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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 Friday, May 25, 2012

Another Florida Republican Spanish Fail: First Jeb, now Rick:

    Update: Spanish TV lampoons Gov. Scott's small talk with king about elephant expedition. More: "Scott apologizes for elephant remark to king of Spain" and "Gov. Scott talks about awkward faux pas with Spain's king".

    The Crowley Political Report: ""Did Rick Scott make a royal oops with the king of Spain? More from The Huffington Post: "Scott met with King Juan Carlos of Spain this week during his economic development mission and immediately managed to bring up the uncomfortable topic of the monarch's disastrous elephant hunting trip to Botswana last month." "Rick Scott Elephant Fail: Florida Governor Steps In It During Meeting With Spanish King Juan Carlos". See also "Scott creates international stir" and "Gov. Rick Scott’s ‘I’ve never shot an elephant’ gaffe with Spanish king caught on video".

    Not the First Time: It wasn't so long ago that another Florida Republican Governor embarrassed himself in Spain; this from back in 2003:
    Who would have thought that Jeb Bush, the president's brother, was a closet supporter of the leftwingers who fought against Franco in the Spanish civil war? But this week the governor of Florida has caused ripples by referring to Spain as the "republic" it was then rather than as the monarchy it is now.

    Mr Bush was in Madrid on a trade mission when, paying tribute to Jose Maria Aznar, the prime minister, he said: "I would like to finish by thanking the president of the Republic of Spain for his friendship with the United States."

    But Spain ceased being a republic when General Franco defeated the Republican side and became dictator. The constitutional monarchy was restored under Juan Carlos I in 1975, after Franco's death.

    Mr Bush, who owes his office in part to the financial support of rightwing Cuban exiles, would not normally be associated with the Spanish Republican cause.

    His elder brother has made notable gaffes when dealing with foreign leaders, getting the name of the Canadian prime minister wrong and referring to Mr Aznar as "Anzar" before his first visit to Spain last year.
    "Spanish sighs at Jeb's royal gaffe". See also "Jeb Bush slips on Spanish history".

    "The whole plan is to suppress voter turnout"

    Ed Schultz: "Gov. Rick Scott has come up with a list of 180,000 voters who his administration suspects are ineligible to cast ballots in the battleground state. The problem? Florida has cast such a wide net that it seems to have snared many legitimate voters."

    "The whole plan is to suppress voter turnout, whether by scrubbing the roles or whether by convincing people it’s just too difficult. That’s what we have to remind them. They can’t give up,” [Congressman Ted Deutch] added, noting that several of his constituents received letters saying they were ineligible to vote — even though they are American citizens.
    "More Florida funny business? Democrat accuses GOP gov. of voter suppression".

    Rubio's book tour

    "Potential vice presidential pick Marco Rubio is planning a swing state book tour that will roll through South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, the AP reports". "Rubio Plans Swing State Book Tour".

    "It's officially aimed at selling books, not winning votes, but the freshman senator and possible vice presidential pick is set to make multiple stops not just in his home state of Florida but also in North Carolina and Virginia, critical presidential battlegrounds this fall."

    On the way, he'll make several appearances in South Carolina, where Republicans hold their first-in-the-South presidential primary.
    "GOP's Rubio plans to sell books in swing states".

    May we suggest checking out the bios of political figures who actually accomplished something before deigning to run for national office, perhaps one of these interesting military stories: "Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War", "The Wild Blue: The Men and Boys Who Flew the B-24s Over Germany 1944-45", "PT 109" or "Brothers, Rivals, Victors: Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley and the Partnership that Drove the Allied Conquest in Europe".

    FCAT follies

    Another fine Jebacy: "Third-grade reading scores fall for tougher FCAT, worst in 12 years". See also "FCAT reading, math scores released, but change in standards could lead to more confusion". More FCAT from The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Too many answers missing".

    "Livin' Large in LaLaLand"

    Nancy Smith: "Livin' Large in LaLaLand; or, the Quackery of Setting a University President's Salary".

    Mixed poll results for Obama in Florida

    "A poll from NBC News and Marist College of Florida voters released on Thursday shows, in contrast to surveys from Quinnipiac University unveiled this week, President Barack Obama and Democrat incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson are slightly ahead of their Republican challengers in the Sunshine State." "NBC/Marist Survey Shows Dems Slightly Ahead in Florida". From Marist: "5/24: Obama and Romney Competitive in Florida". See also "Romney's support up in Florida's presidential race".

    By contrast, "a Quinnipiac University poll shows Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney pulling ahead of President Barack Obama in Florida in what likely will be a close November match-up in the Sunshine State." "New Q Poll shows Romney ahead of Obama in Florida". From Quinnipiac: "Romney Up 6 Points In Florida, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Rubio Has Little Impact As GOP Running Mate".

    Florida apoplectic politicians out of touch on Cuba

    Anthony Man: "Many Florida politicians are apoplectic over a visa granted to Fidel Castro's niece, but the state's voters don't seem to have the same hard line on Cuba." "Floridians want more travel, trade with Cuba".

