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 Monday, August 16, 2010

Meek debates Greene, widens poll lead

    "After an uncomfortable two weeks of publicity over his 2007 trip to Cuba, Democratic Senate candidate Jeff Greene said Sunday that he was rethinking his opposition to the U.S. embargo and travel restrictions."
    Greene, a Palm Beach real estate mogul, called efforts to squeeze the Communist regime a "failed policy'' in his third and final face-off with rival Kendrick Meek. The debate was broadcast live by WPLG-ABC 10 in South Florida, home to a large and politically influential Cuban-American community.

    "I'm thinking we need to take a close look at opening up travel and the embargo,'' Greene said. "We've hurt the impoverished people of Cuba . . . I'm not saying let's open the doors tomorrow, but I'm saying when I get to the Senate I want to take a close look.''

    Meek smirked and said he wasn't retreating from his support for the embargo, but he failed to remind voters that Greene had previously backtracked on the reason he took his 145-foot yacht to Cuba. Greene initially said he was part of a Jewish humanitarian mission, but later said he stopped there for emergency repairs.

    Meek, a Miami congressman, also stumbled when responding to a question about the construction of a Muslim center in New York City near the site of the Sept. 11 attacks by Islamic terrorists. Meek declined to take a position; Greene said he opposes the mosque.

    While previous matchups between the candidates have centered on personal attacks, Sunday's debate was less acerbic and drew out some policy distinctions nine days before the Aug. 24 primary.
    Much more here: "Jeff Greene, Kendrick Meek differ in debate on Cuba travel, New York mosque, federal stimulus".

    See also "Greene: Vast personal investments wouldn't influence votes" and "Meek, Greene use debate to hone positions on stimulus funds, job creation, tax cuts".

    Meanwhile, Meek opened up a "'commanding' 45-to-30 lead over Jeff Greene in the Democratic Senate primary contest, [according to] a new Sunshine State News poll".
    Meek's margin in the Aug. 9-12 survey of likely voters is even bigger than the 8-point spread he enjoyed in his own internal poll conducted Aug. 10.

    "Meek's margin is broad-based and includes leads with most key voter groups, including those who say they have an 'excellent' chance of voting -- 46 to 30 percent over Greene," said Jim Lee, president of Voter Survey Service, which conducted the statewide poll for Sunshine State News (see methodology below).

    The Miami congressman also holds substantial leads in two other key voter demographics: up 8 points among senior citizens and up 19 points among "super voters" who cast ballots in both the 2006 and 2008 Democratic primaries.
    "Meek Opens 15-Point Lead Over Greene" (survey conducted Aug. 9-12 by Voter Survey Service with 3.1% MOE).

    Crist takes "two hard hits"

    Bill Cotterell: "Crist’s race for the U.S. Senate took two hard hits over the weekend in a poll showing Republican Marco Rubio surging ahead."

    First, the Mason Dixon Florida Poll said the governor’s favorable name-recognition ratings are dwindling. Second, the statewide survey showed U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek widening his lead over Palm Beach businessman Jeff Greene — the Democrat Crist needs in the race on Nov. 2.
    "Crist support waning in latest polls".

    A matter of journalistic ethics

    The Trib's Tom Jackson's "big, fat, boneheaded mistake".

    AG candidates struggle to distinguish themselves

    "With billions at stake over Gulf oil damage claims and a pending lawsuit over new federal health care laws, the next attorney general Florida voters choose may be their most influential in years. But there's no clear front runner among the three conservative Republicans and two Democrats who have struggled to distinguish themselves from one another." "Florida's top lawyer seat is an open race".

    Nary a substantive issue in sight

    "The biggest issue in the state Senate battle between Republicans Julio Robaina and Miguel Diaz de la Portilla is not the economy, healthcare or education. It's who is closer to U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio." "Rivals fight over ties to Rubio".

    "McCollum's proposal distracts from legitimate reform"

    The Sarasota-Herald Tribune editors: "Even in the best of times, Americans often have been unable to come together on immigration reform."

    Now -- amid a damaged economy, bitter midterm primaries and partisan paralysis -- the immigration challenge is more riddled than ever with demagoguery and division. It's a growing fire.

    Candidates should not be fanning the flames to score political points, but some seem unable to resist the temptation.

    To wit, Florida GOP gubernatorial candidate and Attorney General Bill McCollum touted a proposal last week that aims to out-tough Arizona's harsh new immigration laws.

    To be sure, immigration is a potent political issue among Republican voters. A Mason-Dixon poll released Friday showed that "81 percent of GOP voters likely to cast ballots in the Aug. 24 primary support the Arizona immigration law," the Orlando Sentinel reported.

    McCollum's primary opponent, Rick Scott, has long expressed support for the Arizona law, but McCollum initially resisted the measure. He changed his stance after S.B. 1070 was amended to curb the likelihood of racial profiling -- and as polls increasingly showed which way the GOP winds are blowing on immigration.

    McCollum's decision to pump up the volume on immigration -- as early voting began -- only inflamed an already difficult discussion on this issue.
    Much more here: "Fanning anti-immigrant flames".

    HD 55

    "Hopefuls eye Dist. 55 seat in Florida Legislature".

    Spill? What spill?

    "With oil no longer gushing from the BP well in the Gulf, support for a constitutional ban on drilling in Florida waters is fading, most surprisingly in the Panhandle."

    A new poll conducted for The Miami Herald, St. Petersburg Times, Bay News 9 and Central Florida News 13 shows 41 percent of Florida voters support a ban on offshore drilling, while 49 percent oppose the idea. In May, 44 percent supported the ban and 44 percent opposed.
    "Ban oil drilling? Support waning" ("The telephone survey of 602 registered voters was done Aug. 6-10 by Ipsos Public Affairs, a Washington, D.C.-based independent, nonpartisan research company. The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.")

    Perhaps we should remember that the next time there is an oil spill, and Florida's Panhandlers are whining about the speed in which tax dollars from the rest of the nation are delivered to their door steps. A Southern dynamic RJ Eskow reminds us is called "a handful of gimme and a mouthful of much obliged."


    The Miami Herald editorial board: "What a roller coaster ride the U.S. Sugar land deal has taken. The South Florida Water Management District's board approved a much smaller purchase Aug. 12. While the pared-down deal remains controversial, it is still better to have the land in the public's 'bank' for future Everglades restoration projects than leave it in private hands." "Still a good, if much smaller, deal".

    Not quite "Mission Accomplished"

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "BP hopes to permanently plug its crippled well in the Gulf of Mexico within days, which would bring tremendous relief to millions of residents along the coast. But don't hang the "Mission Accomplished" banner just yet." "Mission accomplished? Not yet". See also The Palm Beach Post editorial board's "System must protect state: Even if oil never gets here, all Floridians could be affected.". Related: "President Obama, in Panhandle visit, says work in the Gulf is not done".


    "She has some fun with the nasty Bill McCollum/Rick Scott primary." "Alex Sink's first TV ad mocks McCollum and Scott".

    Meek + Bill Clinton

    "A visit from former President Bill Clinton on Monday could be pivotal in Kendrick Meek's campaign for the Senate seat. They'll appear together at three South Florida rallies." "Meek hoping for boost from Clinton". See also "Bill Clinton to stump for Kendrick Meek in South Florida" and "President Clinton in South Florida Monday to campaign for Kendrick Meek" ("the Clinton-Meek alliance began when Meek was a Florida state trooper providing security for a little-known visiting governor from Arkansas.")

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