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296 posts from September 2011

September 29, 2011

Look who's Squawking: Gov. Rick Scott co-hosts CNBC morning show

Florida Gov. Rick Scott asks Texas Gov. Rick Perry a question on CNBC's Squawk Box. (Michael C. Bender | Times).

Scribbles in my notebook after Gov. Rick Scott spent two hours today as a co-host on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

1.) Gov. Rick Scott was asked this morning whether it was fair a secretary pays a higher percentage of taxes than a mega-rich boss, like Warren Buffett.

"I don't know what the fair tax rate is on somebody making a million dollars or more," said Scott, whose income approached $8 million in 2009.

"But over all we cannot put our country, our businesses at a disadvantage or people at a disadvantage or they're not going invest in companies," Scott said. "We're not going to have investments."

Pushed for an answer, Scott implied that investment earnings should not be taxed at all.

"The argument would be that you've already paid taxes on the money to ever get to have the money to invest," Scott said. "So you've paid taxes already. How many times do you have to pay taxes on something."

2.) "Gov. Perry, this is Rick..."

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Frederica Wilson on jobs


U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami, talks jobs and vocational training for young people, on a BET news special

Marco Rubio joins senators in trip to Libya

From a press release issued by the office of Sen. Marco Rubio:

This morning, Senator Rubio arrived in Libya on an official visit.

Senator Rubio is part of a congressional delegation that includes Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Mark Kirk. 

On Wednesday, they visited Malta where they met with Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi to discuss Malta’s ongoing efforts to facilitate Libya’s transition to democracy and life after Qaddafi.

Today, the delegation will spend the day in Libya meeting with key officials, including members of the Transitional National Council (TNC).  They will also be holding a press conference later today.  TV stations wishing to obtain this video should be able to access it through CNN and other networks that are expected to cover the press conference in Libya.  As we receive photos from the trip, we will pass them along.

September 28, 2011

Cop killer Manuel Valle, executed and declared dead at 7:14 p.m.

STARKE — A man convicted of shooting and killing a Coral Gables police officer and wounding another one 33 years ago was put to death Wednesday at Florida State Prison.

Manuel Valle, 61, was executed by lethal injection for the murder of Officer Louis Pena, who had pulled Valle over for running a red light in 1978.

He was declared dead at 7:14 p.m.

Valle, strapped to the gurney in the execution chamber, chose not to make a final statement.

He did request a last meal: fried chicken breast, white rice, garlic toast, a Coca-Cola and peach cobbler. He ate most of it. More here.

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Al Cardenas warns there's a GOP downside to the extended primary calendar

Al Cardenas, former chairman of the Republican Party of Florida and current chairman of the American Conservative Union, warned Wednesday that the extended primary schedule Florida unleashed Wednesday, with its decision to move its primary to Jan. 31, has a downside. It could result in a depletion of GOP resources, a brokered convention, and an advantage to President Obama.

"States don't seem to be thinking this completely through,'' he said. The goal of the rule changes made by the Republican National Committee this election cycle was to ensure that the campaign cycle would deepen the primary season, allowing more states to have a role in the selection of the nominees. They penalized states that set their primary calendars ahead of March, reducing the number of candidates as well as removing the opportunity for the primary winner to take all delgates, he said.

"Even though we haven't had a brokered convention since 1976, that doesn't mean we can't have one," said Cardenas, a Romney supporter in 2008.

He believes that in 2012 with the new rules and extended calendar, "No one will have enough delegates to call themselves a winner,'' he said. "Money will dry up for candidates that don't make headway but it could be that the primary process still drags on."

The upside is that more candidates will focus on the president and call attention to his flaws. It also will "be good for the states to have a say in the matter but,'' he warned, "the more we deplete our resources, the more it puts us at a competitive disadvantage against Obama in the home stretch."

Former Broward County Sheriff Nick Navarro dies

Nick NavarroNick Navarro, a flamboyant former undercover narcotics detective who served two terms as Broward County sheriff, died Wednesday. He had been ill with cancer.

The Cuban-born Navarro sent shock waves through Broward's overwhelmingly Democratic political establishment when he announced he would run for sheriff in 1984. The job had long been a patronage machine for Democrats, and Navarro's candidacy was a threat to that (the job was then occupied by a former county judge, George Brescher, who was appointed to the post by Gov. Bob Graham after Bob Butterworth resigned to take a state appointment in Tallahassee).

Further stoking the controversy was the fact that Navarro, a former Democrat, had switched parties to run as a Republican less than six months before filing his candidacy papers. The law at the time required a six-month gap between party-switching and running for office. Democrats sued to knock Navarro off the ballot, resulting in a public relations nightmare for the party -- a judge ruled that Navarro could run and voters should decide for themselves.

