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 Friday, September 22, 2006

Bushco Acknowledges Existence of Harris

    Bush, after lauding his brother, Gov. Jeb Bush, Gus Bilirakis, First Lady Laura Bush, his mother, Barbara Bush, and Bilirakis' mother, noted that he was "proud to be here with Congresswoman Katherine Harris, running for the United States Senate."
    "In the fold". See also "President gives his support to Harris' run for U.S. Senate", "Harris and the President" and "Harris, GOP finally come together for President Bush's visit".

    "Jeb!" on public radio answered affirmatively when asked whether he "endorsed" Harris.

    Lee Flip-Flops

    Tom Lee apparently has no idea what his Chief of Staff is doing.

    Recall that on Wednesday Lee's office charged his opponent, Senator Skip Campbell, with campaigning on "Senate's dime". Ironically, the charges were made by a State employee (who presumably was on the "Senate's dime" at the time): "Jay Kassack, chief of staff for Senate President Tom Lee ... warned Campbell against using taxpayer-funded resources." Kassack actually insisted that Campbell "forward any future Campbell press releases through him." "Lee: Campbell campaigning on Senate's dime".

    Yesterday, "Lee overrode his staff chief, Jay Kassack, saying he had been unaware of the order from his office the previous day." "". "Senate chief reverses decree to Campbell".

    Are we supposed to believe that Kassack took on Campbell in this way without first consulting with his boss, Tom Lee?

    Night of the Lemmings

    "He came. He spoke. He raised $2 million". See also "President raises cash for Crist" and "President's Visit Pads GOP's War Chests".

    Bush stunned the crowd: "President says Crist best man for Florida". See also "President: Crist 'right guy' for job".

    Davis' response: "Davis: 'Crist on George Bush's Side'" See also "With W in Fla, Davis sees opportunity".

    Meanwhile, "Demonstrators March Against Bush And Iraq War".

    Disenfranchising Voters

    "A Washington-based advocacy group on Wednesday criticized Florida's new system for verifying the identities of people registering to vote, suggesting it disenfranchises potential voters." "Washington group criticizes Florida's system for checking IDs of voters".

    "The Doughnut-hole Skirmish."

    "Breaking with a long-standing tradition among the Florida congressional delegation, Democratic Reps. Robert Wexler of Delray Beach and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Pembroke Pines sharply attacked Rep. Clay Shaw Jr. of Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday over an article by Shaw published Sunday in the Opinion section of The Palm Beach Post."

    Shaw's article was a rebuttal of an Opinion-section article by Wexler, published in The Post Aug. 13, which criticized President Bush and Republicans in Congress for devising a Medicare prescription drug benefit that has a gap in coverage for drug costs exceeding $2,250 up to $5,100 in out-of-pocket spending.

    Critics of the drug law predict about 7 million Medicare beneficiaries will fall into that gap - often called the doughnut hole - but Medicare officials predict the number will be around 4 million this year.

    Wexler blamed Shaw for breaking the tradition by referring to Wexler by name in the rebuttal article.
    "Florida Congressmen break tradition with public attacks". See also "Dems use Medicare 'doughnut hole' as issue" and "Capitol Debate" ("Rhetoric over Medicare too partisan").

    GOP Fundraising Jams

    "The Florida Bar is investigating a complaint against the law firm that employs the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor." "Fundraiser host being investigated".

    "Katherine Harris received $6,000 from the political action committee of U.S. Rep. Bob Ney, who has agreed to plead guilty to bribery charges." "Tainted cash puts Harris in new jam".

    Cover Up?

    "Despite public pronouncements that Broward County's biggest public health care system is in great financial shape, the hospitals and clinics are losing $209 million a year, chief executive Alan Levine said Thursday." "Tax dollars used to cover up huge losses at North Broward Hospital District, official says".


    "Sen. Bill Nelson is to visit New Orleans today with Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., to tour Hurricane Katrina ravaged areas and repeat a call for Senate action on property insurance rate hikes." "In the Big Easy".

    Burning The Candle At Both Ends

    "Crist's choice of Kottkamp is putting a crimp in the typical gush of money from trial lawyers to the Democratic nominee, Jim Davis, but it also is raising concerns among generous Republican loyalists."

    The all-lawyer ticket, and Kottkamp's link to Morgan & Morgan, has traditional GOP backers, such as the medical, insurance and business lobbies, quietly trying to soothe members' concerns that Kottkamp is not their nemesis.

    The Florida Medical Association acknowledged in an e-mail to members this week that it had received many calls about Kottkamp, but it urged them to ''stay focused'' and rally behind Crist.
    "A duel of interests over Crist's running mate".

    Good Luck

    "Insurance reform task force seeks to jump start Florida insurance industry".


    "Activists seeking a recall vote against County Commissioner Natacha Seijas won a victory Thursday when a judge ruled that recall petition signatures that had been rejected by the county's clerk of courts must be counted." "Judge: Tally signatures in Seijas recall drive".

    A GOP Thing

    "GOP fights for the new poll tax".

    Crist Ahead In "Facebook" Vote

    "Early this week, Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist had 54 percent of the Facebook vote while his Democratic opponent Jim Davis had 46 percent. Of course that can quickly change." "Facing the candidates". For background see "Students get political at Facebook".

    Young Voters

    "College students express optimism about voting" "Youngest voters get registered".

