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Jeb Bush calls Trump’s immigration comments ‘vulgar’

Welcome to your Trail Guide, a daily run along the campaign trail led by the Los Angeles Times political team. It's Monday, July 27, and this is what we're watching:

  • Jeb Bush criticizes Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee , calls for more civil tone
  • President Obama weighs in on Trump , Huckabee comments: 'Ridiculous if it weren't so sad'
  • Huckabee doesn't back away from comments comparing Iran deal to the Holocaust
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton unveils her climate change policy
  • Carly Fiorina travels to Southern California for a foreign policy speech
  • Surveys released over the weekend show Donald Trump polling strong in Iowa and New Hampshire
  • The Times' Michael Memoli looks at all the ways Clinton is trying to reintroduce herself to voters

John Kasich's chief strategist on the Aug. 6 Republican debate

Bush: Trump's words 'vulgar,' Huckabee's comment 'doesn't help'

 (AP Photo/John Raoux)

(John Raoux / Associated Press)

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said Monday that he would make immigration reform a priority if elected president, and he criticized two of his rivals for making statements that "don't help" solve such problems.

In his first Spanish-language interview since launching his bid for the White House, the former Florida governor said he was optimistic about passing comprehensive immigration reform, saying, "I know we can do it," according to excerpts of the interview released by Telemundo on Monday evening.

Bush's definition of comprehensive reform is different from some others. He has said he supports a path to legal status for immigrants living in the country illegally, but not a path to citizenship as backed by most immigration advocates, Democrats and some Republicans.

The candidate cast his fellow Republicans in the race as making passage of any legislation harder. Donald Trump, who has shot to the top of the GOP primary with his hard-line rhetoric, is practicing offensive and bad politics, Bush said.

"I was hurt hearing somebody speaking in such a vulgar fashion. This makes the solving of this problem much more difficult. When we have politicians talking like that, we cannot progress," Bush said. "Besides that, he was offending millions of people that are here legally. It makes no sense. In a political sense, it's bad and it creates an environment that is worse. And I believe it's important that I as a candidate offer a more optimistic version than Trump's negativeness."

Bush also criticized Mike Huckabee, another Republican contender facing backlash for controversial remarks. In a series of interviews in recent days, Huckabee has used Holocaust imagery to condemn the Obama administration's policy on Iran. The former Arkansas governor said a nuclear deal amounted to marching Israelis to the "the door of the oven."

While some GOP rivals declined Monday to comment on Huckabee's remarks, Bush sided with President Obama and Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton in calling for a more civil tone.

"In the case of Mike Huckabee, who is my friend, those words, that use of those type of words doesn't help," Bush told news anchor Jose Diaz-Balart. "We must have a more civil policy in this country."

The interview comes as Bush is trying to sell himself as the big-tent candidate in the race, promising to campaign in places Republicans rarely go and appeal to voters who've turned away from the GOP. That includes Latinos and African Americans. Bush is slated to address the Urban League this week.

Bush made his pitch on the Spanish-language network using both his policy and his cultural connections. He talked about his bilingual family and his Mexican-born wife, saying, "We eat Mexican food at home, our children are Hispanic, and, yes, the Hispanic influence is important."

He blasted the Obama administration for restoring relations with Cuba "without getting anything in return," and he suggested he would break from his party's leadership in Congress when it comes to dealing with Puerto Rico's debt crisis.

Although GOP House leadership has opposed passing legislation giving the U.S. territory Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection, Bush said that "we should assist them as much as we can."

"The manner that maybe we can do this is maybe let the government renegotiate its debt and, besides that, change the social contract," he said, using Detroit, which filed for bankruptcy in 2013, as an example. "Just like Detroit had that process, maybe Puerto Rico will also need to do the same thing, but it's not allowed by federal law, so the Congress must act."

Carly Fiorina, polling toward bottom of 2016 field, arrives in Calif. for foreign policy speech

 (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

When Carly Fiorina announced announced her bid for the Republican presidential nomination in May, the focus was not on any of her Republican challengers.

Instead, it was locked in on the only other woman in the race: Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton.

In a video announcing her candidacy, Fiorina, a former CEO of Hewlett Packard, assailed Clinton as part of the “permanent political class.”

