Tales from the Trail

Florida Republicans speak out on immigration

Following another night of Republican primary candidates battling it out over the topic of immigration, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, speaking at a Hispanic Leadership conference in Miami on Friday, struck a conciliatory tone.

“We must admit that there are those among us that have used rhetoric that is harsh and intolerable and inexcusable,” he told the audience. “And we must admit — myself included — that sometimes we’ve been too slow to condemn that language for what it is.”

Rubio’s 20-minute speech, dedicated almost exclusively to the theme of immigration, reached far beyond the narrow Latino confines of Cuban Miami and was, at its heart, a challenge to his Republican colleagues. “I have challenged the Republican nominees and all Republicans to not just be the anti-illegal immigration party,” he said. “That’s not who we are, that’s not who we should be. We should be the pro-legal immigration party.”

There is “broad bipartisan support” for solutions, such as a guest worker system and speeding up the “complicated and burdensome” process for people to obtain U.S. visas, Rubio said. Though he did not endorse the so-called DREAM Act, he said politicians had to find a way “to accommodate” the students of undocumented immigrants who are shut out of educational benefits such as in-state tuition.

A small group of protesters tried to interrupt Rubio’s speech with shouts of, “Why don’t you support undocumented students?” When security officials moved toward the protesters, who were carrying signs that read “Latino or Tea Partino,” Rubio called out, “I ask that you let them stay because I think they’ll be interested in what I’m going to say.” But the protesters were escorted out.

Bush recipe for wooing Hispanic voters

Republicans need to think of immigration as an economic issue — not just a border security issue, former Florida governor Jeb Bush wrote in a Washington Post opinion article on Wednesday, laying out a strategy for wooing Hispanic voters.

Bush, whose op-ed comes ahead of next Tuesday’s Florida primary, calls Hispanics “the most powerful swing voters,” predicting they’ll represent the margin of victory in the fifteen states likely to decide the 2012 presidential race.

“Although Democrats hold the edge, Republicans have an opportunity” to regain the momentum, Bush says.

Bush disappointed by brother’s senate decision

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President George W. Bush says he’s disappointed that his younger brother Jeb Bush has ruled out running for a Florida Senate seat in 2010.
The former Florida governor removed himself from consideration this week, saying now is not the right time for him to return to elected office.

“I am disappointed he didn’t run. I haven’t talked to him since he made the decision,” Bush said in an interview with The Dallas Morning News on Thursday.

“I actually wanted him to run for senator, but you know … We all have different family issues you’ve got to deal with,” Bush said. The Morning News will be Bush’s hometown paper when be begins his post-presidential life at his new home in Dallas later this month.

Bush stirs political pot for possible Jeb Senate run

WASHINGTON – The Bush dynasty in Washington may not be over just yet.

BUSH NAVYEven as President George W. Bush is packing his bags to head to Texas after eight years in the White House, he is stirring up a little political curiosity about his “little” brother Jeb possibly running for the U.S. Senate seat in Florida.

In an interview with the blog RealClearPolitics published this week, President Bush was asked if Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, would be part of comeback by Republicans in 2010 after a drubbing in the last two congressional elections.

“He would be an awesome U.S. senator,” Bush replied. The seat up in 2010 is being vacated by Republican Sen. Mel Martinez who decided earlier this month not to run for another term.