« July 2008 | Main | September 2008 »

307 posts from August 2008

August 30, 2008

McCain, Palin and the Florida XX factor

Sen. John McCain made history Friday when he chose a fresh-faced female governor as a running mate to help him target one of the most crucial voting blocs in the nation and Florida: women.

In choosing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be the first woman on a Republican presidential ticket, McCain seized the media spotlight from Sen. Barack Obama -- the first black presidential nominee from a major political party.

''She's exactly who I need. She's exactly what this country needs,'' McCain said in introducing Palin. He said she made him ``especially proud . . . in the week we celebrate the anniversary of women's suffrage.''

But Palin's pick isn't about making history. It's about winning the White House. It's about gender -- and the chance to drive a deeper wedge between female voters and Obama.

Exit polls show that Republicans win Florida when they win nearly half the female vote. And when they win Florida, Republicans usually win the White House. But after months of hinting that Florida Gov. Charlie Crist would be his running mate, McCain called Crist on Friday to say he was going with Palin.

Polls suggest Obama is leading McCain among women voters by less than 15 percentage points in Florida but has more trouble with women 35 to 55. Voters over 65, who tend to be women in Florida, appear to favor the 72-year-old McCain.

Obama's decision to pick Sen. Joe Biden, instead of Sen. Hillary Clinton, as a running mate didn't help. That might be especially true in Florida, where white females voted for Clinton over Obama by almost a 3-to-1 margin in the Jan. 29 primary, exit polls show.

During her debut speech Friday in Dayton, Ohio, Palin won applause for talking about how she stood up to the ''ole boy network.'' And she made sure to invoke Clinton and the 18 million votes she received in the Democratic primaries.

Full story here

August 29, 2008

Fresh off McCain vp dis, Crist headed to Daily Show

Looks like Gov. Charlie Crist is headed to Jtrong>ohn Stewart's Daily Show on Tuesday. Stewart said he plans to ask Crist why he didn't get chosen to run with McCain. As long as the topic doesn't stray into the state of Florida's economy, there should be a few things worth laughing about.

First manual recount ordered under new system

Florida Canvassing Commission members ordered the first manual recount today, in five circuit court seats, including Broward County's Circuit 17, Group 3 race between Bernard Isaac Bober, Pedro E. Dijols and Mardi Anne Levey.

The recounts will be the first since the state went to statewide optical scan machines on the Aug. 26 primary. The counties will run the optically scanned ballots through the machines again; the machines will sort the overvotes and undervotes and if the final total is still within one-fourth percentage point or less, the board authorizes the counties to conduct a manual recount.

McCain in Miami on Sept. 15

After the Republican National Convention wraps up next week, John McCain will headline four big-ticket fundraisers in Miami, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, Politico reports.

Naked Politics hears the Miami event will be Sept. 15 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Miami. Newly tapped running mate Sarah Palin will raise money in Naples in October.

All 114 FL delegates get seats on GOP convention floor

Sharon Day, Florida's national committeewoman, says a deal has been struck so that all of the state's 114 delegates will be seated at the Republican convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

The Republican National Committee halved the delegation's influence because the state's early primary broke party rules. Under the compromise, all 114 delegates will get seated but the state will only deliver 57 votes for John McCain during the roll call.

"We're excited that our delegates will get to have the experience of being on the convention floor,'' Day said. "This is exactly what we hoped for."

The quietly resolved compromise contrasts with the Democratic party's meltdown that led the candidates to boycott the state for months and nearly cost Florida delegates a trip to the convention.

"We knew there would be consequences and we accepted that,'' Day said. "We haven't been whining and crying like the Democrats.''

I'll take your Lieberman and raise you a Schumer

The jockeying for Jewish votes continues. Democrat Barack Obama's camp is dispatching Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York to Temple Solel in Hollywood at 1 p.m. Sept. 7, one month after Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut spoke there on behalf of Republican John McCain.

Planas and Llorente weigh in on Palin's Cuban-American appeal

John McCain was able to carry Florida during the primary election, but how will his unconventional VP pick go over with Miami's largely Republican Cuban-American voters?