During his tenure, the Broward Sheriff’s Office doubled its personnel to 3,000 and saw its budget increase from $75 million to $200 million. BSO took over law enforcement for three Broward cities: Dania Beach, Tamarac and Deerfield Beach.

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Rick Perry backtracks on 'heartless' comment

In an evening that Rick Perry stood out for the way he fell down during last week's Orlando debate, the Republican presidential candidate had one moment of clarity: When he said that people did not "have a heart" for opposing college tuition breaks for some children of illegal immigrants.

It was a strong statement from a governor who prides himself on strong statements.

No more, according to NewsMax: Presidential candidate Rick Perry on Wednesday apologized for saying that anyone who opposed giving tuition breaks to the children of illegal immigrants “did not have a heart.”

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, the Texas governor said he had made a poor choice of words during the Sept. 22 presidential debate, but he stood by his view that the decision in his state to extend tuition breaks was the right one.

“I was probably a bit over-passionate by using that word and it was inappropriate,” Perry admitted. “In Texas in 2001 we had 181 members of the legislature – only four voted against this piece of legislation – because it wasn’t about immigration it was about education.”

Romney over Perry in PPP poll in Florida

From the Democrat-leaning Public Policy Polling:

Rick Perry's led the Republican field in every Southern state that we've polled since he entered the Presidential race ... until now.  Mitt Romney continues to lead the way in Florida with 30% to 24% for Perry, 10% for Gingrich, 8% for Ron Paul, 7% for Herman Cain, 6% for Michele Bachmann, 3% for Jon Huntsman, 2% for Rick Santorum, and 1% for Gary Johnson.

Perry had a poor debate performance in Florida Thursday night and our results suggest that the negative coverage he received from that did hurt him some in the state.  We started this poll on Thursday night before the debate and in those interviews the race was neck and neck with Romney at 33% and Perry at 31%.  But in interviews done Friday-Sunday Romney's lead expanded to double digits at 29-19.  More telling might be what happened to Perry's favorability numbers after the debate- on Thursday night he was at 63/23 with Florida Republicans.  Friday-Sunday he was at 48/36.  Perry's poor performance may or may not prove to be a game changer nationally but it definitely appears to have hurt his image in the key state where it occurred.

Perry was down in Florida even before the debate though and one thing that may be hurting him is his comments on Social Security. 49% of voters disagree with his 'Ponzi Scheme' comments to only 37% who agree and with the folks who dissent from that statement his deficit against Romney goes all the way up to 19 points at 35-16.  It's also noteworthy that seniors are the age group where Perry faces the biggest deficit to Romney at 34-26.

More here.

Posted by Alex Leary


Florida, NFIB seeks Supreme Court review of health-care lawsuit

Attorney General Pam Bondi asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday to decide whether the federal health care law was constitutional. (Press release and petition here.)

"We feel very confident that we will have a hearing in front the United States Supreme Court and it will be this term," Bondi said.

Florida was joined by 25 other states and the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB petition here) in asking justices to review whether Congress can force Americans to carry health insurance and, if not, whether the law should be struck down.

In July, the U.S. Appeals Court for the 6th Circuit, based in Cincinnati, ruled 2 to 1 to uphold the individual mandate, the most contentious part of the health care law. But in August, judges in the Atlanta-based 11 Circuit issued another 2-to-1 ruling that Congress exceeded its authority with the mandate, but unanimously reversed a lower court decision that invalidated the entire law.

Obama: U.S. "open to a new relationship with Cuba."

President Barack Obama said Wednesday that his administration has tried to send a signal "that we are open to a new relationship with Cuba."

But that's only if the Cuban government "starts taking the proper steps to open up its own country and provide the space and the respect for human rights that would allow the Cuban people to determine their own destiny," Obama said.  

The question about Cuba came during an online forum Wednesday morning on Hispanic issues. Obama noted that "everywhere else in the world you've been seeing a democratization movement that has been pressing forward." Democracies have emerged from previously authoritarian regimes throughout LAtin America and the world, he said, and "the time has come for the same thing to happen in Cuba."

Obama said he pushed for changes in the family travel laws, so that people can travel more frequently, and also modified remittance laws so that family members could more easily send money back to Cuba. That was designed to give people "more power and create an economic space for them to prosper within Cuba."

However, the U.S. hasn't seen what Obama called "the kind of genuine spirit of transformation inside of Cuba that would justify us eliminating the embargo," including the release of political prisoners and basic human rights for the country's citizens.

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