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317 posts from May 2010

May 28, 2010

Bondi names Panhandle leadership team

Republican Pam Bondi named key supporters in her bid for attorney general. Her Escambia and Santa Rosa teams include Jeb Bush loyalists Mayra Fillmore and Sandra Phillips and the local GOP committee chairs. For others, read below.

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Obama lands in New Orleans, will meet with Gulf guvs, including Charlie Crist

The White House says the president and Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen plan to stop by a beach that is set up with protective boom before traveling to the Coast Guard station where he'll meet with governors Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Bob Riley of Arkansas and Charlie Crist of Florida.

Also expected: Louisiana Sens. Mary Landrieu and David Vitter and Rep. Charlie Melancon, who (is challenging Vitter for the Senate) and yesterday was so overcome with emotion talking about the Gulf spill that he left a congressional hearing.

Congressman Klein and West call each other 'radical'

"Radical" is turning out to be the dirty word in a bitter race between Democratic Congressman Ron Klein and his colorful rival, Republican Allen West, who tried to label each other as radicals this week.

West's campaign manager Josh Grodin fired back a response today to a campaign fundraising email sent by Klein.

"Our opponent's outrageous attempt at fundraising by attacking Lieutenant Colonel West is further proof that he is in full-blown panic mode," Grodin wrote.  "I’d suggest he stick to his traditional source of financial support – trial lawyers (at least $22,000), unions ($10,000 from SEIU, $30,000 from the Teamsters), Fannie & Freddie ($11,000), and even BP ($1,500).  

He can name call and whine, but he can't run away from his ultra-liberal – some would even say radical  – voting record, in which he has voted with his boss, Nancy Pelosi, 98% of the time. Ron Klein has clearly decided to take his campaign negative rather than face his constituents' frustration over his failure in stemming an unemployment rate of over 12% in South Florida, the third highest foreclosure rate in the nation, and a potential environmental disaster completely mishandled by the Federal Government. He is out of touch with the average Floridian and average American.”

West is making waves nationally as a blunt-talking black GOPer who has raised $2.06 million in a white-majority coastal Broward/Palm Beach district. That's more than the approximately $1.86 million Klein has raised this election cycle though the incumbent has more cash on hand -- $2.6 million than West who has $1.1 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Klein hasn't said much about his opponent so far. Some political observers expect that Klein is saving his ammunition for September and October, but he sent a strongly worded email to potential supporters Thursday criticizing West. In the email, he calls West "Palin-esque" -- a reference to Sarah Palin that West might embrace since she endorsed him.

"Make no mistake: my opponent isn't simply attempting to bring his radical and dangerous views to Congress - he's attempting to make himself a national figure and leader of the Republican party.

With the recent announcement that 2012 GOP Convention will be in Florida, the Washington Post suggested that Allen West could be a potential keynote speaker. The National Republican Congressional Committee is already supporting West, a self-declared "right-wing extremist."

This the same person who has said, "I hate big-tent. I hate inclusiveness. And I hate outreach." He has literally encouraged physical intimidation as a political tactic - saying this to supporters about me: "You've got to make the fellow scared to come out of his house."

Help us make sure that the only seat Allen West gets at the convention is in the audience."

George LeMieux rips into Obama adminstration spill response: He's no Jeb Bush

George LeMieux was on Morning Joe this morning, slamming President Obama for his response to the spill in the Gulf.

"He has been caught flat-footed at best with this situation," LeMieux said, charging that Obama "is here in Washington and he goes down every 10 days for a photo op.

"He's not down on the ground like Jeb Bush was with our '04 and '05 hurricanes, spending 12 hours in the emergency operations center, I want to see him in charge....He's the president of the United States, he owns it.

"I want to see my president, not in a suit in Washington, D.C., I want to see him down on the Gulf Coast, not just for a day of photo shoot, but on the job leading the effort and when he's not there I want to see Joe Biden there, not in Africa for a soccer game." 

UDPATE: The White House pool report says Obama is in brown khakis, a white shirt and a black zip up jacket. He shed the jacket when he landed in Louisiana... Maybe he was listening to LeMieux?

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House passes "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal as Crist changes mind

The bill to lift the ban on gays serving in the military cleared the House last night with 234 to 194 vote. Just 5 Republicans voted in favor -- including Miami's Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

Kendrick Meek had hoped to use the issue in his U.S. Senate bid to define himself against the newly independent Gov. Charlie Crist, but the governor said Thursday he'd be inclined to back the Senate -- which is expected to clear the bill soon.

Meek voted for repeal Thursday, along with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Reps. Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart voted against lifting the ban.

May 27, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell clears Senate panel; Nelson votes aye, LeMieux votes no -- at odds with Crist

According to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a measure to lift the 17-year-old ban on gays in the military just cleared the Senate Armed Forces Committee with a 16 - 12 vote.

Bill Nelson voted to repeal the law that bars openly gay people from serving in the military. George LeMieux voted against lifting the ban. That votes puts him at odds with his former boss, Gov. Charlie Crist, who today said he'd now back the measure.

