The Note: Jeb Bush, A Family Matter

The Note 2/19/2015

The Note: Jeb Bush, A Family Matter

By SHUSHANNAH WALSHE (@shushwalshe )


  • JEB BUSH ANALYSIS-ABC's RICK KLEIN: Can you be your own man while sharing a last name with other men with complicated legacies inside and outside your own party? Can you be your own man while talking to the same men (and some of the women) who advised those other men during some of the low and high points of their foreign policies? These are central questions facing Jeb Bush, as he only starts to answer for how he plans to define himself as opposed to the Presidents Bush. The fact is he can't and won't ever entirely be able to be his own man in politics. His name and family connections confer early front-runner status on him, making him something other than just another ex-governor. They also make him the fundraising juggernaut he will always be. (One wonders whether the money folks talking about the "shock and awe" fundraising strategy remember what that phrase meant in George W. Bush's Iraq war.) For big donors as for the foreign-policy establishment, the Bush name is a comfortable and powerful one. For voters and caucus-goers, it gets quite a bit more complicated. The next question inevitably becomes, does a man who once famously said he never disagreed with anything his brother did as president find a few areas where he parts ways?
  • WATCH ABC's JONATHAN KARL on GOOD MORNING AMERICA today on Jeb Bush's family dynamic and how we saw it play out in yesterday's speech:
  • JEB BUSH ON COMPARISONS TO BROTHER, FATHER: 'I AM MY OWN MAN.' Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush gave his first foreign policy address since indicating he is exploring a 2016 run for the White House and aimed to distinguish himself from his brother and father, both former presidents. He told the audience "I am my own man," even though he is seeking guidance from many of their former advisers. Bush told attendees yesterday at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs he is "fortunate to have a father and a brother who both have shaped America's foreign policy from the Oval Office." "I recognize that, as a result, my views will often be held up in comparison to theirs," he said. "Look, just for the record, one more time: I love my brother, I love my dad….And I admire their service to the nation and the difficult decisions they had to make. But I am my own man, and my views are shaped by my own thinking and my own experiences." An aide to Bush's Right to Rise political action committee confirmed a group of 21 veteran foreign policy experts advising Bush, many of whom worked in the administrations of George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. Bush spent most of his speech criticizing President Obama and his foreign policy. Bush also noted "mistakes" were made in Iraq, such as "using the intelligence capability that everyone embraced about weapons of mass destruction [that] turned out not to be accurate." But he said his brother, President George W. Bush performed a "heroic act of courage," by implementing the 2007 troop surge, adding that ISIS filling a "void" could have been prevented by President Obama.
  • FAMILIAR NAMES: An aide to Bush's Right to Rise political action committee confirmed a group of 21 veteran foreign policy experts advising Bush, many of whom worked in the administrations of George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.The group includes former secretaries of state James Baker, who served under George H.W. Bush, and George Shultz, who served under Ronald Reagan; two former secretaries of homeland security who served under George W. Bush, Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff; two former CIA directors who also served under the later Bush presidency, Michael Hayden and Porter Goss. Stephen Hadley, George W. Bush's national security advisor was on the list, as well as former Works Bank presidents Paul Wolfowitz and Robert Zoellick. John Negroponte, the first director of national intelligence, has also been advising Bush, as has John Hannah, Vice President Dick Cheney's former national security adviser, among others. The former Florida governor's aide described the list as a "preliminary group of foreign policy experts" Bush will be "in touch with in coming months" to discuss "some of the challenges and opportunities on the foreign policy front."
  • IN THE NOTE'S INBOX: THE CONSERVATIVE BACKLASH TO JEB: ForAmerica launches ad effort declaring Jeb Bush "unelectable." New video shows Bush giving Hillary Clinton a public service award on eve of first anniversary of Benghazi attack. ForAmerica is launching a new short video today declaring former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) unelectable if he runs for president…The approximately one minute video will go out to almost 8 million ForAmerica supporters through the organization's digital and social media network. The video shows Bush at the 2013 Liberty Medal Ceremony, in which he took the stage to honor Hillary Clinton as she was given the National Constitution Center's Liberty Medal on September 10, 2013. "It's bad enough that Hillary Clinton will likely use footage from this event against any Republican nominee, but if Jeb Bush is her opponent she will make him look ridiculous," said ForAmerica Chairman Brent Bozell. "Anytime Jeb calls Hillary 'Obama 2.0,' any criticism he makes of her awful record as Secretary of State, any time he shows how much of an extremist she is on the issues, will be completely dismissed when she reminds everyone that he gave her an award for public service. WATCH:
