"5 things Obama needs to win Florida"
Anthony Man: "With 29 electoral votes, Florida is the most glittering prize in this year's presidential election. Without a win in the nation's biggest swing state, it's hard to come up with a scenario that keeps Barack Obama in the White House. Since 1960, only one winner has captured the presidency without carrying the Sunshine State, said Lynn University American studies professor Robert Watson. 'Florida is vital,' he said. Here's what political analysts and operatives say Democrats must do to make that happen — and, conversely, what Republicans must prevent."
- Convince independents Obama's on their side and motivate them to vote"5 things Obama needs to win Florida (or that Republicans must counter)".
- Mobilize key constituencies
- Make sure Democrats get to vote and that they do
- Make the president's message reaches its multiple Florida targets
- Convince people the economy is improving
"Florida's Presidential Heritage"
Kevin Derby: "While Florida remains one of the most pivotal states in American politics, the Sunshine State has never produced a single president, vice president or even a candidate or running mate on a national party’s ticket. Despite this record, Florida has been an important place for many of the presidents." Much more here: "Florida's Presidential Heritage".
"A rebuke to Haridopolos and his leadership team"
"Last year, it took until the last day of the legislative session for Senate President Mike Haridopolos to get embarrassed. This year, it happened with three weeks left."
In a rebuke to Haridopolos and his leadership team, a group of nine Republicans joined Democrats on Tuesday to defeat one of his priority bills: a revived prison-privatization plan to replace the one struck down last year by a Tallahassee judge as unconstitutional."[P]roponents of the measure were left wondering why Haridopolos and his lieutenants, including veteran lawmaker and former House Speaker Thrasher, forced the vote when they knew it would be close, and with so much time remaining until the March 10 end of the session."
The nine rogue Republicans had different reasons for voting against the measure, which would have been the largest single outsourcing of prisons in the nation's history.
The vote also came against the backdrop of a political fight over who will be Senate president in 2014. Latvala is challenging Senate Majority Leader Andy Gardiner, presumed to follow in Senate President-designate Don Gaetz's footsteps."Prison privatization proposal failure stings Fla. Senate President Mike Haridopolos".
Although most of those involved agree the privatization vote was not directly related to the presidency skirmish, Latvala's cachet was undoubtedly elevated by the vote. "The line outside Latvala's office got a lot longer that day," a longtime lobbyist involved in the privatization issue said last week.
Even with a supermajority of Republicans, the Senate has a long tradition of being a more moderate chamber than the House. Senate districts are larger, meaning constituencies are often more diverse, and the four-year terms in the upper chamber - twice as long as the House - give members more time between campaigns.
"Presidents' Day is for the feds. It’s day 42 of the legislative session here in Florida, and a few committees will consider a handful of bills and appointments. Here’s what [The Miami Herald is] watching:"
• The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to discuss a proposal that would prevent counties and cities from enacting ordinances that prevent wage theft by employers."Capitol Buzz: No holiday for Tallahassee lawmakers".
• The Senate Rules Subcommittee on Ethics and Elections will hold confirmation hearings for a slew of Gov. Rick Scott appointments to various state boards, including Gary Chartrand to the state Board of Education.
• Kurt Browning is out and his replacement is in. Starting his new job as secretary of state today is Ken Detzner, Scott’s choice to succeed Browning. Detzner is a former beer industry lobbyist who held the job briefly under former Gov. Jeb Bush.
"Year after year attempts to fix problem go nowhere"
"Year in and year out, top Florida policymakers argue that they need to reform the state's required no-fault auto insurance, a system they say is riddled with fraud. Yet, year after year, attempts to fix that problem go nowhere." "Special interests may derail PIP reforms".
West flip-flops, hires "Swift boat" flack
"As a Republican congressional candidate in 2010, Army combat veteran Allen West decried 'Swift Boat' tactics when he heard that foes might run attack ads using soldiers who had served under West."
West accused Democratic Rep. Ron Klein of "planning a 'Swift boat' type assault against me" and added: "We have seen this type of character assassination attack against Sens. John Kerry and John McCain - both decorated war veterans.""After once decrying 'Swift Boat' tactics, U.S. Rep. Allen West hires 'Swift Boat' advisor".
Klein's campaign denied West's charges and no such attack ads using military personnel ever materialized.
After defeating Klein, West's 2012 reelection campaign has hired one of the consultants behind the "Swift Boat" ads attacking 2004 Democratic presidential nominee Kerry.
West announced Friday that his campaign team will include veteran GOP operative Chris LaCivita as general consultant and media strategist. LaCivita was a media adviser to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in 2004.
Asked about West's 2010 quote and 2012 hiring, West campaign manager Tim Edson declined comment.
Not Ready for Prime Time
Nancy Smith: "Repeat bad information often enough and it sticks. Luckily, though, some senators are getting wise to a bogus pitch coming from a coalition of business groups and the insurance industry. Last Thursday Senate Health Regulation Committee Chairman Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, postponed a vote on a bill restricting the price physicians can charge workers' comp patients for repackaged drugs." "Drug Repackaging Bill Not Ready for Prime Time for Good Reason".
"Republican Senate Hopefuls Fire Away at Bill Nelson and Obama".
"Republicans are picking the wrong fight"
"Obama-Biden 2012? How about an Obama-Onan ticket?"
"Contraception becomes campaign fodder".
No, Onan isn’t some hot new pol. He was slain by God about 3,700 years ago after committing an act of contraception.
Now that Obama has mandated insurance companies pay for contraception, Onan is essentially part of the president’s reelection campaign as Republicans — particularly those in Florida — have made the requirement a strategic political issue.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is sponsoring legislation to repeal the Obama-ception rule. Republican Party of Florida Chairman Lenny Curry said it was anti-free market. And Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi penned a letter with 11 colleagues from other states to “vigorously oppose it in court.”
“Not only is the proposed contraceptive coverage mandate for religious employers bad policy, it is unconstitutional,” Bondi and others wrote, warning that “sterilization and related services” would also be covered. “It conflicts with the most basic elements of the freedoms of religion, speech, and association, as provided under the First Amendment..”
But, liberals say, Republicans are picking the wrong fight and are overreaching.
Will occupiers from across the nation descend on Tampa?
"Occupiers to invade Tampa for RNC, organizers predict".
Daddy comes to Mack's rescue
"U.S. Senate candidate Connie Mack explained Sunday for the first time why he spent more than he earned at times, pinning financial problems on his divorce."
Even though his divorce certainly contributed to his financial problems, it does not account for all the troubles he was having."Mack pins money woes on divorce".
In 2004, for instance, he didn't have enough money to pay his federal income taxes and borrowed the money from his father. He didn't file for divorce until August 2005 — months after tax-filing season — when his then-wife, Ann McGillicuddy, was on vacation in Fort Lauderdale.
Mack, elected to Congress in 2004, said he could not recall how much he borrowed from his father, former Senator-turned-lobbyist Connie Mack III. ...
Three months after filing for divorce, Mack submitted a financial affidavit to the court that indicated he was spending nearly $2,300 more than he netted each month.
LeMieux bashes Mack
"U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV and retired Army Col. Mike McCalister fielded questions from the audience of die-hard Republican ladies - many dressed in red - and gave opening and closing statements without referring to their opponents by name. But George LeMieux, trailing in the polls to Mack, pointedly bashed his Fort Myers foe before, during and after the two-hour forum." "George LeMieux takes aim at front-runner Connie Mack at GOP Senate forum".
Wind insurance overhaul blows over
"Insurance analysts say the state catastrophe fund, without a major storm in six years, needs more money or an overhaul before a big one hits. Currently, the fund would be liable for about $18 billion and has about $7 billion in cash reserves." "Florida wind insurance overhaul likely to die".
"Latino Mormons speaking out against Romney".