October 31, 2011

Boca's Lynn University will host the third presidential debate next year

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced its presidential and vice presidential debate sites today, and the final of the three showdowns will be in Florida at Boca Raton's Lynn University.

The first is Oct. 3 at the University of Denver in Denver, Colo. The vice presidential debate will be Oct. 11 at Centre College, Danville, Ky. Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. will host the second presidential debate -- a town hall-style event. And Lynn University will close out the series with the final Oct. 22 debate. 

Obviously the Republican field isn't set yet, but here's President Barack Obama's campaign manager Jim Messina on the debate schedule: "The President looks forward to next year’s debates. Once the Republicans have selected their candidate, we will work through the details with their campaign and the Commission on Presidential Debates."

Lynn University was one of 12 sites nationwide -- and the only institution in Florida -- under consideration to host the debates produced by the CPD, the school said in a press release.

"Being an undergraduate or graduate student here on our campus when such an historic event takes place will provide a singular and unparalleled educational experience," said the university's president, Kevin Ross.

Republican U.S. Rep. Allen Westwho represents Boca Raton in Congress, had this to say on the school's selection:  

"After visiting Lynn's campus and meeting with University administrators earlier this year, I quickly realized the potential for Lynn's Wold Performing Arts Center to be a candidate to host the Presidential debates. I immediately took the lead in drafting a bipartisan and bicameral letter signed by every member of the Florida Congressional Delegation to the Commission on Presidential Debates in support of Lynn's application."

"The state of Florida has historically been a major decision maker in a number of national elections throughout our nation’s history and will be a critical state for both parties in the upcoming Presidential election. Securing the final Presidential Debate for the 2012 election is further reason to recognize the importance of the state of Florida in this decisive time in our nation's history."

October 17, 2011

Rumsfeld to raise money for Allen West

Politico's lobbying-and-fundraising tipsheet, Politico Influence, reports that former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will help Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation raise money next week in Washington.

Politico reports that Rumsfeld is listed as a "special guest" for what it describes as a defense industry breakfast on Oct. 27. The fundraiser will be hosted by Buzz Hefti, a defense lobbyist and former Marine. 

Another multimillion dollar campaign is underway for the seat held by Allen. Two Democrats are raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in an effort to unseat West, and West himself continues to be one of the top fundraisers in Florida.

Democrat Patrick Murphy, a CPA, raised $314,351 over the past three months, according to Federal Election Commission reports filed this weekend. He has $741,976 in the bank. Former West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel raised $417,872, according to the FEC. She has $883,714 in cash on hand.  

West raised $1.9 million, but spent $1.4 million of that on expensive professional fundraisers and solicitation lists. So although he has raised $4.1 million so far this campaign season, he has only $1.8 million of that on hand, according to the FEC reports. 

October 07, 2011

Allen West for VP?

Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation, was asked today whether he would accept a vice presidential spot on the GOP ticket -- a big question this week for South Florida lawmakers. Here's what he said on the Steve Gill Show, a talk show that airs through Radio America on 40 stations: "I don’t see that offer happening, but I am not going to sit here
and say absolutely not," West told the show.

Here the full interview: http://gillreport.com/2011/10/sgs-exclusive-video-rep-allen-west-comments-on-being-the-vp-nominee/

October 04, 2011

Allen West on C-SPAN's Washington Journal


U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation, was on C-SPAN's Washington Journal this morning, and he covered a lot of ground: the GOP and White House plans to create jobs, funding the government, the so-called "Super Committee," and deficit reduction. One caller asked him about the "pugilistic" nature of some of the interactions he's had in his time in Congress. As a former solder, he said, "there's a certain amount you can take, and you finally have to stand up for your own honor."

September 22, 2011

Allen West: "I don't want to fight."

Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation, will speak with NPR's "Tell Me More" host Michel Martin today. He'll talk about why he reconsidered his membership in the Congressional Black Caucus, controversies over his own past remarks, and whether he thinks Democrats and Republicans will ever find common ground.
West, on whether Democrats and Republicans can come to an agreement on fiscal matters, said this: "I think he's [President Obama] trying to pick a fight with House Republicans. I don't want to fight. I want to make sure we do the right things for our country."

On why he reconsidered his membership in the CBC after Rep. André Carson, D-Ind., suggested that some members of the Tea Party would "love to see us as second-class citizens.hanging on a tree," West said this:

"I've been called Uncle Tom, I've been called sell-out, I've been called Oreo and many other variations of different racial epithets, but you're not going to hear me come out and say something incendiary which will bring up images of lynchings. I think that we have to be a lot more mature in what we're saying. So, I still cannot condone what André Carson said, but I think that it's important for me to stay within the Black Caucus because you have to, as I said earlier, bring that varying perspective and different outlook and insights from a conservative aspect."

The interview airs today. The show doesn't air in South Florida, but it's available online here later today.

September 21, 2011

Allen West, Frederica Wilson and Haiti featured in Congressional Black Caucus' conference

The Congressional Black Caucus holds its annual legislative conference in Washington this week -- and it features two South Florida representatives as speakers.

Rep. Allen West, a Plantation Republican and retired Army lieutenant colonel who spent 22 years in the service, will be hosting a panel Thursday titled, "African-Americans in the Military: Past, Present and Future." Among the questions the panel is expected to address: why black officers are less likely than their white counterparts to serve in elite combat teams, and what Congress can do to increase the number of African-Americans in the military.

West, the Caucus' only Republican member and a tea-party favorite, almost quit the group recently after disagreeing with his Democratic colleagues who lambasted tea partiers. One Democrat, Rep. Andre Carson of Indiana, referred to tea partiers wanting to see blacks "hanging from a tree," a comment he later apologized for.

