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224 posts from June 2012

June 25, 2012

Obama, Romney react to SCOTUS ruling striking down provisions of Arizona immigration law

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down key portions of Arizona's controversial immigration law Monday morning, though it upheld a provision allowing police to check suspects' immigration status. Read the AP story here.

The decision prompted statements from President Barack Obama and Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. Read their reactions after the jump.

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Attorney General Bondi confident Supreme Court will strike down 'Obamacare'

There was a chance that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Florida's challenge to health care reform would occur today, so all the cable news channels were focused on "Obamacare" coverage this morning.  We eventually learned that the ruling won't be released until Thursday, but we did get a chance to watch Attorney General Pam Bondi on FOX News talking about what she believes the High Court should do.

Bondi noted that the Supreme Court heard nearly six hours of testimony on the case, an unusal amount of time for oral arguments. The questions justices raised bode well for Florida and the 25 other states challenging health care reform, she said.

“The main questions that they asked made me feel very confident that they saw our point of view, that they took this very seriously and that they realized this would be the greatest over reach of federal power in our entire history if this act is upheld," the attorney general said.

When asked how the Supreme Court would rule -- whether it would uphold all, part or none of the "Obamacare" law -- Bondi predicted the states would come out on top.

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June 24, 2012

How Democrats are message-testing Bill Nelson's strengths and Connie Mack's weaknesses in FL Senate race

Even if former Sen. George LeMieux hadn’t unexpectedly dropped out of the U.S. Senate race Wednesday, Rep. Connie Mack was the Republicans’ de facto nominee anyway.

That’s how it looked from a Democratic-leaning mystery poll that coincided with LeMieux’s withdrawal.

Less than 20 minutes after Lemieux quit, an outfit that called itself “Florida Opinion Survey” began polling Florida voters to test a number of political messages that undoubtedly will be used to boost incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson and tear at Mack.

This wasn’t a so-called “push poll” — a call that masquerades as a survey but simply trashes an opponent. Instead, it’s a message-test poll that political consultants use to figure out what helps their candidate and hurts his opponent.

All the info will be boiled down into flyers and radio and television ads that make Florida elections into commercial-driven affairs where one-sided information is broadcast in 30-second increments. It’s a window into both the Democrats’ upcoming campaign against Mack as well as the misleading discourse that defines our politics.

Mack still needs to win the Aug. 14 primary against little-known fellow Republicans. LeMieux was his biggest obstacle. And, owing to Mack’s advantage in fundraising and name ID, LeMieux wasn’t much of an obstacle at all. Mack, however, sustained some damage during the primary.

Running essentially neck and neck with Mack, Nelson plans to pick up where LeMieux left off. According to the call-center operator at Quest, which was hired to conduct the survey, Democrats started to frame their message by asking whether the following statements would make a voter more or less likely to support a candidate:

More here

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/06/24/2865831/mystery-poll-gives-glimpse-of.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpy

Rick Scott's performance is more polished but his record has contradictions

Eighteen months into his first political job, Gov. Rick Scott has mastered one thing: the art of the perpetual campaign.

He has a political consultant and media strategist on retainer and speed dial. The Republican Party has run statewide television ads and hired a company to regularly update his Facebook page. He has warmed to the media, become adept at his talking points, learned to deflect tough questions and passed the most important test in Florida politics: Showing that he can raise money for his reelection, at $3.7 million so far.

The former health care CEO is still awkward on camera, so his advisors have steered him to friendly conservative talk-radio shows where he spends many early mornings as a regular call-in guest. The result: He has polished his patter.

“We know there are at least 100 non citizens registered to vote and at least 50 of them voted in past elections,’’ Scott succinctly told Bill Bennett June 14 on Town Hall Radio about the results of his push to purge non citizens from the voting rolls. “That’s a crime!”

The issue earned him face time on network television shows and won the support of 60 percent of Florida voters, according to a Quinnipiac poll released last week.

But every campaign must run on a record, and that’s where the governor’s carefully crafted image gets wobbly.

Scott has stopped touting the state’s job creation and instead brags that “we’ve had the biggest drop in unemployment of any state in the last 18 months.”

The statement implies that Floridians have gone back to work at faster pace than the rest of the nation, but the state’s top economists note that 75 percent of the drop is due to people dropping out of the labor force and who are no longer counted among the unemployed.

Other contradictions abound. The governor vowed to make education a priority, then signed the state budget that cut $300 million from universities and included a spending plan that assumed a 15 percent tuition increase and the creation of a 12th university. Last week he then urged the Board of Governors to make Florida “Number 1 in affordability” and reject the tuition hikes. They didn’t. More here.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/06/23/v-fullstory/2863600/scott-never-turns-campaign-off.html#storylink=cpy

June 23, 2012

Rubio, sounding a lot like Jeb, bashes both sides on immigration

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio criticized the political right and left for simplifying and exploiting immigration, appearing before a Hispanic group here Friday not long before President Barack Obama took the stage and accused Republicans of inaction on the contentious issue.

“As long as this issue of immigration is a political ping pong that each side uses to win elections and influence votes, I’m telling you, it won’t get solved,” Rubio told about 1,000 members of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.

