East County News Service
Devoreo Bell, Juwan Armstrong and Miriam Raftery contributed to this series.
Part 1: Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton (most prominent political pedigrees) and Donald Trump (the show horse)
August 3, 2015 (Washington D.C.) -- The 2016 presidential candidates are off and running. It’s a crowded race, with over two dozen contenders vying for the ultimate winner’s circle. Over the next couple of weeks, East County Magazine will run a “Race for the White House” series profiling the candidates.
Our series opens with frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, two seasoned entries with long political pedigrees, and “show horse” Donald Trump who’s been grabbing media headlines and moving up in the polls. Later we’ll highlight mavericks such as Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders, each drawing populist followings for talking about issues like civil liberties and the wealth gap largely ignored by party power-brokers. Finally, we’ll have coverage of the pack of other prominent contenders, plus some dark horses hoping to pull off an upset win. For each candidate, we’ll give you biographical highlights, stances on key issues, controversies, and fascinating facts as these contenders bolt out of the starting gate and run for the roses—the White House rose garden, that is. Plus, we’ll check with pollsters and odds makers to see how they’re handicapping this important race—so keep an eye out for each installment in our “Race for the Whitehouse” 2016 coverage.
Click "read more" and scroll down to learn more about Bush, Clinton and Trump.
Candidate: Jeb Bush, Republican
Photo: Bush at Southern Republican Leadership Conference, cc by Michael Vadon
Bio Basics: Jeb Bush served as Florida’s Governor from 1998 until 2007. He is the son of former President H.W. Bush and the brother of another president, George W. Bush. He was born in Texas and moved to Florida in the 1980s, working as a real estate developer before becoming Florida’s Secretary of Commerce and later, Governor.
Key issues: Unlike most other Republican presidential candidates, Bush favors some form of comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants, but he has backpedaled away from his prior support for legalization or what critics call “amnesty,” the Washington Examiner reported in May 2015. Bush is a strong supporter of Common Core national education standards, a rarity among Republicans, CNN reported in May. The program has drawn criticism from conservatives who have tried to paint it as a "federal takeover of education." As Florida Governor, he pushed for school vouchers, moved Medicaid recipients to private systems, and implemented environmental protections for the Everglades. He wants to make abortion illegal, except for rape, incest or when a mother’s life is endangered, according to Vote Smart. As Florida Governor, he also eliminated affirmative action at state colleges and universities.
Controversies: Governor Jeb Bush steered $1.7 billion in Florida pension funds to financial backers of his brother’s presidential campaign, International Business Times reported. Washington Post article in June 2015 reports that “records, lawsuits, interviews and newspaper accounts stretching back more than three decades” reveal that Bush “often benefited from his family connections and repeatedly put himself in situations that raised questions about his judgment and exposed him to reputational risk.” He once asked a court to prevent a mentally impaired rape victim from having an abortion and sought to halt the husband of Tetri Schiavo from terminating her life after she was declared brain dead. (Cleveland.com)
Bush also drew fire from labor for his remarks that to improve our economy, “Workforce participation has to rise from its all-time modern lows. It means that people need to work longer hours and, through their productivity, gain more income for their families. That's the only way we are going to get out of this rut that we're in." He later claimed he meant that more part-time people need to work full-time.
Fascinating facts: Born an Episcopalian, Bush converted to Catholicism, adopting the religion of his Mexican wife, Columba. He holds a degree in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas, has lived in Venezuela where he opened a branch of Texas Commerce Bank, and he speaks fluent Spanish. He once tried to buy the Florida Marlins, but his bid was rejected.
Odds of winning: Bush has strong name recognition and has amassed a large war chest of contributions. He has polled at or near the top of the GOP pack in most major polls. Name recognition can be both a plus and minus however as many historians have rated his brother, George W. Bush, among the worst U.S. presidents due to launching a preemptive war in Iraq based on false reports of chemical weapons , ignoring warnings about the 9/11 terrorist attacks and his administration’s failings in the lead-up to and during Hurricane Katrina which devastated New Orleans. Bet Vega currently has Bush at 18/5 odds.