Also Thursday, Rep. Frederica Wilson, a Miami Gardens Democrat, will take part in a forum titled, "Haiti: A New Beginning." Wilson's congressional district has the largest concentration of Haitian Americans in the country. The discussion will center around rebuilding Haiti after last year's ravaging earthquake.

September 19, 2011

Rep. Allen West, the media's most buzzed-about freshman in Congress?

According to an analysis by Smart Politics, Rep. Allen West, a Plantation Republican, has been interviewed or mentioned in more news programs than any other freshman in Congress: 222 times, in their count.

The second-place finisher -- Rep. Joe Walsh, an Illinois Republican -- had 148 mentions. Republican Rep. Tim Scott of South Carolina had 45. West and Scott, the analysis notes, are the only two black Republicans in the House:

While Scott did not join the Congressional Black Caucus, West is a member, though he has been critical of late of some of the statements made by Democratic CBC members against the Tea Party, such as Maxine Waters who recently said the Tea Party can go "straight to hell" last month and Andre Carson who said the Tea Party wants blacks "hanging on a tree."

West's coverage also spiked earlier in the summer when an email he sent to fellow Florida U.S. Representative (and DNC Chairwoman) Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was made public in which he scolded her for not being a lady and called her "the most vile, unprofessional, and despicable member of the US House of Representatives."

West is the most prevalent freshman on FOX News in 2011 (mentioned in 101 broadcasts), with Walsh coming in second (28), Scott in third (23), South Dakota's Kristi Noem in fourth (20), and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois' 11th CD in fifth (11).

Representative West has been mentioned in an astounding 29 percent of all broadcasts on FOX in which a Freshman was interviewed or his or her name was cited.

West also led with the most mentions on NPR (32) and CBS (13) and was tied with New Hampshire's 1st CD Representative Frank Guinta with the most mentions on ABC at six.

September 12, 2011

At pre-debate panel, a celebration of conservatism

In advance of Monday night's CNN/Tea Party Express presidential debate in Tampa, the Heritage Foundation sponsored a lunchtime panel discussion on issues that matter to conservatives. About 200 people, many of them energetic Tea Party activists, attended at the Florida State Fairgrounds.

CNN political correspondent John King moderated a discussion that included Al Cardenas, a leading Florida Republican who is chairman of the American Conservative Union; Mike Franc of the Heritage Foundation; Bob McClure, president and CEO of the James Madison Institute and Billie Tucker, leader of the First Coast Tea Party in Jacksonville.

In remarks, Cardenas and Franc focused on their views of the state of the country: high taxes, high debt, high foreclosures and high unemployment and declining home ownership. "There's a growing sense that the American dream is slowly slipping away," Franc said.

"And don't tell me I have to buy health insurance!" Cardenas said to loud cheers.

McClure welcomed out-of-state visitors to Florida, "the most important bellwether state in the union, the land of Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Allen West and the land of Gov. Rick Scott." Big applause followed. The only Democrat who got even passing praise at the luncheon was New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, praised by McClure for cutting the state budget and taxes in the Empire State.  

Tucker got the most resounding applause for her speech describing the American way as "personal liberty, individual responsibility, and less government," and she said the debate itself is proof of the Tea Party movement's strength. "Here we are in Tampa, having our own debate on CNN," Tucker said, as many in the audience stood and cheered.

-- Steve Bousquet

September 08, 2011

Allen West: Staying with the Congressional Black Caucus

Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation, said in a statement on his Facebook page that he'll remain as a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. He had threatened to step down from the largely Democratic group after one of its members, Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind., criticized the Tea Party at a town hall in Miami, where he suggested some of its members would like to see African-Americans "hanging on a tree." 

West said he met with the caucus's chairman, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., to express "my condemnation of recent comments from fellow CBC members, especially Rep. Andre Carson," he said.

"Cowards run from challenges, while warriors run to the sound of battle," West said. "I will not be resigning from the Congressional Black Caucus. Constitutional Conservatism is now and will in the future be a part of the Congressional Black Caucus." 

"There may be those who criticize my decision but consider if Henry O. Flipper or the Tuskegee Airmen had taken the easy out over the hard in," he adde. "Those men are part of my legacy as a career military office, a proud legacy."

West also said he and Cleaver would be "issuing a joint statement on policies to rectify the disastrous unemployment statistics in the black community."

West, elected in 2010 with Tea Party support, is one of just two black Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

August 22, 2011

Allen West: I'm not running for U.S. Senate

Rep. Allen West, who said he would not run for U.S. Senate but then said he might, now says he won't.

"Over the last several weeks, numerous leaders of the Florida Republican Party, including current and past elected officials, have spoken to me about the race for the United States Senate. Out of respect, I was willing to listen," West said in a statement issued by his congressional campaign.

West, a tea party hero with a proven ability to raise money, could have scrambled the dynamics of the Republican primary. But he said the voters of Florida's 22nd Congressional District "sent me to Capitol Hill to right our fiscal ship of state, to work to rebuild our economy and to create jobs."

That job, he added, is not done.

"For the last two weeks, I have traveled the congressional district and spoken clearly to the citizens that while we have made progress these last seven months, there is still so much to accomplish for our country. I believe the place where I can best effect the needed change is from the People's House - the House of Representatives," West said.

"I have been given one of the highest honors to serve in the House of Representatives and I will continue to serve the citizens in that capacity. I will not seek the Republican nomination for the United States Senate in 2012. With regard to my future, the only goal I have is to do my very best to represent the constituents of the Congressional District and to restore the exceptionalism of our nation."