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 Saturday, September 04, 2010

"Anyone But Rubio"

    Meet Jennifer Carroll, the phony "outsider" with a fake degree.

    "Anyone But Rubio"

    "Remember the saying 'Anyone But Bush' among Democrats in 2004 who feared a second term by George W. Bush?"

    Florida Democrats are slinging a variation on the slogan for 2010: "Anyone But Rubio.''

    To liberal voters, Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio is a right-winging, tea-partying, oil-drilling, stimulus-hating, Obamacare-shunning, taxes-on-the-rich-cutting nightmare. And these Democrats are determined to stop him from winning on Nov. 2 by any means necessary, even if that means bailing on their own party's nominee, Kendrick Meek.

    A vote for Meek is a vote for Rubio, the thinking goes, because Meek can't win. He's a lackluster Miami congressman lacking money, profile and oomph.

    The strategic choice, the thinking continues, is Gov. Charlie Crist. The Republican-turned-independent has nearly twice as much money as Rubio and a statewide platform, not to mention that he knows how to campaign like the dickens.
    "Many Democrats more anti-Rubio than pro-anyone".

    Scott gets lobbyist love

    "Republican Rick Scott did some political barnstorming through the state capital Friday -- holding a series of closed-door meetings with groups of lobbyists and association officials."

    "I think he hit all the right buttons,'' said Associated Industries of Florida President Barney Bishop, who hosted a Scott breakfast meeting that drew about three-dozen people, including representatives of the oil, health care, broadcasting and outdoor advertising industries.
    "Republican foes, lobbyists now flock to Scott".

    Charlie Misspeak

    "When a television interviewer asked Gov. Charlie Crist about the national health care reform bill last week, Crist responded quickly, 'I would have voted for it, but I think it can be done better.' He went on to elaborate fluently on what was right and wrong with the bill, what he would have fixed before supporting it. There was only one problem. For months, starting the day the bill passed, Crist had repeatedly said he opposed it and would repeal it, and had backed a state lawsuit to overturn it."

    "Misspeaking -- saying one thing when you actually think or mean another -- can happen to anyone, even a practiced public speaker and political figure. But with Crist, it seems to happen often:"

    • In the best-known example, Crist told a television interviewer in November that he didn't endorse President Barack Obama's stimulus plan. In fact, he had repeatedly and enthusiastically backed it, including during a highly publicized Florida visit by Obama in the previous February.

    • Two days after the health care comment, his campaign had to send out another clarification after Crist told a CNN interviewer he favored a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, which he has opposed in the past. The clarification: He was talking about a state ban, which he has supported – even though that ban endangers the right to same-sex civil unions, which Crist says he favors.

    • Two days after the health care bill comments, Crist told another television interviewer his campaign will refund contributions from disillusioned Republicans who gave to him before he left the party – contradicting his previously announced decision on the subject.
    "Charlie Crist has had episodes of 'misspeaking' before".

    Rivera and Garcia on the economy

    "In the aftermath of the primary elections, District 25 congressional candidates David Rivera and Joe Garcia said the economy and unemployment are the main issues in a race attracting national attention."

    Another key issue: a proposed Free Trade Agreement with Colombia that could generate business and jobs in South Florida.

    But besides the Colombian issue, the candidates have different ideas about how to improve the economy.

    Republican Rivera wants to reduce federal spending and taxes on small businesses, while Garcia, the Democratic candidate, wants to give loans to small businesses and invest in alternative energy.

    Both candidates are after the seat left vacant by Republican Mario Diaz-Balart, who represented the district for eight years and is now running unopposed for his brother's old seat in District 21.
    "Congressional District 25 candidates differ on how to fix economy".

    RPOFers asleep at the wheel

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Remember the nation's worst offshore drilling spill? The one that finally ended in July? You might want to remind the Republicans who run Florida's House of Representatives. They decided this week that they don't need to do anything about it until the spring." "Florida can't leave Gulf oil spill relief to Washington".

    Slamming public employees

    "Imposed salary, pension cuts leads to police union suit against Miami".

    Scott surrogates to begin attacks on Sink

    "Starting today, national political groups as well as surrogates for Republican nominee Rick Scott will begin pumping millions of dollars into television ads to paint contrasting portraits of Sink's background and policies before voters go to the polls."

    Political veterans from both parties say the blitz of negative ads Scott absorbed in his primary make him damaged goods, and he may not have enough time to re-invent himself before the Nov. 2 election.

    So, the alternative is to pour money into trying to define Sink, a former banking executive, as a liberal ideological disciple of President Barack Obama's health-care and economic-stimulus plans.

    Palm Beach County Republican Chairman Sid Dinerstein said Sink's role in the merger between Bank of America and NationsBank that led to thousands of layoffs would be fair game, too.

    "It's not like this race is Mother Teresa versus the devil," he said.

    This week, Scott called Sink a supporter of "the socialist policies of President Obama."

    But Sink suggested Scott must be confusing which race he is running.
    "Democrats say they expected the assault, but Scott and Florida Republicans will have to mount an epic financial arms race to overcome the baggage of Scott's business background."
    "There are a lot of voters that know a lot about the fraud his company committed. They believe he committed fraud. But they know him better than they know Alex, and that's because of the unprecedented amount of money he's spent," Sink pollster Dave Beattie said. "There's a reason he had to spend a record amount of money to barely win his primary."
    "GOP ads take aim at Sink".

    "Scott wanted to privatize all of it"

    Aaron Deslatte: "Republican gubernatorial nominee Rick Scott could have to do some explaining about his past this fall, and not just what he knew about the Medicare and Medicaid fraud at his former company, Columbia/HCA."

    See, he once wanted to privatize all of it: the government-funded health-care programs that pay for the check-ups, hospital stays and prescriptions for 45 million seniors and millions more poor people.

    Before he was forced out in 1997 as CEO of the company amid the largest Medicare fraud investigation in U.S. history, Scott was a national player in the industry resistance to President Clinton's attempt to impose a national health care program. When Scott was still trying to expand his hospital chain, he told USA Today the state and federally run health insurance programs would be better off in the hands of profit-seeking companies. "Let us make a profit. So what?" he said in 1994.

    He also had his eyes on Veterans Administration hospitals.
    "The issue is relevant now because Scott"
    has said he wants to cut $1.4 billion from the $18-billion Medicaid program without providing any specifics on how, other than continuing a regional experiment launched by former Gov. Jeb Bush to turn over Medicaid patients to HMOs and other health-care networks.

    Scott opened the door further last week by calling Democratic opponent Alex Sink "another liberal Obamacrat who wants to raise taxes, cut Medicare, and supports Obama's failed stimulus."
    "Scott once urged privatization of Medicare, Medicaid".

    Voucher madness

    "Florida does not regulate the more than 2,000 private schools that operate in the state. The schools set their own grading standards and curriculum, run their own finances and issue their own diplomas. That leaves parents dependent on unregulated accrediting agencies that have varying standards." "In Florida, scant oversight of private schools".

    They all end up in Florida

    "Balloon boy family moves to Florida".

    Scott's free ride

    "Now that he's mending fences with Florida's Republican establishment, gubernatorial nominee Rick Scott faces a full frontal assault from Democrats."

    Democratic Governors Association executive director Nathan Daschle says Scott "represents the worst of American politics" and, in a letter this week, the DGA chief called on Republican Governors Association chairman Haley Barbour to stop campaigning for Scott.

    Barbour, the governor of Mississippi, has participated in post-primary unity events around Florida and was scheduled to speak at the state party's meeting in Orlando Friday night.

    Daschle sent copies of his letter to former Gov. Jeb Bush, RPOF Chairman John Thrasher and presidential aspirants Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney.

    The RGA this week pitched in $2 million to the Republican governor's race to bolster the state party's sagging coffers. The association previously plunked down $2 million to fund ads against Democratic nominee Alex Sink.

    Firing back, the DGA funneled $1 million into its party's gubernatorial race. That's on top of a $1 million check the DGA sent in July, said DGA spokeswoman Emily Bittner.
    "National Parties Raise Stakes on Scott-Sink Race".


    "The cash-strapped South Florida Water Management District has 10 years to build at least 42,000 acres of treatment areas so that water flowing into the Everglades meets federal standards." "Under judge's order, EPA proposes rules for Everglades water cleansing".

    "A five-second check"

    "A Florida bill would require all employers to use a federal website to run a five-second check on the immigration status of new workers." "Federal website aims to crackdown on illegal hires".

    From the "Crystal Ball"

    Sabato calls the Florida Gubernatorial race a "toss-up" "Sixty Days to Go".

    Chamberlin out

    Lucy Morgan: "It’s a departure that has much more significance than a mere change in governors. Jill Chamberlin is retiring as director of communications for the Florida House, taking her practical advice and deep knowledge of government and its people with her." "Little known, but with a big impact".

    Rubio cancels debate with Meek

    "Marco Rubio postponed Sunday's nationally televised U.S. Senate debate with Kendrick Meek to be with his ailing father." "Marco Rubio's father's health deteriorates; 'Meet the Press' debate postponed". See also "Sunday's live televised debate between Rubio and Meek on 'Meet The Press' scrubbed" and "NBC cancels Sunday's Rubio-Meek debate".

    "Florida is little more than shifting sand"

    Steve Otto: "Remember Charlie Crist? Yeah, the guy who used to be the governor of Florida before deciding to ride off on his half-donkey, half-Republican beast to tilt the windmills of the United States Senate."

    A lot of people wondered just where Crist was going to get the money to finance his senatorial campaign once he abandoned his Republican Party base. Kendrick Meek has demonstrated he is a viable candidate for the Democrats and Marco Rubio is on a roll for the Republicans.

    On Wednesday, we learned Crist will get a financial boost on Oct. 7 when millionaire Marc Bell hosts a fundraiser at his Boca Raton place.

    Bell is involved in many businesses but naturally the one drawing attention is his role as CEO of Penthouse magazine, as well as an adult meeting service.

    That wouldn't be such a big deal considering the level and character of Florida politics. A little sex in a dying campaign can't hurt.

    The problem: a Palm Beach Post article recalled the election of 2006. In that Republican primary, it was Tom Gallagher who accepted a $3,000 donation from Bell and was criticized by the Crist campaign. Gallagher later returned the donation.

    Maybe there's a reason Florida is little more than shifting sand. It seems to fit those who would represent it.
    "Spicing up the Senate campaign".

    Is Bondi stable?

    "Before she became the Republican nominee for Florida attorney general, Pam Bondi was a familiar face as a legal analyst on CNN and the Fox News Channel."

    But Bondi may be best known for a custody battle over a St. Bernard.

    Her 16-month fight with the Louisiana family that lost the dog after Hurricane Katrina played out on CNN, Fox News and the pages of People magazine. Then a Hillsborough prosecutor, she accused the family of neglecting the dog. Steve and Dorreen Couture and their two grandchildren wanted their dog back and resented Bondi for keeping him.

    Both sides settled the case just before it went to trial. The terms were confidential, but reports at the time said Bondi offered to provide the St. Bernard with food and medication for life and to visit occasionally. The Coutures said they would keep in touch and send photos.

    It seemed like an amicable ending. But three years later, the Coutures have little good to say about their former foe. Moreover, they say, she never kept her promise.
    "Dog battle leaves hard feelings".

    What's wrong with Hillsborough?

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Jim Norman wants to rise higher in public life this year by moving from the Hillsborough County Commission to the state Senate. Yet he refuses to answer how his wife managed to buy a second home with $435,000 in cash. The FBI is reportedly investigating. The only one not working to clear the air is the commissioner and future senator." "The $435,000 question".

    Good question

    "Crist late Friday ordered a review of a French company competing to build a high-speed rail line in Florida, saying he was concerned about questions over the company's role in the Holocaust." "Gov. Crist asks for review of French rail company, citing 'Holocaust' concerns".

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