Florida politicians have used the health care law to make claims that range from declaring it the "biggest tax increase ever" to containing a slush fund to spay pets as part of an anti-obesity effort.
As the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to rule on the 2010 Affordable Care Act on June 28, 2012, PolitFact Florida reviewed some of our most interesting claims by Florida politicians and groups about the law. Florida, with its large senior population and crucial role in the presidential election, has played a significant role in the health care law debate. (To peruse all of PolitiFact Florida’s health care claims click here.)
It's official: Republican U.S. Rep. Allen West no longer lives in Broward. West is now a resident of Palm Beach Gardens. His spokeswoman wouldn't say whether West bought a home or is renting.
"We do not discuss the personal details of his residence," Angela Melvin wrote in an email.
We didn't find any home purchase in Palm Beach County online records.
West had been living in Plantation just outside his Congressional District 22 which spans Broward and Palm Beach. Due to redistricting, West is now running in District 18 which is to the north of his current district and more favorable to a Republican.
West is expected to face Democrat Patrick Murphy who is renting a residence in Jupiter.
If Allen West doesn't become unglued or say something controversial, it's a good bet that one of his supporters or opponents will.
At the Mae Volen center in Boca Raton, a few liberals tried to confront West who was walled off from them by supportes, according to a May 30 BizPac Review video we just saw of the event last week. One woman got bent out of shape when West referred to his liberal protesters, who follow him from event to event, as "groupies.
Islam-critic Tom Trento, shooting video along with at least three others (the Shark Tank's Javier Manjarres and BizPac camera woman), told the liberal protester "You're in over your head." Finally, the woman called one of the West supporters "an obnoxious little man" and then flicked him, saying "fuck you."
An elderly conservative then got ornery, shoving the liberal younger woman.
"Hey, don't you touch him," the conservative said, brandishing her cane. "I'll wrap this around your head!"
A police officer stopped her. The elderly woman complained about her kneee and said that the younger woman "shoved me." The video doesn't really indicate that. Police escorted her out. At one point, someone seems to say "can you start another fight for me?"
Manjarres: "We're threatening you? We're not threatening you."
Trento: "Why do you say crazy stuff like that? Why do you have to lie like that?"
Asked his name as three cameras trained on him, Fransetta said: "My name is Joe Blow Weatherman Channel 8 watch me tomorrow night.... You think you're slick with your little phone. I've got one too. I know very good about technology and all. And my name is Joe Blow Weatherman Channel 8 and who do you represent."
As Fransetta said it, he leaned in to the BizPac camera woman who said: "Is there a reason you're touching me. Is there a reason you're pushing me? What are you here for?
Fransetta then walked up to Manjarres's camera: "What's your name?"
My name is Javier Manjarres. I'm with the Shark Tank blog. You're name is what? Blew Joe?
Fransetta, walking away: "My name Joe Blow Weatherman Channel 8."
Manjarres: "I understand you blew Joe or something."
The Florida Democratic Party is portraying Plantation Congressman Allen West as crazy -- both in the words of talking heads and in the underlying music track, "Crazy," by Gnarls Barkley/Cee-Lo. So who will raise more money off this?
What do communists and stay-at-home moms have to do with each other? Grist for the 2012 political outrage machine. Here's Republican Party of Florida Chairman Lenny Curry responding to Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith who wanted an apology after Congressman Allen West called some Democrats communists:
"Rod Smith could better invest his energy by asking fellow Democrat-leaders like Hilary Rosen to stop their hateful speech against stay-at-home mothers. Women - whether they work outside the home or inside the home - deserve our respect. For those choosing to work outside the home, there has been a tragic collapse in employment under the failed Obama presidency. While President Obama and Chairman Smith focus on political games, Republicans have offered a vision of economic opportunity that helps all Americans support their families and pursue their dreams."