  • THE TRIAL BALLOON: THE WASHINGTON POST'S CHRIS CILLIZZA reports the Bush riff on his family was totally shoe-horned into the broader address and had virtually nothing to do with what Bush was talking about more generally when it came to his foreign policy vision… Given the sort-of-out-of-nowhere nature of what Jeb said on his family - and the fact that the "I am my own man" line was included in the excerpts shipped to reporters (including this one) Tuesday night, it seems very clear what Jeb (and his team) were up to. This was a trial balloon for how (and how much) Jeb will - and will have to - talk about the Bush name in the campaign to come. His people are smart and, therefore, were well aware that the lines about his family would dominate coverage and overshadow a speech decidedly light on specifics . That level of press coverage and scrutiny will function, at some level, as a sort of gauge for how much leeway (or not) Bush has to talk about his brother and father (or not talk about his brother and father). Assuming the Bush folks did this on purpose - and I am very strongly suspicious that they did - then it's a very smart strategic move. Begin the airing of the major issue for Jeb - his last name and all it means - even before he is a candidate in a speech that will draw lots of attention from the politics-starved political media. Measure reaction and adjust accordingly.
  • PRESIDENT OBAMA SAYS ISIS 'NOT RELIGIOUS LEADERS, THEY ARE TERRORISTS.' President Obama rejected the notion Wednesday that groups like ISIS are operating from a religious foundation - but labeled them simply as terrorists, adding that the United States is at war with those who have "perverted Islam." "Al Qaeda and ISIL and groups like it are desperate for legitimacy. They try to portray themselves as religious leaders, holy warriors in defense of Islam," Obama said at the White House. "We must never accept the premise that they put forth because it is a lie. Nor should we grant these terrorists the religious legitimacy that they seek. They are not religious leaders. They are terrorists." "We are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam," the president added. Obama's comments came on the second day of the first ever White House summit on Countering Violent Extremism, ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ notes. The White House has faced some criticism over its decision to not directly tie terrorism to Islamic or Muslim extremism.
  • AT THE WHITE HOUSE: The White House summit on violent extremism moves to the State Department today for a more global focus on strategies to curb terror, reports ABC'S DEVIN DWYER. Representatives of more than 60 countries will be in attendance - including ministers from France, Denmark and Belgium which have recently experienced terror attacks. The UN Secretary General and top US officials will also attend. President Obama is expected to deliver a call-to-action for greater economic opportunities and political inclusion to youth vulnerable to terror recruitment around the world. And later in Chicago, Obama will designate 3 new National Monuments for protection as historic or natural treasures - the Pullman neighborhood on Chicago's south side; the Honouliuli internment camp from WWII in Hawaii; and, Browns Canyon in Colorado, site of popular whitewater rafting . He will also announce an initiative to grant free admission to fourth-graders and their families to all National Parks and federal lands for a full year. Americans younger than 16 years old can already access the parks for free, but there is a fee for adults accompanying them and for the family car.
  • QUINNIPIAC UNIVERSITY POLL OBAMA APPROVAL RATINGS-CO, IA, VA: Voters in three critical swing states, Colorado, Iowa and Virginia, disapprove by margins of 9 percentage points of the job President Barack Obama is doing…By even bigger margins, voters want the next president to change directions from President Obama's policies…The president gets negative job approval ratings in all three states: 43 - 52 percent in Colorado; 43 - 52 percent in Iowa; 44 - 53 percent in Virginia. Voters support by wide margins, Obama's proposal to increase taxes on higher income earners to reduce taxes on the middle class. By smaller margins, voters in each state oppose the president's proposal to provide free community college tuition. MORE:
  • ON THE TRAIL: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visits Washington, D.C., where he will deliver a keynote speech at the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce's annual dinner, but there are plenty of 2016ers in early states today. Ohio Gov. John Kasich is on the second day of a South Carolina trip. Sen. Marco Rubio's book tour also takes him to South Carolina - the Upstate city of Greenville. Sen. Lindsey Graham is in the first caucus state of Iowa for private meetings today and tomorrow. Not in an early state, but still on the road former Texas Gov. Rick Perry attends the Kern County GOP's Lincoln Day Dinner in Bakersfield, California. Back in DC, the Democratic National Committee's winter meeting kicks off in Washington. The DNC will hear from President Obama tomorrow. - Ali Weinberg


