"Obama's surge in Florida", Charlie back in the picture?
"Obama's surge in Florida is explained by an analysis of advertising spending released last week by the University of Wisconsin. ... Earlier this week the Obama campaign announced an unprecedented $20 million push for Latino voters that will focus on Florida and three other states. That effort, coupled with an expected surge in African-American turnout and an aggressive outreach to Jewish voters, has the Obama camp believing they have a legitimate shot at winning Florida in November."
Six weeks ago, with Mr. McCain leading in all the Florida polls, it looked as if adding Governor Charlie Crist to the ticket was not only unnecessary but might further alienate some conservatives. Now, with Mr. Obama pouring resources into Florida, things look considerably different. Speculation about a McCain VP selection lately has raged around Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, but Mr. McCain may want to give Mr. Crist another look -- because it's impossible to see how Mr. McCain wins the White House without Florida's 27 electoral votes."Paging Charlie Crist". A contrary view: Charlie's "Fading VP hopes?"
McCain brings his slime to Florida, black reporter ousted
"Tallahassee Democratsenior writer Stephen Price on Friday was singled out and asked to leave a media area at the Panama City rally of presidential candidate Sen. John McCain."
Tallahassee Democrat Executive Editor Bob Gabordi said the incident was unwarranted.
"McCain security ousts reporter". Much more here: "Sole Black Reporter Booted from McCain Event" and at dKos' "Sole Black Reporter Booted from McCain Event".
"We're deeply concerned and disturbed that our reporter — of all of those in that area — was asked to move," Gabordi said. "My understanding is that Stephen was the only reporter approached and asked to leave the area, and the only reporter in that area who is black. Another reporter who stood up for Stephen was then asked to leave."
McSame "attacked Sen. Barack Obama in Orlando as a hostage to teachers unions and defended a TV ad mocking his rival as a superficial celebrity before cozying up to a star of his own Friday evening" in Panama City. "McCain released a Web-only ad that derides Obama as a presumptuous, messiah-like figure.The overall response to McCain in Orlando
was muted. He drew gasps for praising former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was accused of using tough police tactics in a quest to clean up his city.
"McCain attacks Obama at campaign stop in Orlando". See also "Obama aims for unity in Orlando", "Candidates showdown in Florida", "McCain talks up drilling, vouchers in Orlando" and "McCain, Crist court conservative voters".
And McCain said affirmative action was "in the eye of the beholder," not mentioning he supports an anti-affirmative action referendum on the ballot in Arizona
As an aside, even "Karl Rove's Florida Frankenstein" agrees that Obama isn't the one injecting "race" into the campaign. See "McCain-Backing GOP Senator: Obama Didn't Play Race Card".
As for Obama, the Orlando response was other than "muted": "As Barack Obama finished a speech Saturday to members of the National Urban League, a cheer broke out from the packed convention hall. 'Yes, we can. Yes, we can,' members of the crowd chanted. The response of the predominantly black crowd to the Democratic presidential candidate was far different from the response Republican John McCain received a day earlier from the same group. Standing ovations replaced polite applause." "Crowd wild for Obama".
Here's political courage for you ... cut taxes
"Three months from now, Florida voters will be asked to give themselves a property-tax break that could cut their bills by at least one-fourth. But the bottom line on how much it will cost them to do that probably will be little more than an educated guess." "Officials uncertain of Amendment 5's future impact".
Back at the ranch, the servants report to their masters: "Home builders demanded answers Saturday to questions about a proposed constitutional tax amendment that voters will decide on the Nov. 4 ballot."
While state leaders who favored the tax-swapping Amendment 5 promised builders their tax bills would drop, opponents assured an audience of about 100 that their taxes would increase.
"Rival claims of tax-swap backers and foes baffle Florida home builders group". See also "Fla. homebuilders hear sides of tax swap proposal".
"We need something significant like Amendment 5 to jump-start our economy," said former state Senate President John McKay, who launched the debate before the Florida Home Builders Association leadership at the Orange County Convention Center.
Countering McKay, Sen. Mike Haridopolos, R-Melbourne, likened the proposal to getting a break on a steak dinner only to find out the soda costs $42. "This is a guaranteed tax increase. It's a bait and switch," he said.
The RPOF says jump ...
