October 21, 2016

Obama endorses 13 Florida legislative candidates, including several in Miami-Dade races


President Barack Obama is supporting 13 Florida Democrats running for the state Legislature, the Florida Democratic Party announced this morning.

The list includes several high-profile candidates in highly competitive races -- many in Miami-Dade county.

Those include District 37 Senate candidate and current Miami state Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez and District 39 candidate and political newcomer Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, of Pinecrest.

Both Rodriguez and Mucarsel-Powell are trying to unseat powerful Miami Republicans -- Miguel Diaz de la Portilla and Anitere Flores, respectively -- and help Democrats narrow the Republicans' hold on the chamber majority.

On the House side, Obama also backed Miami-Dade legislative contenders Ivette Gonzalez Petkovich (challenging Hialeah Republican Manny Diaz Jr. in District 103); Nick Duran (running for Rodriguez's open seat in District 112 against Rosa Maria Palomino); Daisy Baez (running for the open District 114 seat against John Couriel); and Robert Asencio (who's in a bitter battle against former state Rep. David Rivera in District 118).

Many other Democrats also running against Republicans in Florida legislative districts weren't included in Obama's endorsement list, which is solely non-incumbents.

But noticeably absent from the list were state Sen. Dwight Bullard (who's running for re-election in District 40 in a heated race against state Rep. Frank Artiles, R-Miami) and District 38 Senate candidate and current state Rep. Daphne Campbell (who's running against former state Rep. Phillip Brutus).

Here is the full list of Florida legislative candidates Obama endorsed:


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October 20, 2016

Murphy's political cavalry arrives, in the form of President Obama


@PatriciaMazzei @AmySherman1

The political cavalry arrived Thursday for Patrick Murphy. His name was Barack Obama.

Obama swaggered into Miami Gardens purportedly for Hillary Clinton, the potential sentinel of his White House legacy. He’s in an unusual position for a sitting president: He’s more popular than his selected successor, who’s more than eager for him to act as her most prominent stand-in, especially to African Americans.

But polls show Clinton leading Donald Trump in Florida, which some political prognosticators have placed in the light blue “lean Democratic” column, no longer a toss-up.

So Obama did what he had to do. He ripped Trump for refusing to say during Wednesday night’s debate if he’ll accept the Nov. 8 election results — and for quipping Thursday in Ohio that he’ll accept the results “if I win.”

“That is not a joking matter,” Obama told the capacity crowd of 2,800 at Florida Memorial University’s athletic arena. “I want everybody to pay attention here — that is dangerous. Because when you try to sow seeds of doubt in people’s minds about the legitimacy of our elections, that undermines our democracy. Then, you are doing the work of our adversaries for them.”

The president also passionately defended Clinton, calling her ready and capable to handle the Oval Office.

“Even in the middle of a crisis, she is calm and cool and collected,” Obama said. “And here is the thing about Hillary: No matter how tough the odds, no matter how much people try to knock her down, no matter how mean folks can be, she doesn’t point fingers. She doesn’t complain. She doesn’t whine. She just works harder. And she gets the job done, and she never, ever, ever quits.”

But then, the president focused on the guy who needs his help most: Murphy, the U.S. Senate candidate who national Democrats have all but abandoned.

More here.

This story has been updated.

Photo credit: Pedro Portal, Miami Herald staff

Murphy emphasizes working families in speech at Miami Gardens rally

@ByKristenMClark & @AmySherman1

Vowing to carry on the legacy President Barack Obama will leave behind, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy told a crowd of Hillary Clinton supporters in Miami-Dade County this afternoon that he and the Democratic presidential nominee would support working families and create an economy "that works for everybody."

"With the future of our economy and our country on the line, who are Republicans trying to elect this November? Marco Rubio and Donald Trump -- seriously?" Murphy said to a chorus of agreeing boos from the crowd waiting to hear Obama campaign for Clinton in Miami Gardens, a predominantly back community.

Murphy was one of several speakers -- and the only one who was white -- who took the stage before Obama arrived at Florida Memorial University this afternoon. Murphy got some cheers from the crowd but didn't seem to fire them up like rest of speakers

Continue reading "Murphy emphasizes working families in speech at Miami Gardens rally" »

Obama in Miami: Soon I can come back for fun


President Barack Obama took the stage at Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus on Thursday afternoon to talk about the Affordable Care Act.

"Hello, Miami!" he said. "It's good to be back at Miami Dade, one of my favorite institutions."

The president called his trip "one of my last visits here as president." The friendly crowd booed, but Obama stopped them:

"The good news is, once I'm no longer president, I can come more often!" he said. "When I'm out of office, I can come here for fun."

Obama gave shout-outs to MDC President Eduardo Padrón and U.S. Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston and Ted Deutch of Boca Raton, all of whom were in the audience. Wasserman Schultz traveled from Washington with Air Force One.

Some 650 people gathered for Obama's speech, including 550 MDC Honors College students, according to the university.

Murphy to speak ahead of Obama in Miami Gardens


Sometime before President Barack Obama takes the stage for Hillary Clinton in Miami Gardens on Thursday, Patrick Murphy will get the microphone, Murphy's campaign said.

The president was an early Murphy supporter and this week cut an ad for the U.S. Senate candidate in Spanish. Murphy is challenging Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.

Last week, Murphy also took part in the speakers' program ahead of Clinton's appearance with Al Gore at Miami Dade College's Kendall Campus, ripping Rubio on the day the senator said he was standing by Donald Trump.

Obama will rally for Clinton at Florida Memorial University. He's expected to tout in-person early voting, which begins Monday in Miami-Dade, Broward and other large Florida counties.

