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21 posts from October 9, 2012

October 09, 2012

Obama campaign flexes ground-game muscle, starts early voting early

President Barack Obama’s campaign, eager to bank as many early votes as possible in Florida, is launching an unprecedented program to encourage supporters to vote by absentee ballot right away.

The "Vote Now!" initiative aims to spread the word that voters can go to their local elections office, request an absentee ballot, and complete and return the ballot on the spot. That option has been available for years, but this is the first time a campaign has organized a statewide effort to promote the process.

"We’re encouraging voters to not wait and cast their ballot today," said Ashley Walker, Florida director of the Obama for America campaign. "We will be utilizing all of the resources we have available to us to ensure folks know about this option, and understand how it works. We want to make this election as easily accessible and open to any eligible voter as possible."

Walker said they will spread the word through phone banks, door-to-door canvassing and other outreach efforts.

The Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott last year cut the number of early voting days from 14 to eight and eliminated early voting on the Sunday before election day — over the objections of Democratic leaders. The Florida Obama campaign decided in response to make more of a push on absentee ballots, and encourage people to treat them much like in-person early voting, which doesn’t start until Oct. 27.

More here

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/10/09/3042391/president-obamas-campaign-makes.html#storylink=cpy

Scott accidentally gives out adult phone line for meningitis hotline

During today's meeting of the Florida Cabinet, Gov. Rick Scott gave a routine update on the fungal meningitis outbreak in the state. But rather than direct people to the meningitis hotline, he transposed two numbers and instead directed callers to an “adult” phone line.

The mix-up was first reported by public radio and Herald/Times news partner, WUSF, when it posted the number as part of its web story. But a reader notified them that the number did not connect to the state department of health but to an adult hot line with a greeting that begins "Hello boys, thank you for calling me on my anniversary."

A spokesperson for Scott said the governor had an incorrect number in his copy of the briefing report. Thirty minutes into the Cabinet meeting, the governor corrected himself and read the correct number: 866-523-7339.

'Apruebo este mensaje': Presidential ads geared at Hispanics flood Miami Spanish-language TV, radio

With absentee ballots beginning to hit Miami-Dade voters' mailboxes over the past few days, the best place to go for new presidential campaign ads is Spanish-language radio and television.

 Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are trying to appeal to Hispanic voters across the state, but especially in Miami-Dade, Florida's largest county, where about 54 percent of registered voters are Hispanic. (And a whopping 72 percent of registered Republicans in Miami-Dade are Hispanic.) Across Florida, Hispanics make up 14 percent of the voter rolls.

On Tuesday, Obama put out a TV ad speaking directly into the camera -- in Spanish, something he also did in the 2008 campaign. (Obama doesn't actually speak Spanish, but his accent is decent.)

The ad, titled Buen Ejemplo (Good Example) praises young people brought into the U.S. illegally as children by their parents.

Here's our translation:

In the young people known as DREAMers, I see the same qualities that Michelle and I try to instill in our daughters. They respect their parents. They study for a better life. And they want to contribute to the only country they know and love. As a father, they inspire me. And as president, their courage reminds me that no obstacle is too great. No road too long.

Romney, meanwhile, is continuing to air spots mocking Obama's "Sí se puede" (Yes we can) slogan from four years ago. One of the ads is titled No Podemos Más (We Can't Take Anymore):

Here's our translation: 

Can we accept that half of young people don't find work after finishing college? Can we continue with more than 10 percent unemployment among Hispanics? Can we tolerate that with Obama and the Democrats there are 2 million more poor Hispanics? Can we allow the Democrats to continue pulling our leg? When Obama and his Democratic allies say, "Yes we can," we have to say, "we can't take anymore."

Continue reading "'Apruebo este mensaje': Presidential ads geared at Hispanics flood Miami Spanish-language TV, radio" »

Charlie Crist endorses Democrat Keith Fitzgerald

Former Gov. Charlie Crist endorsed Democrat Keith Fitzgerald in Sarasota Tuesday over Republican Congressman Vern Buchanan.

It's unclear whether the endorsement will provide the boost Fitzgerald needs to unseat Buchanan on Nov. 6. Buchanan is leading in the polls despite his connection to several ethics scandals.

Crist, who ran for U.S. Congress as an Independent in 2010 and has all but officially switched to the Democratic Party, called Fitzgerald "a rare public servant who understands you have to work together in order to improve things for the people you're supposed to serve."

He said he also supports Fitzgerald because both want to stop oil drilling off the Florida coast, according to a shaky video provided by Fitzgerald's campaign.

Continue reading "Charlie Crist endorses Democrat Keith Fitzgerald" »

Conservative think-tank gives Scott an 'A' in cutting biz taxes, gov't spending

When it comes to cutting taxes for businesses, Gov. Rick Scott received an ‘A’ grade from the conservative Cato Institute, which gave Florida’s governor’s high marks for his fiscal policy.

Scott received a ‘69’ score—the highest in the country—on Cato’s Fiscal Policy Report Card, after slashing Florida’s corporate income tax and offering other tax cuts.

While the Cato Institute’s report card refers to the tax cuts as “pro-growth,” the report did not rate governors according to actual economic growth. Instead, “the governors receiving an ‘A’ are those who cut taxes and spending the most,” the report reads.

In the area of job growth, Florida is a middle-runner, ranking 25th in the nation over the last year, under Scott’s economic policies. Florida’s job creation rate is lower than the national average and long-term unemployment is worst in the nation.

Still, Scott compared well against other governors in states that have faced spiraling budget problems and out-of-control spending. Cato gave Scott high marks for “substantial budget cuts” and cutting thousands of jobs from state government, as well as for various business-focused tax cuts.