Candidate: Hillary Clinton, Democrat
Photo: official Secretary of State portrait
Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton served as United States Secretary of State in the Obama administration from 2009 to 2013. She also was a U.S. Senator representing the state of New York from 2001 to 2009. During former president Bill Clinton’s two terms, 1993 to 2001, she was First Lady.
Born in 1947 in Illinois, she was student commencement speaker at Wellesley College and later obtained a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1973. After a stint as a Congressional legal counsel, she moved to Arkansas in 1975, where she married Bill Clinton. She co-founded Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families and made history by being the first female chair of the Legal Services Corporation in 1978. Plus, as First Lady of Arkansas she led a task force that helped transform the state’s education system.
After moving to New York, in 2000, Clinton was the first female senator from “The Empire State.” No other First Lady (besides Clinton) has ever run for public office. After 9-11, she was in support of U.S.’s military action in Afghanistan and the Iraq Resolution. She subsequently was against the Bush adminstration’s role of the Iraq War. She disapproved of a majority of Bush’s domestic policies.
During her time as First Lady, the 1993 Clinton Health Care Plan that she advocated for didn’t attract enough support for passage in Congress, but it laid the groundwork for the Affordable Care Act later enacted in the Obama adminstration. In 1997 and 1999, she was a vital cog in advocating adoption of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Adoption and Safe Families Act, and the Care Independence Act.
Clinton is making women’s issues a cornerstone of her campaign, pledging to work to improve the rights and wellbeing of women in the U.S. and around the world. Her stance on abortion is to keep abortion safe, legal and rare through policies to help women and also foster care. She also notes that the opportunity for life starts at conception, but believes intrusion into one’s personal life is excessive. (Issues)
Clinton supports raising the minimum wage and believes Congress should not get a raise until that happens.
She stands up for union’s rights, in organizing fair wages for unions. Clinton also notes, we should, “get tough with China and bring jobs back home. (Issues)
Earlier this year, she dismissed the idea of putting American or Western troops on the ground to combat the Islamic State militant group, instead favoring “air force, but also army soldiers from the region, and particularly from Iraq,” in fighting what she said would be a “long-term struggle.” (Politico)
While in the Senate she voted for the Iraq war, but later indicated she had changed her position after it was revealed that the Bush administration misled Congress with false claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
She was the only First Lady to be subpoenaed. In 1996, she testified before a federal grand jury regarding the Whitewater controversy, but was not charged with any crime during this investigation nor at any point during her husband’s tenure as president.
Her marriage to former President Clinton received widespread public attention as a result of a sex scandal involving intern Monica Lewinski and the President; some faulted Hillary for standing by Clinton despite his infidelity that led to impeachment proceedings, though he was not convicted and remained in office.
Clinton drew controversy for using a private e-mail server while she was Secretary of State. When asked by a Congressional panel to turn over all e-mails related to the Benghazi, Libya attack in which American consulate personnel lost their lives, she deleted e-mails off her server that she claimed were private. Clinton has defended her actions on Benghazi. (National Review). A two-year investigation by the Republican-controlled House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence resulted in publication of a report in November 2014 which conluded that accusations made by Republican leaders over terrorist attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi are untrue. The committee found no wrongdoing by any administration officials, including Clinton.
There have also been criticisms raised that a foundation started by former President Clinton has accepted donations from wealthy international interests, posing potential conflicts of interest for Hillary Clinton if she wins the White House.
In 1979, Clinton was the first female partner at Rose Law Firm.
She was twice listed as in the top 100 most influential lawyers in America by The National Law Journal. (National Law Journal)
Clinton has traveled to more countries than any other Secretary of State.
