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310 posts from October 2009

October 27, 2009

Is Rubio a proxy for Jeb v. Crist?

That was the question posted by MSNBC's Joe Scarborough this morning to Senate candidate Marco Rubio, whom he called "a guy who's making waves'' and a "troublemaker."

Rubio, who is gaining on Gov. Charlie Crist in the polls, said, "Jeb is a mentor and someone I've learned a lot from...I hope to earn his support...I've never asked him to support me."

Rubio said he passed "nine separate bills" as House Speaker that would have lowered property taxes but Crist wouldn't go along. (Neither did the Florida Senate, and what about the impact on public school funding?) "There is a consequence to failing to act,'' Rubio said. Scarborough didn't challenge Rubio's claim; guest Dan Senor, an advisor to former President George W. Bush, gushed, "He's one of the most interesting candidates of the 2010 cycle.''

October 26, 2009

DNC fires back at Obama radio ad

Here's what the DNC has to say about the RNC ad running on Spanish radio in Miami: "With President Obama in Miami today, the Republican National Committee has launched a new television ad filled with misleading arguments, debunked claims and outright lies. Instead of offering solutions to our nation's problems, the 'GOP Party of No' thinks that it can win back Florida's Hispanic community, which overwhelmingly supported President Obama last November, by fear mongerring and repeating false accusations."

The one-minute ad claims Obama's $787 billion stimulus package hasn't created jobs or stemmed the economic crisis and that seniors will be hurt by the health care plan.

The DNC's ad watch notes first that Florida Gov. Charlie Crist backed the federal stimulus plan, quoting him as saying during Obama's stimulus sales trip to Florida in February, that  "This is not about partisan politics. This is about rising above that, helping America and reigniting our economy.’”

Obama greeters in Miami: Kendrick Meek, DWS, Dan Gelber, Mayor Manny Diaz and Alex Sink

 A horde of Democrats greeted President Barack Obama at the airport, as he headed to Miami Beach for a fundraiser for House and Senate candidates.

"The fact that he is here before the mid term elections will be helpful to all of us running statewide,'' said Kendrick Meek, the Democratic front runner for the US Senate. "I'm encouraged because the president is going to be staying tuned into what happens in Florida."

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said she told Obama he should get Miami Mayor Manny Diaz to run for Chief Financial Officer and Obama responded accordingly, encouraging Diaz to run. There's been lots of chatter about the term-limited mayor running for CFO, but he's said he's not entertaining a run.

Potus

Haitian-Americans protested Obama's visit because he hasn't agreed to give Haitian immigrants a temporary pass to stay in the country, but Meek said it's under consideration.

"He's still considering TPS," Meek said. "I can't press the president on it, but the fact that he's         
considering it is a good thing.''

- BETH REINHARD

Big crowd waits to hear Rubio in Broward

Hundreds of Republicans have packed the standing room only space at a Fort Lauderdale hotel to hear Marco Rubio speak to the Broward GOP -- a talk that almost didn't happen.

Javier Manjarres, a Rubio fan who heads up the Conservative Republican Alliance, said that a couple of weeks ago GOP leaders asked him to reach out to Rubio to request that he postpone his visit. The reason: the party wanted to focus on talking about the corruption investigations that have brought down a trio of Democrats. But Manjarres said that wouldn't be wise -- and Rubio is expected to speak momentarily.

There is some tension among Republicans who don't want a Rubio vs. Charlie Crist showdown in Broward. A straw poll vote in 2006 was divisive -- something the party doesn't want to repeat. Crist will come to speak to the Broward GOP Nov. 23 and any straw poll, should it occur, would happen in January at the earliest.

Obama's golf game sparks Miami protest

About 100 protesters rallied across the street from the Fountainebleau Miami Beach Monday to criticize a range of President Barack Obama's policies, from healthcare to immigration to the president's golfing.

The crowd was a diverse one: Haitian-Americans calling for temporary protected status for Haitians, anti-abortion activists, birthers who question Obama's birth place, gun rights activists and opponents of toppled left-leaning Honduran president Manuel Zelaya whose return the Obama camp supports.

"The system is broken down," said Ralph Easley, 67, of Tamarac, sporting an Old Glory-designed cap and matching shirt. "We're upset with our constituional rights being trampled and disregarded."

Easley, like others on the crowded sidewalk, carried a sign, his read "Electile Dysfunction."

- TRENTON DANIEL

Continue reading "Obama's golf game sparks Miami protest" »

Kevin Tynan has an easy act to follow

Governor Charlie Crist today appointed Kevin Tynan of Pembroke Pines to the Broward County School Board. He will fill the vacancy created by the suspension of Beverly Gallagher.

