Update: "Polls earlier this week showed a huge bump for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich after his win in the South Carolina primary. Only days later, the momentum has returned to Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who is again up in the Sunshine State." "Quinnipiac Poll: Florida Becoming Romney Territory Again".
"Surging since his South Carolina Republican presidential primary win, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich wipes out a 12-point lead by Mitt Romney to tie the former Massachusetts governor in Florida, according to a Quinnipiac University poll release today. The final tally is 36 percent for Romney to 34 percent for Gingrich among likely voters in the Florida Republican presidential primary, but Gingrich gets 40 percent to 34 percent for Romney among likely voters surveyed after the South Carolina primary." "January 25, 2012 - Gingrich Surges In Florida GOP Primary, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Big Jump After South Carolina Win".
"Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich heads into Florida's presidential preference primary next Tuesday with momentum from his victory in South Carolina, a new poll shows."
Gingrich has erased a 12-point deficit with Florida voters over the past two weeks and is now about even with Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor was favored by 36 percent of likely Florida Republican voters to 34 percent for Gingrich."Gingrich riding momentum with Florida GOP voters". See also "Poll: Romney, Gingrich about even with Florida GOP voters".
A Jan. 9 poll by Quinnipiac (Conn.) University [had] showed Romney favored 36-24 over Gingrich. ...
Quinnipiac's random telephone survey of 601 Republicans taken Jan. 19-23 has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points which has the two GOP frontrunners within the margin of error. Santorum was third in the latest Florida survey with 13 percent and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul had 10 percent in results released Wednesday.
Gingrich held double-digit leads over Romney among white evangelical Christians and tea party supporters and a slight edge over Romney among male voters.
Yesterday's Rasmussen poll: "After helping him win the South Carolina primary on Saturday, conservatives have propelled former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich ahead of former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts to lead the race for the Republican presidential nomination, according to a national poll of likely primary voters released Tuesday by Rasmussen Reports." "Conservatives Propel Newt Gingrich Ahead of Mitt Romney Nationally".
Empty suits run wild in Tally
"Florida is already leading the charge against the federal government’s health-care overhaul."
But just to be sure that the Supreme Court knows the sentiment of the state’s elected officials, legislators are moving forward with a House memorial that reaffirms the effort of Attorney General Pam Bondi to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act before the rules are firmly locked into place in two years."House Republicans Move Symbolic Support for Obamacare Fight".
On Tuesday, members of the House Federal Affairs Subcommittee, voting along party lines, backed a memorial against the federal program that is commonly called “Obamacare.”
Rep. Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford, a health-care consultant who sponsored the memorial, HM 1281, said his mostly symbolic proposal is to voice the state’s opinion that health care should be a responsibility of the states rather than the federal government.
"Gringo Spanish and Castro-crackdown plans"
"With their gringo Spanish and Castro-crackdown plans, the two leading GOP candidates are flocking this week to this Latin American-influenced county where 72 percent of the roughly 368,000 registered Republicans are Hispanic. To date, about 54,000 Republicans have cast early and absentee ballots."
Romney heads to the Freedom Tower this afternoon to talk Latin American policy. Gingrich will do the same this morning at Florida International University. Each is also dropping by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's forum broadcast by Spanish-language powerhouse Univision. Rick Santorum and Ron Paul, who trail in the polls, are not making any scheduled appearances in Miami today."But they'll all have some explaining to do after spending the past several months pandering to right-wing voters in the early primary states, said Frank Sharry, who heads up America's Voice, a liberal immigration reform group."
On Friday, Gingrich, Romney and Santorum are expected to appear before the Hispanic Leadership Network forum run by Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush, a leader in Latino-Republican outreach. All three are scheduled to then meet with the mighty Latin Builders Association.
Now, the candidates must "square their right-wing rhetoric on things like English-only and immigration in a state that's nearly a quarter Hispanic," Sharry said."GOP hopefuls face delicate dance with Florida Hispanic voters". See also "Romney, Gingrich, Santorum to speak at Hispanic Leadership Conference".
The Republican candidates oppose the pro-immigrant DREAM Act, which many Hispanics support. Liberals are tarring them for being "anti-Hispanic" and a union group is bashing Romney with radio ads in Central Florida.
But Bush said it's pure political posturing.
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "More Florida, less Castro".
Yet to be found, $1 billion for education
"Capitol Buzz: Lawmakers search for $1 billion for education".
Big of 'em
"Business, Lawmakers Seek Hiring Favor for Veterans".
"Carefully choreographed plan could implode"
"Personal ambitions have been kept off the record in the Legislature's once-a-decade redistricting fight, but the carefully choreographed plan could implode this week if a House committee proposes and accepts changes to the Senate map."
That would put an end to the gentleman's agreement between the two chambers to accept each other's redistricting maps — and set off a battle that could delay a budget accord."Personal agendas at stake with redistricting maps".
"Florida's perennial abortion battle re-emerged Tuesday as a House panel approved bills that would block abortions after 20 weeks, require 24-hour waiting periods and target abortions that might be motivated by the race or gender of the fetus. The Republican-dominated House Health and Human Services Access Subcommittee approved three bills in party-line votes, after testimony and debate that reflected the country's deep divide on the issue." "House Health Committee Approves Abortion Restrictions".
Fla-baggers mob Gingrich
"If former Florida frontrunner Mitt Romney hoped Newt Gingrich's rise in popularity was a temporary blip, Gingrich's campaign appeared to prove otherwise Tuesday as it drew crowds estimated at 4,000 in Sarasota and 6,000 in Naples." "Gingrich draws thousands in Fla. while Romney's, Santorum's crowds number in hundreds".
"Haridopolos Says Florida Proven Correct"
"Florida’s decision to move its presidential primary up by more than a month is going to pay off for the candidates and the state, Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, said Tuesday." "Haridopolos Says Florida Proven Correct on Primary".
They got theirs
"The Villages -- It's an urgent issue seemingly on the minds of many in this retiree mecca, if not the entire state of Florida — how to fix Social Security. And voters' proposed solutions to the tricky problem are just as varied as the stances of the Republican presidential candidates seeking their support." "How to fix Social Security confounds Florida retirees".
Florida's "continuing campaign to privatize education"
"Florida lawmakers want to give parents the power to dictate the future of poorly performing public schools, sparking criticism from parent advocates and others that the effort is part of a continuing campaign to privatize education."
Between the two committee votes, the bills were praised at a Capitol news conference attended by Senate President Mike Haridopolos, as well as representatives of former Gov. Jeb Bush's education foundation and the Florida Chamber of Commerce, among others."Furor erupts over bills to let parents decide poorly performing schools' fate". See also "Critics say ‘parent trigger’ bill favors charters over public schools".
"GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich accused President Obama of being a 'Saul Alinsky radical' who works to 'appease the Taliban' at a campaign rally held in a Sarasota airplane hangar today." "In Sarasota, Gingrich calls Obama a ‘Saul Alinsky radical,’ pledges to end Agenda 21 (Updated)".
"Romney, Gingrich take different tacks"
"Mitt Romney ramped up his Florida offensive on Tuesday, releasing his tax returns and offering an alternative State of the Union address, as his rival Newt Gingrich told voters that Romney is too liberal for the Republican Party." "Romney, Gingrich take different tacks in courting Florida voters".
Meanwhile, unlimited campaign contributions gladly accepted
"Three protesters who took part in a national day of action to call on participants of the 2012 Global Alternative Investments Management (GAIM) conference to divest from private prisons were arrested Tuesday." "‘Say no to private prisons’ protesters arrested at investor conference in Boca Raton".
Romney has coined a new term: "self-deportation"
Fabiola Santiago: "Bienvenidos to Miami, Republican candidates. Enjoy your day."
Judging by your theatrical debate antics — necessary in the age of choice, I know, if you want to lure viewers away from the Kardashians roaming New York, the new Univisión telenovela La que no podía amar (The One Who Couldn’t Love) and the cute-dog-vs.-bad-guy episode of Castle on ABC — you’ll feel right at home here.Much more here: "The silly, the liars and the panderers".
Ours is a paradise for the silly, the liars and the panderers.
You’ll fit right in.
The silly: Mitt Romney, who has coined a new term in immigration policy — self-deportation.
That’s oh-so-simple and clever a position on immigration reform that it drew laughter from the Monday night primetime debate audience in Tampa. ...
The wealthy corporate raider is so disconnected from reality he didn’t get the Pew Hispanic Center report circulated nationwide alerting everyone to the importance of the Hispanic vote in Florida.
While there were more Hispanic Republicans than Hispanic Democrats in 2006, the scales tipped over after 2008.
According to the Florida Division of Elections’ statistics for the state’s Jan. 31 presidential primary, 1,473,920 Hispanics are registered to vote statewide.
They make up 13.1 percent of the state’s more than 11.2 million registered voters. Of those, 452,619 are registered as Republicans, representing 11.1% of all Republican registered voters, and 564,513 are registered as Democrats, representing 12 percent of all Democratic registered voters. Another 431,131 Hispanics list no party affiliation and 25,657 registered in other parties.
Moving on we have…
The liar: Newt Gingrich, on so many counts personal and professional, that it’s tough to choose one, but hey, we know what the important issue is in Florida, and G is going to out-perform the charming Ronald Reagan and his “ Cuba sí, Castro no!” chant.
Gingrich promises to launch “covert” operations to overthrow the Cuban government.
“I’m talking about using every asset available to the United States, including appropriate covert operations,” Gingrich said
I’ll believe it when I see it.
He was more credible when he provided levity.
"VIDEO: ‘School Choice Week’ moves forward with endorsements from conservative groups". Related: "Conservative Christians mobilize for 2012".
"Concerns stall Cat Fund proposal"
"Supporters of the assessment bill say it will make the Florida property insurance market more attractive to out-of-state capital and reduce the short-term exposure of the private market." "Citizens assessment bill moves ahead as its concerns stall Cat Fund proposal".
"Scott's plan ... is devastating and even ridiculous"
"Scott's plan to cut about $2 billion in public funding to hospitals that care for the poor is devastating and even ridiculous, say hospital leaders who predict patient care will suffer if it is enacted." "Florida hospitals bracing for more Medicaid cuts". Related: "Senate proposes sweeping overhaul of disabled care".
Water cleanup plan kerfuffle
"State, environmental groups continue to wrestle over water cleanup plan". See also "House, Senate panels move to waive ratification requirements for proposed water rules".
House slashes health care budget
"Budget slashes 67 DOH administrative positions including a $125,000 deputy secretary post and another 708 'vacant' positions." "Hospitals, nursing home and state employees cut in House health care budget".
Another "stealthy move to privatize"
"It seems like little more than bureaucratic tinkering. Bills now filed in the Florida House and Senate would change the definition of where something called the 'ordinary high water line' is measured on waterways across Florida."
But hunting and fishing groups are up in arms, calling the bills a blatant land grab that will block them from pursuing their favorite pastimes."Proposal would change public/private boundaries on Florida's lakes and rivers".
"This is where we hunt," explained John Hitchcock, president of the United Waterfowlers of Florida.
Audubon of Florida, Earthjustice and 1,000 Friends of Florida have also condemned HB 1103 and SB 1362 as a stealthy move to privatize between 100,000 and 500,000 acres along the state’s rivers, lakes and streams that currently belongs to taxpayers. It does not affect oceanfront land.
The bills’ backers contend it’s the state that’s grabbing land, not private companies.
"There are thousands of acres of land out there that the state’s going to grab that people are unaware of," said Sam Ard, who lobbies for the Florida Cattlemen’s Association.
The House version of the bill passed its first committee last week on a 9-4 vote. So far the Senate bill has no set hearings.
"bracing for higher tuition bills"
"Florida college students can start bracing for higher tuition bills again come fall. Leaders in the House proposed raising tuition by 8 percent next year at public colleges and universities as part of a budget unveiled Tuesday." "House higher education plan includes tuition increases, budget cuts".
Sharpe may pass on challenging Castor after all
"Whispers are growing louder that Republican Mark Sharpe may press the eject button on his challenge to U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, in the District 11 congressional campaign." "Sharpe watching redistricting".
State Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker, claims "vindication"
"State Sen. Greg Evers 'was actively advocating' on behalf of a billboard company that had been talking about hiring his wife when he intervened with the state Department of Transportation about cutting down 2,000 trees, according to a grand jury report released Tuesday."
The Leon County grand jury didn't indict anyone, but found Evers' intervention enabled Bill Salter Advertising to "secure permits by circumventing the law.""Legislator found by grand jury to be acting on behalf of billboard company in 2009".
Evers, R-Baker, said the report vindicated him: "A jury of my peers found I didn't do anything wrong."
In 2009, Salter wanted DOT permits to cut down more than 2,000 trees along Interstate 10. Salter did not want to pay the normal fee, so executive David McCurdy sought Evers' help.
The grand jury noted that Evers and McCurdy went to high school together and that Evers' wife "was consulted by Salter Advertising about representing the company."
Gingrich grubs for wingnuts
"Crist gets kicked around by Gingrich" ("Yes, the ex-governor is still a whipping boy in GOP circles.")