October 20, 2016

Murphy to speak ahead of Obama in Miami Gardens

@PatriciaMazzei

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

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@ByKristenMClark

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.

Continue reading "Obama discredits Trump's charges of 'rigged' election citing Florida" »

October 17, 2016

Obama's stop for Clinton will be in Miami Gardens

@PatriciaMazzei   

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

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@amysherman1

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

October 12, 2016

Former Sen. Bob Graham praises new law allowing 9/11 victims' families to sue Saudi government

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@jamesmartinrose

Former Sen. Bob Graham played a major role in compelling the long-delayed release three months ago of a classified document showing possible ties between Saudi officials and some of the 9/11 hijackers.

Now the Floridian, who chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee when the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks killed almost 3,000 people, is hailing congressional passage and veto override of a new law allowing the victims' families to sue the Saudi government for alleged complicity.

"Several positive things are going to happen now," Graham told the Miami Herald. "The victims' families will have an opportunity for justice. And Saudi Arabia will be disabused of any idea that it has immunity from responsibility for its role in 9/11."

Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were Saudis. Several of them lived in Sarasota before the attacks and, while living there, had contacts with high-ranking Saudi officials. They also left the United States shortly before the attacks.

Graham said that even when he was head of the Senate Intelligence Committee and held a high security clearance, the U.S. government withheld information about the Saudis' ties to 9/11 from him and other members of Congress.

"But from what I know today, there is ample evidence that 9/11 would not have happened but for the assistance provided by Saudi Arabia," Graham said. "The results of that assistance was (nearly) 3,000 persons murdered, 90 percent of them Americans. And a new wave of terrorism with Saudi financial and operational support has beset the world."

The House and the Senate, by overwhelming margins in both chambers, voted last month to override President Barack Obama's veto of the bill permitting lawsuits against Saudi Arabia.

Obama said such lawsuits would expose the U.S. government to legal challenges against it for actions abroad by American armed forces. CIA Director John Brennan said lawsuits against Saudi Arabia would threaten U.S. national security.

After the Senate voted 97-1 to override Obama's veto of the measure, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest criticized the move as "the most embarrassing thing the Senate has done since 1983," when it had overwhelmingly rejected a veto by President Ronald Reagan.

That override, however, involved a much less consequential land dispute between the government and six retired people.

Earnest last week said the law will force judges to determine whether a government sponsors terrorism, a decision properly left to the president, the State Department and U.S. national security agencies. 

"That was a piece of legislation and now a law that sought to target Saudi Arabia, a country that has not been designated a state sponsor of terrorism," Earnest said. "It does open up a scenario where you have judges at a variety of levels and a variety of different courtrooms, reaching different conclusions about whether or not another country is complicit in sponsoring terrorism.  That's not an effective way for us to confront state sponsors of terror."

The Saudi government bitterly criticized the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, called JASTA, targeting Riyadh.

"The erosion of sovereign immunity will have a negative impact on all nations, including the United States," the Saudi Foreign Ministry said.

But a 9/11 victims advocacy group called September 11th Advocates hailed the new law.

"JASTA will keep Americans safe from terrorists and terrorist funders like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by setting a strong deterrent in holding the Kingdom accountable for its funding and logistical support of terrorist group," the group said Tuesday.

Despite Saudi claims since 9/11 that it is going after radical Islamic citizens, Graham said the changes have been minor.

"What I don't think they've changed is their Wahhabist commitment to the extreme form of Islam, which has served as the primary motivation for thousands of people to adopt jihad as their life goal," he said.

Graham, who retired from the Senate in January 2005 after three terms, said the Obama administration and that of President George W. Bush likely could have prevented Congress from allowing suits against Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. government should have released more information about possible Saudi ties to 9/11, Graham said, and it could have negotiated a settlement enabling the Saudi government to pay victims of the tragedy.

As an example, Graham cited the 2008 deal in which Libya agreed to pay $2.7 billion to the families of 270 people killed in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 two decades earlier, in exchange for the dropping of U.S. sanctions.

"It was self-inflicted," Graham said. "The Bush and Obama administrations could have avoided JASTA if they had negotiated with Saudi Arabia through diplomatic channels and if they had voluntarily made more information available about responsibility for 9/11."

Photo credit: Tim Chapman, Miami Herald

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

October 10, 2016

Congress more stingy on providing disaster relief than it once was

 

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@jamesmartinrose

The final damage tally from Hurricane Matthew across Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas isn't yet known, but it’s certain those states will ask Congress for billions in disaster aid.

President Barack Obama, after speaking with their governors, suggested that he’ll be seeking emergency funds for damage from Matthew and earlier storms when lawmakers convene after the Nov. 8 election, and Gov. Rick Scott and Sen. Marco Rubio said Florida was certain to seek assistance.

“While the state has yet to commence an assessment of damage due to unsafe conditions remaining in many areas, we must be prepared for the long road of recovery ahead,” Rubio wrote Friday in a letter backing up a request from Scott that Obama declare Matthew a “major disaster” for his state, a designation that would allow it to seek more emergency aid from Washington.

For more, read here.

Photo credit: Pedro Portal, El Nuevo Herald

 


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article106789687.html#storylink=cpy

 

October 09, 2016

President Obama signs new disaster declaration for Hurricane Matthew's impact in Florida

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@ByKristenMClark & @JeremySWallace

President Barack Obama signed a new disaster declaration for Florida on Saturday, freeing up additional federal funding and resources to help with clean-up and recovery efforts after Hurricane Matthew.

The White House announced Obama's act early Sunday morning.

While Obama already granted a preliminary disaster declaration before the storm, a second one after the storm is required to trigger post-storm recovery funding.

The new declaration makes available federal funding to state and eligible local governments and certain non-profits on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work in eight Florida counties. Those counties span the east coast from the Treasure Coast to northeast Florida -- areas which felt the brunt of Matthew in the state: Brevard, Duval, Flagler, Indian River, Nassau, St. Johns, St. Lucie and Volusia.

More here.

 

Photo credit: Kevin Dietsch, Bloomberg

October 07, 2016

Lawmakers ask Obama to postpone Haitian deportations after Hurricane Matthew

@PatriciaMazzei

More than 50 Democratic and Republican members of Congress asked President Barack Obama on Friday to postpone deportations to Haiti in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, which left a toll so far of more than 800 dead in the Caribbean nation.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced plans last month to resume deportations of Haitians in the U.S. illegally, following a surge of Haitians entering the U.S. by way of Brazil. The lawmakers, including Miami Gardens Democrat Frederica Wilson and Miami Republicans Carlos Curbelo, Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, argue that the conditions in Haiti since the 2010 earthquake have made deportations for Haitians without criminal records inhumane.

"Given Haiti's vulnerable state and lingering challenges, we respectfully request that you reconsider this decision and ensure that undocumented Haitians are provided full and fair asylum hearings, effective assistance of counsel, and information on all sorts of relief," they wrote.

The letter was also signed Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston and Patrick Murphy of Jupiter.

Read the full letter here.