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141 posts from August 2006

August 24, 2006

McBride knocks Harris in ad

U.S. Senate candidate Will McBride has released his first television ad stressing that he’s not two things: scandal-plagued U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris or a creature of the beltway.

“I’m not a Washington insider. So I’m not running the standard political ad -- with me on the beach or kissing babies,” he says in the ad as images superimpose behind him. “Congress is broken,” he says, “spending is out of control, scandals dominate the news and unfortunately Katherine Harris is part of the problem.”

The ad is scheduled to air Saturday in select markets throughout the state – no word yet on Miami-Fort Lauderdale. The big question for the multimillionaire candidate who has plowed nearly $730,000 of his own money into the campaign: Is this too little, too late heading into the Sept. 5 primaries?

Harris leads McBride, Peter Monroe and LeRoy Collins by double digits, polls show. But they also show she’ll likely get trounced in the general election by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. Hence the ending of McBride’s ad: “Republicans, don’t throw in the towel.”

Ad attacking Davis tweaked

The television ad smacking U.S. Rep. Jim Davis for his lousy attendance record in congress is getting tweaked and will be ready for WTVT by about 1 p.m. At issue: the description of one of the votes.

The Davis camp said the ad was pulled, WTVT's lawyer, Molly Pauker, said yesterday that wasn't quite right because the station was checking it for accuracy.

So was it pulled?

"Well, I don't know how to answer your question," Pauker said in an email today. "WTVT is not airing the version that was submitted so, in that sense, the ad was "pulled;" however, as part of our clearance process, counsel for the advertiser suggested a slight change that, I believe, will clarify what I found confusing in the original copy.  If that is so, WTVT will air the
revised ad."

The "counsel for the advertiser" is John French.

Jeb strikes back

Gov. Jeb Bush opened himself up for questions following last night's Democratic debate, of which he apparently took meticulous notes (Jeb said they were mental "stream of consciousness" notes).

His first response was to Tampa U.S. Rep. Jim Davis who said Bush and the legislature have been "contemptuous" of elections, which need to be "free and fair" again -- a reference to the disputed 2000 elections.

“We’ve had free and fair elections in Florida," Bush said. "We had a tight election with incredible scrutiny in 2000. We standardized our election procedures. We upgraded our elections equipment. We’re a model for the country. And this notion you can keep going back to that well over and over again, it shows you how tired the Democratic candidates are. They have no ideas so they just pull this one out again. It doesn’t work. No one’s buying all that. It’s yesterday’s news.”

Bush also poked fun at Alachua state Sen. Rod Smith who tried to distance himself from Florida's Working Families, a so-called 527 group.

“This 527 or something… or whatever they call it,” said Bush in imitating Smith's statements last night.

“How could he not know about it if they’ve got these very personal pictures of little Rod when he was a kid on the farm and Rod’s family when they were growing up? Can you Google Rod Smith, and get pictures like this that you can then use for a TV ad? There must have been a little bit of coordination, ya think, to be able to put the ad together,” Bush said.

Crist shoots at Gallagher in new ad

Attorney General Charlie Crist fires back at Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher in a new television ad that started airing across the state this morning. The ad starts out touting the endorsements that Crist has received from other GOP politicians such as U.S. Sen. John McCain, U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez and former U.S. Sen. Connie Mack. But after mentioning that Crist has picked up endorsements from several Florida newspapers - the ad takes a little bit of mean twist by pointing out criticisms these same editoral boards had fired at Gallagher.

It quotes one endorsement that says Gallagher is "embarrassingly unprepared to lead" and has "shown terrible judgment,'' a reference to Gallagher's ethics investigation. The Florida Commission on Ethics earlier this month found probable cause that Gallagher broke the law when he owned stocks of two companies doing business with the state.

August 23, 2006

Jeb to strike back

Gov. Jeb Bush is ready to hit back at Democrats after tonight's debate.

"I think they're going to distort my record," Bush told reporters earlier today, "And tomorrow I'll have a chance to visit with you on it." His office just announced the press conference is at 9:15 a.m.

Bitter truth for Davis' camp?

The governor's campaign of Congressman Jim Davis announced a victory today in its battle to pull down an attack ad financed by U.S. Sugar. The camp's press-release headline: "Fox Affiliate Pulls Down False Special Interest Attack Ad." Download Letter.doc

The problem: That's not accurate, according to Molly Pauker, lawyer for WTVT in Tampa.

