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282 posts from September 2010

September 28, 2010

FactCheck.org: Alan Grayson "lowers the bar"

The non-partisan fact checking organization takes a look at Rep. Alan Grayson's latest campaign ad and finds it crosses the line.

"We thought Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida reached a low point when he falsely accused his opponent of being a draft dodger during the Vietnam War, and of not loving his country. But now Grayson has lowered the bar even further. He’s using edited video to make his rival appear to be saying the opposite of what he really said.

"In a new ad, Grayson accuses his Republican opponent Daniel Webster of being a religious fanatic and dubs him 'Taliban Dan.' But to make his case, Grayson manipulates a video clip to make it appear Webster was commanding wives to submit to their husbands, quoting a passage in the Bible. Four times, the ad shows Webster saying wives should submit to their husbands. In fact, Webster was cautioning husbands to avoid taking that passage as their own. The unedited quote is: 'Don’t pick the ones [Bible verses] that say, 'She should submit to me.' "

Webster, who trails Grayson in fundraising, is using the tempest over the ad to raise campaign dollars, sending out an e-mail to "help Daniel Webster fight Grayson's latest attack."

Grayson on MSNBC just said he didn't take Webster out of context: "He has a terrible record on women's rights," he said of Webster. Host Contessa Brewer was not impressed: "Why would you pick a piece of sound and make it sound like he was saying something he wasn't?"

New Miami radio ad: Republicans killed the Dream

The Service Employees International Union, Mi Familia Vota Civic Participation Campaign, and the immigration group, America’s Voice, are up with Spanish-language radio ads in Miami and 8 other cities, accusing Republicans of blocking immigration reform efforts -- including the Dream Act.

The groups say the $300,000 ad buy is the largest national ad campaign from pro-immigration organizations, and marks the start of a voter mobilization drive. The ads also will run in Phoenix, Tucson, Denver, Orlando, Chicago, Las Vegas, Houston and McAllen, TX - all areas where Hispanic voters could play decisive role in the November election.

"Last week, the same Republicans who have rallied their support behind Arizona's ‘papers please’ law made a clear choice to crush the dreams of tens of thousands of high-achieving immigrant youth," said SEIU Secretary Treasurer Eliseo Medina. "Today, it is critical that our community understands who is on their side and what is at stake if we do not hold our elected leaders accountable in November.”

Click here to hear the ad. Script after the jump.

Continue reading "New Miami radio ad: Republicans killed the Dream" »

September 27, 2010

Panama City welcomes back a favorite: Rick Scott

Rick Scott returned Monday evening to a place that was especially friendly in the Republican primary: Bay County in Panama City, which handed 62 percent of its votes to the GOP nominee for governor who faces Democrat Alex Sink on Nov. 2. 

"As you know, we won big up here in the primary," Scott told a friendly middle-aged crowd of about 75 people at his storefront campaign headquarters on Harrison Avenue in downtown PC. "We have pretty high expectations."

A few feet behind Scott, more than a dozen young people, dressed in Rick Scott T-shirts, sat shoulder to shoulder and worked the phones, contacting people who had requested absentee ballots, as he delivered his familiar pitch of job creation through lower taxes and less regulation. Wearing a Navy blue suit, Scott paused to pick up a tow-headed three-year-old, Braxton McElhaney, who asked the candidate: "Are you the one with all the signs?"

"Yeah, I'm the one with the signs," Scott replied.

Earlier Monday, about 150 people turned out for a Scott fund-raiser at Captain Anderson's, the venerable Panama City restaurant, where he was introduced by state Rep. Jimmy Patronis, whose family has long operated the seafood emporium. Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville and Reps. Clay Ford, R-Gulf Breeze, and Marti Coley, R-Marianna, also attended. Gaetz says he feels a victorious election for Republicans: "It looks good," he said. "The only thing that could lose it for us is Republican mistakes." 

