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 Thursday, October 02, 2008

RPOFers panicking

    Update: With four new polls showing Sen. Barack Obama leading, "Florida Republican leaders hastily convened a top secret meeting".Florida GOP meets in secret as Obama passes McCain in polls".
    Over the course of an hour, described by some as tense, [RPOF boss Jim] Greer offered a forceful assessment of where McCain stands in Florida and what needs to be done to win in a battleground state that could decide the election. ...

    One of the concerns has been the relationship between grass roots volunteers across the state and far fewer paid campaign staffers. Complaints range from not getting yard signs quickly enough to knowing who will speak at events and overall manpower coordination. ...

    The participants in the Greer meeting included McCain's top Florida staffer, Arlene DiBenigno, as well as RNC staffers by phone from Washington.
    "Buzz Jacobs, the campaign's Southeast regional director, who sat in on the meeting, denied any tension and declined comment."

    Here's a recap of the polls:
    • Quinnipiac: Obama leads 51-43. [+8]

    • InsiderAdvantage/Poll Position: Obama leads 49-46. [+3]

    • CNN/Time magazine: Obama leads 51-47. [+4]

    • Suffolk University showed Obama leading 46-42. [+4]

    • Real Clear Politics average of all Florida polls: Obama up by 3 percentage points.
    See also "AP poll: Obama takes a 7-point lead over McCain". More at dKos: "Florida GOPers are freaking out! (Updated)".

    In response, "the McCain campaign plans to bring [Palin] to Clearwater and Fort Myers on Monday, and Jacksonville and Pensacola on Tuesday"; in light of yesterday's Q poll shows that "Palin gets a negative 36 - 39 percent favorability, down from 47 - 23 percent September 11", it seems the only place Palin can show her face these days is in GOPer strongholds, but even that's qustionable: "Palin draws skepticism even in conservative South". The Palm Beach Post editorial Board: "Palin still can't fly solo".

    The next RPOFer move? Voter suppression.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday has Obama leading McCain in Florida, 51 percent to 43 percent. See also "3 polls show Obama leading McCain in Fla." and "Polls: Obama leads in critical trio of states".

    More from the Q poll site:
    Even before Friday's debate, Florida voters had shifted from 50 - 43 percent for McCain in a September 11 Quinnipiac University poll to 49 - 43 percent for Obama.

    Looking at post-debate numbers, Florida men likely voters back McCain 50 - 45 percent, while women back Obama 57 - 37 percent. McCain leads 50 - 45 percent edge among white voters.

    Independent voters back Obama 52 - 40 percent, compared to 50 - 43 percent for McCain September 11.

    Among the 79 percent of Florida voters who say they watched the debate, 49 percent said Obama did better, with 34 percent saying McCain won.

    By a 58 - 33 percent margin, Florida voters have a favorable opinion of Obama, compared to 52 - 39 percent for McCain.

    Palin gets a negative 36 - 39 percent favorability, down from 47 - 23 percent September 11. Democratic running mate Joe Biden has a 47 - 27 percent favorability, up from 38 - 28 percent.

    The economy is the most important issue in the election, 60 percent of Florida voters say, and voters post-debate trust Obama more than McCain 53 - 39 percent to handle this issue, compared to 50 - 40 percent pre-debate.

    Voters trust McCain more than Obama 52 - 41 percent to handle foreign policy, compared to 51 - 42 percent pre-debate.

    Post debate, voters say 53 - 20 percent that Obama's role in trying to solve the economic crisis has been helpful more than harmful, compared to 45 - 31 percent for McCain.

    Florida voters oppose 42 - 36 percent the $700 billion plan to rescue the economy.

    "During the past three weeks, Florida voters lost their faith in Sen. McCain. His net favorability dropped in half and Sen. Obama's almost doubled over the same period. One look at independents shows the massive change. Three weeks ago, McCain had a seven-point edge among Florida independents. Today, Obama leads among that group by 12 points," Brown said.
    See also "National poll: Obama up by 4 points" and "Poll: Support for Obama up in three key states, including Fla.".

    "'The most hostile state in the nation to new voters'"

    "Florida is not a particularly friendly state to people who want to vote. Earlier this year, it was named "the most hostile state in the nation to new voters" by three voting rights advocacy groups. While new legislation and voting rules have helped to reduce some of the biggest obstacles, there remain serious concerns about the state's misplaced priorities." "Florida still erecting roadblocks to voting".

    "With Monday's deadline for voter registration looming, a new law has brought cries from advocacy groups about potential disenfranchisement." "Outcry raised over voter ID law". More: "Voter registration: You have questions, we have answers" and "ID-match law stalls 5,000 voter applications".

    Recognizing that it is all about voter suppression, we get this from our empty suit in Tally: "'No-match' law is fair to voters, Crist says".

    This just in from the Zell Corporation!

    "Scott Maxwell: Politicians in tight races unlikely to be profiles in courage".

    Yee Haw!

    "Ticket Demand High For Palin's Clearwater Rally, GOP Office Says". Rumor has it that the lead act is sum hawg dawgin'.*

    - - - - - - - - - -
    *"Hog-Dog Fighting (Hog dogging, hawg dawgin', hog baiting, hog dog "rodeos"): When a dog (usually pit bull) is pitted against a feral pig, or hog. "

    Myth busters

    "Before you vote, remember: Don't believe everything you hear." "Vote myths are hard to kill in this election".

