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285 posts from August 2012

August 29, 2012

Rubio's speech: A dream fulfilled. And deferred.

The son of a Cuban immigrant bartender and maid, Marco Rubio stands on the biggest stage of his life Thursday when he introduces himself – and the Republican presidential nominee -- to the nation.
It’s a dream fulfilled. And deferred.
The freshmen Florida Senator from West Miami said he’s grateful for the high-profile spot. But Rubio not-so-secretly wanted more: the vice-presidential slot on Mitt Romney’s ticket or the keynote address at the Republican National Convention.
Rubio, whose sites are ultimately on the White House, got the next best thing: the introduction of Romney on a night when nearly everyone who wants to vote for president is watching. Story here.

Continue reading "Rubio's speech: A dream fulfilled. And deferred." »

Bondi and Olens team up for a two-person punching session on Obama

Attorney General Pam Bondi teamed up with the Georgia attorney general for a two-person, six-minute rope-a-dope on Barack Obama Wednesday in the second night of the Republican National Convention. 

Bondi’s debut on the Prime Time national stage was a carefully scripted warning to the party faithful, suggesting that liberties will be lost if the president is re-elected and she renewed a call to repeal Obamacare. 

“The President can't bring himself to acknowledge publicly that the only reason his ‘Unaffordable Care Act’ still stands - is because it is a tax,’’ Bondi said. “This is what happens when a President has such total disregard for our individual liberty that he knowingly and purposely imposes unwarranted restrictions against the will of the people.” 

Bondi was joined on stage with Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, two of the 26 states that challenged the federal health care law that the U.S. Supreme Court partially validated in June.

Their low-key presentation connected with the crowd, however, when they asked a series of questions:

“Do you want skyrocketing health insurance premiums?,'' Bondi asked. "No," the crowd shouted.

"Do you want enormous new financial burdens on young people who already shoulder our nation's crushing debt?,'' Olen asked. "No,'' the crowd answered.

“Do you want the government to force individuals and religious institutions to violate the tenets of their faith?,'' Bondi asked. "No,'' the crowd said again.

Olens acknowledged that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law with the vote of Chief Justice John Roberts and Republicans “fundamentally disagree with his decision,’’ but, he added, “Chief Justice Roberts did observe that it is not the Supreme Court's ‘job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.’” 

Bondi then said: “It is our job to make a new choice. It is time to repeal Obamacare! It is time to stop those who ignore the Constitution when it's expedient!”

Bondi was scheduled to finish the evening on Fox News, as a guest on the 11:30 p.m. edition of Greta Van Susteren’s show, On the Record.

Challenge to Clemens-Bernard Senate race likely

Rep. Mack Bernard will likely challenge the razor-thin Senate primary race won by Rep. Jeff Clemens this month, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Bernard's attorney, former Republican legislator Juan-Carlos Planas, confirmed that a court challenge could be filed soon. Clemens, D-Lake Worth beat Bernard, D-West Palm Beach, by 17 votes in the primary. More than 24,000 votes were cast, and the final tally was determined in a recount.

It is one of several close South Florida races that have been questioned due to issues with absentee ballots.

Rep. Patrick Julien, D-North Miami, said he would challenge the result of his primary race against Rep. Barbara Watson, D-Miami Gardens. That race was decided by a 13-vote margin, after a recount. Julien alleges voting irregularities may have skewed the result.

A spokesperson for Clemens said the challenge to the result was being pushed by Republicans.

"This race was counted, then recounted, and then hand counted. All three times Jeff Clemens won and the Supervisor of Elections has certified the results," said Clemens' spokesperson, Kevin Cate. "It's unfortunate that Republicans will not stop meddling in this Democratic primary, having already spent almost half a million dollars."


As FBI and questions swirl, Marco Rubio keeps distance from "Nixonian" pal David Rivera

RiveraImagine if Sen. Marco Rubio had been picked as Mitt Romney's vice presidential candidate, only to have the story break about Rep. David Rivera's potential involvement in a campaign that is facing a federal grand jury investigation.

It probably wasn't tough to forsee for the Romney campaign, where some insiders were nervous about Rivera, who's already under federal investigation in connection with a $500,000 secret dog-track payment.

Now comes the complicated case of Democratic candidate Justin Lamar Sternad, whose campaign was run by a Rivera pal against a Rivera foe, Joe Garcia in the just-ended Aug. 14 primary. Garcia, who faces Rivera, was trashed in a Sternad mailer that was printed, mailed and data-targeted by three companies with ties to Rivera.