-- Steve Bousquet

Jennifer Carroll draws big cheers at Broward GOP meeting

Most of the Broward GOP establishment backed Attorney General Bill McCollum in the primary in his race for governor, leaving activists on the outside when millionaire Rick Scott won. But since the primary Scott's campaign has reached out to the Broward Republican Executive Committee -- and tonight his lieutenant governor pick state Rep. Jennifer Carroll came to speak to a crowd of hundreds at the group's monthly meeting at a hotel in Fort Lauderdale.

Carroll revealed no specifics in her 10-minute speech in which she hit on the general themes of reducing unemployment, school choice and state's rights. Scott is expected to reveal his education plan tomorrow but Carroll revealed no details: "When it comes to educating our students parents should have a choice....," she said. "We should not be stuck in failed systems whatsoever."

Carroll talked up Scott's background saying:

"Rick Scott doesn't have any ties to Tallahassee, he doesn't have any ties to a lobbyist." 

Levi Williams, Scott's Broward campaign chair, said he is hoping to get Scott to speak at the Broward GOP's October meeting. By that time, thousands of Floridians could have already voted.

Scott is holding a celebration of the grand opening of its Broward County campaign office, 700 NW 57th Place, in Fort Lauderdale tomorrow at 8 a.m. Scott's headquarters are in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Alex Sink's (not-so?) blind trust now the grist of new Rick Scott ad

Democrat Alex Sink's decision to put her assets in a blind trust to, in her words, avoid a conflict of interest helped her run smack dab into a potential conflict when, as Florida Chief Financial Officer on the state's investment board, she approved a deal that was a "windfall" for a former employer.

Guess who read the St. Petersburg Times article about it all?

Rick Scott's folks. Viola. A new 30-second ad is born to complement the Republican's narrative that the Democrat is bad with money, etc. Sink has responded once already, but with kid gloves. (More here). Expect the F word ("fraud", as in Medicare and Scott's time at Columbia/HCA) to be in Sink's next ad.

At first blush, the ad subtly misleads by suggesting that Sink is solely responsible for the decisions of the State Board of Administration. But otherwise, the 30-second spot seems accurate. There's lots of nuance, here, however. And for that, here are a few highlights from the lengthy article, including Sink's defense: 

Continue reading "Alex Sink's (not-so?) blind trust now the grist of new Rick Scott ad" »

Dem-leaning group's poll shows Klein ahead of West

A new poll shows U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, a Democrat, ahead of Republican Allen West by 48 to 43 percent. The poll of about 500 voters was conducted Sept. 20-22.

The poll was done by Harstad Strategic Research and commissioned by "Project New West'' -- which doesn't relate to West's name and is a private research company based in Denver. The company's website says it is focused on eight states -- none of them Florida. Jill Hanauer, the president of Project New West, wouldn't disclose the client who paid for the poll but she described her clients as "Democratic-oriented." Hanauer worked for the Democratic National Committee in the past, according to the company's website.

Paul Harstad said neither campaign paid for the poll.

Here is what Harstad Strategic Research wrote in a memo about the poll:

Harstad Strategic Research conducted a telephone survey among 504 likely voters in Florida’s 22nd Congressional District from September 20 to 22, 2010. The survey was conducted for Project New West.

The survey shows Democrat Ron Klein leading by 48% to 43% for Republican Allen West, with 9% undecided.

Among the 71% of our sample who actually voted in the November 2006 midterm election, Klein’s lead holds at 48% to 43%.

Our sample accurately reflects the party composition of the district, with a 40% plurality of registered Republicans compared to 38% registered Democrats. Klein does much better among registered Democrats (ahead 82% to13%) than West does among registered Republicans (ahead 74% to 15%). But the pivotal bloc of Independents clearly leans toward Klein, preferring him by 51% to 38% for West.

