August 17, 2016

PolitiFact: Marco Rubio's claim about the VA bill


Marco Rubio is touting his support for veterans in his latest campaign ad ahead of the Aug. 30 primary in the Florida Senate race.

The ad opens with snippets from veterans in the Army, Marines and Navy who are backing Rubio for his efforts to help veterans.

After a few testimonials, the screen cuts to text that reads, "Marco Rubio wrote and passed bipartisan legislation allowing the VA to fire negligent workers."

We wondered if this was correct, so we looked into it.

Keep reading from Allison Graves of PolitiFact Florida.

Marco Rubio: Patrick Murphy is 'lazy' and 'feels entitled' to U.S. Senate seat



Speaking on a conservative talk radio show this morning, incumbent Republican Sen. Marco Rubio gave blistering criticism of his potential Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy -- foreshadowing Rubio's attacks for a likely general election match-up.

"Lazy." "Privileged." "Entitled."

Those are the words Rubio used to describe Murphy during an interview with John Hinderaker on "The Laura Ingraham Show." They are some of Rubio's harshest descriptions to date of Murphy -- the leading Democrat in the Aug. 30 primary for U.S. Senate.

For his part, Murphy, a congressman from Jupiter, has been directly attacking Rubio for weeks -- emphasizing Rubio's poor attendance record in the Senate and his support for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Both Rubio and Murphy have largely ignored their primary opponents.

Hinderaker asked Rubio about the two Democratic front-runners in this month's primary, Murphy and fellow U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, and Rubio acknowledged Grayson only briefly.

"Alan Grayson, as I've said before, is not well," Rubio said. "I don't say this lightly because it's a term that's thrown around loosely -- but Alan Grayson is an unstable person."

Rubio then laid into Murphy at length -- attacking his work ethic, his affluent upbringing, his voting record, and for embellishing his resume.

"Patrick Murphy is an unreliable person," Rubio said. "He’s lazy; he’s not a very hard worker. He’s not a guy that you can see his campaign. He barely does events, he kind of just is phoning it in, and I think he feels entitled to it."

Continue reading "Marco Rubio: Patrick Murphy is 'lazy' and 'feels entitled' to U.S. Senate seat" »

August 16, 2016

Murphy, Rubio add to endorsements


With just two weeks until Florida's primary election, candidates for the U.S. Senate have picked up a couple of key endorsement they hope will give them a boost going into the stretch run.

In the Democratic primary, the League of Conservation Voters endorsed Patrick Murphy, the Palm Beach County Congressman, running against Orlando Congressman Alan Grayson and Pam Keith, a Miami resident and former U.S. Navy officer.

"Growing up in South Florida on the front lines of the climate crisis, Congressman Patrick Murphy understands firsthand how important it is to protect our environment," said Tiernan Sittenfeld of the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund.

In the Republican primary, the South Florida Council of Firefighters threw its support behind incumbent Marco Rubio, a Miami Republican who is running for a second 6-year-term against Manatee County homebuilder Carlos Beruff. That group says it represents 3,500 firefighters in South Florida.

“We commend Marco on his willingness to run for, and serve, in public office and because of that, the South Florida Council of Fire Fighters (SFCFF) has endorsed his re-election campaign," said David Perez, president of South Florida Council of Firefighters.

Monmouth poll: Clinton, Rubio ahead in Florida


Hillary Clinton holds a 9-percentage-point lead over Donald Trump in Florida, according to a new poll by Monmouth University, which also found Marco Rubio ahead of his two chief rivals for U.S. Senate.

Clinton drew 48 percent support in the poll, compared to Trump's 39 percent. Six percent went to Libertarian Gary Johnson, and 1 percent to Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Clinton's advantage comes from her backing from Hispanic, black and Asian voters, who favor her over Trump by 65-19 percent. She also bests Trump among white women, by 49-39 percent, though he leads among white voters overall, including both college and non-college graduates. She's got stronger support among Democrats (92 percent) than Trump does among Republicans (79 percent). Independent voters are also leaning toward Clinton, by 47-30 percent. 

Most voters still view Clinton and Trump very unfavorably.

"The gender split among white voters in Florida is huge," Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said in a statement. "Men are drawn to Trump's message while women are not. These offsetting factors give Clinton the edge."

In the Senate race, incumbent Rubio leads U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter by 48-43 percent and U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando by 50-39 percent. Murphy and Grayson are running in the Aug. 30 Democratic primary.

Among poll respondents, 53 percent said they thought Rubio chose to run for re-election to improve his chances to seek the presidency again. Sixty-three percent were unaware Rubio had backed Trump; most respondents didn't care but about 25 percent said the endorsement would make them less likely to vote for Rubio for Senate.

"Rubio's endorsement of Trump could come back to bite him if more voters actually learn about it," Murray said. "It remains to be seen whether the eventual Democratic nominee can turn this to his advantage in the general election campaign."

