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310 posts from October 2009

October 27, 2009

Now if only Obama could get Meek's name right

U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek is trying to milk his sharing space with President Barack Obama for all it's worth -- no matter that the president mistakenly called him "Kendrick Meeks'' at the Miami Beach fundraiser for congressional and senate Democrats on Tuesday.

"Yesterday, President Obama made a special appearance with Congressman Meek in Miami because he knows Kendrick will be a vital force for change in the United States Senate,'' says the e-mail from Meek's U.S. Senate campaign.

"Special appearance?'' Yes, Meek was invited to greet the president when he got off Air Force One in Miami, but come on, the president came to Florida for a two-day visit that included the fundraiser and visits to a Jacksonville Navy base and new solar plant in Arcadia.

Meek's campaign also thanks the president for his "support." 

Crist pens response to Herald/Times analysis of his schedule

In Wednesday's St. Petersburg Times, Gov. Charlie Crist has a response to the Herald/Times analysis of his official daily schedule as governor and a critical editorial in Tuesday's Times. The Herald/Times analysis found he has taken the equivalent of almost 10 weeks off a year since taking office in 2007. An except from his response:

The schedule of a governor should not — and cannot — be reduced to a spreadsheet. To do so is ridiculous and does not reflect the endless hours spent briefing with agency leaders and staff, reading policy briefings and the day's news, meeting and talking on the phone with constituents, advisers and legislators, and responding to the types of things that just simply cannot be scheduled. To look at a governor's published daily schedule, which is provided as a simple snapshot of public events and planned meetings, disregards the spontaneity required to lead our state. ...

I was elected by the people of this great state to make a difference, not to mark time, and that is just what I am doing. I look forward to rolling out our 2010 legislative priorities in the coming months, because while we have accomplished much in less than three years, there is much more to do — provide tax cuts and incentives for Florida's businesses, continue to increase education standards and maintain per student funding, tackle corruption in local government through vigorous ethics reform, and protect our children and seniors through strict background-screening reform.

Read the whole response here.

Grayson apologizes: "K Street whore" remark was "inappropriate"

Orlando Democrat Alan Grayson has apologized for calling an adviser to Fed Chairman Ben Bernake a "K Street whore."

"I offer my sincere apology to Linda Robertson, an adviser to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke," he said in a statement. I did not intend to use a term that is often, and correctly, seen as disrespectful of women. This  characterization of Ms. Robertson, made during a radio interview last month in the context of the debate over whether the Federal Reserve should be independently audited, was inappropriate, and I apologize."

The apology came as the Republican National Committee asked President Barack Obama to distance himself from Grayson, who was at the Miami Beach fundraiser Monday night. A spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee called the apology "insincere," noting it came after a spokesman for Grayson had defended the remark.

"After spending the last 24 hours slandering Linda Robertson and offering varying definitions of 'whore' in a feeble attempt to defend his vile slur, it's quite clear how he feels," said spokesman Andy Sere.

Crist does NOT want to win this contest

Is there a full moon? First Forbes columnist Reihan Salam offers Gov. Charlie Crist as "America's worst governor."

Then Crist bizarrely claims he did not know, nor did his staff inform him, of this week's Florida itinerary for President Obama -- elected leader of said "America." Yesterday and today, he is visiting the state Crist was elected to lead.

And now The Washington Post's The Fix column is running a highly unscientific poll that offers Crist as one of six choices for "most overrated" governor in the United States. Crist and Texas Gov. Rick Perry are currently running neck and neck for that "win," based on over 2,500 votes so far, with the two toggling back and forth in the first place spot.

Like we said, highly unscientific. But certainly not the kind of victory the Crist campaign would be putting on a U.S. Senate mailer.

Grayson draws fire from Republicans and Democrats

From Politico: "Republicans and Democrats slammed Rep. Alan Grayson for calling Linda Robertson, an adviser to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, a 'K Street whore' in a month-old radio interview that circulated on Capitol Hill Monday night.

"There’s no call for that language. No call for it. That’s absurd. If he was standing here now, I’d say that to him," said Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.)