“Why is this issue simplified? I’ll tell you right now: because it is powerful politics,” the Florida Republican said. “I have seen people use it to raise money. I have seen people take the legitimate concerns about illegal immigration and turn it into panic. And turn that panic into fear and anger. And turn that anger into votes and money.”

Obama came to Orlando having pre-empted Rubio on a plan to help young illegal immigrants and was wildly cheered for the move blocking deportations. (Left unsaid: Obama has overseen the most aggressive deportation record in modern history.)

“I don’t care who gets the credit. I don’t,” Rubio insisted. “But it exposes the fact that this issue is all about politics for some people. Not just Democrats, Republicans, too.” Story by Alex Leary here.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/06/22/2863620/rubio-bashes-right-and-left-on.html#storylink=cpy

100-year future for South Florida, forecasters say: a chain of islands

The subject of global warming has become so politically unpalatable over the last few years that neither party mentions it much anymore.

A conference on climate change sponsored by Florida Atlantic University made it clear that ignoring the threat has done nothing to slow it down — particularly in South Florida, which has more people and property at risk by rising sea levels than any place in the country.

The two-day summit in Boca Raton, which wrapped up Friday, painted a bleak and water-logged picture for much of coastal Florida.

Under current projections, the Atlantic Ocean would swallow much of the Florida Keys in 100 years. Miami-Dade, in turn, would eventually replace them as a chain of islands on the highest parts of the coastal limestone ridge, bordered by the ocean on one side and an Everglades turned into a salt water bay on the other. Story by Curtis Morgan here.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/06/22/2864586/rising-seas-mean-shrinking-south.html#storylink=cpy

Rep. Vern Buchanan ducks CNN amid federal investigations of witness-tampering, fund-raising


Watching Sarasota Rep. Vern Buchanan scurry from a CNN camera is just what Democrats hope for. Now can they actually spin an ad out of this and beat him? The allegations have been reported for years in Sarasota and Bradenton. But so far, it hasn't made a lick of political difference at the ballot box.


GOP newcomer Amory Bodin bashes Rep. Fresen as lobbyist pal

Former Republican Party chairman Erik Fresen won't get a pass in this year's GOP primary where accountant Amory Bodin is putting in the time -- and taking the shots -- to give Fresen a spirited challenge in the state House District 114 race.

Bodin's opening press release:

Miami, FL – June 18, 2012 – Pledging to put the interests of everyday citizens ahead of political insiders and special interests, CPA Amory Bodin has formally announced his candidacy for Florida House District 114.

In remarks delivered to a gathering of supporters, Bodin declared: “The citizens of District 114 deserve to have their interests come first, not those of political insiders, lobbyists, cronies and vote-corrupting campaign contributors of a career politician.”

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Obama Super PAC 's new FL 'coffin' ad keeps focus on Bain-Romney-layoff ties.

From a Priorities USA press release:

WASHINGTON, D.C—Priorities USA Action today released a new ad to illustrate Mitt Romney’s record in business, where he and his partners made millions, even when companies they took control of were driven into bankruptcy, employees saw their jobs shipped overseas, and promises for health and retirement benefits were broken.

The ad is the fourth in a series of a $10 million campaign running on television and online in Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The first three ads, “Heads or Tails”, “Loris”, and “Donnie” have been airing since early May.

Stage” features Mike Earnest, a former employee at AMPAD in Marion, Indiana, who was tasked with building a 30-foot stage, on which it was announced that and his colleagues had lost their jobs. Hundreds of workers lost their jobs and promised health and retirement benefits while Mitt Romney and his firm walked away with over $100 million in profit.

“Mitt Romney has made his experience in business his number one qualification to be President of the United States,” said Paul Begala, senior advisor for Priorities USA Action. “Romney will apply the same approach to the Presidency as he did as a corporate buyout specialist, pursuing policies that benefit the wealthiest Americans like himself while cutting promised Medicare benefits and slashing educational and job opportunities for the middle class.”


June 22, 2012

Gov. Rick Scott readies response to Supreme Court ruling on 'Obamacare'

As the leader of the multi-state challenge to federal health care reform, the attention will be on Florida when the U.S. Supreme Court makes its ruling next week on the merits of the law. And we're already catching a glimpse of Gov. Rick Scott's message strategy in the case that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is overturned by the High Court.

Lane Wright, the governor's press secretary, emailed the messaging strategy on Tuesday to Rob Nichols, a spokesperson for Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Kasich is a Republican, like Scott, and Ohio is one of the 25 states that joined Florida in fighting the individual mandate contained in what is commonly known as "Obamacare."

(We obtained the email through Project Sunburst, where correspondence to and from Scott and others in the Executive Office of the Governor are posted. Tip of the hat to Politifact's Katie Sanders' keen eye.)

If the court rules in Florida's favor, Wright notes, the governor's office will contrast the national economy with Florida's. The message will be the national economy under President Barack Obama's leadership is in "shambles" while Florida, under Scott, is doing well.

When it comes to healthcare, the existing national system will be touted as one that works but has become too expensive. Scott will begin talking up "four pillars of reform" to fix the issues: "increased consumer choice, increased provider competition, increased provider accountability and price transparency, and increased personal responsibility."

Continue reading "Gov. Rick Scott readies response to Supreme Court ruling on 'Obamacare'" »