    Rooney throws a tantrum

    "U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta, wants to know if White House access to filmmakers has resulted in the release of classified information involving the raid that killed terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden." "Tom Rooney: Did White House Access Compromise Secrets on Bin Laden Mission?".

    Grayson raises $2M from 50,000 contributors

    "Opening his campaign headquarters in Kissimmee, former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson says he's confident he will earn a return trip to Capitol Hill. In an exclusive interview with Sunshine State News, the outspoken Democrat said he's raised $2 million from 50,000 contributors since last July. That's 'more than any House challenger in the United States and more than 99 percent of current House members," he reported.' "Alan Grayson Likes His Chances for Return to Capitol Hill".

    Scott still upside down

    "While Scott is still upside down with voters, the [Quinnipiac] poll shows more than 40 percent approving of his performance in Tallahassee. The poll shows 41 percent of those surveyed approving of Scott while 46 percent disapprove of him. A Quinnipiac poll taken at the end of March found a majority, 52 percent, disapproved of Scott, while only 38 percent approved of his tenure as governor." "Rick Scott Regains Footing". See also "Poll: Scott's ratings improving with Florida voters".

    West-baggers in a dither

    Kevin Derby: "On Tuesday, the freshman congressman was asked a question at a town hall event in Pompano Beach. It was about balancing the federal budget without raising taxes. West’s answer certainly offers little comfort for conservatives who do not want to see taxes rise -- and certainly not in a struggling economy." "Allen West Touches GOP Third Rail -- Tax Increases".

    Charter counties now have power to impose term limits

    The Tampa Bay Times editorial board: "Hillsborough and Pinellas County residents just won a little more democracy. The Florida Supreme Court has given citizens in all charter counties the power to impose term limits on county officials. But before the term-limits train picks up too much speed, residents should reflect on how they have worked at the state level." "Term limits legal but still a bad idea".

    Braman's bullying

    "Norman Braman, the wealthy Miami businessman and civic activist, has completed his slate of Miami-Dade Commission candidates to challenge four powerful incumbents he considers obstacles to government reform." "Shirley Gibson to challenge Barbara Jordan for Miami-Dade Commission seat, as part of Braman slate".

    Wingnut holds his breath until Wasserman Schultz cancels

    "Miami's Temple Israel on Thursday canceled a program featuring Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz after a high-profile Republican donor quit the congregation to protest the top Democratic congresswoman's speech."

    Stanley Tate, a well-known philanthropist and prominent Republican who started Florida's pre-paid college tuition program, resigned from the temple after he learned Wasserman Schultz would be talking about Israel following services on Friday night, and that he wouldn't get an opportunity for rebuttal.

    The temple's president, Ben Kuehne, a Miami attorney, said the event was canceled because of security concerns. He said they "certainly embrace the congresswoman's willingness to participate in one of our programs," but decided it was "unwise to proceed with the program tomorrow."

    Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, called it an unusual situation, due in part to the temple's "internal politics." Temple Israel, which invited her to speak, is just outside her congressional district.

    "I believe strongly that in a democracy people should be able to hear from and interact with their elected officials, which is why I gladly accepted Temple Israel’s invitation to speak as I have previously to many organizations and religious institutions throughout South Florida," she said. " It is unfortunate that some would allow politics to stand in the way of citizens' ability to interact with their representative."

    Tate's resignation came after he asked the temple's leadership to let him speak in response to Wasserman Schultz. When they wouldn't do so, Tate said he would leave the congregation. Tate, 85, is co-chair of Mitt Romney's campaign in Miami-Dade County. He also has a national role in the GOP presidential candidate's campaign.
    "Temple Israel cancels Wasserman Schultz speech". See also "Miami's Temple Israel cancels Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz speech".

    "'Heartbreaking' algae bloom"

    "Environmentalists including the Clean Network of Florida said they will ask the Florida Supreme Court to require Cabinet approval for a pollution "mixing zone" in the St. Johns River created by a Georgia-Pacific pipeline now under construction. Meanwhile, Earthjustice and the Florida Wildlife Federation highlighted what they called a 'heartbreaking' algae bloom on the Santa Fe River." "Environmentalists battle DEP, industries on two fronts".

    Siplin slips

    "The Orlando Democrat must admit to campaign finance violations stemming from his 2008 reelection campaign. The Florida Elections Commission is poised to vote on the settlement during its August meeting." "Sen. Siplin to admit guilt, pay $3,000 in settlement of campaign violations".

    "State projects $1.1 billion cushion"

    "Florida lawmakers narrowly hit their target of keeping an extra $1 billion in reserve for the state's general fund, according to a draft fiscal outlook released Wednesday. Going into the session, legislative budget-writers had said they wanted a cushion of at least that amount to absorb any changes in the state's fiscal condition." "State projects $1.1 billion cushion in general fund".