But that message has gained little traction for Fiorina, who arrives in Southern California on Monday for a speech on foreign policy at the Reagan Presidential Library.

After nearly three months of darting through Iowa and New Hampshire -- which hold the first nominating contests almost six months from now -- Fiorina is polling toward the very bottom of the crowded GOP field.

Her low polling numbers will most likely keep her off the prime-time debate stage Aug. 6 in Cleveland -- a major setback to her struggling campaign.

Recent campaign finance reports show Fiorina, who waged an unsuccessful 2010 Senate campaign in California, raised about $1.7 million during the second quarter. Of her itemized contributions , about 40% -- more than any candidate in the 2016 campaign -- came from California donors.

On Monday, she will look to Californians again, delivering a speech on national security issues that is expected to include digs at Clinton's time as secretary of State.

The backdrop of the Reagan library near Simi Valley is also the location of the second GOP presidential debate in September, hosted by CNN.

Polling will ultimately decide who makes the stage, and only more time will tell if Fiorina will be there.

Follow Kurtis on Twitter: @kurtisalee

Huckabee responds to Clinton

Planned Parenthood head declares undercover videos a 'smear campaign'

 (Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press)

(Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press)

Planned Parenthood's leader vehemently denied any violation of laws involving fetal tissue, calling undercover videos recorded by a California-based group a "smear campaign" by "militant antiabortion activists."

In the videos, recorded by the Center for Medical Progress, Planned Parenthood officials are seen discussing an alleged sale of tissue from aborted fetuses.

"These tapes have been edited and they've tried to entrap doctors to say things," Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, said Sunday on ABC's "This Week." "I stand behind the healthcare that we provide at Planned Parenthood. Women trust Planned Parenthood."

The organization provides a variety of healthcare services, including cancer screenings, HIV tests and family counseling.

In the weeks since the videos' release, a political firestorm has erupted.

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Clinton won't comment on Keystone pipeline

Hillary Rodham Clinton may have drifted to the left in recent years on a lot of the big issues, but when it comes to the Keystone XL pipeline, she is not budging.

Clinton said in Iowa Monday morning that she has no plans to take a position on whether the project to ship oil from the Canadian tar sands to Gulf Coast ports should be given the go-ahead by the U.S. government until the review process is complete.

“I will refrain from commenting because I had a leading role in getting that process started and I think we have to let it run its course,” Clinton said in response to a question form a reporter, following Clinton's speech on renewable energy. The project ultimately would need approval from the State Department, and Clinton was heavily involved in the review while secretary of state.

Clinton said she is “confident the pipeline's impact on global greenhouse gas emissions will be a major factor” the White House and State Department ultimately consider in deciding whether to approve the project.

Clinton's position on the pipeline is a source of continued uneasiness with environmentalists, who say allowing the project to go forward would accelerate global warming and undermine efforts to curb fossil fuel consumption.

“We need Clinton to show she understands the other half of the climate change equation -- and prove she has the courage to stand up against fossil fuel projects,” environmental activist Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org, said in a statement Monday.

Comments like these are offensive and they have no place in our political dialogue. I am disappointed, and I'm really offended personally. ... One can disagree with the particulars of the agreement to put a lid on the nuclear weapons program of Iran, and that is fair game, but this steps over the line and it should be repudiated.
Hillary Rodham Clinton weighs in on the dust-up over GOP candidate Mike Huckabee's assertion that President Obama's Iran policy marches Israelis "to the door of the oven.”

Walker's anti-union campaign by the numbers

 (Nati Harnik / Associated Press)

(Nati Harnik / Associated Press)

Our Chicago Tribune colleague Bob Secter has a close look at Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's record as a union-slayer in his state -- and it is dramatic. AFSCME membership "dropped 50% since Walker become governor," the share of public workers in unions has fallen from one-half to less than one-third. And this:

"Records filed with the Internal Revenue Service show the three AFSCME councils operating in Wisconsin -- umbrella groups for union locals -- saw their combined revenues drop from $13.8 million the year Walker was first elected to $6.2 million by 2013. The downsizing prompted those three councils recently to merge into one."

Secter notes that in his second term Walker has shifted from targeting public sector to private sector unions, much to the frustration of at least one private sector labor leader who once supported the governor.

