Clinton, Bush hold arms-length debate on social policy

31 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Bush, Clinton Court Black Voters at Urban League Meeting.

Presidential rivals Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush offered a rare preview of a potential 2016 general election matchup on Friday, taking their competing visions to tackle racial inequality before one of the oldest and largest civil rights organizations in the nation.Democrat Hillary Clinton took direct aim at Republican Jeb Bush — who in turn made a pitch to the voters whose support he would need to defeat Clinton.

WASHINGTON — Illustrating the profound shift in the financing of political campaigns, a Super PAC supporting Jeb Bush for president disclosed Friday it had raised $103 million from an array of wealthy donors and special interests. Despite the longstanding connection between two of America’s most well-known political families, Clinton did not shy away from confronting her Republican opponent in his home state of Florida. It’s a record I’ll gladly compare with anyone else in the field.” Within moments of taking the stage, Clinton sought to draw distinctions between herself and Republicans, including a reminder of the federal government’s poor response to Hurricane Katrina a decade ago during the administration of Bush’s brother, former President George W. Clinton didn’t name Bush when she spoke to the annual conference of the National Urban League, a civil-rights organization that welcomed five 2016 presidential contenders.

Jeb Bush, previewing what the more staid voices in their respective parties hope will be a the 2016 presidential election clash of two American political dynasties. While donors to the former Florida governor’s traditional campaign committee are limited to $2,700 the Right to Rise Super PAC can accept unlimited donations.

But she referred to the “right to rise” — the name of a political action committee raising money for him — and to Bush’s recent suggestion that the next president could “phase out” Medicare. “Too often we see a mismatch between what some candidates say in venues like this, and what they actually do when they’re elected,” Clinton said. “I don’t think you can credibly say that everyone has a ‘right to rise’ and then say you’re for phasing out Medicare or for repealing Obamacare. Clinton also lamented the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Sandra Bland and ticked off statistics on African Americans receiving disproportionately longer sentences than whites.

Blacks are also three times more likely to be denied a mortgage loan than people who are white, she said. “Race still plays a significant role in determining who gets ahead in America and who gets left behind,” Clinton said. “And yes, while that’s partly a legacy of discrimination that stretches back to the start of our nation, it is also because of discrimination that is still ongoing.” Clinton told the audience she has fought to tear down those barriers since her first job out of law school with the Children’s Defense Fund. Bush did not respond or make any any references to Clinton in his own speech, although his campaign hit back quickly on Twitter. “Clintonesque move to pass over chance to unite in favor of a false cheap shot.

She said she fought for children’s health insurance as first lady and spoke out on issues of economic equality for women. “I’m planning to be president, and anybody who seeks that office has a responsibility to say it and, more than that, to grapple with the systemic inequities,” she said. “I want you to know I see it and I hear you, and the racial disparities you work hard every day to overcome go against everything I believe in and everything I want to help America achieve.” Bush delivered his own set of reminders to the Urban League audience. He said that as Florida governor, he ordered the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the state capitol, raised the number of black judges and tripled the state’s hiring of minority-owned businesses.

But he zeroed in on his efforts to reform education in the state by expanding school choice and raising test standards, hoping to connect with the African-American audience on what he called a critical issue to the nation’s future. “If we don’t create an education system that allows young people to reach it, we’re setting them up for a lifetime of failure,” Bush said. “So you and I have to call this situation what it is — the worst inequality in America today, and the source of so many other inequalities.” Bush’s time in office is not remembered as fondly by some Democrats in the state. Bush’s campaign accused Clinton of lobbing “more false, cheap political shots to distract from the fact that Secretary Clinton has no record of accomplishment to run on this race. Bush himself, who took the stage at the Greater Fort Lauderdale-Broward County Convention Center about an hour after Clinton, ignored what she had said about him. Joyner said Bush kept felons from restoring their voting rights and cut early voting hours as governor. “If you are indeed sincere about being inclusive, then you need to first acknowledge your mistakes and unequivocally apologize directly the community you wronged,” she wrote this week in a letter to Bush. He focused on doing what he has challenged all Republicans do: Campaign to voters who almost always cast ballots for Democrats. “I know that there are unjust barriers to opportunity and upward mobility in this country,” Bush told the mostly black audience of more than 500 people. “Some we can see, others are unseen but just as real.

The appearances of both Clinton and Bush coincide with a renewed debate over race relations and criminal justice in America, an issue that has compounded over the past year amid several killings of unarmed black men at the hands of police that garnered national attention. Others critics point to Bush signing into law the 2005 “stand your ground” legislation, which allows use of deadly force if people are in fear for their lives. At this early stage in the presidential primary season, it’s not uncommon for White House hopefuls to strike tough poses by attacking the front-runners from opposing parties. Marco Rubio, another Republican presidential candidate, has raised $16 million but as of 1 p.m. had yet to make its disclosure with the FEC. “What we are seeing here is the wiping out of the nation’s anti-corruption campaign finance laws, and it’s very dangerous” said Fred Wertheimer, of Washington-based Democracy 21, which has joined with other watchdog groups to file complaints with the Federal Election Commission and Justice Department. Billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump is atop every national survey, and running either first or second in every poll sampling voters in the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

The former governor resisted any temptation to fire back at Clinton, sticking to his prepared text and saying he was ‘pleased to see the other candidates here,’ including ‘Secretary Clinton, Governor O’Malley, Senator Sanders and a good man who’s bringing a lot of wisdom to the Republican side, Dr. And his educational reforms, he said — instituting school grades, creating subsidized private-school vouchers and expanding privately run, publicly funded charter schools — helped needy kids. He has advocated for winding down the existing Medicare system, maintaining it for current beneficiaries while also exploring ways ‘to phase out this program for others and move to a new system.’ If the entitlement program continues to hemorrhage money, Bush has said, Americans who are years away from retirement are ‘not going to have anything.’ Bush said in March that it should be replaced ‘with a model … where there’s no employer mandate, employee mandate or requirements of services provided that are extraordinary; where people have more customized types of insurance based on their needs; and it’s more consumer-directed so that they’re more engaged in the decision-making, and they have more choices than what they have today.’ Bush also has drawn fire for overseeing a sizable purge of felons from Florida’s voter rolls while he was governor, in the months leading up to Election Day in 2000. In his remarks on Friday, Bush waded more subtly into the issue of policing and appealed for the restoration of trust between politicians, police and the communities they serve. “Trust in our vital institutions is at historic lows.

He said he went on a journey of “listening and learning” that included visits to 250 Florida schools and family courthouses to see firsthand cases of abused or neglected children. Of the three, Sanders, an independent Vermont senator and self-described socialist making his first Florida campaign appearance, received the warmest welcome. “The $7.25 minimum wage is in my view a starvation wage,” Sanders said, calling for an increase to $15 an hour. While people in Florida with felony convictions aren’t permitted to cast ballots, the Bush-era process was rife with overreach and made ineligible to vote thousands whose names and addresses were similar to the felons.

He and O’Malley, the former Maryland governor, had run afoul of black liberals at a conference two weeks ago in Phoenix, and both made sure to atone Friday. “Every year we buried 300 young black men who died violent deaths on our streets, and black lives matter,” said O’Malley, recalling his tenure as Baltimore mayor. Carson, who retired to West Palm Beach and is the only major African-American presidential candidate, recounted his childhood growing up “in dire poverty” and thinking he would “probably never live beyond 25 years of age.” “You just have to understand where people are coming from,” he said. “It’s not the skin and the hair that makes them who they are. It begins with respect, dialogue, and the courage to reach out in peace.” Bush also touted his support for reforming the criminal justice system, focusing in particular on prison and drug sentencing reforms that have gained bipartisan traction of late.

Clinton’s speech on Friday was mainly a historical look-back at her career’s brief stops in charitable work, a telepromptered and brisk affair that she slowed down and amplified for effect when it was time to bash her Republican rival. Clinton will deliver a separate speech Friday in Miami, advocating for a complete restoration of trade relations between the U.S. and the Communist island nation of Cuba. Obama, she added, “delivered a eulogy that sounded as though it had come straight from angels”, referring to the speech the president delivered after the tragedy honoring slain Rev Clementa Pinckney that ended with a rendition of Amazing Grace.

Representation from the crowded Republican presidential field – now at 17 candidates – was far more scarce, with only retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson joining Bush at the conference. Republicans have struggled to make inroads with minorities in recent elections, and Bush has made it a point to campaign among communities his party has neglected.

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