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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 Thursday, October 12, 2006

Political Stunt

    "Two black lawmakers on Wednesday joined the criticism of Attorney General Charlie Crist's attempt to solve the 1951 murders of a civil rights leader and his wife."
    "Crist's investigation brought no new facts and now he wants to come forth and say all the things he'd done in this case to try to make headway in the black community, which I think is playing politics," state Sen. Les Miller, D-Tampa, said during a conference call arranged by the campaign of Jim Davis, the Democratic opponent of Crist's, a Republican, in the governor's race. ...

    Moore's daughter, Evangeline Moore, 76, offered praise for Crist and agreed to be filmed for a TV commercial reading a letter of thanks. Crist said Tuesday he no longer intends to use the footage in an ad.

    But that did not quell criticism from Miller and state Rep. Curtis Richardson, D-Tallahassee, who said Crist should have been looking at contemporary issues facing the black community and that the decision to reopen the old case was a political calculation.

    "To have used that interview for political gain when (the investigation) was paid for by the taxpayers of the state of Florida would have been absolutely wrong," Richardson said.
    reaction from Davis could be a sign the campaign is worried about Crist's appeal in the black community. A Quinnipiac University poll released this week showed Crist taking 20 percent of the African-American vote, which has historically been reliably Democratic.
    "Crist's inquiry was for political gain, critics say". See also "Black state lawmakers critical of Crist" and "Crist attacked on Moore case".

    "The Republican candidate for governor has raised concerns that his strategy regarding the Moore case was plain old racial pandering aimed at getting African-American votes."
    Florida State University historian and definitive Moore biographer Ben Green already had said the same, calling Mr. Crist's conclusions "deeply flawed" for misreading old investigative reports.

    The "clear picture" that Mr. Crist said had emerged came into fuller focus when he sent a crew to the Maryland home of the slain leaders' surviving daughter, Evangeline, to film her reading a "thank you" note she had sent him. He said he would use the unsuspecting daughter's footage, against her wishes, in a campaign ad. Then he said that he wouldn't politicize the murders. Then he made a personal appeal to Ms. Moore, after which she consented to the use of the note.

    "They faked the conclusion of the investigation, manipulated Evangeline and her family to do a campaign ad, and did it all to win the black vote," Mr. Green told the Orlando Sentinel. "The honorable thing would have been not to put her in the middle of a governor's race in the first place." Mr. Crist, who this week said he won't use the footage, could have looked good in all this. But he oversold his case, because, as the skeptics had suspected, he was selling himself.
    "Crist 'made' Moore case, but for his campaign".

    On a related note: "Crist defends prosecutions under anti-discrimination law" ("Attorney General Charlie Crist's office has pursued three cases that resulted in monetary settlements under an anti-discrimination law he helped push three years ago, and some civil rights activists say that's not enough.")

    That's Our Mel

    Not much of a bridge builder:

    The League of Conservation Voters' 2006 "Environmental Scorecard'' finds that Florida's U.S. House members averaged 39 percent in terms of supporting LCV positions. The full scorecard is here, and the Florida ratings here:

    Senator Martinez 0%
    "Environmental ratings for Florida delegation".

    Nelson Ahead

    "Incumbent Sen. Nelson still far ahead, poll finds". But wait! There is this: "Harris beating Nelson?".

    Running Off At The Mouth

    "Jim Davis jumped on statements Republican Charlie Crist made Tuesday that seemed to indicate Crist would support a constitutional amendment capping property taxes like California’s infamous proposition 13. Crist was in Tampa talking about insurance and taxes when some property owners complained about the toll taxes were taking on their homes and investment properties." "Reckless or Misunderstood?" See also "Crist Backs Property Tax Limit".

    Top Issue

    "Six of 10 Floridians think soaring property insurance costs are top issue in governor's race." "Voters want insurance solutions from candidates". See also "Davis Aims To Cut Home Insurance Costs".

    GOP Slime

    "Before the race even officially began, voters in a state Senate district that spans Tampa Bay were given the goods on Charlie Justice. Justice, a 38-year-old three-term House member and University of South Florida academic adviser, found himself with this label: 'Wrong for children. Wrong for families. Wrong for us.'"

    The Republican mailer lacked explanation, of course, and its message presumably came as a surprise to Justice's wife and two young daughters. But be forewarned, District 16 voters. This is only the beginning of a ground and air assault that may employ weapons of mass distortion.

    Justice's opponent, 35-year-old advertising consultant and three-term House member Kim Berfield, has had plenty of practice. In a nasty Republican primary with Frank Farkas, she and Farkas did everything but throw spitwads. Farkas tried to tar her as a Scientologist, which she is not, and pictured her wearing a beauty queen's sash labeled: "Ms. Insurance Industry Friend of the Year." Berfield superimposed Farkas' face on a dog, as in lapdog, and portrayed him as reaching into a cookie jar: "As a boy, 'lil Frankie Farkas developed a bad habit."

    Now the stakes are raised, and both parties think they have a shot at winning this seat. That means big money, maybe as much as $7-million, could be poured into this matchup. Unfortunately, that also means voters are likely to be treated to many more sophomoric stunts that have no relationship to reality.