Weighing in from Miami's famed Versailles restaurant, Republican State Representatives J.C. Planas and Marcelo Llorente say Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will have no problem winning over hardline Cuban-American Republicans. After all, Planas notes-- Alaskans and Cuban-Americans share much in common .

Planas"Cuban Americans share a lot of similarities with Alaskans," Planas said. "We are both rugged individualists who come with whatever we can fit in our back packs in search of a better life."

Llorente, a Cuban-American, said he thought McCain's VP pick would help bring in independent voters, in addition to some Hillary supporters."She's a female, she's a minority, and it shows that the Republican party is an inclusive party that looks for talent from all walks of life," Llorente said.Llorente

He added that McCain picking Palin over Gov. Charlie Crist is not a snub to Florida. "Gov. Crist is doing a great job, I think it was a great boost to Florida that he had been on the short list for a while, but ultimately the choice was up to Senator McCain," Llorente said. "I think it was a brilliant choice, he picked someone outside of Washington who could energize the ticket."

Llorente was fresh off a trip from Minnesota --home of the Republican National Convention. He was there as part of the party's convention platform planning committee.

Cardenas: Let's hope she's Dan Marino

Former Republican Party of Florida chairman Al Cardenas -- a big Mitt Romney fan -- says you  "couldn't script a better person" than John McCain's pick for veep, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

"She's the governor of a western state, a young woman, a professional and a mother of 5 who took on corruption," he said. "She'll be tough to beat -- you can't accomplish more than she has at a young age." 

As for her inexperience, he likened her to a "rookie quarterback in the NFL.

"Let's hope she turns out to be like Dan Marino," the Miami Dolphins star quarterback, he said, "If she's able to able to handle the intensity, the bright lights, it'll be seen as the most brilliant political move."

If not? "We'll find out quick enough," he said. "We'll get a good sense this coming week."

Martinez: Palin makes 'stellar first impression'

Interviewed on MSNBC, Florida Sen. Mel Martinez gave Republican John McCain's newly announced running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a rave review:

"She does a lot for the ticket,'' Martinez said. "She can strengthen McCain with some of the party faithful and bring some excitement...while appealing to disaffected Clinton voters and small-town America...This is a hockey mom who speaks to middle America in very profound way."

When he was reminded that Floridians don't play hockey, Martinez noted that voters concerned with the energy crisis will appreciate Palin's views on oil drilling.

Palin advocates opening the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge to more drilling. Martinex called her an "energy expert from an energy state."

Palin gets mixed initial reaction among Florida GOPers

The initial reaction of Florida's Republican elite to John McCain's choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is a very mixed one.

One top GOP advisor summed it up this way: "It's crazy.'' Palin's lack of experience in the hard-knocks world of presidential politics will be hard to overcome, the advisor said.

McCain fundraiser and campaign advisor Brian Ballard likes the choice:  "She's going to add some zest to the ticket and is going to have some appeal to the disaffected Hillary voters."

Ballard said the momentum moved against Romney after McCain's gaffe about not knowing how many houses he owned. "It came down to three governors: Pawlenty Crist and Palin," Ballard said. "The house issue nudged out Romney....For many in the party though, Lieberman was not acceptable...Pawlenty has never won 50 percent of the vote in Minnesota and he might not have carried it."

RPOF Chairman Jim Greer called it an "historic ticket'' and predicted McCain and Palin will "offer common sense solutions and principled leadership based on a deep-rooted belief in putting country first.”

Predictably, Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was happy to make the comparision between Sarah and Hillary and told MSNBC: "Sarah Palin is no Hillary Clinton....Women in this country don't want a candidate on the ballot just because of the parts that she has....It's not just electing a woman for the sake of getting a women over there." Instead, she said, women want equal pay for equal work, protection of reproductive rights, access to affordable health care for their children etc.

So the questions remains what impact this will have. Ballard notes: "Over the next couple of days, it's going to be a Dan Quayle pick or the greatest thing since sliced bread." He's ready to count on the bread -- and butter -- appeal of "hockey Mom'' Palin.