October 11, 2010

President Obama records radio ad for Kendrick Meek

In a move that could help quash the "is the party with him or not" talk, Kendrick Meek's campaign has released a new radio ad featuring President Obama.

The campaign says the president "casts Kendrick as a proven fighter for the middle class, pointing to Kendrick's leadership holding Wall Street accountable, making college more affordable, and opposing the Bush tax breaks for the wealthy."

Meek is to join Obama in Miami today at a fundraiser for Democrats. CLick here to listen to the ad.

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October 08, 2010

St. Pete Times endorses Charlie Crist for Senate

Running in Sunday's Times:

"Whatever his flaws, Crist offers a fresh approach and is well known to Floridians. He moves easily among Republicans and Democrats who are not party activists. He is fiscally conservative and socially moderate. He has praised Ronald Reagan and embraced Barack Obama. He respects differing opinions, adopts good ideas regardless of their source and treats everyone with uncommon decency. That is the prescription for restoring the Senate's once-proud tradition of collaboration and compromise.

"Meek, 44, has served a competent eight years in the House. He voted for the economic stimulus package, health care reform, cap-and-trade legislation and financial regulatory reform. But the Democrat has not distinguished himself from the pack in Congress. While in the Legislature, his crowning achievement was a constitutional amendment limiting class sizes that strains state funding and marginally improves student performance.

"Rubio, 39, is exactly what Florida and the nation do not need. He says Washington is broken, but his solution is not to work with Democrats to find common ground on the nation's most pressing problems. He would lock arms with the obstructionists who would rather deny the Obama administration any victories than move the country forward through negotiation and compromise."

Meek uses Chinese flag to call Rubio extreme

Here's a picture that's sure to infuriate Marco Rubio, the son of exiles from a communist county. It's the new Kendrick Meek website that argues Rubio is too extreme, featuring this pic of Rubio superimposed on a Chinese flag.


Emotional imagery aside, the photo does highlight a key struggle for Republicans. They argue that the national debt is one of the biggest problems facing the country, yet their support of extending the Bush tax cuts would make the deficit worse if not offset by an equal amount of spending. Republicans argue that raising taxes right now would stifle any nascent growth in the economy.

October 07, 2010

Meek rejects Sierra Club endorsement as "an insult" to Florida enviros

Kendrick Meek -- who along with Charlie Crist just got co-endorsed by the Sierra Club -- is telling the group to keep its endorsement.

"Today's Sierra Club co-endorsement is an insult to Florida's environmental community. The Sierra
Club has chosen to stand with a governor who stood on stage applauding as Sarah Palin chanted, 'Drill, Baby, Drill,' a governor who signed a law making it easier for big developers to drain the Everglades, a governor who endorsed a bill that would have allowed drilling just three miles away from Florida beaches, and a governor who used polluter talking points to attack climate change legislation.

"For years, I have stood with everyday Floridians and the environmental community against Big Oil and the big developers who want to pollute our great state. I have consistently stood against drilling since day one and took on some members of my own party in the process. I fought against developers draining the Everglades and worked hard to ensure that any development occurs responsibly.

"I cannot in good conscience accept an endorsement from an organization that would stand with a governor who has consistently put developers, oil companies and the special interests first. I choose to stand with the environmental community and everyday Floridians who want clean energy jobs, clean water, and clean beaches. It's an insult to Florida's environmental community and Sierra Club members that the organization would endorse a governor who, in the organization's own words, 'sold out to developers' by 'failing to veto even the worst bills.' While I agree that Marco Rubio is an unacceptable
choice for Florida's environment, Charlie Crist is also an unacceptable choice. We should all take a stand and, in doing so, I respectfully decline the Sierra Club's co-endorsement."

Sierra Club endorses Crist ... and Meek

The Sierra Club says its endorsing Charlie Crist and Kendrick Meek in the Senate race.

