Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


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Welcome To Florida Politics

Thanks for visiting. On a semi-daily basis we scan Florida's major daily newspapers for significant Florida political news and punditry. We also review the editorial pages and political columnists/pundits for Florida political commentary. The papers we review include: the Miami Herald, Sun-Sentinel, Palm Beach Post, Naples News, Sarasota Herald Tribune, St Pete Times, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Tallahassee Democrat, and, occasionally, the Florida Times Union; we also review the political news blogs associated with these newspapers.

For each story, column, article or editorial we deem significant, we post at least the headline and link to the piece; the linked headline always appears in quotes. We quote the headline for two reasons: first, to allow researchers looking for the cited piece to find it (if the link has expired) by searching for the original title/headline via a commercial research service. Second, quotation of the original headline permits readers to appreciate the spin from the original piece, as opposed to our spin.

Not that we don't provide spin; we do, and plenty of it. Our perspective appears in post headlines, the subtitles within the post (in bold), and the excerpts from the linked stories we select to quote; we also occasionally provide other links and commentary about certain stories. While our bias should be immediately apparent to any reader, we nevertheless attempt to link to every article, column or editorial about Florida politics in every major online Florida newspaper.


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The Blog for Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Gallagher Rips Crist

    In Gallagher's new ad,
    He accuses Crist of supporting a "liberal spending plan" and of being "pro-choice." Both charges are open to debate: Crist supports the voter-enacted class-size amendment which, after four years, has been far from big spending, but has the potential to cost the state much more in education money in the future. Gallagher wants the amendment changed so it costs the state less and provides districts with more flexibility.
    "Gallagher takes off the gloves". See also "Gallagher's new TV ad rips opponent", "Gallagher sharpens tone with new TV ad", "Gallagher blasts 'liberal' GOP rival in new ad", "TV Static", "Gallagher ad says Crist is pro-choice, supports gay unions" and "Gallagher ad attacks Crist as 'liberal'".

    And Charlie ain't happy: "Charlie Crist lashed out at Tom Gallagher on Tuesday after a new Gallagher campaign ad comparing the differences between the two Republican gubernatorial candidates began appearing on television.Gallagher, behind in the polls, is going 'down the path of desperate measures,' Crist's campaign said." "Gallagher's 'Compare' TV ad annoys Crist campaign"

    This is the work of Gallagher's new media team: "Gallagher Media Buy". The Buzz notes that "at Camp Crist there's some nervousness about how Murphy's presence might change the Gallagher message." "What's Fair and What's Negative?"

    Dem Debate

    "Jim Davis and Rod Smith just wrapped up an hour-long telephone debate put together by a coalition of activist groups, including the Florida Public Interest Foundation, the League of Women Voters of Florida and Common Cause Florida."

    The clearest differences between the two came on the most complicated issue: property insurance. Smith called for having the state provide some coverage to all homeowners, while Davis focused on establishing an appointee to watchdog insurance companies when they look for rate increases. Davis continued to hammer at a law passed by the Florida Legislature in 2005 that says wind insurers are only responsible for damage caused by wind when a hurricane destroys a home. Davis called it a "loophole," said it gives insurance companies a way to avoid paying fair amounts to policyholders, and called it an example of the insurance's industry's influence in Tallahassee. Smith said overturning the law would only serve to drive rates higher and accused Davis of labeling it a loophole "because it fits a bumper sticker."

    Davis was more aggressive for most of the debate, repeatedly criticizing "this governor and this Legislature" -- and, by implication, Smith -- for passing a law that delayed cleanup standards for the Everglades, shifting the tax burden onto property owners, and failing to scrutinize government contracts, among a host of other issues.
    "Davis and Smith Tangle Over the Telephone". See also "Davis, Smith reveal similarities in conference call", "Smith, Davis try to sharpen their differences", "Hopefuls list health care, debt, seniors as priorities", "Phone Battle".

    "A fairly monotonous debate between the Democratic candidates for governor Tuesday ended on a sharp note, with state Sen. Rod Smith stepping up his criticism of U.S. Rep. Jim Davis for missing votes in Congress. ... 'This race is about leadership and effectiveness,' Smith said. 'The way to get things done is to go to work every day and do your job.'" "Smith steps up no-show attack". See also "Return to Sender" ("Even as Rod Smith was finishing up a telephone debate by criticizing Jim Davis' poor attendance record in Congress over the last two years, Smith's campaign was doing the same in a press release.")

    CFO Race

    "Senate president, state representative battling for Republican CFO nod".

    Charlie's Latest Publicity Stunt

    Charlie Crist has no compunction about using his office for grandstanding, sometimes pretending to be a civil rights warrior: for example, "Today, Crist will travel to Central Florida to announce results of his office’s 20-month investigation into the 1951 Christmas night bombing in Mims that claimed the lives of civil rights pioneers Harry T. Moore and his wife, Harriette." On other occasions Charlie holds himself out as a consumer warrior:

    "As Floridians struggled to recover from eight hurricanes over the past two years, they faced a new threat from merchants making a fast buck.

    Prices of gasoline, hotel rooms and even bottled water shot up, prompting consumers to flood the state with more than 13,000 complaints of price gouging.

    They called a toll-free number activated by Attorney General Charlie Crist, who promised to bring the scam artists to justice.

    But Crist's office found that fewer than one of every 100 complaints warranted a full investigation. Crist's army of attorneys launched formal investigations in 81 cases."
    "Price-gouging cases bring few lawsuits".

