Taking Jeb to School: Democrat Bill McBride Is a Vietnam Vet with an Education Plan-Making Him a Treacherous Foe for the First Brother
Campo-Flores, Arian, Newsweek
Byline: Arian Campo-Flores
You'd think that in his quest to rally the nation for a war against Iraq, President George W. Bush could count on his loyal little brother Jeb for a helping hand. Not this time. As Jeb campaigns for a second term as Florida's governor, he's been largely silent on the issue, instead addressing far more parochial concerns. "People here are focused on education, the environment and the economy," says his spokesman, Todd Harris.
Governor Bush is wise to pay attention to those three E's. Once considered a shoo-in for re-election, Bush now faces a formidable opponent in Bill McBride, a Tampa lawyer and Vietnam vet who is just the sort of folksy Democrat who does well in Florida. According to one poll last week, McBride had soared to within six points of Bush, who drew fire for ballot foul-ups during the primary. That has the White House worried about W's prospects in 2004 and Democrats primed to avenge their loss in 2000.
McBride has found plenty to attack in Bush's record. Hewing to the Democratic line on the economy, he has blamed Jeb's tax cuts for a $1.4 billion budget deficit. On education--the state's top issue--McBride has assailed Bush's pro-testing and pro-voucher policies and such abysmal indicators as Florida's 50th-place ranking in high-school graduation rates. …