    Never mind

    "The U.S. Senate campaign of Connie Mack IV issued an incorrect version of an endorsement from Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuño that included statements Fortuño may not have made bashing Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson."

    The news release quoted Fortuño as calling Nelson, President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid "lockstep liberals," a Mack campaign slogan.

    That language, contained in a news release sent to reporters by the Mack campaign Tuesday, wasn't included in the version posted Tuesday on the campaign's website.

    Late Wednesday, the campaign acknowledged the news release was incorrect and sent out an updated version that also omitted the statements.

    "Yesterday, an erroneous working draft of the English version of Gov. Fortuño's endorsement of Connie Mack was issued," said the updated version.

    In the original version of the news release, Fortuño was quoted as saying:

    "Electing Connie Mack to the U.S. Senate and defeating liberal Senator Bill Nelson will help make sure conservatives have another champion for freedom in the Senate, and that Harry Reid, President Obama, and Washington's other Lockstep Liberals can't inflict any more damage on the nation."
    "Mack campaign retracts endorsement news release".

    Polls: Mack has edge over LeMieux

    "Sustained character attacks from Republican primary rival George LeMieux and hand-wringing by some GOP activists about his prospects in the general election don't appear to have damaged U.S. Rep. Connie Mack's U.S. Senate bid, according to new polls from May 24 Florida poll">Quinnipiac University and NBC News-Marist."

    The Quinnipiac poll shows a virtual tie between Mack and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson while the Marist poll gives Nelson a 4-point lead. ...

    The new Senate polls suggest the race has tightened since last month, when a Rasmussen poll gave Nelson an 11-point lead over Mack and the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling showed Nelson up by 10 points. Quinnipiac's last Senate poll in late March had Nelson up by 8 points.

    Quinnipiac's Senate poll shows Mack ahead by a 42-41 percent margin that's within the poll's 2.4 percent margin of error.

    The Marist poll gives Nelson a 46-42 percent lead over Mack. That poll has a 3 percent margin of error.
    "Polls: Mack, Nelson close in Florida's U.S. Senate race". See also "Mack opens big lead in GOP Senate contest", "Connie Mack Edges Bill Nelson, Dominates GOP Primary Field", "May 24, 2012 - Mack Has Big Lead In Florida GOP Primary, Ties Nelson, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds" and "Marist poll detail (.pdf)".

    The best they could do?

    "Before heading overseas, Gov. Scott said that he would like to see some people prosecuted if an arranged effort was made to put on the voter rolls non-Floridians and those ineligible to cast a ballot."

    With the Division of Elections undertaking a massive review for potential noncitizens among the registered voters using Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles information, county supervisors of election -- mostly in South Florida -- have been directed to further review 2,600 people for their status to vote.

    Three names have so far been referred from the secretary of state to the state attorney’s office for potential prosecution under the Third Party Voter Registration Act, noted agency spokeswoman Jenn Meale.

    The actual nature of each of the allegations under investigation was not immediately available.

    A spokesman for the state Division of Elections did not immediately return calls for comment.
    "Three Face Prosecution in Statewide Registered Voter Review".

    Citizens blues

    "Citizens interim director Tom Grady, an appointee of Gov. Rick Scott, voted in favor of the 10 percent cap on rate increases as a House member in 2009. Now, he wants to surpass that cap for newly written policies. Lt. Gov. Carroll also voted for the cap as a House member." "Citizens considering rate hike on new policies, but director voted for cap".

    "Political ads flooding Florida TV"

    "Millions of dollars in political ads are flooding Florida TV, including two new spots Wednesday by President Barack Obama’s campaign and an anti-Obama ad from a super PAC, the new breed of political action committee powered by unrestricted donations." "Political ad wars get underway in Florida".

    "The gun-shine state"

    "Florida is still the gun-shine state. Though much maligned nationally, the state’s Stand Your Ground law at the center of the Trayvon Martin shooting case is well-liked by a majority of Florida voters, according to a new poll conducted by Quinnipiac University." "Poll: Majority of Florida’s registered voters favor Stand Your Ground law". See also "Floridians Back 'Stand Your Ground' and are Wary of More Gun Control".

    Meanwhile, "McDonald’s customer accused of pulling gun to cut ahead in drive-through line".

    "Florida will become the stingiest state"

    "A national workers’ rights group has filed a federal complaint over Florida’s revamped unemployment compensation system, claiming that the Sunshine State has become the most difficult place in the nation for unemployed people seeking benefits. Last year, Florida overhauled its unemployment compensation system, reducing the number of weeks available and enacting several new requirements for those who seek jobless benefits." "Groups claim thousands being denied jobless benefits in Florida". See also and "Florida law thwarts jobless benefits, advocates tell feds".

    Related: "Thanks to a pending law, next January Florida will become the stingiest state in America when it comes to unemployment insurance benefits." "For Jobless, Florida Set To Become Stingiest State In America".

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