"To me he lied," said Terry McGowan, who heads the 9,100-member Operating Engineers Local 139. "He looked me in the eyes and told me that it was all safe."

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What's 'ridiculous and sad' is that President Obama does not take Iran's repeated threats seriously. For decades, Iranian leaders have pledged to 'destroy,' 'annihilate' and 'wipe Israel off the map' with a 'big Holocaust.' 'Never again' will be the policy of my administration and I will stand with our ally Israel to prevent the terrorists in Tehran from achieving their own stated goal of another Holocaust.
GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee responds to President Obama's criticism of his statement that the Iran nuclear agreement will march Israelis "to the door of the oven." Obama called the comment "ridiculous if it weren't so sad."

Obama: GOP cycle of attacks 'ridiculous if it weren't so sad'

 (Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

The Times' Christi Parsons sends this dispatch from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where President Obama showed he's been keeping up with the news at home:

"President Obama inserted himself deeply into the election season from this remote locale on Monday, blasting the political rhetoric of Republican presidential candidates and what he called a culture of 'outrageous attacks' tolerated by the GOP.

He singled out the weekend charge from White House hopeful and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who said that through the proposed international nuclear deal with Iran, Obama 'will take the Israelis and basically march them to the door of the oven.' The president called Huckabee's stark comparison to the Holocaust "'part of a general pattern that would be considered ridiculous if it weren't so sad.'"

'We've had a sitting senator call John Kerry 'Pontius Pilate.' We've had a sitting senator who also happens to be running for president suggest that I'm the leading state sponsor of terrorism,' Obama said, referring to Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Ted Cruz of Texas, respectively. 'These are leaders in the Republican Party.'

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With tough times at home, GOP governors go looking for love elsewhere

 (Winslow Townson / Associated Press)

(Winslow Townson / Associated Press)

Three of the four governor-candidates in the GOP presidential race are trying to jump to the national stage despite poor approval ratings in their home states. The trend raises an obvious question, the Times' Mark Barabak notes: Why should they be elected president if those who know them best aren't pleased with their performance?

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Keystone XL, fracking ban missing from Clinton energy plan

 (Scott Olson / Getty Images)

(Scott Olson / Getty Images)

Hillary Rodham Clinton unveiled her climate change policy plan Sunday, setting ambitious targets for expanded solar power and other renewable energy use. But there were some notable gaps, reports Evan Halper and Seema Mehta in Monday's Times.

Clinton is still silent on whether she would approve the Keystone XL pipeline to carry oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast. She has yet to weigh in on a nationwide ban on hydraulic fracturing or take a firm position on offshore oil drilling.

Clinton rolled out her proposal in Iowa, Halper and Mehta noted, where federally subsidized wind turbines are popping up on farms across the state.

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Have you heard Hillary Clinton is a grandma?

 (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

You've heard it a few times if you've listened to one of her stump speeches. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign hasn't been subtle about seasoning the candidate's speeches with personal, "relatable" details. It's all part of an effort to reintroduce one of the most famous women in the world to voters who see her with high levels of distrust, Mike Memoli reports in today's Times.

The get-to-know-her-again campaign is something of a do-over from 2008, one of her former aides told Memoli.

"She deserves a lot of the blame for that, for not opening up and letting people see who she was as much as she should have over the years. Because when they do, they like her," said Mo Elleithee, who was a spokesman for Clinton's 2008 campaign.

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Donald Trump polling strong in Iowa, N.H. based on surveys released over the weekend

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Donald Trump, the provocative reality television star who for much of the last month has upended the 2016 Republican primary, is still doing well in polls in a pair of early nominating states despite recent rhetoric that many party leaders have denounced.

In New Hampshire, which holds the first presidential primary, Trump leads the field with 21% support from potential GOP primary voters, according to a NBC News/Marist poll released Sunday. His closest competitor, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, is at 14%, with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker receiving 12% support and Ohio Gov. John Kasich at 7%.

Meanwhile in Iowa, where the state's caucuses begin the nominating process, Trump is tied with Walker. Both get 19% support from potential GOP caucus-goers. Bush is at 12%, followed by retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson with 8% and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at 7%.

The Times' Kurtis Lee has more on the polls.

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