ABC'S DEVIN DWYER: Why won't the White House call it as it is? That's been the building criticism and debate around this summit that has now landed on the front page, from the New York Post to the New York Times, among other outlets. Even Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, from Obama's home state of Hawaii, told CNN that Obama is "misidentifying the enemy and their motivation." Other critics say it's a sign that he's naive and uncertain. The White House insists this is smart semantics: the president says it's a deliberate strategy not to play into the hands of the terrorists' propaganda machine. Yesterday he delivered a forceful message about the roots of this fight: "We are not at war with Islam," he said, echoing his predecessor, George W. Bush. "People, not religion, are responsible for terrorism." Today he will address the final day of the summit at the State Department.

ABC'S ALI WEINBERG: Are men struggling to "have it all?" That's one takeaway from a new White House economic report that found fathers in households where both parents work are taking on more child care responsibilities. According to data from Bureau of Labor Statistics and government and academic studies, the White House's economic advisers found fathers are on average spending 4.2 hours more a week on child care and 5.3 hours a week more on housework than in 1965, but since 2008 they've also been more likely to report "work-family conflict" than mothers in dual-earning couples - a reversal from the pattern previously in place since 1977. (No word on what percentage of working mothers responded, "welcome to our world.")

ABC'S TOM SHINE: He couldn't buy a gun, but he already owned 48 guns, so he shot and killed her with two of those guns, shot and killed their son, shot and killed his mother-in-law, shot but didn't quite kill his father-in-law. Barbara Harrington said when her sister made the "brave decision" to leave her very abusive husband, she smartly got a protective order. But, when "she begged the Virginia police to take his guns away, they told her they lacked the legal authority to do so." So even with a protective order, she was helpless and a year ago she was slaughtered. but gun control advocates, when they focus on domestic violence, are now starting to have some success. Six states passed new gun laws in 2014 targeting domestic abuse says reporter Ashby Jones of The Wall Street Journal, and two of those states, Louisiana and Wisconsin, have Republican governors. Several more are currently considering laws protecting victims of domestic violence and Missouri is even including "dating partners."


" Bush Adviser May Skip Campaign to Work for 'Super PAC,' " by Maggie Haberman of The New York Times. Mike Murphy, the Republican strategist who has played a critical role in getting out Jeb Bush's message and rolling out his all-but-certain presidential run, may not end up working for the campaign itself. Mr. Murphy has had discussions about joining Mr. Bush's "super PAC," Right to Rise , a high-dollar outfit that will work to promote his candidacy independent of an official campaign, according to people with knowledge of the conversations who spoke under the condition of anonymity to be able to speak freely about discussions within Mr. Bush's closely held circle…Mr. Murphy's move would place him in a crucial position, given that super PACs' main role has been to churn out television advertisements. It can also be a lucrative assignment for media consultants. But coordination between outside groups and campaigns is legally restricted, and that could prove difficult for Mr. Murphy and Mr. Bush, given their close relationship. Nothing has been decided, according to people who have been in contact with Mr. Bush's aides, and Mr. Murphy could still end up as lead strategist for the campaign, a position for which there is currently no other clear choice.

" Clinton Foundation's Global Network Overlaps with Family's Political Base," by Rosalind S. Helderman, Tom Hamburger and Steven Rich of The Washington Post. Since its creation in 2001, the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation has raised close to $2 billion from a vast global network that includes corporate titans, political donors, foreign governments and other wealthy interests, according to a Washington Post review of public records and newly released contribution data. The total, representing cash and pledges reported in tax filings, includes $262 million that was raised in 2013 - the year Hillary Rodham Clinton stepped down as secretary of state and began to devote her energies to the foundation and to a likely second run for president. The financial success of the foundation, which funds charitable work around the world, underscores the highly unusual nature of another Clinton candidacy. The organization has given contributors entree, outside the traditional political arena, to a possible president. Foreign donors and countries that are likely to have interests before a potential Clinton administration - and yet are ineligible to give to U.S. political campaigns - have affirmed their support for the family's work through the charitable giving.


MEET IRAN'S FIRST WOMAN VICE PRESIDENT. As the first female vice president of Iran and the head of Iran's Environmental Protection Organization, Masoumeh Ebtekar may be the most powerful woman in Iran. But long before her current role, Americans came to know Ebtekar in 1979 as "Mary," the English-speaking spokeswoman for the Iranian student group that overran the U.S. embassy in Tehran and took 52 Americans hostage. Thirty-six years after the hostage crisis, Ebtekar said Iranian society is open to dialogue and understanding with the American people, but that there is a persistent distrust of the U.S. government, specifically as it relates to the war against the militant group ISIS. "Well, I think there's a lot of skepticism about the role of the United States in dealing with ISIS, because the support they initially provided for ISIS in Syria strengthened this group at that time, and then also other reasons to believe this is not a genuine group, it somehow instigated or created by, I don't know, a certain intelligence agency," Ebtekar said, presumably alluding to the CIA, during an interview in Tehran with ABC'S MARTHA RADDATZ, host of "On the Radar." WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW:



