Jeb Bush to use Tampa stop to tout record against Obama 'incompetence'
Jeb Bush will open a three-stop tour of Florida on Monday with a speech in Tampa railing against what he calls the “competing pessimisms” of President Barack Obama while spotlighting his own record as governor. (The Times' Steve Contorno — @scontorno — is covering the event live via Twitter.)
“After seven years of incompetence, corruption and gridlock in Washington, we need a president who can fix it. I can fix it,” Bush will say, according to details provided to the Tampa Bay Times.
"For all his promise, perhaps President Obama’s greatest accomplishment is that of creating competing pessimisms," the speech reads. "Members of his own party are left explaining how two percent growth, massive debt, and increasing global isolation are really the best we can do. They speak in delusional terms about containing ISIS; about trusting the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism; about how the presence of Russian soldiers on Syrian soil doesn’t underscore the president’s empty words and total inaction. It’s not working."
Bush also alludes to Sen. Marco Rubio, who has surpassed him in the polls and during last week's debate successfully warded off Bush's criticism of his missing work in Washington. "The challenges we face as a nation are too great to roll the dice on another presidential experiment," Bush's speech reads. "To trust the rhetoric of reform over a record of reform. After seven years of incompetence, corruption and gridlock in Washington, we need a president who can fix it. I can fix it."
The two-term governor will also highlight his record in Tallahassee, which is the subject of a book Bush released Monday. Reply All is a collection of emails Bush received or sent during his two terms.
Today's rally begins at 10:30 a.m. at Tampa Garden Club. Bush then goes to Winter Park and Jacksonville as he unveils a new slogan: “Jeb can fix it.”
Bush needs to fix his campaign. Down in the polls and coming off a dismal debate performance last week, he is fighting a growing perception he is not equipped to win the GOP nomination.
Florida, the biggest swing state, was always central to Bush’s strategy but is even more so now given Rubio’s ascendancy. Bush attended a high school football game in Punta Gorda on Friday to call attention to his leadership during a crushing series of hurricanes.
The campaign sees the e-book, Reply All, as a platform to tout Bush’s record.
“Jeb was a committed governor always had a two-way conversation with Floridians in order to connect with them and help make their lives better, that’s why he gave out his email address,” spokeswoman Allie Brandenburger said. “Throughout the week, Jeb will highlight various stories from emails during his time as governor and use them to highlight how he will be a President that will enact conservative reforms and get things done.”
On Tuesday, Bush travels to South Carolina then New Hampshire. He will be joined during the week by Florida allies including former House Speaker Allan Bense; Berthy De La Rosa-Aponte, the mother of a disabled child in Florida who challenged Bush in 1998 to do more for the disabled; Denisha Merriweather, who benefitted from the school choice tax credit program Bush created; Tiffany Carr, head of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence; and Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger.
The campaign said this video will play before Bush speaks at events this week.