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Mitch Perry Report for 5.18.15 — Jeb Bush talks tough on gay marriage

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Jeb Bush isn’t the only leading Republican presidential contender from Florida who is struggling to get his story straight on whether it was the right thing to invade Iraq.

Yesterday on Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace refused to let Rubio off the hook regarding where he stands on the issue, since he appears to have two completely different answers to that question in the past two months.

Wallace also grilled Rubio for displaying a lack of leadership in the way he handled the issue of comprehensive immigration. It was one of the best one-on-one interviews we’ve seen during this campaign season, and it’s only going to get hotter for Rubio as he continues to ascend in the presidential sweepstakes.

But what about some of the other GOP presidential candidates? While Rubio was doing Fox, Rand Paul was on Meet The Press and Scott Walker was doing Face the Nation (but no candidate appeared on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopolous, though he did snag Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell).

Speaking of Walker, he’s been out of the media spotlight over the past month, in part because he was recently in Israel (in a trip partially financed by Sheldon Adelson), trying to earn some foreign policy gravitas. In fact, he’s got a lot now, or so he told Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation yesterday.

“As a governor, I’ve been, just recently in Germany, in Spain and France,” Walker explained. “Earlier in the year, it was the United Kingdom on trade related missions. A few years back in China and Japan. So, that’s probably the most of any governor of either party has is that experience in terms of trade relations.”

So in case you thought Walker wouldn’t be ready to be commander in chief on Day One, well, he says otherwise.

Meanwhile on MTP, Rand Paul wouldn’t commit to doing another  filibuster in the Senate if Mitch McConnell attempts to push  for an extension of the Patriot Act. Last week the House of Representatives voted down Section 215 of the law, the expiring provision that is the basis of the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of U.S. phone records. Sen. McConnell has proposed an extension that would give Congress until July 31 to work out a deal.

NBC’s Chuck Todd asked Paul if he were elected president, would he just try to eliminate the NSA? Paul said he wouldn’t go that far, but instead  would have the agency concentrate more on going after potential foreign threats.

“I would have the NSA target their activities, more and more, towards our enemies,” Paul said. “I think if you’re not spending so much time and money collecting the information of innocent Americans, maybe we could’ve spent more time knowing that one of the Tsarnaev boys, one of the Boston bombers, had gone back to Chechnya.”

While all that was going on, Jeb Bush was on the Christian Broadcasting Network on Saturday, saying that Christian business owners should not have to provide services for gay weddings if it goes against their religious beliefs.

“Yes, absolutely, if it’s based on a religious belief,” he said when asked if businesses should be able to decline services to same-sex weddings. He also said that he does not believe that same-sex marriages are constitutional.

In other news…

Sixty-four once growlers will be available for purchase at a local craft brewery near you beginning July 1. A look at what else is in the recently signed legislation is included in our story here.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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