    Charlie continues to kiss wingnut derriere

    Back at the ranch, Charlie continues to stack the Florida Supreme Court with creepy knuckle-draggers.

    "Crist on Wednesday named his second selection to the Florida Supreme Court, picking Panhandle appellate Judge Ricky Polston":

    A member of the First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee since 2001, Polston is known for a 2004 dissenting opinion in support of former Gov. Bush's first-in-the-nation school voucher program. As a private lawyer in 1999, he defended the state's controversial "Choose Life" license plate.
    "Governor Charlie Crist picks conservative for Florida Supreme Court". See also "Crist appoints Polston to high court" and "Polston to join state Supreme Court".

    "In September, Crist named Second District Court of Appeal Judge Charles Canady to the post vacated by Miami Justice Raoul Cantero. ... Canady, a former state legislator and congressman is considered a conservative choice and was heavily promoted by the religious right. He led impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton while he was in Congress and was one of the authors of the partial birth abortion bill." "Crist taps conservative for Florida Supreme Court"

    Big dog

    "Campaigning in Florida Wednesday, President Bill Clinton told supporters that Barack Obama has the right philosophy, better answers and betters advisers than John McCain." "Former President Clinton touts Obama in front of thousands at UCF". See also "Bill Clinton in Fort Pierce: Florida voters can 'turn out the lights' in presidential race".

    "'Optimist in chief'"

    "The state's top financial managers told Gov. Charlie Crist and the Cabinet on Tuesday that Florida's diversified investment portfolio is in good shape, despite the crisis on Wall Street." State's portfolio OK, officials say". See also "'Optimist in chief' urges Floridians not to panic about market", "Survey: Consumer confidence remains low in Fla.", "New York banks invade Florida", "Credit slows to a trickle", "Credit crunch makes borrowing harder for Florida" and "Florida confidence up — before market meltdown".

    Homelessness, Florida style

    "Wheelchair stolen from homeless man" ("Authorities say someone beat a homeless, paraplegic man over the head with a board and stole his wheelchair and money. ... 64-year-old Richard Denise was found bleeding and begging for help near a Pompano Beach bank Tuesday night.")


    mhThe Miami Herald editorial board: "The latest progress report from the National Research Council on the state of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan doesn't feature a lot of progress, sorry to say. Since Congress and Florida formally agreed to share the costs of the restoration plan in 2000, not a single project at the heart of the CERP plan has been completed." "Glades restoration plan must not fail".

    Obama supporters get early start

    "Truck carrying 2,000 cases of wine stolen".

    "The McCain camp is nervous"

    "For Republican John McCain, Florida was never a toss-up state: It is a must-win state."

    But an intense ground effort here by Democrat Barack Obama and the political fallout from the nation's financial crisis are producing a much closer race in Florida than was expected even a few weeks ago, the kind of race McCain had hoped to avoid.

    "The McCain camp is nervous," said Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. "They know it's a battle. This is no sure thing."
    "Rivals step up Florida focus".

    Lake O

    "Three construction teams will beef up repair work at Lake Okeechobee's aging dike in South Florida." "Repair work continues on Lake Okeechobee dike".

    The gay thing

    "A North Miami foster father, seeking to provide a permanent home to two small children, is testing the state's law forbidding gay people from adopting. ... a month after a Key West judge declared Florida's gay adoption law unconstitutional in a separate but narrow case, Gill and a team of lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union will present a new challenge to Florida's 31-year-old law that forbids gay people from adopting." "Florida's gay adoption ban faces court challenge".

    Bad count

    Jac Wilder VerSteeg: "We have become so distrustful of the elections apparatus that the only way vote totals can seem right is if they have been dishonestly manipulated. Getting it 'right' thus becomes evidence that they've done something wrong." See what he means here: "Papering over ballot confusion".

    Say again?

    "Florida House lawyers dismissed a complaint filed against Republican Senate candidate Belinda Ortiz by a Rollins College student, saying there was no evidence she had improperly lobbied lawmakers."

    The complaint was filed Monday by John Watson, a student who has been active with the Young Democrats club at Rollins.
    Here's the thing:
    In an e-mail to the Sentinel, Watson said he was a registered Republican and had filed the complaint because "I believe in good government."
    "Complaint against GOP Senate candidate Ortiz dismissed".


    "The U.S. attorney's office in Miami highlighted the soaring number of prosecutions of Medicare fraud offenders over the past three years." "Crackdown on 'massive' Medicare fraud in S. Fla".

    The law also rises

    "Sun rises on 30 new laws".


    "George Sheldon, the acting head of the Florida Department of Children & Families, was given full power over the agency Tuesday when Gov. Charlie Crist tapped him to replace longtime friend Bob Butterworth." "Acting DCF chief officially takes over".

    War hero in town

    "At the Pensacola post of the American Legion on Tuesday, retired U.S. Army general and one-time presidential candidate Wesley Clark spoke in support of Sen. Barack Obama, and criticized the Bush administration." "Clark stumps for Obama".

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