The case is replete with cash-stuffed envelopes and a mystery candidate/part-time hotel worker who amended campaign reports to show he loaned himself $64,000 on an annual income of $30,000. Oh, yeah, Sternad has declared bankruptcy before and his wife struggled to pay her credit card bill, leading Capitol One to win a default judgment against her.

The amended finance reports, however, raise more questions than answers as today's story shows.

Rivera initially denied involvement, but now he's changing his story. Albeit, in Spanish. Rivera ducks questions to the English-speaking press. But he sure does sweat.

Still, it hasn't gone unnoticed in the Florida delegation at the Republican National Convention, where folks are whispering about Rivera. Even Rubio's inner circle believes Rivera did it. Many use the same word to describe Rivera: "Nixonian," a nod to the fact that the Miami Congressman has a reputation for getting involved in schemes he doesn't need.

The Sternad case stands out as being particularly odd.

And Rubio, who still owns a Tallahassee house that was almost foreclosed upon when Rivera suggested they stop making their monthly payments, is keeping his distance.

“I only know what I’ve read in the press. I haven’t had a chance to speak with him since that all came out. I just hope none of it is true. I continue to give him the benefit of the doubt on all these things. I just hope none of it is true,” Rubio said.
He said he hasn’t spoken to him because: “I’ve been really busy the last 10 days. I was on vacation and then I’ve been here. I’m not sure he’s here.”

Activists plan protest in Miami to rally against Romney's approach to economy

As Mitt Romney delivers his acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination on Thursday evening, a group of Miami residents and activists are planning a protest.

From the 1Miami press release:

The residents, representing working families across the city, reject the economic plan
put forth by Romney because it gives massive tax breaks to the wealthy while
placing a bigger burden on the middle class.

“We’re going to start a march from Bain owned stores because they foreshadow
the economy Romney wants to create,” said Eric Brakken, director of
1Miami. “He always gloats about how successful his business career was with
Bain, but the truth is he and his billionaire buddies created minimum wage
jobs while simultaneously killing good jobs or outsourcing them. This is not the
economic recovery Americans have in mind!”

Activists are upset with Romney’s economic proposals and they intend to show
their displeasure as they march from a shopping plaza filled with three Bain
owned stores to his campaign headquarters on SW 8th St. and SW 87th Ave,
where they will deliver the message that they won’t stand for a Romney

Pam Bondi's 'ready for the moment' in Prime Time

Attorney General Pam Bondi will take center stage tonight at 8:30 p.m., as one of Florida’s Republican all-stars chosen for a prime time speech to the party faithful.

The nine-minute appearance – between 8:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. tonight – will be a try-out of sorts for Bondi. While it’s not her first foray on the national stage – she debuted there in her role before the U.S. Supreme Court when she led Florida’s challenge to the Affordable Care Act -- it is her first national presence before the estimated 30 million viewers.

“It’s an incredible honor that Pam has been asked to be one of the Prime Time speakers of the convention,’’ said Adam Goodman, a longtime political consultant and advisor to Bondi. “She’s ready for the moment.”

Bondi won’t deliver a traditional speech but instead will engage in what she called an entertaining “give and take” with Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens. They are expected to highlight why the GOP wants to continue to work to repeal President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush will also get a prime time speaking slot Thursday night and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has the top spot, offering up the GOP introduction to Mitt Romney.

Bondi, a regular guest of various Fox News shows, will cap the evening Wednesday on a special 11:30 p.m. edition of Greta Van Susteren’s show, On the Record.


Rubio previews his speech: America's choice

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio took some time out Wednesday to talk to reporters after he did a brief walk-through of his speech scheduled for the final night of the convention to introduce Republican Mitt Romney.  

Speaking from the convention floor, a gaggle of about three dozen reporters swarmed the Republican rock-star, nearly knocking each other over as they scrambled to hear him.

“This election is about the choice the country has about the role government should play in this election,’’ he said. “It’s not a choice between a Republican or Democrat. It’s about much more than that. My job is to introduce the next president of the United States, and to do so in a way that makes it clear to people the choices.”

When asked what makes this different from the many other speeches he has given over his career, he said, “I don’t know, 39 million people probably.”

“It’s a tremendous honor to be able to give this speech in my home state in front of a lot of family and friends who have been involved with me on a personal level. I hope for my mom, who’s watching from home, and my dad, wherever he’s watching from, it will be affirmation that their lives mattered.”

