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293 posts from September 2008

September 29, 2008

Lincoln Diaz-Balart: A NO vote

Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart says he's opposed to the new Wall Street rescue plan, saying "American taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for the irresponsible behavior of Wall Street executives.

"The average citizen is forced to play by the rules, yet many who did not now get a massive bailout from taxpayers in this plan," he said in a statement. "This is fundamentally unfair. By bailing out reckless behavior we encourage future reckless behavior."

Diaz-Balart called the legislation "an improvement" over Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's initial proposal, but says he can "not support a massive bailout for Wall Street firms that does too little to help homeowners stay in their homes and is totally paid for by the American taxpayer, not Wall Street."

Putnam urges a "yes" on the bailout

Florida Rep. Adam Putnam, an influential member of the House Republican leadership, says he's come around on the $700 billion Wall Street rescue.

"This body has come together to produce a bill that is distasteful to most," Putnam said. "That required both sides to give up many of the individual items that they thought would be helpful: pro-growth capital gains policies that Republicans thought would be helpful. Affordable housing trust funds issues that the Democrats thought would be helpful. Both gone from the draft of this bill.

"This is no longer the Paulson-President's plan," he added, referring to the intial 3-page measure introduced last week. "Because of the work that Chairman (Barney) Frank and the Republican negotiators have done this is a better bill. Better for the taxpayer. No golden parachutes for CEOS who drive their companies into the ground and walk away with millions. None of the special interest projects that concerned so many people on our side. But most importantly, the evidence is overwhelmingly that we must act."

Bill Clinton to tell FL how 'great' Obama is?

Former president Bill Clinton, who seems to have no trouble singing Republican John McCain's praises, will campaign on behalf of Democrat Barack Obama on Wednesday in Orlando and St. Lucie County.

Clinton called McCain a "great man" in a recent interview but couldn't bring himself to say the same thing about the Democratic nominee on Meet the Press yesterday, leading Tom Brokaw to say, "But I get the sense that you think that he has the potential for greatness, but he's not yet arrived at that station."

Watch Saturday Night Live's spoof Clinton's inability to muster a ringing endorsement here:

Meek: What do you think of the rescue/bailout plan?

House members -- who worked most of the weekend to reach a compromise -- are debating the administration's proposed $700 Wall Street rescue plan and Rep. Kendrick Meek is asking for your opinion.

"The vote that I will take on Monday in Congress on this recovery package will likely be my most significant vote taken in the six years I have served in Congress," Meek says in an e-mail to constituents. "Since receiving a copy of the bill, which I encourage you to read here, I have reviewed it repeatedly. I will continue studying the legislation up until the moment the vote will be called to
pass the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act."

He also points constituents to an economic analysis of the plan here.

"There is not much time before this historic vote and I urge you to contact my offices in Miami Gardens at (305) 690-5905, in Washington, DC at (202) 225-4506, or by visiting my website at kendrickmeek.house.gov to offer your opinions< Meek wrote. "I need to know what you think about this financial rescue plan, and your input will help me as I cast my vote in Congress."

News flash: McCain and Obama tied in FL

Yet another poll shows a super-tight race in the nation's largest battleground state. American Research Group's survey of 600 voters found Democrat Barack Obama receiving 47 percent, compared to Republican John McCain with 46 percent. Margin of error is plus or minus 4 percent.

More here.

September 28, 2008

Two words you won't see on Atwater's campaign signs

Drive through state Sen. Jeff Atwater's coastal Senate district these days and it's tough to miss the signs put out for the North Palm Beach Republican and incoming Senate President.

In the past several days, the large signs have popped up all over U.S. 1, the district's main thoroughfare. But like some earlier Atwater campaign mailings and ads, there are a couple words you won't see unless you look really close: "re-elect" and "Republican."

The signs read simply: Jeff Atwater: Fighter, Reformer, Leader.

Atwater is facing Democratic challenger and local party activist Linda Bird for the state Senate district that runs from Fort Lauderdale to Juno Beach. And both candidates have taken their fight to the TV airwaves.

Voters in the district also were hit with the latest round poll calls over the weekend. No push polling, though. Pollsters are just asking voters how they feel about the two candidates in state Senate District 25 and how voters' presidential picks might tie in to their state Senate votes.

Diaz-Balart bailout response draws response

Lawmakers working OT at the Capitol have reached a tentative agreement on a $700 billion proposal to shore up Wall Street and are expected to announced details later today.

But Lincoln Diaz-Balart's response to the financial crisis has drawn fire (not surprisingly) from his Democratic challenger Raul Martinez who says Diaz-Balart's "canned e-mail" response to constituents "did not once mention the word family or middle class, or acknowledge the economic challenges hard-working Floridians face every single day.

"Hard-working South Floridians, many who are struggling to escape home foreclosure, need to be helped in this bailout and should not be forgotten by their congressman," Martinez said.

Here's Diaz-Balart's statement about the bailout. Votes in the House could come as soon as Monday.

Lincoln Diaz-Balart launches his own "fact check"

Lincoln Diaz-Balart is taking on a 527 that's spending serious money running ads and dropping mailers accusing him of voting against health care for the troops while voting for pay raises for himself.

In a new web video, the Miami Republican calls the charges "lies" and accuses the Patriot Majority of "financing my opponent's campaign." The ads feature several service members looking into the camera to denounce Diaz-Balart and he called the group's use of the military to "distort my record and confuse voters...truly appalling."

Republicans have filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission charging the union-backed group -- which is running ads against Republican candidates across the country -- with violating federal election law.

Continue reading "Lincoln Diaz-Balart launches his own "fact check"" »

Ros-Lehtinen mailing draws fire

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a former educator, knows a thing or two about how to reach teachers -- like sending an education-themed campaign e-mail to their school district accounts.

Earlier this month, Ros-Lehtinen sent schools employees a campaign e-mail touting her track record on education after paying a $63.33 public records fee to obtain the e-mail addresses of tens of thousands of Miami Dade teachers and district employees.

School district rules forbid employees to use their district e-mail addresses ''for political purposes,'' but nothing in those rules prevents those who don't work for the district -- including, say a congresswoman -- from sending political e-mails to teachers.

Her Democratic challenger, Annette Taddeo, suggested it was a "back-door attempt to alleviate her embarrassment" that the district teachers' union, United Teachers of Dade, endorsed Taddeo.

Seeking Florida crackers for Obama

Sen. Bill Nelson and three former southern governors -- Bob Graham of Florida, Jim Hodges of South Carolina and Ray Mabus of Mississippi -- will campaign across North Florida today and tomorrow on behalf of Democrat Barack Obama.

They'll hit rural communities and small towns, including Baldwin, Lake City, Jasper, High Springs, Perry, Monticello, Quincy and Chipley, where the campaign says a Democrat hasn't opened an office in recent memory. Polls show Obama way behind Republican John McCain in North Florida, the conservative belt of the state that has doomed many Democrats running statewide.

Expect the tour to include lots of barbecue and Graham breaking out in song with, "I'm a Florida cracker, I'm a Graham cracker.''