"The Sierra Club rarely makes dual endorsements, but in this case it was particularly appropriate. Florida, the public at large, and Sierra Club members who want to see environmental leaders in Washington will all be well served by either Charlie Crist or Kendrick Meek as their representative in the U.S. Senate,” said Cathy Duvall, National Political Director of the Sierra Club.

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October 05, 2010

New Crist attack ad hits Rubio on Social Security

Gov. Charlie Crist has unleashed a new attack ad that accuses Senate rival Marco Rubio of wanting to cut Social Security benefits. 

Rubio has suggested raising the retirement age but said reforms shouldn't be focused on younger workers. His campaign has denounced the ad as "false" and as "scare tactics."

The ad mirrors Gov. Charlie Crist's campaign event today on Social Security at Memorial Manner, a Pembroke Pines retirement home.


October 01, 2010

GOP operative slams Rubio, Atwater

Republican operative Chris Ingram is out with his ballot recommendations, and (surprise!) most of them are for Republicans or GOP-favored amendments. But a couple of races caught our eye: He endorses Libertarian Alex Snitker in the Senate race, Loranne Ausley in the CFO race and urges a no vote on the class size amendment.

In the Senate race, he calls Charlie Crist, Marco Rubio and Kendrick Meek all "crooked" and says Snitker "enthusiastic and sincere." Amendment 8, he says, would "erode public education."

But Ingram saves his strongest stuff for his endorsement of Ausley (really an endorsement against Jeff Atwater): Loranne Ausley is hardly a Tallahassee outsider, but running against State Senate President Jeff Atwater she looks like the Mother Teresa of Florida politics. Atwater is probably the most disingenuous and self-serving elected officials in the entire state – quite a feat in a state that is home to Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio. He rails against “big government” spending in Washington while balancing the state’s budget on the backs of the next generation in the form of Obama stimulus funds. Ausley probably would have done the same, but Republicans should expect and demand better. Send double-talking G.O.P. candidates a message by sending Atwater back to whatever rock he crawled out from.

September 30, 2010

Rubio up 13 points in Q poll

Quinnipiac University: Republican Marco Rubio holds a solid 46 – 33 percent likely voter lead over Gov. Charlie Crist, running as an independent in the race for Florida’s U.S. Senate seat, with Democrat U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek at 18 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Rubio, a former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and a favorite of the Tea Party movement, is benefitting from strong voter anger at the federal government, likely voters tell the independent Quinnipiac  University survey, conducted by live interviewers.“It is no coincidence that Rubio is getting 46 percent of the vote and 48 percent of the electorate is angry at Washington,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

More here: Download 093010 FL SEN + BP

September 29, 2010

Despite concerns now, Charlie Crist approved Taj Mahal courthouse. Three times

Gov. Charlie Crist is shocked -- shocked!-- that lawmakers in 2007 slipped money into the Florida budget to build what has become known as the Taj Mahal, the First District Court of Appeal building. Here's what he told a FOX station in Tampa: "Slipping something like that into the budget -- you know, secretly, essentially -- is always wrong. It's never appropriate."

But wait. Crist's office actually saw the appropriation in 2007 and never raised an objection. His internal records from the Office of Policy & Budget show that the item was attached to.... former House Speaker Ray Sansom, the budget chief at the time who was subsequently indicted for alleged wrongdoing in handling the state budget in another matter. The document, nicknamed the "turkey list," explicitly notes a $250,000 appropriation linked to an initial $33.5 million expenditure for the 1st DCA courthouse in HB985, a transportation-related bill.

Crist said he doesn't remember the appropriation in the state budget, but we know he closely reviewed the turkey list in 2007 because he proudly touted record vetoes of $459 million that year. To reach that eye-popping number, Crist used some creative math and counted a tuition fee increase worth $39 million -- even though that number wasn't in the budget document itself. Neither was all the DCA money (just $7.9m was), incidentally. Yet Crist chose not to veto it. Call that approval number 1.

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