In new ad, Scott continues SBA attack

In a new ad, Rick Scott continues to hit opponent Alex Sink over losses at the State Board of Administration. The ad, featuring an old clip of Sink calling herself the "fiscal watchdog" of Florida who will "look over how our citizens' money is invested." The ad also includes the misleading phrase: "Who was in charge of Florida’s investments? Alex Sink." (Despite Sink's damning quote, we all know by now that Sink is one of three trustees.)

This isn't the first SBA-related ad. Here's PolitiFact's take on the earlier ad, as well as Sink's response.

For this week's ad buys, Sink and the Democrats are spending about $2 million and Scott and the RPOF are spending about $3 million. Sink is spending more in South Florida, while Scott is spending more in north Florida.

Rubio flip-flop on Social Security?

In a nationally televised appearance on Face The Nation yesterday, Marco Rubio flatly said he was against privatizing accounts. He's held that position for months.

But Rubio once was for partial privatization. In an interview with reporters in Tallahassee on Jan. 27, 2010, he talked how the retirement age will have to be confronted (same thing he says now) then added:

"The other is giving people the option of taking some of their Social Security money, at least a portion thereof, and investing it in an alternative to the Social Security system itself. Again, something that should be available for younger Americans – people, for example, of my generation who need to understand that Social Security, especially as we know it, will not exist for them if we stay on the current trajectory.

Q: Would people put their SS money into stock market and proceed to lose it in a downturn?

"Potentially, but it’s their money. And the second thing I would say to you is, the money they’re putting into Social Security may end up in the same place. It may not be in there for them at all in 20 years if we stay on the trajectory we’re on. I don’t think Social Security 30 years from now is any safer bet than the stock market. In fact the budgeters tell us that Social Security is not sustainable on the path that it’s on, particularly for younger Americans.

So what changed?

"He studied the issue at length and reached the conclusion that the numbers don't make it a viable solution to preserve Social Security and that the focus should be on other areas involving younger workers who are decades away from retirement" said Rubio spokesman Alex Burgos. "This conclusion is based on Marco's extensive study of the fiscal impact and his belief that Social Security must be preserved for future generations. When Marco evaluates policies, he studies important elements like the fiscal impact, whereas Charlie Crist looks at the poll numbers and takes positions based on the votes he's trying to win on a given day."

The Crist campaign, which has endured a stream of criticism about flip-flops, is accusing Rubio of the same. “Not only does Marco Rubio prefer to turn our seniors’ hard-earned Social Security over to Wall Street, but he’s lying about it,” Crist campaign spokesman Danny Kanner said in an e-mail yesterday.

Rubio's campaign says that is no longer his position. Flip flop, or not?


Rubio airs first ad in Spanish

Republican Marco Rubio is the first major U.S. Senate candidate to air a Spanish-language ad. Makes sense, considering that the telegenic son of Cuban exiles is fluent in Spanish and can speak directly to the camera.

Yet in a recent debate aired on Univision, Rubio expressed his support for making English the official language of the U.S. Under one such proposal in Congress, that means the government would not be required to offer ballots and other documents in Spanish. But it's okay to try to get votes in Spanish?

Here's what he says (in English) and the ad is below: This is Marco Rubio. My parents came to this great country and worked very hard. They made many sacrifices so I could live the American dream. For that I will be eternally grateful. Unfortunately that dream is threatened by the actions of some politicians in Washington. I'm Marco Rubio and I approve this message because I will work so that our children and grandchildren have the opportunity to live out their dreams.


Planned Parenthood applauds "Taliban Dan" ad

The Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates is applauding Orlando Democrat Alan Grayson for his newest campaign ad -- a hard hitting piece that likens his Republican opponent, Dan Webster -- to a member of the Taliban.

"Congressman Grayson reminds Central Florida voters of Webster’s long-standing effort to restrict women’s access to reproductive health care in a new campaign video released this weekend," Planned Parenthood said. "Dan Webster is too extreme for the women of Central Florida and will be too extreme for the women of this nation,” says Stephanie Kunkel, the group's executive director.

Some may consider the ad extreme: