Florida

Jeb Bush to form leadership PAC for fundraising

FUNDRAISER: Former Florida Republican Governor Jeb Bush prior to speaking at the 2014 National Summit on Education Reform in Washington, DC. Bush announced Tuesday on Facebook that he is launching a leadership Political Action Committee (PAC) called “Right to Rise” as he explores the possibility of running for president in 2016.
FUNDRAISER: Former Florida Republican Governor Jeb Bush prior to speaking at the 2014 National Summit on Education Reform in Washington, DC. Bush announced Tuesday on Facebook that he is launching a leadership Political Action Committee (PAC) called “Right to Rise” as he explores the possibility of running for president in 2016. AFP/Getty Images

Jeb Bush’s previously annnounced new political committee has a name, “Right to Rise,” and it becomes official Tuesday when he files the paperwork for it.

“Everybody, today we are setting up the Right to Rise PAC, which is a PAC to support candidates that believe in conservative principles to allow all Americans to rise up,” Bush said in a video statement posted on his Facebook page. The bilingual former governor posted another video of him making the same statement in Spanish.

The political action committee, whose name and formation date were first reported by FOX News, is a so-called “Leadership PAC” that allows Bush to raise and spend money on other candidates and a potential 2016 presidential bid. And though it’s technically not a presidential exploratory committee, the political action committee’s website makes clear that Bush is thinking about the White House.

“At the Right to Rise PAC, we will support candidates who want to restore the promise of America with a positive, conservative vision of reform and renewal. We believe the income gap is real, but that only conservative principles can solve it by removing the barriers to upward mobility. We will celebrate success and risk-taking, protect liberty, cherish free enterprise, strengthen our national defense, embrace the energy revolution, fix our broken and obsolete immigration system, and give all children a better future by transforming our education system through choice, high standards and accountability. We will strive to put our fiscal house back in order, re-limit government and ensure that America is a welcoming society,” the PAC’s mission statement says.

Though leadership PACs ostensibly help political figures raise money for other candidates, they directly benefit the principal. They allow a potential candidate to raise and spend money on a campaign-like team and on polling, which can be expensive and can sap the resources of a traditional federal campaign.

Bush’s friend and fellow Miami-Dade resident Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, was an early pioneer of using his leadership PAC, Reclaim America, to position himself to either run for president or for reelection in 2016.

Bush has used the “right to rise” phrase before, in a 2011 Wall Street Journal piece that paid homage to U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, the 2012 Republican vice-presidential candidate. The phrase also recalls the philosophy of the self-styled “education governor,” who for years has campaigned about rising student achievement and fighting what he has called “the soft bigotry of low expectations.”

The PAC’s mission statement makes it clear that the PAC isn’t limited to education. And with good reason. In an unexpected twist, Bush’s one-time strength has become a weakness of sorts in Republican circles as manyconservatives have revolted against the Common Core Educational Standards he has endorsed.

Bush has also received criticism from the right over his support for comprehensive immigration reform and, specifically, his belief that some undocumented immigrants’ immigration status should be legalized.

True to form, Bush hasn’t backed away from either position.

“We will not cede an inch of territory — no issues, no demographic groups, no voters — as we unite our citizens to strengthen America through greater economic growth and widespread prosperity,” the PAC’s website says.

The formation of Bush’s PAC comes one day before a Wednesday fundraiser in Greenwich, Conn., hometown of his father, former President George H.W. Bush. The fundraiser, first reported by CT Politics, is organized by Craig and Debbie Walker Stapleton, a cousin of Bush. Craig Stapleton was appointed U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic and then France under Bush’s brother, former President George W. Bush.

Among the Right to Rise fundraiser’s hosts, CT Politics reported: Richard Breeden, who chaired the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission during the presidency of Bush’s father, and David McCormick, former Treasury undersecretary during the presidency of Bush’s brother. McCormick is president of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund.

The Greenwich fundraiser is in the heart of one of the nation’s richest communities, home to top Wall Street financiers — many of whom symbolize the very income disparities that Bush has highlighted in his mission statement. Raising money from Wall Street and talking about the wealth gap is nothing new; President Barack Obama did it along with every other major candidate for president in recent years.

Jeb Bush’s new PAC

Here’s the full mission statement for Jeb Bush’s Right to Rise PAC:

We believe passionately that the Right to Rise — to move up the income ladder based on merit, hard work and earned success — is the central moral promise of American economic life. We are optimists who believe that America’s opportunities have never been greater than they are right now. But we know America is falling short of its promise.

Millions of our fellow citizens across the broad middle class feel as if the American Dream is now out of their reach; that our politics are petty and broken; that opportunities are elusive; and that the playing field is no longer fair or level. Too many of the poor have lost hope that a path to a better life is within their grasp. While the last eight years have been pretty good ones for top earners, they’ve been a lost decade for the rest of America. We are not leading – at home or abroad.

At the Right to Rise PAC, we will support candidates who want to restore the promise of America with a positive, conservative vision of reform and renewal. We believe the income gap is real, but that only conservative principles can solve it by removing the barriers to upward mobility. We will celebrate success and risk-taking, protect liberty, cherish free enterprise, strengthen our national defense, embrace the energy revolution, fix our broken and obsolete immigration system, and give all children a better future by transforming our education system through choice, high standards and accountability. We will strive to put our fiscal house back in order, re-limit government and ensure that America is a welcoming society.

We will not cede an inch of territory — no issues, no demographic groups, no voters — as we unite our citizens to strengthen America through greater economic growth and widespread prosperity.

We believe in the transformative power of conservative ideas to renew America. Our nation can be dynamic and prosperous again, if we join together and fight for every American’s Right to Rise!

Join us.

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