    Jebbites Collect Cash for Villalobos Attack

    "The Committee for Florida Justice Reform went on a fund-raising binge last week and raised $658,000. That's way short of the group's goal of $1-million, according to several lobbyists who were solicited to make contributions, but it's plenty to make life difficult for Miami Sen. Alex Villalobos, which is one of the committee's goals." "(Soft) Money to Burn".

    Collins Ad

    "Ad watch: LeRoy Collins, U.S. Senate candidate".

    Poor Thing

    "Buchanan says Hudson slings 'trash' against him".

    But He'll Take The Wingnut Vote

    Jim King has a problem with the heart and soul of his party: "King Snubs Terry". In the meantime, "Terry Continues to Wage Web Campaign".

    Jebbie Speaks

    "Jeb: 'Shame' on Siplin".

    "Jeb!" Watch

    Some are less than impressed with Jebbie's latest attempt to get some national exposure. "I can just see Jeb's wide, glossed-over, puppy dog eyes, looking up at older bro Georgie for a great nod of approval."

    Under the first "lesson" Bush and Bloomberg propose in regard to proficiency standards, the strong statement is made that "We need a uniform measuring stick." Wow boys, that's deep. But how about a uniform playing field?

    There's no denying the funding gap in the United States. According to an article written by Kevin Carey for The Education Trust — an organization promoting high academic achievements for all students, focusing on those most often left behind in education (African American, Latino, American Indian and low-income students) — a report from 2001 showed a funding gap of more than $1,000 per student nationwide. The report also showed a similar disparity between white and minority students.

    In another study, which looked at the total amount of state and local revenue 49 state's districts received for the 2001-02 school year, in 25 states the school districts with the highest poverty got fewer resources than the lowest-poverty districts.

    Besides the atrocity of funding not being equal, it seems we are forgetting to acknowledge the fact that there are many added costs of educating children in poverty. Carey writes in his article, "School funding experts generally agree that high-poverty schools need more resources to meet the same standards."
    "Bush posse not looking out for kids".


    SPT - "Campbell for Democrats" and "Lee for Republicans".

    Judicial Candidates Roll In Mud

    "Barbs fly in circuit judge race".

    Hispanic Forum

    "The forum lured Democrat Jim Davis and Republican Tom Gallagher, but many who attended said they were disappointed not to see Republican Charlie Crist and Democrat Rod Smith. Max Linn, a Reform Party candidate who said it was his first political forum, offered some of the more off-the-cuff remarks." "3 candidates debate Hispanic issues".

    "Davis unveils plan for elderly"

    "Jim Davis' campaign stopped in Tampa this morning, where the Democratic candidate for governor delivered a speech to the Florida Council of Aging. Davis outlined what he's billing as a 'Security for Our Seniors' plan that includes, among other provisions, buying prescription drugs in bulk along with other states and from Canada, funding embryonic stem-cell research and tailoring hurricane-evacuation plans for seniors." "Davis Courts Seniors with 'Security' Plan". See also "Davis unveils plan for elderly". More on Davis' plan here (.pdf).

    The Comedy Show Continues

    - Rodriguez-Gate: "Mystery Harris staffer speaks!"

    - "Harris Bucks GOP, Other Naysayers".

    - "If you didn't see the article earlier, Katherine Harris told the St. Petersburg Times that her staff told her not to visit newspaper editorial boards across the state. But on Tuesday, the day the article ran, Chris Ingram (who recently left Harris' campaign and now works for rival LeRoy Collins) said it was not the staff's fault." "Former Harris staffer disputes claims".

    "Jeb!" Shill Getting Desperate

    "A man in the suit appeared outside Villalobos' Kendall office earlier today after the Villalobos' camp failed to agree with a debate offer by the Frank Bolanos camp. Villalobos cited scheduling conflicts and the fact that the debate wouldn't be in the district." "Finger-lickin' silly".

    Using Their Positions

    "Less than three weeks before the Sept. 5 Republican primary, the lastest moves by Crist and Gallagher underscore how these candidates maneuver their powerful statewide posts to fortify their bids for the state’s top job."

    Gallagher, the state’s chief financial officer, unveiled a $250 million state home inspection and repair program to blunt hurricane damage that features his photo prominently in its brochure for applicants and also on its web site.

    Crist, the attorney general, dispatched a deputy to argue against an attempt by Florida Power & Light to add $10 million to its fuel surcharge to develop an underground gas storage facility.

    Today, Crist will travel to Central Florida to announce results of his office’s 20-month investigation into the 1951 Christmas night bombing in Mims that claimed the lives of civil rights pioneers Harry T. Moore and his wife, Harriette.
    "All Campaign, All The Time".

    Early Voting

    "Counties Open More Polls Early".


    "OK, so now it turns out class size may not be that big a deal to Gov. Jeb Bush anymore."

    On Monday, Bolanos said he does not support repealing the costly class size amendment first approved by voters in 2002. In the past two years, Villalobos has been one of the crucial votes in the Legislature to kill off proposals to undo the amendment. One of those proposals was crafted by Bush himself.

    Yet Bush said Bolanos' decision is not surprising to him. "That doesn't change my support for Frank Bolanos, not at all," the governor said.

    Bush said that the more important vote during the annual legislative session was the one Villalobos took against a proposal to ask voters to preserve private school voucher programs that have been a key component of his A+ education plan.
    "Bush OK with Bolanos position on class size".

    States' Rights

    "Governors angered by Guard plan".

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry, in testimony on Capitol Hill in October, argued against federalizing the National Guard after natural disasters.

    Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, President Bush’s brother, along with the Pennsylvania and Idaho governors, said much the same thing. Jeb Bush pointedly said that disasters can be handled "without the federal government stepping on state’s rights."
    Except, of course, the Florida 2000 disaster.

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