October 19, 2016

President Obama speaks Spanish in new ad for Patrick Murphy



While national Democratic groups are all-but abandoning Patrick Murphy to fend for himself in Florida's U.S. Senate race, the party's figurehead isn't.

President Barack Obama cut another ad for the two-term Jupiter congressman -- this one in Spanish.

In the new 30-second spot, Obama said Murphy "will fight for immigration reform, better education, and higher wages."

"Go out and vote for Patrick. Your vote is very important," he added.

Of the eight general election ads Murphy's campaign has released to date, this is the first one that doesn't also simultaneously attack, or even mention, his opponent: Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

Murphy's campaign said the ad will air in Tampa, Orlando, and Miami as part of an existing million-dollar ad buy.

This is the latest example of Murphy's aggressive and noticeable efforts to improve his appeal among Hispanic voters since late September. Rubio, a Cuban-American who's fluent in Spanish, has polled stronger among that demographic, aside from leading Murphy in every poll for months. (Recent overall polls have shown the two candidates closer, which has narrowed Rubio's average advantage to 4.2 percentage points, according to Real Clear Politics.) 

Obama -- and Vice President Joe Biden -- endorsed Murphy in the spring. Obama did both radio and TV ads for Murphy over the summer when he was still in a contested primary against Democratic U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson.

Image credit: Patrick Murphy campaign / YouTube

October 18, 2016

Obama discredits Trump's charges of 'rigged' election citing Florida

via @learyreports

WASHINGTON - Blasting Donald Trump's complaints about a "rigged" election, President Obama today invoked the state of Florida and Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

"I have never seen in my lifetime or in modern political history any presidential candidate trying to discredit the elections and the election process before votes have even taken place.  It's unprecedented.  It happens to be based on no facts. Every expert, regardless of political party, regardless of ideology -- conservative or liberal -- who has ever examined these issues in a serious way will tell you that instances of significant voter fraud are not to be found; that, keep in mind, elections are run by state and local officials, which means that there are places like Florida, for example, where you've got a Republican governor whose Republican appointees are going to be running and monitoring a whole bunch of these election sites.  The notion that somehow if Mr. Trump loses Florida it's because of those people that you have to watch out for -- that is both irresponsible, and, by the way, it doesn't really show the kind of leadership and toughness that you'd want out of a President.

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October 17, 2016

Obama's stop for Clinton will be in Miami Gardens


Hillary Clinton's campaign confirmed Monday that President Barack Obama's rally on her behalf Thursday will take place in Miami Gardens, just like it had been before Hurricane Matthew forced organizers to postpone it earlier this month.

His appearance was originally intended to highlight Florida's voter-registration deadline. But since the Tuesday deadline will have elapsed by the time Obama arrives, now he's going to talk up the start of early voting in Miami-Dade, Broward and other large counties next Monday.

"With more people voting in this election than any in history, President Obama will urge Florida voters to take advantage of in-person early voting, which begins on Monday, October 24 in South Florida," the campaign said.

The "organizing event" will take place at 3 p.m. Thursday at the arena of Florida Memorial University. Tickets for the public are available online. They are also available at Clinton offices in Liberty City (675 NW 62nd St.), Wynwood (2215 NW 1st Pl.) and Opa-locka (4773 NW 183rd St.).

Obama is also scheduled to deliver a speech on the Affordable Care Act the same day in Miami Dade College.

October 14, 2016

Obama to campaign for Hillary Clinton Oct. 20



President Barack Obama will campaign for Hillary Clinton in South Florida Thursday one day after her final debate with Donald Trump, according to Clinton's campaign.

In addition to the political event, Obama will give a speech about the Affordable Care Act at Miami Dade College. He had initially planned to deliver those remark in Tampa, but the appearance was postponed due to Hurricane Matthew. 

The Clinton campaign has not yet announced the location of the rally for Clinton. The storm had also forced Obama to postpone a rally earlier this month at Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens.

Obama will appear days before voters in Miami-Dade and Broward counties start casting ballots at early voting sites Oct. 24. Voting by mail is already underway.

The public can RSVP to the Clinton rally here.


Rubio slams latest Cuba policy changes

via @learyreports

Marco Rubio continues to watch President Obama peel back decades of policy toward Cuba and today blasted new executive actions that will allow travelers to bring back as much Cuban run and cigars as they want (for personal use) and promotes more medical research, among other changes.


"The Obama Administration is making more concessions to the Castro regime, and the United States is getting nothing in return,” Rubio said. “Cash makes the Castro regime's grip on power stronger, its repression harsher and its exportation of misery throughout the hemisphere, especially Venezuela, easier‎. The Obama Administration, in collusion with American companies, is now responsible for essentially bankrolling a communist dictatorship which works each day to undermine America's security and national interests. By encouraging U.S. companies to do business with Cuban military-owned entities, the Obama Administration is giving them an open invitation to violate existing U.S. law.”

The sweeping changes toward Cuba come as politics at home have shifted as well. Hard line Cuban Americans are being replaced with a younger generation that is supportive of change and is voting more Democratic. That increasingly isolates Rubio, 45, whose outrage hasn’t resonated on Capitol Hill.

"After two years of President Obama's Cuba policy, the Castro regime has made out like bandits and received numerous concessions from the U.S. without lifting a finger to return the fugitives it is harboring from American justice, pay Americans for their stolen property, or allow the Cuban people to exercise their God-given freedoms. Today's announcement reaffirms the fact that President Obama's Cuba policy puts the Castro regime's interests first, profits ahead of America's national security, and the Cuban people's rights and dignity dead last."

Obama: "Challenges remain – and very real differences between our governments persist on issues of democracy and human rights – but I believe that engagement is the best way to address those differences and make progress on behalf of our interests and values. The progress of the last two years, bolstered by today's action, should remind the world of what's possible when we look to the future together."

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times