The newspaper company employees are reading GOPer talking points again: "Obama has spent more than $5-million on TV ads in Florida since June, and McCain not a penny, according to an analysis by a Wisconsin Advertising Project. Yet the latest Quinnipiac University poll showed Obama virtually tied with McCain — 46 percent to 44 percent — and independent Florida voters swinging from a 10-point lead for Obama in June to a 4-point lead to McCain." "Obama has work to do in Florida".
"Obama still skeptical of offshore drilling, open to compromise".
"Keeping a promise she made in June at her swearing in ceremony, Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Peggy Quince is fighting a proposed $17 million in additional cuts to the state court system." "Quince fighting $17M budget cut to court system".
Battle for the ages
Adam C. Smith suggests that "who wins Florida and the White House may boil down to a struggle between grandma and her grandkids."
A Quinnipiac poll of Florida voters released last week found Democrat Obama trouncing Republican McCain among those younger than 35, 66 percent to 27 percent. But among Florida voters 55 and older, McCain led Obama by 10 percentage points, 51 percent to 41 percent.
"Election is battle of the ages".
Overall, Quinnipiac showed Florida a dead heat, with Obama at 46 percent support and McCain at 44.
Your Wal-Mart dollars at work
"Florida is once again poised to be the center of the political universe in the fight over school vouchers."
The decade-long ideological struggle over taxpayer-funded grants for children to attend nonpublic schools is again on a collision course with the same state Supreme Court majority that struck down the nation's first statewide voucher program more than two years ago.
"Florida still central to school-voucher fight".
A national pro-voucher group called All Children Matter has raised $2.1 million -- nearly $1.4 million of it from the Arkansas heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton -- to elect pro-voucher legislative candidates here this year.
Vacuity pays off
Florida's intrepid political reporters might ask themselves why this is?:
Did Charlie Crist damage himself with $1,800-a-night hotel stays in Europe while the Florida economy continued to tank? Not according to that latest Florida chamber poll that showed 63 percent of Florida voters approve of his job performance."Crist bulletproof".
Bob Graham says "Save the Everglades marriage".
The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "When the University of South Florida throws in the towel on an elementary school it once considered a "dream opportunity" for at-risk students, it is signaling resignation or defeat. Either one merits the attention of state educators."
As the charter-school movement in Florida has grown to some 358 schools serving more than 100,000 students, it has faced its share of financial and academic failures. But this is one case that should capture the attention of state Education Commissioner Eric Smith. If charter schools are to light the path of educational reform, then Florida needs to understand why a university charter would wave the white flag."Why did USF give up on charter school?".
If you get past the headline ...
... you'll learn that Obama handled the incident with his usual class. "Obama came to St. Petersburg to call for a new round of $1,000 rebate checks to jump-start the economy, but his message of hope was nearly eclipsed by hecklers." "Activists in St. Petersburg shout at Obama.".
Obama's "dramatic reversal of policy"
"In a dramatic reversal of policy, Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama on Saturday told supporters on the Space Coast he no longer favors slashing NASA's budget, declaring that the United States 'cannot cede our leadership in space.'" "Obama says he will protect NASA jobs, budget".
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Someone in state government needs to step up and address the standoff over the proposed commuter-rail project in Orlando. The obvious choice would be Stephanie Kopelousis, secretary of the Department of Transportation. But so far, Kopelousis has been little more than a cheerleader for the off-strategy project she inherited. It's time she demonstrated leadership on behalf of all Floridians, not just Orlando's politically powerful lawmakers." "DOT Should Review Other Options To Build Commuter Rail In Orlando".
Slow news day
Scott Maxwell reminds of us the central Florida Congressional District thing: "the lines were crafted so precisely that five of these six Central Florida congressional districts favor Republicans -- even though collectively they contain more Democrats."
Welcome to politics in Florida -- where the deck's stacked before you even get to the polls.Not wanting to appear less than "neutral", or put it in the proper historical context (what would Mr. Zell say), he adds:
Back when the Democrats were in charge in Tallahassee, they drew lines to suit their fancy. And Republicans cried foul . . . until they got in control and decided to do the same."Politicians get to pick their own constituencies".
"Judge rules gay club can meet at Okeechobee high school".
