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News at noon: Jeb really likes Rubio, Jameis for Rookie of the Year, guns on campuses, Mary J. Blige and more

Times files

• An upbeat Jeb Bush began a three-day bus tour through New Hampshire last night, and between stops he chatted with several reporters aboard his bus. When asked why he never publicly endorsed Marco Rubio in his 2010 U.S. Senate campaign against former Gov. Charlie Crist, he recounted a story we hadn't heard before — he talked Rubio out of giving up on his longshot campaign when prospects looked bleak in the summer of 2009. We'll have more from Jeb's New Hampshire tour today in The Buzz.

• Seven games into his pro career, Jameis Winston has emerged as a legitimate candidate for NFL Rookie of the Year. Since his disastrous debut against the Tennessee Titans and a near-perfect performance by No. 2 draft pick QB Marcus Mariota, Winston has improved (and Mariota, for what it's worth, has suffered).

• In its second of three committee stops in the House, a bill that would allow guns on Florida's college and university campuses is gaining support again today, mostly along a party-line vote. The legislation continues to draw passionate testimony from both gun-rights supporters and gun-control advocates. The House bill has passed out of subcommittee and is headed for the Judiciary Committee; the Senate's companion bill awaits a third and final committee hearing.

• A new ranking of 1,268 smaller U.S. cities looking at 22 factors from affordability and economic health to depth of education and health services and overall quality of life finds Pensacola the highest rated city in Florida — yet still trailing 51 higher ranked places in other states. In the Tampa Bay area, Valrico ranks high with the nation's 17th best economic health, followed by up-and coming Wesley Chapel and Bradenton — all locations, it should be noted, that are close to Interstate 75. Dunedin, Pinellas Park, Largo and Riverview also ranked favorably.

• Mary J. Blige is the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul. Few pop artists in history have merited a title so regally apropos. There's the King, Elvis Presley. The King of Pop, Michael Jackson. The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. "Blige, who performs at Tampa's USF Sun Dome on Sunday, isn't always thought of in such pantheonic terms," writes Jay Cridlin. "But it's time we change that." Blige performs with Keyshia Cole on Sunday at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa.

News at noon: Jeb really likes Rubio, Jameis for Rookie of the Year, guns on campuses, Mary J. Blige and more 11/04/15 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 4, 2015 12:08pm]
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