On behalf of the Florida Democratic Party I request that the RPOF immediately condemn Congressman Allen West’s egregious allegations that “78-81” Democratic Representatives in Congress are “communists” and demand an apology from Congressman West. Each of us understands the hyperbole that surfaces during every political season. It is a long-standing practice in American politics. But there are and must be lines. To suggest that elected Democrats share political views with Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong or other communist dictators who murdered their people and suppressed the freedom of hundreds of millions for generations recalls the shameful practice of Joseph McCarthy. I am sure you proudly recall that it was a Republican Senator, Margaret Chase Smith, whose statement of conscience publically admonished McCarthy’s tactics of accusing unnamed persons of being “card carrying communists.”
While our parties have marked political differences and separate visions for this State and Nation each of us must remember that both Democrats and Republicans shed their blood fighting for freedom. Both parties have a proud tradition of opposing fascism and communism no matter the cost. While Congressman West has clearly forgotten that lesson, I trust your party has not. Your silence will be read as acquiescence.
I look forward to your reply, and request that Congressman West apologize to our nation for his dangerous, inflammatory remarks.
This just goes to show that there is no such thing as a boring town hall when Republican Congressman Allen West is speaking. At a town hall in Jensen Beach Tuesday covered by TCPalm, a man asked West this question (this is the best we could make out in the video) “what percentage of the American Legislature do you think are card-carrying Marxists (something garbled) Socialists?”
West's reply: “That’s a good question. I believe its about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party are members of the Communist Party.”
PolitiFact asked West’s spkeswoman Angela Melvin for an explanation today: “The Congressman was referring to the 76 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. The Communist Party has publicly referred to the Progressive Caucus as its allies. The Progressive Caucus speaks for itself. These individuals certainly aren't proponents of free markets or individual economic freedom.”
We read that response to Jennifer Gore, a spokeswoman for U.S. Rep.Keith Ellison, a Democrat from Minnesota who co-chairs the caucus. Here's a snapshot of what she said: "all of that is false."
We also contacted the Communist Party USA. Vice president Libero Della Piana said that none of the less than 5,000 members are members of Congress.
"Trust me -- if a member of Congress applied to join the Communisty Party we would know about it. It would set up some red flags -- pardon the pun."
PolitiFact will be fact-checking West's claim about how many -- if any -- Democrats in Congress are Communists.
Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca has decided not to run for Congressional 22 which means former state legislator Adam Hasner has a clear shot on the Republican side.
Hasner was part of the orchestrated switcheroo when U.S. Rep. Allen West decided in January due to redistricting to get out of the Broward-Palm Beach district and run to the north instead, allowing Hasner to drop his U.S. Senate bid and switch to the Congressional race. Prominent Republicans including former Gov. Jeb Bush quickly lined up behind Hasner while LaMarca was mulling over a bid.
LaMarca said that West was the only Republican leader to try to talk him out of running. LaMarca said Wednesday night that money was a factor in his decision not to run but also that he had won his county seat less than two years ago and that it would be disingenous to run for a different office so quickly. LaMarca said that if Hasner asks for his endorsement he will give it to him.
On the Democratic side, Broward County Commissioner Kristin Jacobs and former state legislator/West Palm Beach mayor Lois Frankel will battle in the primary for the seat that is set to move far more to the left.
Democratic candidate Patrick Erin Murphy announced he's going to challenge Rep. Allen West in the newly proposed 18th congressional district, which includes Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties.
"Allen West can run, but he can't hide,'' Murphy blogged in announcing his decision to pursue West.
West announced last week he was leaving his current 22nd congressional seat, which is being redrawn as more favorable to Democrats as part of the redistricting process, in order to run in the district further north that is being vacated by fellow Republican Tom Rooney, who is going to be running in a different seat further north.
"West abandoned his constituents to seek what he believes is a more politically favorable ground in a neighboring district," Murphy blogged. "Sorry, Allen, there is no safe district for you.
Murphy said he's got support from fellow Democrats, locally and nationally.