Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush unveiled Tuesday a political action committee that will bankroll his travels across the country as he decides whether to run for president in 2016. Bush, brother of former President George W. Bush and son of ex-President George H.W. Bush, stated last month that he was “actively exploring” a 2016 bid.
Bush announced the creation of the Right to Rise PAC on his Facebook page in English and Spanish and described it in bilingual videos as “a PAC to support candidates who believe in conservative principles to allow all Americans to rise up.” The committee is a vehicle for Bush to pay for staffers and travel expenses and to fund Republican candidates whose support he might want if he runs for president. As the Republican establishment candidate closest to running, Bush’s formation of the leadership PAC also serves the purpose of dissuading other possible mainstream GOP candidates, like 2012 nominee Mitt Romney and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, from running if the PAC reports impressive fundraising figures.
Bush’s first fundraiser for the PAC is scheduled for Wednesday in Greenwich, Connecticut, at a private reception, CBS New York reported. Bush has deep ties to the wealthy town. His father grew up there and his grandfather represented Connecticut in the U.S. Senate in the 1950s.
A biography of Bush on the PAC’s website touts his conservative credentials, which have been criticized on talk radio and in Tea Party circles. “Gov. Bush remained true to his conservative principles throughout his two terms in office – cutting nearly $20 billion in taxes, vetoing more than $2.3 billion in earmarks and reducing the state government workforce by more than 13,000,” the bio reads. “His limited government approach helped unleash one of the most robust and dynamic economies in the nation, creating 1.4 million net new jobs and improving the state’s credit ratings, including achieving the first ever triple-A bond rating for Florida.”
Attacks on Bush’s viability in a Republican primary, where voters are more conservative than in a general election, have been rampant since his announcement last month that he was taking a step toward running in 2016. "You know what Jeb Bush is? He's an old-time liberal Republican. That's what he is," said conservative radio host Mark Levin.
Bush also came under fire from Grover Norquist, the influential head of Americans for Tax Reform, a conservative political advocacy group, for not signing a no-new-tax pledge. Several possible 2016 GOP candidates, including Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Rick Perry of Texas, have signed the pledge.
"Jeb Bush won't put it in writing, and he won't say it," Norquist told Fox News. "I think at some point you need to ask Jeb Bush what taxes do you plan to raise."