"It’s a little premature to say we pulled the ad.... We're vetting it for accuracy, doing our due diligence," Pauker said.

"Some of the statements about Mr. Davis' record is a close call because congressional records and votes are often complicated. We're trying to parse what the votes mean and what the ad says about those votes. We want to make sure it’s a 100 percent accurate. We will know more tomorrow."

Earlier, neither Davis' spokeswoman Danae Jones nor spokesman Joshua Earnest was aware of the source of the claim that the ad was "pulled." They referred calls to the Tampa station, which referred calls to Pauker.

Shortly after this posting, Earnest sent the following email: "Molly Pauker told me twice specifically on the phone today that they 'made a final decision to pull the ad.'  Twice."

McCain urges Floridians to vote early

U.S. Sen.John McCain, who has endorsed Attorney General Charlie Crist in the GOP primary for governor, is featured on a new automated phone message going out to voters across the state.

In it McCain says: "Hi, this is Senator John McCain. I have served with many great leaders and I have never seen someone with as much promise as Charlie Crist. Charlie Crist will make a great governor, following in the conservative tradition of my friend Jeb Bush. If you believe in less taxes, better education, and keeping Florida safe, Charlie Crist is your man.  Early voting has started and I encourage you to go out and make sure your vote is counted for a man of great character and integrity—Charlie Crist."

Politricks of insurance

Will there be a special session in October, November -- or ever -- to handle the insurance crisis? Maybe, says Gov. Jeb Bush.

“The answer was the same answer I gave yesterday. It’s the coverage of the answer maybe needs to be clarified,” Bush said earlier today.

“If there’s a consensus on how to proceed, we will call a special session because I believe that we’re in a crisis mode and there’s no reason to wait. If there’s not a consensus, then we won’t proceed. So we’re working on the consensus, first by vetting the ideas, then by engaging members of the Legislature. If we can get a consensus, we’ll move forward. If we can’t, we’ll wait until we can.”

Bush acknowledged the difficulties of dragging lawmakers back to the Capitol just before the Nov. 7 elections. But he said the issue is too important to ignore.

Incoming House Minority Leader Dan Gelber of Miami Beach gave this response: "Why wait? We didn't wait for consensus for the numerous special sessions when big business wanted medical-malpractice reform to make it tougher for citizens to sue bad doctors. We didn't wait for consensus to try to insert ourselves into the Terri Schiavo debate."

Dockery defends Crist

Sen. Paula Dockery, one of the names floated as a possible running mate for Attorney General Charlie Crist, sharply defended Crist at a campaign stop at the Rising Sun Cafe in Brooksville. She praised Crist and told the crowd he was "pro-life" and that she worked with Crist's office when she helped sponsor a parental notification abortion bill that was passed by the Florida Legislature in 2005. "Is Charlie pro-life? You bet," said Dockery.

Dockery told the group of roughly 35 people assembled at the cafe that Crist is "not constantly reinventing himself," a veiled reference to the fact that Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher once had moderate positions on issues such as vouchers and abortion. Dockery also said that the Republicans got to be a majority party in Florida by uniting and asked whether they should support a candidate that causes "divisiveness" or "do we want a uniter?"

Dockery said afterwards that no one in the Crist campaign prepped her on what to say during the campaign stop. But her comments come a day after a bruising debate where Gallagher called Crist a liberal and attacked Crist for failing to articulate his position on Roe vs. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that authorized abortion. For the record: Crist says he does not want to see the decision overturned, but that he also would sign a law that bans abortion, except for rape, incest and life of the mother, if it were passed by the Legislature.

Dockery went on to say her comments about a "uniter" was not an attack on Gallagher but a reference to ongoing battles throughout Florida where Republicans are attacking each other in both House and Senate legislative races.

Gloves come off in Shaw-Klein ad

Yet another commercial hit the airwaves this week in the Clay Shaw-Ron Klein congressional race. The ad, titled "90 percent," is Klein's third of the campaign. Klein has alluded to his opponent in his two previous commercials, but this is the first time he mentions Shaw by name -- making it the first truly negative ad of the campaign.
The commercial is available here.