Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are great friends. You can tell by the things Bush has been saying lately.
"We should cut the pay of elected officials that don't show up to work," Bush said last week in Iowa, in a comment clearly aimed at his close, close pal, who has missed more Senate votes than anyone else this year. "I don't know about you, but this idea that somehow voting isn't important, I mean what are they supposed to do? They should go to the committee hearings, they should vote."
The former governor compares his chum to Barack Obama: "Look, we've had a president who came in and said the same kind of thing — 'new and improved,' 'hope and change' — and he didn't have the leadership skills to fix things," Bush said on CNN recently. "What we need is someone with proven leadership."
On the Hugh Hewitt radio show Thursday, Bush noted how his bosom buddy voted against authorization of airstrikes against Syria in 2013: "I agree with Sen. Rubio that the president has not been forthcoming with a strategy, but when he had a chance to show support for the creation of one, he didn't do it, and I just think that turned out to be a bad decision."
Bean breaks the ice
Four months later, he remains baffled by Gov. Rick Scott's budget vetoes, and the political atmosphere is tense. But Republican Sen. Aaron Bean of Fernandina Beach made a solo mission last week in what he called an effort to "melt the ice" between the Senate and the governor's office.
"It's as tense as it's ever been," Bean said. So the gregarious lawmaker decided to pay a brief call on Melissa Sellers, Scott's chief of staff.
"'Hey, I'm Aaron Bean. I want to start the relationship off better,' " is how Bean describes him breaking the ice. "She was very cordial. We've got to work together. We've got to have a professional relationship going forward. Hopefully we're headed in that direction."
Asked if he felt he made progress, Bean hesitated for several seconds and said, "Uh, yes, I think so. If not, that's what my mom told me: Go introduce yourself and say, 'Hey, I'm here to help.' "
Scott's office declined to comment. "Our office policy is not to comment on private meetings," spokeswoman Jackie Schutz said.
Bean was a Scott supporter and campaign surrogate in the 2014 campaign. He also sponsored the Senate health care expansion plan that Scott, along with the House, defeated in the 2015 session. The senator said Scott vetoed his budget priorities, including money for the St. Johns River ferry in Jacksonville, a van for a local Association of Retarded Citizens group and a state grant for a school for special needs kids, financed largely by private money.
"I had a lot of stuff vetoed," he said, "but I'm going to be as positive as I can, going forward. We're all on the same team."
Grayson closes funds
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alan Grayson says he has closed down hedge funds that he set up in the notorious offshore tax haven of the Cayman Islands.
The move comes on the heels of the millionaire congressman recently changing the name of his hedge management company — from Grayson Fund to Sibylline Fund — after critics filed official complaints against him for allegedly violating House rules for improperly using his name in the investment funds.
Though records show his hedge funds were structured so that all trading would be done through an entity based in the Caymans, Grayson insisted the Cayman funds were never used.
"Until this year, the expense of the empty separate, segregated account (which was situated in the Caymans) was minor, i.e., less than $1,000 in annual filing fees. This year, the expense would have increased substantially, so both the empty account and the corresponding legal entities have been closed," said an email from his office, adding that Grayson would not provide documentation for the funds' closings.
First debate this week
The first Democratic presidential debate is 9 p.m. Tuesday, broadcast from Las Vegas. Last week the Democratic National Committee added a sixth debate in Miami on March 9, sponsored by Univision and the Washington Post. This assumes, of course, there still is a Democratic primary race at that time.
Committing to summit
Count Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former HP CEO Carly Fiorina in for the Republican Party of Florida's Sunshine Summit next month in Orlando.
Already committed: Bush, Chris Christie, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, Rubio, Rick Santorum, Rand Paul and Donald Trump.
That leaves Florida resident Ben Carson, Jim Gilmore and George Pataki as unconfirmed for the Nov. 12-14 event.
Steve Bousquet and Alex Leary contributed to this week's Buzz.