"The vote today railroads this policy change through without giving the men and women of our military the respect of being heard," LeMieux said. "To preempt the military’s review and cut off the opportunity for service men and women to voice their opinion is an insult. This change is political, it is based on election year politics, and there is no reason why Congress couldn’t wait until the military completed their review."

Transparency? Shadow-group spot cut by Bill McCollum ad man

Back on Feb. 9, Bill McCollum told us that "I think we need to have as much transparency as possible in the party. Always have thought that."

That claim was false (more here) at the time, and now it looks as if the Republican's campaign for governor isn't interested in too much "transparency," either, considering its ties to a shadowy election group, the Virginia-based Alliance For America's Future. It's spending more than $1 million from sources unknown to bash McCollum's fellow Republican gubernatorial opponent Rick Scott. The 30-second spot was produced by McCollum's ad man, Chris Mottola.

When asked about the campaign's involvement, McCollum spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said: "We are not surprised that any number of groups have concerns about Rick Scott who has committed massive fraud on Florida taxpayers." That's a reference to Scott's tenure as chief of Columbia/HCA and the record $1.7 billion fraud fine it paid in 2000. The fine is the subject of the Alliance's Mottola-cut spot titled "Fraud."

The Alliance is so mysterious that it can't be easiy found on the IRS website for political groups. Were it not for an affiliated 527, Partnership For America's Future, the 501c4 wouldn't be easy to find at all. As a 501c4, the group doesn't have to disclose its donors, which could include U.S. Sugar. The groups are currently not regulated in Florida.

"We do not disclose our donors and I won't comment on our future plans," Barry Bennett, a director of the Virginia-based group, wrote in an email.

"The ad we are running in Florida is about the billions Medicare Fraud costs the state. The ad does mention Rick Scott in conjunction with his leadership at Columbia and the record fine they received for fraud. The ad concludes with a call to action asking citizens to report fraud vigorously. The ad is running in most media markets and all told we spent about a million dollars on the buy....The board is made up of myself... and Kara Ahern." Mary Cheney, daughter of the former VP, is an advisor.

The Virginia group is also active in Nevada politics where it just lost a court fight over its ads supporting Republican Brian Sandoval (more here). Did Mottola cut these or any other ads for the Alliance? "I would prefer not to get in to tactics or strategy," Bennett said.

Mottola, incidentally, was central to a controversy last year over his no-bid $1.4 million media contract to boost Attorney General McCollum's crime-fighting bona fides. Dems said it was nothing more than a taxpayer boondoggle to help McCollum's run for governor, which he denied (more here).


Klein says West has 'radical and dangerous views'

Congressman Ron Klein's campaign hasn't said much publicly so far about Republican rival Allen West, a retired lieutenant colonel who is making waves nationally as a blunt-talking black GOPer who has raised $2 million in a white-majority coastal Broward/Palm Beach district.

Some political observers expect that Klein is saving his ammunition for September and October, but he sent a strongly worded email to potential supporters Thursday criticizing West. In the email, he calls West "Palin-esque" -- a reference to Sarah Palin that West might embrace since she endorsed him.

"Make no mistake: my opponent isn't simply attempting to bring his radical and dangerous views to Congress - he's attempting to make himself a national figure and leader of the Republican party.

With the recent announcement that 2012 GOP Convention will be in Florida, the Washington Post suggested that Allen West could be a potential keynote speaker. The National Republican Congressional Committee is already supporting West, a self-declared "right-wing extremist."

This the same person who has said, "I hate big-tent. I hate inclusiveness. And I hate outreach." He has literally encouraged physical intimidation as a political tactic - saying this to supporters about me: "You've got to make the fellow scared to come out of his house."

Help us make sure that the only seat Allen West gets at the convention is in the audience."

We will blog West's response when we hear back from his campaign.



 

McCollum changes tone on federal oil cleanup

Attorney General Bill McCollum issued a blistering condemnation of President Barack Obama's response to the disastrous oil spill, calling it "unacceptable." But it doesn't jibe with his previous response just two days prior.

From his office's statement Thursday: "President Obama’s press conference today only reinforced what Floridians have known for weeks – the federal government is not doing everything it can to prevent further damage from the Deepwater Horizon spill."

But asked Tuesday if the federal government needed to takeover the cleanup effort from BP -- as CFO Alex Sink suggested and Gov. Charlie Crist embraced -- McCollum's office struck a different cord: "The Attorney General believes that more federal oversight on the oil spill response would certainly be welcome."

McCollum's earlier statement also suggested the onus falls to BP, more than the federal government, for cleanup and claims. "Federal law already makes BP the responsible party, and we will continue applying as much pressure as possible on behalf of Floridians and Florida businesses to BP as it manages the claims process," it continued.

Kendrick Meek: Crist only cares about self preservation

The Florida Democrat on Charlie Crist's change of heart on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," "This is not about being independent, it's being about whatever way the wind blows for his own personal gain."

Noting similar shifts on oil drilling and the education bill, Meek says, "As far as I can tell the only thing that Charlie Crist stands for from one day to the next is his own self preservation. That's not the kind of leadership that Florida needs."