Several of the booths have candy. Perhaps the oddest choice was at the Jeb Bush booth - Skittles. Skittles? Pray tell what image should one take from that. And for hard-core Hillary Clinton haters, a booth selling bumper stickers offers this: Hillaryprison
Crowley Political Report will be here all day.

Marco Rubio's speaking tonight has some folks scratching their heads

Tonight, after former Vice President Dick Cheney speaks at the Republican Party of Florida's Statesman's Dinner, home state Senator Marco Rubio will speak to the party faithful. But some folks are wondering - why Jeb Bush isn't speaking tonight?

After all, Rubio will also be among the presidential candidates speaking at the Republican Party's Sunshine Summit Friday. So why not Bush tonight? 

This would seem to be an awkward moment for Florida Republicans who are already struggling with choosing between Rubio and Bush for the GOP nomination. This is a party that once found great unity in its mutual affection for both men before they became competitors.

Another rumor is that Bush did not want to share a stage with Cheney after the former veep got trashed by Bush's dad. 

Apparently, it is all much ado about nothing.

Bush's campaign spokesman Tim Miller told Crowley Political Report  in an email that Bush was invited to speak tonight but was unable to attend because of a scheduling conflict.

Bush will be onstage tomorrow.

Baby Got PAC airing new TV ad tonight for Marco Rubio

Yes it is an odd name for a PAC, but Baby Got PAC is backed by a multi-millionaire supporting Marco Rubio.

The first ad, which is below, is expected air tonight on Fox Business ahead of the Republican presidential debate. 

GOP rich guy John Jordan is behind the PAC. The ad was put together by Florida political consultant Rick Wilson. 

The ad starts with a gloomy "a world gone out of control" approach and then asks "and they wonder why we're angry?"

Next the ad says Baby Got PAC had to decide "which conservative candidate to support." It quickly dismisses Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and Ben Carson.  (Note the ad does not mention Jeb Bush).

Instead, the ad suggests the answers comes from the Democrats - the candidate the fear most.

And not just any Democrat. 

Hillary Clinton.

See for yourself.