 “For seven years, Kevin has devoted his legal career to the ethics field, and his experience will be invaluable to the school board,” Governor Crist said.  “I am grateful that he will continue to serve his community with the highest of standards.”

Kevin Tynan, 50, has been an attorney with Richardson and Tynan since 2001.  Previously, he practiced with Entin, Margules and Della Ferra from 2000 to 2001.  He served as staff counsel for the Florida Bar from 1988 to 2000, including managing disciplinary proceedings involving ethics issues. He has served on the Board of Commissioners, South Broward Hospital District, since 2002. He received his bachelor’s degree from Barry University and a law degree from Nova Center for the Study of Law.

Today’s appointment is the result of Governor Crist’s suspension of public officials due to criminal complaints filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida on September 23, 2009. Tynan will serve during Gallagher’s suspension. 

Nelson hitches a ride on Air Force One

Among those vying for time with POTUS on the flight from DC to Jacksonville, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson. The plane just landed and Nelson, followed by Reps. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, and Ander Crenshaw, R-Jacksonville, followed Obama during the steps.

The Associated Press reports that Nelson talked health care reform with reporters aboard Air Force One to Florida, saying that "he thinks it will be hard for (Senate Majority Leader Harry) Reid to muster 60 votes for a public option plan in which states can opt out. He said at least four key senators seem opposed.

"If an opt-out plan can pass, he said, he hopes states would not be able to exercise the opt-out for at least two years. Otherwise, Nelson said, the powerful insurance lobby 'will convince state legislatures to opt out at the very beginning,' before a public option plan has had a chance to prove its worth."

Nelson is expected at tonight's fundraiser on Miami Beach with Obama. One of the hosts, New Jersey Dem. Sen. Bob Menendez, won't make the fundraiser -- his mother passed away over the weekend.

Waiting for President Obama at NAS Jax

P1020666 As a Navy band rocked the crowd, an estimated 1,000 servicemen and women gathered inside a hangar at Naval Air Station Jacksonville to await President Obama's scheduled mid-afternoon appearance. The president is scheduled to make a speech and rally the troops before he heads to Miami for a Monday evening fund-raiser for congressional Democrats. 

It's the president's first visit to Northeast Florida since his election 11 months ago. He came within two percentage points of beating John McCain in Duval County, regarded as a conservative stronghold with a large military population. As a young Naval aviator, McCain spent time at both NAS Jacksonville and nearby Cecil Field.

Among the VIPs on hand at NAS Jax was a bow-tied Steve Pajcic, a Jacksonville trial lawyer, the 1986 Democratic nominee for governor, and a leading Obama fund-raiser in Northeast Florida.

-- Steve Bousquet

LeMieux on the hate crimes crimes provision

George LeMieux says he voted against a defense department budget that adds sexual orientation to US hate crime law, because he's concerned about overspending -- and didn't like the fact that the hate crimes provision wasn't debated.

"I have a record of being against discrimination, but we should not be jerked around by the other party, where they stick things in bills," LeMieux said. "The hate crimes legislation needed to have a hearing and be discussed and debated."

Gay rights activists were disappointed with LeMieux's vote last week, noting that in his first and only campaign for office in 1998 he supported gay adoption and domestic partner benefits.

He said he was also disappointed that the bill ends production of Lockheed-Martin Corp.'s F-22 fighter plane.

"The bill stops building them and I think we need to maintain superiority," he said of the plane which the Pentagon has said it doesn't need.

LeMieux backs Gen. McChrystal, says Obama needs to make a decision soon

Back in Washington after a weekend in Afghanistan, Sen. George LeMieux says he'd encourage President Barack Obama to embrace Gen. Stanley McChrystal's call for more combat troops.

But LeMieux stopped short of criticizing Obama for not deciding faster -- vice president Dick Cheney last week accused the prez of "dithering" over the decision.

"I'm not going to be critical now, but if we're sitting here a month from now and a decision's not been made, I will be," LeMieux said, noting Obama faces "no greater decision" than to send additional troops to battle.

The new senator said he believes McChrystal should be a year to 18 months to make his case for more troops.

"He's our general on the ground, I think we should give him his shot," LeMieux said. "I don't think half measures will work. I don't think we should sit in the middle and just lose."

LeMieux, who traveled with North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr and Rhode Island Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse, said the trio met with McChrystal as well as troops at Bagram Air Force Base.