    The claim that Justice is "wrong for children" is so witless as to be comical, but a new commercial casting Justice as a tool of the insurance industry suffers from a bizarre identity crisis.

    In the primary, Farkas may have exaggerated Berfield's close relationship with the insurance industry. And Democrats already have wrongly attributed the source of a description of her as the "darling of the insurance industry." But Berfield is in fact chairwoman of a House insurance committee that has failed miserably to bring homeowners' insurance rates under control. She in fact was named representative of the year in 2004 by the Florida Insurance Council. She in fact, as of last month, had received $73,000 in campaign contributions from the insurance industry - 15 times as much as Justice.
    "Berfield's bizarre ads".

    Pending Lawsuit

    "During a conference call with Florida Association of Supervisors of Elections attorney Ron Labasky, seven of the eight election supervisors in the 16th Congressional District reluctantly agreed to post signs near each poll's sign-in sheet telling voters that a vote for Foley would count for his replacement as the Republican candidate, state Rep. Joe Negron, R-Stuart." "Foley signs could spark election controversy". See also "Signs will tell voters Negron replaces Foley", "Poll notices to remind: A vote for Foley is a vote for Negron".

    Brain Trust

    "Jeb Bush meets with Mississippi Gov." "Mississippi Gov thanks Jeb for hurricane help".

    Samm Simpson

    "David versus Goliath. That's how observers describe Democrat Samm Simpson's battle against Washington powerhouse C.W. Bill Young, R-Indian Shores, in the general election Nov. 7." "Democrat Is Major Underdog In U.S. House District 10 Race".

    Ad Watch

    See "Miami Herald ADWATCH: 'Expensive'" and "Miami Herald ADWATCH: 'Lower Rates'".

    Harris Claims Misinterpretation

    "Harris has refused to apologize or retract her statements. But she said Wednesday she does regret the way her statements were interpreted." "Harris explains views to Jews". See also "Harris meets with Jewish group about 'legislating sin' comment" and "Harris addresses Jewish residents".


    "Siplin could lose law license".

    Foley Fallout

    "The Catholic Diocese of Palm Beach has sent a formal letter asking Mark Foley's attorney to identify the clergyman who allegedly abused the former congressman." "Foley asked to name alleged molester".

    Not So Fast

    "Florida Republicans are within striking distance of powerful committee posts just as voters threaten to hand control of the House to Democrats, a frustrating prospect after 12 years building good will and seniority in the GOP-controlled chamber." "Florida GOP poised to lead choice House committees".

    Time For A Change

    "When Floridians lose Jeb Bush as their governor in three months, they will also lose their de facto education czar - a man who has made remaking the state's education system according to his own vision an eight-year mission." "Tone on education policy to change". See also "Parents Weigh Governor's Effect On FCAT's Future".

    Davis on Citizens

    "Florida homeowners who found themselves thrown out of Citizens Property Insurance and shunted into a private insurer that increased their rates are due a refund, contends gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis." "Davis contends Citizens should compensate homeowners".

    Poos Mark

    "Then-U.S. Rep. Mark Foley complained in an e-mail to Gov. Jeb Bush in 2004 that he was being ignored by President Bush on his trips to Florida after several hurricanes."

    Foley resigned his congressional seat last month after his sexually explicit instant messages to former male pages became public. Before then, the Republican had maintained a regular dialogue with the Florida governor on a number of issues, mostly inconsequential, by e-mail.

    But in one, he wanted the governor to intercede with his brother on some perceived slights. Foley complained that U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam accompanied President Bush on a visit into Putnam's central Florida congressional district and noted that state Rep. Joe Negron was on another trip.

    "I can't quite figure what I have done, but this is a continuing pattern of slights," Foley complained in a Sept. 29, 2004, e-mail to the governor.
    "Foley complained to Gov. Bush of being snubbed by president".


    "Negron gets money from national GOP". See also "National GOP spends $244,300 in fight to keep Foley district".

    Be Careful Out There

    "Jury awards $11.3 million in Internet defamation case".

    Talk Talk

    "A federal court told Gov. Jeb Bush's top lawyer Wednesday to give a deposition in a sexual-harassment case, saying her investigation that led to Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Terry White's firing is at the heart of the state's defense against a lawsuit by a former employee." "Deposition of Bush attorney ordered in White case".


    "Jeff Kottkamp was talking about families, crime and the American free-enterprise system. As he shook hands and posed for pictures with well-wishers at a fish fry in this rural crossroads hard against the Alabama border, the Cape Coral legislator repeatedly reminded voters that he and Attorney General Charlie Crist share their values. In the Panhandle, that means cutting taxes, opposing abortion and leaving people's guns alone." "Kottkamp hits Panhandle; touts values, voting record".

    We Can Only Hope

    "More voters tuning in to politics, poll says".


    "Former Rod Squader Todd McWaters quit the Jim Davis campaign on Monday after less than a month. He was a Davis organizer in Northwest Florida, but he's gone to work for Coalition for Bipartisan Progress, the Charlie Crist 527 that has attracted other Smith refugees." "Another Defector".

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