ORLANDO, Florida — Many leading Republican presidential contenders are gathering at Walt Disney World today for an “Economic Growth Summit” organized by Gov. Rick Scott’s (R-FL) political committee, Let’s Get to Work.
As Breitbart News reported, the participants include Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL), Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), former Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), and former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR).
Rubio and Huckabee have already entered the race, and Perry is scheduled to announce on Thursday. The others have been making preparations to join the race and are expected to officially declare later this summer.
The topic of today’s summit is supposed to be economic issues — a pet issue for Scott, who campaigned heavily on the issue in his reelection last year — but it is likely that issues beyond our shores will enter into the discussion.
Because of the continuing debate in the Senate on the Patriot Act and USA Freedom Act, Rubio had to remain in Washington and will appear via video feed. As Politico’s Marc Caputo reports, a “major reason” for the Senate vote Tuesday was that another presidential candidate, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), “had helped delay the issue by refusing unanimous consent last week.” Caputo also noted that the two have “clashed” over foreign policy issues since last year:
Paul accused Rubio of being an “isolationist” over Cuba while Rubio accused the Kentucky senator of supporting President Obama’s foreign policy. On Sunday, after provisions of the Patriot Act expired amid Paul’s opposition, Rubio issued a written statement that jabbed at him without naming names: “Allowing any of these programs to expire is a mistake, but that’s what is happening as a consequence of the reckless spreading of misinformation and political posturing.”
Additionally, the candidates are divided on the issue of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a twelve-nation trade deal. As the Tampa Bay Times’ Alex Leary reports:
Conservatives are increasingly turning against the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, portraying it as a secretive deal that gives authority to a president who has abused executive action on immigration and other issues.
The criticism — spurred on by conservative commentators who have branded it “Obamatrade” — is notable from a party that generally espouses the virtue of free enterprise and has jeopardized a deal that has already drawn strong opposition from Democrats aligned with labor unions.
Breitbart News is in Orlando and will provide updates from the candidates’ remarks throughout the day.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker.