November 16, 2016

Ahead of Miami visit, Bernie Sanders calls climate change country's biggest challenge

Bernie2
via @OgleConnie

Sen. Bernie Sanders believes all of the challenges facing the country are significant. Election finance reform. Ending what he calls a “rigged” economy. Providing affordable healthcare and education.

But the biggest, most dangerous threat takes aim directly at South Florida, and, he says, President-elect Donald Trump isn’t even concerned about it.

“All of them are important in terms of the future of the United States,” says Sanders, who’s in Miami Saturday to talk about his new book at Miami Book Fair, “but above them all is climate change. We have a president-elect who doesn’t believe in climate change. That’s frightening for this country — and the world. ... If we don’t move boldly to transform our energy system, the planet is in deep danger.”

Also dangerous, he says, is “the bigotry that he espoused during the campaign. It’s tearing the fabric of this country apart.”

In “Our Revolution” (Thomas Dunne Books, $27), the former Democratic presidential candidate looks back on what began as something of a fringe campaign and ended up as a significant political movement.

More here.

Photo credit: Craig Ruttle, Associated Press

August 10, 2016

Bernie bucks keep pouring in for Wasserman Schultz rival Canova

104BernieS09 NEW PPP
@PatriciaMazzei

What is Bernie Sanders' endorsement worth?

For Florida congressional candidate Tim Canova, the answer so far is more than half a million bucks.

Sanders' campaign told the Miami Herald on Wednesday that it has helped raise more than $637,000 since May 22, when the Vermont senator and former Democratic presidential candidate began asking supporters to chip in for Canova.

Canova, a Nova Southeastern University law professor, is trying to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston, a Sanders foe. Sanders accused her of bias toward Hillary Clinton when Wasserman Schultz ran the Democratic National Committee. Leaked internal emails from the DNC showed late last month that Wasserman Schultz's staff favored Clinton, though Sanders' camp acknowledged that preference wasn't to blame for his loss to Clinton. Still, the email embarrassment cost Wasserman Schultz her high-profile role -- and forced her to step up campaigning after 24 years of running unopposed.

His endorsement of Canova was Sanders' first foray into congressional races this election cycle. Team Sanders sent supporters its latest Canova fundraising pitch Tuesday, on the same day Clinton traveled to Davie to endorse Wasserman Schultz. Since Tuesday alone, just under $300,000 has come in, according to a Sanders spokesman.

In all, the Canova contributions amount to $637,924.10 and came from 40,948 donations, each averaging $16.

Over the past few weeks, handwritten postcards from all over the country have poured into the Herald's editorial board from supporters urging for a Canova endorsement. Canova himself told the Herald he knew nothing about the postcard-writing campaign; one of Wasserman Schultz's chief criticisms of Canova is that he's an outsider whose support lies mostly outside the Broward/Miami-Dade County district.

Photo credit: Pedro Portal, el Nuevo Herald

August 09, 2016

Bernie Sanders continues to fundraise for Tim Canova

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders sent another fundraising email today on behalf of Tim Canova who will face U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in the Democratic primary Aug. 30.

"Much like in our campaign for president, Tim started off as a major underdog in this race, battling a well-known and well-established person who was the chairwoman of the Democratic Party," Sanders wrote. "He is running a tough campaign on the kind of progressive platform we need to see in this country: opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, backing free tuition at public colleges and universities, reforming a corrupt campaign finance system and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Tim is on the side of working people and that's why we need to help him win."

No word yet on whether Sanders will appear in the Broward/Miami-Dade district on behalf of Canova. During the Florida primary, Sanders lost the district by a landslide to Hillary Clinton. The only appearance by Sanders in Broward during the presidential primary was when he spoke to the National Urban League in Fort Lauderdale in July 2015.

August 06, 2016

DNC emails reveal controversial reputation of South Florida billionaire

@jamesmartinrose

While prominent Democrats from Hillary Clinton on down regularly mock Donald Trump in public, he's not the only wealthy commercial real estate developer to be ridiculed by party operatives.

Stephen Bittel, a Miami Beach businessman who owns and operates more than $1 billion in real estate in South Florida and beyond, isn't the most popular fellow at the Democratic National Committee despite his large donations to the party.

A few of the DNC emails released last month by Wikileaks, which prompted the resignation of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz as chairwoman, contain trash-talking about Bittel among folks at top levels of its massive fundraising operation.

Bittel, who is co-chairman of the party's national finance committee, is cited in several emails looking ahead to a May 18 meeting of President Barack Obama with the Coconut Grove resident and a small group of other big donors at the Jefferson Hotel in Washington.

Two days before the event, DNC national finance director Jordan Kaplan and his Mid-Atlantic deputy Alexandra Shapiro were fretting about where to seat Bittel.

"Bittel said this morning he was coming so just plan on it, but he doesn't sit next to POTUS!" Kaplan told Shapiro.

POTUS is the Secret Service code name for President of the United States.

Shapiro quickly responded: "Yes -- Bittel will be sitting in the s-------t corner I can find."

The next day, in another email about seating for the elite fundraiser, Shapiro provided an update to Zach Allen, another DNC regional finance director.

Shapiro zeroed in on Bittel and Henry R. Munoz, a prominent San Antonio architect who is also co-chairman of the DNC national finance committee.

"So Henry and Bittel are both coming to the roundtable (with Obama) as punishment for something I did in a past life," she emailed Allen.

The two operatives mused about seating Bittel next to DNC finance vice chairman Chris Lowe and his wife, comedy writer Bonnie Datt.

"LOL, Chris and Bonnie think Bittel is a character," Allen told Shapiro. "So if you want to go that route, let me know so I can at least forewarn them but they'll be fine and if it makes your life easier, all the better."

In apparent reference to both Bittel and Munoz, Allen added: "I'm sorry you're having to deal with them."

Bittel, chairman of Terranova Corp., is a friend of Wasserman Schultz. He hosted a dinner for her at a Philadelphia restaurant during the Democratic National Convention shortly after she resigned as DNC head.

The Weston lawmaker quit the top Democratic post after some of the emails revealed disparaging comments by DNC aides about Sen. Bernie Sanders, who former Secretary of State Clinton bested to win the Democratic presidential nomination.

In a separate email exchange, Chadwick Rivard, a top DNC researcher, warned White House aide Bobby Schmuck about another donor with South Florida ties.

Coping the email to a half dozen other DNC operatives, Rivard sent Schmuck a long background description of Palm Beach billionaire George Lindemann Jr., board president of the Bass Museum in Miami Beach who was once an Olympic equestrian hopeful as a highly skilled horse rider.

The biography, part of which came from the Lexis-Nexis database, included Lindemann's 1995 conviction on three counts of wire fraud. That case resulted from a federal probe that found 50 horses had been killed over two decades in acts of insurance fraud.

Lindemann, who has donated to Republican and Democratic politicians, received a 33-month term in federal prison for his role in the scheme.

DNC compliance director Alan Reed, who'd been copied on Rivard's email, rendered his verdict on Lindemann two hours later.

"I vote fail....again," Reed wrote.

To browse the entire Wikileaks trove of 19,252 DNC emails, click here: https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/

    

August 04, 2016

Wasserman Schultz defends calling Sanders' campaign manager an 'ass'

WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ-6201

@PatriciaMazzei

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston isn't sorry she once called Bernie Sanders' campaign manager an "ASS."

“Well, he was acting like an ass,” she told the Miami Herald editorial board Thursday.

She was defending an internal Democratic National Committee email obtained apparently by Russian hackers and published by the website WikiLeaks. The email trove forced Wasserman Schultz out of her position as DNC chairwoman just before last week's presidential convention.

Wasserman Schultz, who is running for re-election, told the Herald she and her staff expressed themselves assuming their emails would remain private. But she expressed no regret over her characterization of Jeff Weaver, Sanders' campaign manager, who at the time had suggested Sanders would extend his campaign until the convention.

“The Sanders campaign — and I give them credit for it — their strategy at that point was to make the DNC the bogeyman, and make me the bogeyman, so they could rally their supporters,” she said.

Wasserman Schultz also denied a Politico report that she asked Vice President Joe Biden for a video to play at her daughter’s bat mitzvah.

“Not true,” she said. “I really don’t think it’s appropriate for me to be responding to anonymous criticism. If people don’t have the nerve to be critical and put their name to it, then I’m not going to box nameless, faceless critics.”

Read the story here.

Photo credit: Shannon Kaestle, Miami Herald

'The buck stops with me,' Wasserman Schultz says of leaked DNC emails

IMG_Editorialpic_4_1_QI8QHS6M_L241485407

via @alextdaugherty

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston took responsibility Thursday for the leaked emails that eventually led to her resignation as Democratic National Committee chairwoman, saying "the buck stops with me."

She also denounced an email by her former party staff questioning Bernie Sanders' religious beliefs as "unacceptable" and "outrageous."

During her first local public appearance since resigning on the eve of last week's national convention, Wasserman Schultz denied the DNC was attempting to thwart Sanders' bid for president against nominee Hillary Clinton. She spoke at a briefing Thursday in Wynwood that Gov. Rick Scott, touring the neighborhood due to Zika, had with Congressional leaders.

"We followed the rules according to the DNC, primaries and caucuses were run according to state law," Wasserman Schultz said. "At the end of the day, who the DNC chair was, I could not allow to be a distraction."

The congresswoman said party staffers under her made mistakes. But she said leaked emails published by the website WikiLeaks weren't any more damaging than emails that would come out of any other private organization.

"Were there mistakes made?" Wasserman Schultz said. "Sure … but who among us in thinking about whether your private emails were stolen would survive the light of day?"

More here.

July 29, 2016

Florida delegate remains unpersuaded by Clinton: 'Hell no'

07292016_131212_7d3eccb7-52a8-4699-8be1-48d6b92cba81_8col

via @learyreports

PHILADELPHIA -- Dawn Abate was willing to give Hillary Clinton a chance.

"Hillary has to figure out how she can make us believe she’s going to do any of the things she says she will do," the Florida delegate said Thursday afternoon, hours before Clinton gave her speech.

Abate, 39, of Stuart, is a hardcore Bernie Sanders supporter and had a neon yellow Sanders shirt draped across her shoulders. “It’s been a very emotional week. We’re all in mourning,” she said. “The energy here has been so unfriendly." 

But she said she would hear out Clinton, who did acknowledge what Sanders had done and addressed some of his core issues, including campaign finance and income inequality. "You've put economic and social justice issues front and center, where they belong," Clinton said. "And to all of your supporters here and around the country: I want you to know, I've heard you. Your cause is our cause."

Was Abate moved?

"Hell no," she said Friday by text message. "But I will not let Donald Trump be president either, so sadly, I have to bubble in her name."

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

In battle against Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Tim Canova hires Bernie Sanders' consultants

Tim Canova's campaign has hired three of Bernie Sanders' media consultants.

The new hires are Tad DevineMark Longabaugh, and Julian Mulvey. All three have started, said Canova's campaign manager Richard Bell. The hires were first reported by Politico. The consultants run a Washington D.C. based Democratic media consulting firm together and have represented a long list of Democratic candidates and liberal causes. Their firm was the one behind Sanders' "America" ad which the main audio features Simon and Garfunkel's America song.

Canova is battling U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Broward/Miami-Dade Congressional District 23. 

Canova's first-time race drew more attention in the past week since Wasserman Schultz stepped down as Democratic National Committee chair following the leak of more than 19,000 party emails. Those emails showed that the DNC was favoring Hillary Clinton over Sanders -- a charge that Wasserman Schultz had repeatedly denied for months. The emails also showed that DNC staffers who are not on Wasserman Schultz's campaign were tracking Canova's media coverage and appearances.

The primary in the left leaning district is Aug. 30 but voters are already starting to cast ballots by mail. So far, about 28,000 Broward Democrats in the district have requested mail in ballots. A slice of the district is also in northern Miami Dade.

July 26, 2016

Bernie Sanders crashes Florida delegation breakfast in Philadelphia

Bernieflorida_8col

via @learyreports

PHILADELPHIA -- Bernie Sanders made an unannounced visit to the Florida delegation breakfast, imploring Democrats to come together to defeat Donald Trump.

"Thank you very much for allowing me to barge in," he said, taking the microphone from Rep. Kathy Castor of Tampa.

"We did not do particularly well in Florida, but I want to thank all of you who were there with us. Now, whether you supported me or you supported Secretary Clinton, we all know what our task is and that is to make sure Donald Trump is not elected president."

"... This man has a unique feature that not all Republicans share by any means: He is a demagogue, a bully and somebody that does not believe in the Constitution," Sanders said, looking at revved up as he was last night.

Stunned Democrats pressed the stage at the downtown Marriott, some with tears in their eyes. "The political revolution has begun and it will continue," Sanders said before being hustled away.

"Wasn't that awesome?" Florida Democratic Chairwoman Allison Tant exclaimed.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

'The choice is not even close,' Sanders says of Clinton

2016 DNC (1)

@PatriciaMazzei

PHILADELPHIA -- In a rousing speech Monday night, Democratic presidential runner-up Bernie Sanders tried to rally his political party to the progressive agenda that endeared him to millions of primary voters — while also urging the party to unite behind the woman he lost to, Hillary Clinton.

“This election is not about, and has never been about, Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump, or Bernie Sanders or any of the other candidates who sought the presidency,” he said. “This election is about — and must be about — the needs of the American people and the kind of future we create for our children and grandchildren.”

Sanders was the most anticipated speaker of the first night of the Democratic National Convention — not only because he took the microphone last, but because it came at the end of a day full of discord stirred by some of his supporters, who are still reluctant to accept Clinton’s coming nomination.

“We need leadership in this country which will improve the lives of working families, the children, the elderly, the sick and the poor. We need leadership which brings our people together and makes us stronger — not leadership which insults Latinos, Muslims, women, African Americans and veterans — and divides us up,” Sanders said. “By these measures, any objective observer will conclude that — based on her ideas and her leadership — Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States. The choice is not even close.”

Unlike his remarks to supporters earlier in the day — also attempting to smooth hard feelings — this time, on the floor of Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Arena, Sanders didn’t get booed. He did get interrupted, with chants of “We want Bernie!”

“He’s with her!” Clinton fans counter-chanted after Sanders’ speech.

More here.