Odds of winning
Clinton has strong name recognition and the most national political experience of any candidate in the race. She can be expected to motivate female voters including some moderate Republican women. However she also has political baggage from past controversies. Based on the Vegas oddsmakers, however, Clinton’s chances of becoming the next president are very good; just look at the numbers. Her odds at BetVega are currently 6/5, the only candidate in the running currently with odds better than 50/50.
Candidate: Donald Trump, Republican
Photo: Donald Trump at 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference; CC by Michael Vadon
Bio Basics: Donald John Trump, Sr., 69, is a prominent businessman, billionaire and real estate developer. He is chairman and president of The Trump Organization and founder of Trump Entertainment Resorts, with holdings ranging from casinos to hotels.. He is also a television personality and host of the reality show The Apprentice and its spin-off, Celebrity Apprentice. He has authored 15 books, including The Art of the Deal, a successful business guide.
Trump is the son of Fred Trump, a prominent figure in New York City real estate. He worked for his father’s firm, Elizabeth Trump & Son, and attended the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania. He joined his father’s company in 1968, was given control in 1971 and changed the name to The Trump Organization.
Key Issues: Trump’s website states that his goals include promoting a free market, strong family, strong military, and caring for our veterans.
Trump says his views on same-sex marriage are “evolving,” adding, “I think I’m a fair person, but I have been for traditional marriage. I am for traditional marriage, I am for a marriage between a man and a woman.” (Huffington Post)
Back in 1999, Trump said he “was strongly pro-choice,” but now says he’s pro-life and is seeking to nominate Supreme Court justices who have similar viewpoints. During an interview with Jake Tapper, from CNN, Trump mentioned that his change of heart is similar to that of the American public. "In terms of polling, the pro-choice (support) is going down a little bit," Trump said. "It’s very interesting."
However, the most recent poll findings, from Gallup show that 50 percent two Americans are pro-choice versus 44 percent of Americans, whom are pro-life. (Tampa Bay Times)
Controversies: NBC announced in late June that it has fired Trump, who gained fame for his signature “You’re fired” line on the “Apprentice” TV show. NBC severed ties with Trump due to anti-immigrant remarks. These are the comments that Trump said to get himself in hot water when announcing his candidacy: "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best...They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."
Trump responded to the news of being “fired” from NBC, telling reporters, “I think as far as ending the relationship, I have to do that because my view on immigration is much different than the people at NBC.” Univision also announced it would sever its relationship with Trump’s Miss University organization over his comments.
Trump later attacked Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona, a former Prisoner of War, stating at the Family Leadership Conference in Iowa, “I like people who weren’t captured.” Those remarks were swiftly denounced by nearly all of the other GOP candidates.
Trump announced plans to sue the network for defamation and breach of contract. (NBC News)
Trump recently refused a reporter’s request to show his birth certification, yet he previously demanded that Obama produce his birth certificate and passport records during the beginning of his presidency. (The Guardian)
Trump bought the New Jersey Generals of the United States Football League (USFL) during the team’s rookie season in 1983. Trump attempted to recruit former legendary NFL Head Coach Don Shula from the Miami Dolphins. Allegedly, Shula requested a condo in Trump Tower as compensation and Trump balked at Shula’s request.
Trump once represented Mike Tyson as Tyson’s financial advisor, while Tyson’s fight versus Michael Spinks took place in Atlantic City.
Trump does not have any political experience.
Odds of winning
Trump’s poll numbers shot up after his immigrant-bashing remarks but plummeted after his insults to McCain, then rebounded after he announced he would have a place in his cabinet for for ex-Vice Presidential candidate and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Despite some polls showing him nudging out other Republican primary contenders, however, he hasn’t convinced the oddsmakers; BetVega is currently ranking Trump as a 30-to-1 long shot.
(Note: Betting on American political races is not allowed in the U.S. but is legal overseas. We include Vegas oddsmakers' handicapping in this race solely for the education and entertainment of our readers.)