PRESIDENT OBAMA TAPS VETERAN SECRET SERVICE AGENT JOSEPH CLANCY TO LEAD AGENCY. President Obama has tapped veteran Secret Service agent and acting interim director Joseph Clancy to lead the embattled agency after a tumultuous year of embarrassing security lapses and bipartisan calls for a leadership overhaul, a White House official confirmed to ABC News. Clancy, who spent 27 years as an agent and later led the Secret Service presidential protection division, is personally well-liked and trusted by the Obama family, sources say. "He has delivered the leadership many of us expected him to demonstrate," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest, who repeatedly characterized Clancy as "credible." "Certainly his solid performance over the past several months certainly served him well." By selecting Clancy as the permanent agency head, Obama is bucking the recommendation of an independent review panel that had called for outside blood to lead the Secret Service, saying it suffered from an insulated management culture and lack of aggressive leadership, according to ABC's DEVIN DWYER. Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, which oversees the U.S. Secret Service., Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, offered skepticism of Obama's selection, saying Clancy lacks a "fresh perspective." "It is disappointing the President ignored the recommendation from the independent panel," Chaffetz said. "That said, I appreciate how available Acting Director Clancy has made himself over the past few months."

WHY REPUBLICANS MIGHT WANT TO RETHINK THEIR VICTORY LAP ON IMMIGRATION. Republicans, especially some of the potential 2016 presidential candidates, were quick to claim a victory this week after a judge in Texas ordered a temporary halt to some of President Obama's controversial immigration actions. "The Texas court decision reached [Monday] night is a major turning point in the fight to stop Obama's lawless amnesty," Sen. Ted Cruz , R-Texas, said Tuesday. "This is a major victory for the rule of law." Another potential 2016er, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry called Obama's action a "blatant overreach of executive power" and "an affront to the rule of law." But it could be a short-term victory because immigration is a potential landmine for Republicans seeking the White House in 2016, ABC's SERENA MARSHALL writes. A poll out Tuesday by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 73 percent of Americans support Congress passing a comprehensive bill rather than working to undo some of President Obama's executive actions, including the ability of nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants to obtain work permits and legal safety from deportation. Looking to 2016, it's even more apparent why there's a question about whether the federal judge's ruling is a victory for Republicans. The poll found there is a stark racial divide, with 80 percent of both blacks and Hispanics agreeing that Obama should have taken executive action, with 53 percent of whites agreeing.

WHAT DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ AND MARCO RUBIO HAVE IN COMMON. Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is considering a 2016 Senate bid for the seat currently held by Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, as Politico noted yesterday. These two Floridians that may be jockeying for the same job in Congress have a similar past, ABC's A.J. FEATHER and AMY SAPP note. Both attended and graduated from the University of Florida and both felt disaffected with their student government's major party. Wasserman Schultz attended UF from 1984 to 1990, and received her bachelor's and master's degree. Just short of crossing paths with Wasserman Schultz, Rubio graduated from UF in 1993 with a bachelor's degree after some time at Tarkio College in Missouri and Santa Fe Community College in Florida. UF's student government has been run for decades by Florida Blue Key - a "leadership honorary" in Florida, which tends to run candidates out of fraternities and sororities. Wasserman Schultz successfully won a bid for president of the Student Senate against the Blue Key party in the mid-1980s. The Florida Sentinel quoted Sen. Rubio saying, "Student government at the time was largely dominated by fraternities and sororities, and I wasn't in a fraternity." And while talking about his "honorary" induction into Blue Key, he said, "They didn't pick me while I was there."


WHITE HOUSE POINTS TO REPUBLICANS AS PARTIAL DHS SHUTDOWN LOOMS. See ABC's JONATHAN KARL's exchange with White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on whether a partial shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security will be a threat to national security and to Americans' lives. WATCH:


@ananavarro @GeorgeHWBush is a class act. …

@cmarinucci As LA Gov @BobbyJindal arrives in CA, Silicon Valley Indo-Americans say he's distancing himself from ethnic roots …

@KRobertsNJ Philippe Reines warns anonymous Clinton 'allies' that her team can tell who is talking. Via @emilyrs … @nationaljournal

@mattbai Call me skeptical when it comes to these White House summits. …

@dsamuelsohn Rudy Giuliani: President Obama doesn't love America … @POLITICO