Way off topic
Bill Maxwell shows some real courage here, and is going to take some (undeserved heat; here are some excerpts, but please read the entire thing: "Last Sunday, Jim David Adkisson, 58, walked into the sanctuary of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church carrying a sawed-off shotgun concealed in a violin case.
Although I am not a purveyor of conspiracy theories, I am convinced that some of the motivation for Adkisson's actions, like those of many other disaffected conservative extremists, can be traced, at least indirectly, to the writings and on-air vituperations of conservative commentators and authors. These people have helped to divide the nation in unnatural ways, and they have influenced legions of dangerous followers willing to act on the insanity of their convictions.You see, many of us "liberals" go to Church every Sunday, and, as Maxwell puts it "Unitarian Universalism is the most unabashedly liberal denomination in America." Here's the thing,
Adkisson hated the church, Still said, "because of its liberal teachings and his belief that liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country, and that he felt that the Democrats had tied the country's hands in the war on terror and they had ruined every institution in America with the aid of the major media outlets."
The whole thing: "The dangers of being religious and liberal".
Still further stated that because Adkisson "could not get to the leaders of the liberal movement, he would then target those that voted them in office."
While searching Adkisson's house, [the police] collected three dog-eared books: The O'Reilly Factor, by TV commentator Bill O'Reilly; Liberalism is a Mental Disorder, by radio personality Michael Savage; and Let Freedom Ring, by Fox News pundit Sean Hannity. These and other right-wing books, such as Ann Coulter's Godless: The Church of Liberalism, are must-reading for liberal-hating conservatives. ...
The Rev. William G. Sinkford, president of the 268,000-strong Unitarian Universalist Association and the first African-American to lead a historically white denomination in the United States, defended the church's liberal tradition when I interviewed him last April in his Boston office.
"Here in the United States, Unitarians believe that we actually invented American democracy," he said. "Thomas Jefferson considered himself a Unitarian, and John Adams and John Quincy Adams were two other early Unitarian presidents. We were signers of the Declaration of Independence, and our values and principles — liberty, acceptance, tolerance and the freedom to believe — underpin the American Constitution.
"And Unitarian Universalists have always been prominent in all of the social movements in this country. We were prominent in the abolitionist movement, and Unitarian leaders, both men and women, were very prominent in the struggle for women's empowerment, women's right to vote, and so it has continued on to the present day. We support the struggle of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons. So we have been a part of the American democratic tradition since there was one."
Florida has 1.7 million vets, and they vote
Dan Moffett: "The nation has about 24 million veterans - a population the size of California - with 1.7 million of them in Florida. In 2004, roughly 80 percent of vets turned out to vote, compared with 64 percent of nonveterans. American veterans are 80 percent white non-Hispanic, 11 percent African-American, 6 percent Hispanic and 92 percent male. Their median age is 60, and 60 percent of them live in urban areas."
McCain is all for flags and stuff, but unless you're married to a beer heiress, he's failed to put his money where his mouth is:
The Disabled Veterans of America gives him a 20 percent rating, compared with an 80 percent rating for Sen. Obama. The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans for America gives Sen. McCain a D and Sen. Obama a B+. The Vietnam Veterans of America say Sen. McCain has voted against them on 15 issues.
"Not all veterans salute McCain".
One of the most vocal and fastest-growing veterans groups to oppose the McCain campaign is VoteVets.org. Formed in 2006, the organization claims a membership of roughly 100,000, with a political action committee devoted to electing congressional candidates who oppose the handling of the Iraq war.
Especially galling to VoteVets.org is Sen. McCain's opposition to the new, bipartisan GI Bill that increases education benefits for Iraq and Afghanistan vets. Sen. Obama voted for the bill when it passed 75-22 in May; Sen. McCain was on the campaign trail and did not vote.
"Running Florida is no picnic these days, not even for a cheerful governor. This past week, the economists for Wachovia — who put them in charge? — declared Florida to be in a recession. Florida's economy had its worst second quarter in 16 years." More here: "The week: Florida takes its lumps".
Wingnut "Christian Pep Rally"
"Mike Huckabee headlines the Christian Coalition's God and Country Gala on Aug. 16 in Orlando, in what's billed as an effort to wake up social conservatives in Florida." "Christian pep rally". Who writes these headlines?