Republicans are anxious to unseat Grayson, but have failed to recruit a big-name opponent. He does face a challenge from Armando Gutierrez Jr., son of one of Miami's best-known political consultants.

"The people of the 8th District deserve better than Alan Grayson," Gutierrez said. "I am embarrassed that he represents the good people of Central Florida."

Meek scores Politico's Picture of the Day

From Politico: "President Obama didn’t headline a fundraiser for Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.) during his trip to Florida on Monday, but managed some quality face time with the likely Democratic Senate nominee.

"Meek personally greeted the president in Miami as he disembarked from Air Force One, scoring the congressman a quality photo op before the president’s fundraiser for the DSCC and DCCC.

"Needless to say, the president is sending all the right body language towards Meek -- as opposed to his awkward tarmac greeting last month with embattled New York Gov. David Paterson (D)."

Meekobama 
Paterson

Oil drilling pits Dem against Dem in one House race

Seeking to distinguish himself from Democratic primary opponent Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, candidate Rick Minor this morning held a press conference in which he vowed not to take any contributions from organizations or lobbyists representing the push for offshore drilling.

"I believe it's important to demonstrate the type of leadership I will bring to the capital," said Minor, running against Rehwinkel Vasilinda for the district that includes Leon and Jefferson counties.

Minor, who was until recently chairman of the Leon County Democratic Party, said a 'cursory look' at his contributions so far doesn't show any donations tied to oil. But statewide, Democrats have received tens of thousands from oil and related interests. Among those Democrats: Rehwinkel Vasilinda, who voted last session for the last-minute proposal to drill offshore (it passed the House 70-43 but died for lack of Senate support, and is being pushed again for the 2010 session).

Continue reading "Oil drilling pits Dem against Dem in one House race" »

Ginny Brown-Waite questions whether Obama can accept the Nobel prize

Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite says President Barack Obama should seek congressional approval before accepting the Nobel Prize.

"This award is a testament to America’s continuing importance as a broker of peace and a promoter of democracy," the Brooksville Republican said in a press release. "With every great honor, however, comes great responsibility, not the least of which is the President’s constitutional responsibility to receive the consent of Congress before formally accepting this award."

She says the Constitution "clearly states" that "no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state."

Obama is to pick up the prize Dec. 10 in Oslo, Norway. Here's her letter to Obama.

More on Tynan appointment to School Board

We reported in Tuesday's paper that Kevin Tynan will be the only Republican on the previously all-Democratic Broward School Board, where seats are nonpartisan but observers know board members' political affiliations anyway.

Gov. Charlie Crist appointed Tynan Monday to replace suspended board member Beverly Gallagher, arrested last month in a federal corruption sting. Gallagher has pleaded not guilty.

Many South Florida Republicans were thrilled with the announcement -- including U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart of Miami, whom Tynan had listed as a reference on his School Board application.

"Kevin has an exemplary history of service," Diaz-Balart told The Miami Herald in an e-mail message Monday. "The Broward School Board will be well served by his experience, commitment and talent."

Crist chose Tynan over more than 35 other people who had applied for the position.

Tynan, a lawyer with no education background, sent his kids to parochial school because "being a nice Irish Catholic, I thought it was good for my children to get the same Catholic education I got," he said Monday. Tynan went to Catholic school in New Jersey until he was 15 before moving to Miami and graduating from a public school, Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High.

He said he is not concerned with being the lone Republican on the School Board, saying Broward members of the GOP are used to being in the minority.

"I'm used to being the one of anything," he said, laughing.

Three members of Congress picked Brown over Meek

From CQ Politics: On the Democratic side, Rep. Kendrick Meek has effectively sewn up his party's nomination. But Rep. Corrine Brown drew contributions from some members of Congress after she initiated an exploratory committee in early June, which she terminated in October. Brown got contributions from the leadership PAC of Democrat Donna Edwards of Maryland and from the campaign committees of Reps. John Lewis of Georgia and Grace Napolitano of California.Yet Meek continued to rake in contributions from Democratic members even after Brown began her exploratory effort. One of his biggest backers is Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, who gave to Meek's campaign from her personal campaign committee and her leadership PAC.