“Rick Scott of Florida has championed major tax and spending reforms. He has proposed substantial budget cuts, vetoed hundreds of millions of dollars of wasteful spending, and trimmed state employment,” the Cato Institute report reads. “Scott is also determined to give Florida the best economic climate for business investment and job creation in the country.”

For comparison, Gov. Charlie Crist received an ‘A’ grade in 2008, but the one-time ‘Most Conservative Governor’ fell out of favor with the Cato Institute, receiving a ‘D’ by 2010.

In 2006, Gov. Jeb Bush received a ‘C’ grade.


Now in the game for Mack: Ann Romney and Rand Paul

U.S. Senate candidate, Republican Connie Mack IV, is getting some fielding assistance from two very different places in his party as Ann Romney headlines a fundraiser in Sarasota on Thursday and Rand Paul's political committee released a one-minute ad attacking Democrat Bill Nelson.

Romney, who was scheduled to speak at a fundraiser for Mack during the RNC, agree to reschedule for the $2,500 per person event this week, said Mack spokesman David James.

The ad, paid for by RAND PAC, a political committee by the Kentucky senator, attacks Nelson for his support of foreign aid to Pakistan, Libya, and Egypt. Paul said he is spending six figures on the ad in Florida.

“Our country is $16 trillion in debt and faces yet another trillion dollar deficit,” Paul said in a statement. “It makes no sense to send our hared-earned taxpayer dollars overseas, especially to countries with hostile governments that hate us."

Meanwhile Tuesday, Mack picked up the endorsement of the Florida Medical Association PAC, which opposes the federal health care reform act.

Buh-bye, Big Bird, Obama campaign highlights Medicaid in newest FL ad

So much for small talk about Sesame Street. President Obama's campaign announced it'll highlight Mitt Romney's plan to cap and cut Medicaid, the much-ignored half-sibling of Medicare that serves the children, the poor, the elderly and the sick.

From the Obama camp: Mitt Romney raised nursing home fees eight times as governor. And as a presidential candidate, his proposed budget cuts Medicaid by one-third and threatens the well-being of families burdened by nursing home costs. President Obama won’t let that happen.

“Only Choice” will air in New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado, and Nevada. 

The Romney camp response: “The reality is that Medicaid is a broken system today that too often fails to provide meaningful access to care or deliver intended outcomes. Governor Romney’s proposal will continue to grow Medicaid spending each year while significantly slowing the trajectory that has placed the program on an unsustainable course. By giving states greater flexibility and the incentive to provide coverage more efficiently, Governor Romney will ensure that low-income Americans receive the care they need while also bringing federal spending back under control.” – Jeff Bechdel, Romney Spokesman


UM prof studies the Goldilocks spot for negative ads

When it comes to intensity, negative campaign ads should be a lot like the porridge Goldilocks liked, neither too hot nor cold, a UM prof found. The press release:

CORAL GABLES, FL (October 8, 2012)--Televised political advertising takes up a large portion of campaigns budgets. Much of it is spent on negative political ads. But do these negative ads work? A new study by Juliana Fernandes, assistant professor of strategic communication at the University of Miami (UM), shows that a negative political ad is most effective when it’s shown in moderation. The findings reveal that massive exposure to a negative ad has a backlash effect on the evaluation of the sponsor candidate.

“People will be more likely to appreciate and vote for the candidate that is sponsoring the negative advertisement, if the ad is presented in a spaced-out manner, over time,” “says Fernandes, a UM School of Communication professor. “A candidate that doesn’t have a large budget for political advertising can use the same advertising over and over again; but in a way that is more strategic.”

In the study, university students participated in two separate tests.  First, 150 participants watched the repetition of a 30-second negative political ad of candidates that were likely unknown to participants (one, three, or five exposures). The ads were presented sequentially, characterizing the presentation as massive. The results show that evaluation and the likelihood of voting for the sponsor candidate was highest when the participants were exposed to the ad three times and lowest when they were exposed to the ad five times.

Continue reading "UM prof studies the Goldilocks spot for negative ads " »

Committee to defend justices launches first television ad

 The Committee to Defend Justice from Politics, the political committee operated by Republican Stanley Tate and former City of Coral Gables general counsel Elizabeth M. Herhandez, is up with its first ad in Tampa, Orlando and Miami today defending the three Supreme Court justices up for merit retention.

"What do the politicians in Tallahassee want?'' asks the announcer in the 30-second spot. "Absolute power,'' he answers. "Even over our courts." The announcer then quotes a series of newspaper editorials critical of the Republican Party of Florida's decision to get involved in the issue and asks voters: "Want to stop the politicians from trying to take over the Supreme Court? Then stand up for our justices against this political power grab."

The problem with the accusation is that there is no politician in Tallahassee who has openly admitted to being out to get the three justices up for merit retention.

House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz both said they were not consulted before the RPOF's executive board took it's unanimous vote to oppose R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince.

Continue reading "Committee to defend justices launches first television ad" »

'Hypocrite,' 'bureaucrat,' 'traitor': a roundup of attack mailers in nasty Miami-Dade commission race

We thought we'd follow up on our story on the increasingly heated race to replace Miami-Dade Commissioner Joe Martinez with a post featuring some of the negative fliers mailed by third-party political committees against candidates Manny Machado and Juan C. Zapata. Take a look. (This is just a sampling and not the front and back of all pieces. Some of the JPGs are better quality than others.)

Zapata Rubio back
Stop Machado front

Continue reading "'Hypocrite,' 'bureaucrat,' 'traitor': a roundup of attack mailers in nasty Miami-Dade commission race" »