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307 posts from August 2008

August 28, 2008

The woman behind the convention floor show

Shelley_002DENVER -- Remember Shelly Loos from Bill McBride's 2002 campaign for governor and John Kerry's 2004 campaign for president? She's the director of floor operations at the Democratic national convention, which means she oversees the carefully choreographed display of more than 200,000 signs on the convention floor.

Loos, whose sweatheart is Dan Reynolds, president of the Broward County AFL-CIO, keeps her feet from aching by rotating through three pairs of shoes each day. Read how she does it here.

Obama stands on these Floridians' shoulders

Pioneers_011DENVER -- Preston Marshall stared down fire hoses, billy clubs and hatred to march with Martin Luther King Jr.

Eufaula Frazier watched her Liberty City neighborhood burn after police were cleared of beating an unarmed black motorcyclist to death.

They never thought they would ever see this day.

As Barack Obama becomes the first black presidential nominee of a major party, he stands on the shoulders of these longtime Miamians and other African Americans who struggled and suffered for civil rights.

Much has been said about Obama's effect on young people, but it is the older folks who lay the biggest claim on his acceptance speech.

"I didn't know it would happen in my lifetime,'' said Marshall, who witnessed King's famous Washington address  -- 45 years ago today --  and founded Miami's parade in his honor. "This is a great moment for me, for I have seen that Dr. King's dream is coming true.''

Read their story here.

New poll: Martinez besting Diaz-Balart

DENVER - Talk about a convention bump! A new poll done by Survey USA for Capitol Hill's Roll Call finds Raul Martinez leading Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart by 2 points.

"In a head-to-head matchup with Raul Martinez, the colorful and controversial mayor of Hialeah, Diaz-Balart received 46 percent while the Democrat garnered 48 percent," Roll Call reported.

The poll of 632 likely voters was taken Aug. 24 to 26 for Roll Call by Survey USA, an automated opinion research firm. Voters were allowed to respond in English or Spanish. It has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

Diaz-Balart's campaign said its internal polls "consistently" show Diaz-Balart maintaining a "substantial lead among all significant sectors of the electorate."

"Our own polling, using live bilingual interviewers provides us with the confidence that Congressman Diaz-Balart holds a solid lead over his challenger," said David Hill of Hill Research Service.

But Roll Call says the "poll suggests that the Democrats’ hunch that the South Florida electorate is changing might be true. Not only was Diaz-Balart locked in a tight race with Martinez, but Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) were tied in the poll, with each getting 48 percent of the vote."

Continue reading "New poll: Martinez besting Diaz-Balart" »

Welcome to Florida, Sen. Biden

Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden could be in Florida as soon as next week, during the Republican National Convention.

He and Barack Obama are taking off on a bus tour of battleground states -- Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Ohio -- and then Biden is expected to detour south.

Democrats are hoping Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, will help shore up support for the Democratic ticket in the Jewish community and among seniors.

Crist taps Charles Canady for state Supreme

Gov. Charlie Crist tapped Judge Charles Canady to replace retiring justice Raoul Cantero on the Florida Supreme Court. That brings the number of Hispanic justices back to zero, though Crist's press shop made sure to glean a laudatory quote from the Cuban-American Bar Association, which said Canady was a good pick.

"He's a faithful servant in the truest sense of the word," Crist said.

Within an hour, Canady's selection was updated on his Wikipedia site.

Canady sits on the Second District Court of Appeal, where he was appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush  in 2002. A former Republican Rep., Canady was one of the floor managers in President Bill Clinton's impeachment in 1999. The graduate of Yale Law School, served in the Florida House before Congress.

Crist was heavily lobbied to pick Canady by members of the Christian right and former Bush staffers.

"I've taken such care in choosing a justice," Crist said, who had just finished interviewing all five candidates for the job the day before.

No veep for Crist? Guess who won't be in Ohio

Gov. Charlie Crist this morning confirmed he wouldn't be in Ohio where John McCain is scheduled to announce his pick for vice president. That all but kills the dying speculation that Crist will be the chosen one for McCain.

August 27, 2008

Meek introduces his "good friend" Bill (Clinton)

Kendrick Meek introduced his presidential primary trail buddy, Bill Clinton, calling him "my good friend" and saying his two terms as president is proof of "what this country can accomplish when a Democrat is in the White House .. a wonderful thing.

"President Clinton presided over the longest economic expansion in American history," Meek said. "That meant more than 22 million new jobs; higher incomes at every income level; the lowest unemployment rate in 40 years; the lowest poverty rate in 20 years; the lowest crime rate in 26 years; the smallest welfare rolls in 32 years and the highest homeownership in history."

"And let's remember: he did all this while inheriting a record deficit from the previous President and leaving a record surplus for the President we've got today."

As Commander-in-Chief, President Clinton prepared our military to win wars, at the same time working everywhere in the world to make peace in Africa, in Europe, in Asia, in the Middle East, " Meek said.  He left a legacy of national strength and common national purpose on which President Barack Obama is going to build."

"My fellow Democrats, my fellow Americans," Meek said, "I give you one of the greatest presidents in the history of our country, William Jefferson Clinton."

And to the sounds of his signature Fleetwood Mac's Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow, it's Bill. His first (audible words) after a long ovation, "I'm here first, to support Barack Obama." And he joked, "to warm up the crowd for Joe Biden."

Florida: "We don't abstain"

DENVER - The Florida Democratic Party says the earlier report about 1 delegate abstaining from voting was wrong.

Not all the delegates could make it to the floor to vote on time and the vote still could change, but the tally as of now is 135 for Barack Obama, 59 for Hillary Clinton.

The results differ widely from how the delegates were divvied up according to the Jan. 29 Democratic primary, in which Clinton won 105 delegates, Obama won 67 delegates and Edwards won 13 delegates. But Edwards' admission earlier this month that he had an affair, and Clinton's announcement today that she was releasing her delegates prompted some to switch their allegiances at the convention.

Manny speaks!

DENVER Two days after his speech was scotched because he wasn't feeling well, Miami Mayor Manny Diaz is taking the stage at the Democratic National Convention.

He mixed Spanish and English -- and never really endorsed Barack Obama, though he gave a nod to a country where a boy named "Manuel" and one named "Barack" can prosper.

"Now is our time to restore the dream," he said. "A nation where you are not judged on the language you speak, but the words spoken; not by the color of your skin, but the content of your character; a nation where a 6 year old, like Barack, like Manuel, can have access to opportunity, the audacity of hope, the reality of the dream. A nation where future generations will be able to proclaim that we left them a world better than we received."

Florida time on the stage

DENVER - Barack Obama will be a better president for the U.S. -- and Israel -- his Florida co-chair Rep. Robert Wexler said, in a pitch aimed at Jewish voters who have been leery of Obama.

"We know Barack Obama is the President America needs," Wexler said, taking the stage at the convention. "He's also the leader and friend Israel needs, and he will bring to the White House an unshakeable commitment to Israel's security. In his heart, in his gut, Barack Obama stands with Israel. Not only his words, but his deeds, bear testament to this fact."

Following Wexler, Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, singled out Obama's support for education -- saying he'd reform the No Child Left Behind act and "focus on early childhood education to get our kids on the right track from the start.

"He joined all Democrats in Congress to pass the largest investment in college aid in 64 years," Castor said. "John McCain opposed that plan. And Barack Obama championed the largest increase in education benefits for our troops since the GI bill. John McCain said it was too generous.

"Women struggling to provide their children with a good education know that we can't afford more of the same," she said.