    "Florida should curb mortgage scams"

    "Sign here. And here. Initial here. Sign here. Warranty deed. Proration agreement. Truth in lending statement. To many homebuyers, these are just jumbles of words -- flimsy obstacles to rush past on the way to that proud moment when they hold the keys to their new home. They don't realize they could be walking into a trap." "Key to ruin".

    Hillsborough's Nutty SOE A Political Issue

    "County Commissioner Kathy Castor took aim at [SOE] Johnson's proposed budget during public hearings Thursday night, saying savings could go toward lowering the county's property tax rate. That would be a mistake, County Commissioner Ronda Storms said, saying it could threaten the early voting process in Hillsborough. In the end, Johnson's budget stayed intact." "Counting Ballots Comes At A Cost".

    Pension Lobbying

    "Two weeks after a state worker died after coming to the rescue of a colleague under attack at Florida State Hospital, institution employees demanded Thursday that they receive the same pension benefits prison guards do." "Florida State Hospital workers lobby for guard-like pensions".


    "A county official who spearheaded a petition drive that gave homeowners a property tax break in 1992 announced plans Wednesday for another citizens initiative in 2008 to let taxpayers take that benefit with them if they move." "Amendment drive seeks to add 'portability' to tax break". See also "Tax proposal is a loser".

    Bush Backfire?

    "'They're helping me more than they know,' said Bilirakis' opponent, former Hillsborough County Commissioner Phyllis Busansky. 'We raised money when Dick Cheney was here, and we're going to raise anger -- real anger -- when George W. Bush comes.'" "President visits to help congressional bid".

    No Deal?

    "Joe Abruzzo nearly parlayed his feint against County Commissioner Mary McCarty into a seat in the Florida House of Representatives. The 26-year-old unknown jumped from a one-on-one challenge of Commissioner McCarty into the four-person District 86 race. He raised $50,000, loaned his campaign $86,000 and finished second in last week's primary, without so much as a speaking invitation from the Democratic Party, which shunned him after his last-minute switch. Mr. Abruzzo finished just 863 votes behind Delray Beach lawyer Maria Sachs because of the support Commissioner McCarty, a former county Republican chairman, threw his way after he freed her from the nagging concerns of a November campaign. Commissioner McCarty and Mr. Abruzzo both have denied that there was a deal. Their denials are hard to believe." "Why the GOP helped a Democrat".

    FOP Endorsements

    "The FOP has endorsed Republicans Charlie Crist for governor and Charles Bronson for state Agriculture Commissioner. But Democrats Skip Campbell and Alex Sink get the nod for attorney general and chief financial officer." "Two Democrats, Two Republicans Cop Endorsements".

    Not Good

    "Sen. Al Lawson of Tallahassee and Rep. Frank Peterman of St. Petersburg say they are still weighing whether to support Davis or the Republican nominee, Charlie Crist." "Waiting to be wooed".

    CD 13 Slugfest

    Jeremy Wallace has the scoop on CD 13.

    "Need more proof that the battle for the 13th Congressional District is one of the best battles in the country?"

    Check out the Cook Political Report (http://www.cookpolitical.com), which has downgraded Republican chances of holding onto the seat come November from “likely Republican” to “leaning Republican.”

    Amy Walter, the D.C. newsletter’s senior editor, cites Buchanan’s "political baggage”"and his failure to capture more than 32 percent of the Republican primary vote on Sept. 5 as key reasons why the race is more competitive than once thought.
    "Buchanan, Jennings race tightening?" See also "Ex-Harris staffers re-emerge with Buchanan".

    "Republicans backing Jennings defend themselves" ("A group of Republicans who have professed their support for Democrat Christine Jennings are defending their actions amid a flurry of criticism from Republican Party leaders.") For background see "Jennings bids for Republican support".

    More from the "Education Governor"

    "University construction put on hold".


    "While U.S. Senate candidate Katherine Harris was campaigning in Florida with President Bush Thursday she missed voting in Washington on three immigration bills designed to boost border enforcement." "Missed votes".

    RGA Complaint

    "Minor filed complaints Wednesday with the Florida Elections Commission against the state Republican Party, Crist and Romney. But Jeff Sadosky, a Florida GOP spokesman, shrugged off the complaints, saying the money is not earmarked and has a letter from Romney saying it is not not limited toward helping Crist." "Minor Complaints".

    Class Size

    "A whopping $2.88 billion request for school construction to meet Florida's class size requirements over the next four years is part of a $26.6 billion annual budget proposal unanimously endorsed Tuesday by the state Board of Education. But the board made no recommendation on how to pay for the proposal to add nearly 7,000 classrooms across the state." "Board seeks $2.8 billion for class-size construction".


    The wingnuts can't handle the Catholic perspective on "life":

    This is not the first time the Florida Catholic Bishops begged to spare a murderer's life. In 2003, the Florida Catholic Conference asked Governor Jeb Bush to commute the death sentence of Paul Hill to life in prison without possibility of parole. This Hill was convicted of the 1994 shotgun murders of an abortionist and his driver. ...

    If the Bishops are troubled that the death penalty exists and question fairness, where were their troubling concerns and comments over fairness before Terri was executed by starvation and dehydration?
    "Florida Catholic Bishops Argue Life Over Death, Once Again".

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