He said that each night of the convention will “have a purpose” and while Tuesday night was about “Mitt Romney the person” and about leadership. “Tonight that will be reinforced when America gets to meet Paul Ryan, someone who’s in politics to do something, to make a difference.”

Continue reading "Rubio previews his speech: America's choice" »

Rick Scott activates disaster fund for Isaac victims

Gov. Rick Scott has activated the Florida Disaster Fund to aid those affected by Tropical Storm Isaac, which has caused flooding and limited damage in parts of Palm Beach County and the Panhandle.

The Fund, managed by the Florida Doundation, relies on donations and can provide aid to the parts of Florida hardest hit by Isaac.

“This morning, while Hurricane Isaac was beating down on western portions of the Panhandle, I got to see, first-hand, the flooding damage the storm left behind in Palm Beach County. We also have Floridians who are still recovering from Tropical Storm Debby,” Scott said. “Your assistance will give much-needed help to our friends and neighbors in Florida who have sustained damages from these storms.”

Scott was in West Palm Beach on Wednesday morning to assess the damaged caused by "one-in-100-year" flooding during Tropical Storm Isaac. He traveled to Key West in the afternoon to promote tourism in Florida.

The host-governor for the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Scott canceled all of his RNC events to attend to Tropical Storm Isaac.

Scott's press release is below:

Continue reading "Rick Scott activates disaster fund for Isaac victims" »

August 28, 2012

Jon Stewart: Marco Rubio should be gov.... FL "deserves a governor with hair."

The most-serious and honest political discussion didn't happen under the official Republican National Convention banner.

It occurred just up the street, where Florida Sen. Marco Rubio joined Jon Stewart in Tampa on The Daily Show. Laced with humor and all-too short, the back-and-forth showed why Stewart is one of the best interviewers in the business and why Rubio is probably his party's best standard bearer.

The two also seem to genuinely like each other. And Rubio should be particularly happy about that. He wasn't picked to be the RNC's keynote speaker (NJ Gov. Chris Christie was), but the Daily Show broadcast is sure to be watched by as many, if not more, people than those who see Christie's speech.

Here's some of the banter that happened in the web-only broadcast:

On taking the stimulus:

Rubio: "The bottom line is ultimately the state is going to do what’s in the best interest of the state

"I was not a fan of the stimulus a) because it was borrowed money and I didn’t think the rate of return on it was good enough. We now owe $800 billion for it and really didn’t get any economic growth as a result of it, certainly not the kind of economic growth that we’re looking for."

Stewart: "But it got you some..."

Rubio: "But not the kind that you would have thought for $800 billion." A third of it was tax incentives and tax cuts. Florida had the battery plant, the SAFT. "Do you know that one, SAFT?"

Rubio: "I’m not familiar with it.."

Stewart: "Well, I read the Florida papers.."

Rubio: "I only read the accurate ones…"

Continue reading "Jon Stewart: Marco Rubio should be gov.... FL "deserves a governor with hair."" »

Jeb Bush appeals to GOP grassroots and tells party: 'stop acting stupid' courting Hispanics

With Mitt Romney trailing Barack Obama badly among Hispanic voters in the polls, Republicans paraded out their top Hispanic political celebrities Tuesday and tapped the financial and influential heft of former Gov. Jeb Bush to help suture the gap. \

Speaking at a panel discussion at the Republican National Convention, Bush repeated his frequent warning that the party must change its tone, an admonition he has frequently raised about the party’s hardline position on immigration.

“The future of our party is to reach out consistently to have a tone that is open and hospitable to people who share values,’’ he said, adding “the conservative cause would be the governing philosophy as far as the eye could see … and that’s doable if we just stop acting stupid.”

Bush was joined by two Latino governors in an event organized by the Hispanic Leadership Network, a newly formed advocacy group associated with the American Action Network. The group will finance issue ads and promote what it calls a “center-right” agenda.

Bush’s youngest son, Jeb Bush Jr, announced the emergence of SunPac, a Coral Gables–based organization that targets young Hispanics in Florida to support their issues and get involved in politics.

And the prime time television schedule included two of the convention’s five Hispanics headliners: Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and Texas Senate candidate Ted Cruz. The others, Gov. Luis Fortuño of Puerto Rico and Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico, will follow Wednesday. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio will introduce Mitt Romney on Thursday.

The top draw for Republicans showcasing their Hispanic bonafides: Rubio. More here.