Jeb Bush On War : Former Florida governor Won’t Talk About Wars His Brother Started

Jeb Bush On War : Former Florida governor Won't Talk About Wars His Brother Started

Jeb Bush On Iraq And Afghanistan Wars : “I won’t talk about the past,” Mr Bush said in response to a reporter’s question about his foreign policy speech planned for next week in Chicago. “I’ll talk about the future. If I’m in the process of considering the possibility of running, it’s not about relitigating anything in the past. It’s about trying to create a set of ideas and principles that will help us move forward.”

Mr Bush also declined to answer a question about how he would combat the Islamic State militant group, saying he’d talk more about foreign policy next week. A governor from 1999 to 2007, Mr Bush is better known for views on domestic issues, such as his advocacy for charter schools and support for easing immigration laws.

Mr Bush’smoney juggernaut is far eclipsing the efforts of his would-be rivals for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, putting his two political committees on track to amass an unprecedented sum of tens of millions of dollars by early spring.

The former Florida governor’s overwhelming dominance in the race to line up financial backers has come at a speed that has impressed longtime Republican money players, who say wealthy party backers have rapidly migrated to Mr Bush since 2012 nominee Mitt Romney decided against another White House run two weeks ago.

At one Manhattan fundraiser for Mr Bush at the Park Avenue home of private-equity titan Henry Kravis this week, about 25 attendees paid a minimum of $US100,000 each just to get in the door. It’s one of six events for Mr Bush’s PACs – including one next weekend in Palm Beach – with such a price tag.

“I think they will come up with an eye-popping figure,” veteran GOP fundraiser Fred Malek said.

Mr Bush’s press for dollars has been so intense – averaging one fundraiser a day – that his Republican competitors do not even claim they can compete at his level and acknowledge that he is the unrivalled financial leader.

“Are they raising a lot of money? Yeah,” said Ray Washburne, a Dallas real estate developer who is heading efforts to solicit contributions for Governor Chris Christie’s new political committee. “We’re in the making-friends stage.”

“Money does not buy elections,” Mr Washburne added. “Look at Hillary and Obama back going into ’08 – she had all the money and he had none.”

Despite Mr Bush’s robust lead, party strategists and fundraisers agree that there is still plenty of room for his rivals to manoeuvre because of the changed nature of this year’s money primary. Super PACs that can raise unlimited donations have already been embraced by the expected candidates, allowing them to scoop up massive contributions before their campaigns officially launch. And the pool of potential givers has greatly expanded in the last several years, as the freewheeling era of big-money groups has attracted a new class of political donors.

“There’s a lot more room in this environment,” said Richard Hohlt, a Republican lobbyist in Washington who is helping raise money for Mr Bush. “I am shocked, as a person who has done this since the Nixon campaign, how there are so many mega donors who are willing to write significant checks. The point is, candidates can stay alive a lot longer.”

Still, there are mounting signs that Mr Bush’s financial momentum is coming at other candidates’ expense – especially Mr Christie’s. While the donor class seems increasingly intrigued by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, enthusiasm for Mr Christie has dimmed, according to major GOP contributors and bundlers across the country.

“Everybody says, ‘Bush, but I like Walker,” or ‘Walker, but I like Bush,” said one senior party figure, who declined to be named to describe private conversations with donors. “I don’t hear anyone saying Christie.”