The telephone poll of 402 likely voters was conducted from Aug. 12-15. It has an error margin if 4.9 percentage points.

August 15, 2016

Rubio won't say whom he voted for in Miami-Dade mayor's race

VWW16 Voting news rk
@PatriciaMazzei @alextdaugherty

Marco Rubio is happy to tell voters that he cast his early ballot Monday for himself in Florida's Republican race for U.S. Senate.

But don't ask him which other candidates he selected.

"I'm not going to tell you," he told a Miami Herald reporter who asked him about his choice in the Miami-Dade County mayor's race. "That would be an endorsement."

Later, after casting his ballot at the West Miami Community Center, Rubio continued to stay mum on the non-partisan mayoral contest chiefly between incumbent Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Miami-Dade School Board member Raquel Regalado.

Both are Republicans. Regalado was an early supporter of Rubio's presidential candidacy, while Gimenez endorsed him after rival Jeb Bush ended his campaign. Unlike Rubio, neither Gimenez nor Regalado back Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

"To be honest with you, I know them both. I know them well," Rubio said. "I'm just not going to take a position publicly on that race."

Rubio has endorsed in a far smaller municipal race, for Miami Lakes mayor. He's backing Councilman Manny Cid over incumbent Mayor Michael Pizzi and former Mayor Wayne Slaton.

Photo credit: Roberto Koltun, el Nuevo Herald

Rubio doesn't take back calling Trump a 'con man'

VBN16 Voting News rk

In the heat of the Republican presidential primary, Marco Rubio called Donald Trump a “con man.” And he doesn’t take it back.

“I’ve stood by everything I ever said in my campaign,” Rubio told the Miami Herald editorial board Monday.

But Rubio still supports Trump for president. In fact, Rubio insists, Trump is partly why he reversed himself and chose to run for the U.S. Senate again.

“We’re in a different place now. Now we have a binary choice — not a choice between 15 people or 12 people. There are two people in the world that are going to be the next president, either Donald or HillaryClinton, he said. “In our republic, while the presidency is powerful, there is a balance of power in this country, and a significant amount of it resides in the United States Senate. It’s one of the reasons why I seek to run again.”

Rubio rejected the idea that on foreign policy, one of his signature areas of expertise, his views align more with Clinton’s than Trump’s.

“I disagree with many of her foreign-policy positions,” he said, rattling off a list of criticisms on how the Obama administration handled Russia, ISIS, the Syrian civil war, Libya after the Arab Spring and the Iran nuclear deal.

More here.

Photo credit: Roberto Koltun, el Nuevo Herald

August 12, 2016

PolitiFact Florida: Carlos Beruff's claim about vetting refugees


Bradenton developer Carlos Beruff wants voters to know that he plans to be tough on national security and immigration, because right now the FBI has no way to guarantee America’s safety as refugees flood the United States.

"Thousands of Syrian refugees are pouring into our country, thanks to President Obama," Beruff said in an Aug. 8 Facebook post. "This is an open invitation to acts of terror. Even the director of the FBI said that we cannot properly vet people coming from the Middle East."

Immigration has been a major focus of this election cycle, with Republicans routinely calling for more restrictions to ensure security in the United States. But did James Comey actually say the FBI "cannot properly vet" people coming from the Middle East?

No, he didn’t. Beruff is distorting a point Comey was making about a flaw in the vetting process, but he was reiterating the system in place was actually much better than it had been in years past.

Keep reading Joshua Gillin's fact-check here from PolitiFact Florida.

Marco Rubio to evangelicals in Orlando: don't judge LGBT community


U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio encouraged same-sex-marriage opponents to acknowledge the fears and pain of the LGBT community during a speech to evangelicals in Orlando on Friday.

Rubio had been criticized by gay-rights activists for his plan to speak to religious conservatives who oppose same-sex marriage in Orlando, the city where a gunman killed 49 people in a gay nightclub in June.

Rubio spoke at the “Rediscovering God in America Renewal Project” conference meeting where religious conservatives gathered.

In his speech, Rubio reiterated his own support for “traditional marriage,” but also asked the audience to listen to the feelings of the LGBT community and not judge them.

Keep reading here.

Photo by the Associated Press

Marco Rubio's speech on LGBT community in Orlando

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio continued his defense of "traditional marriage" while also encouraging religious conservatives to listen to the LGBT community in a speech Friday.

Rubio was speaking to the American Renewal Project, a group of evangelicals in Orlando. The owner of the gay night club in Orlando where a gunman killed 49 people joined gay rights advocates in denouncing Rubio for speaking with the group.

Here is a video of his speech and here is an excerpt:

"In order to love people you have to listen to them. You have to understand their perspective, their hope and their dreams and their fears and their pain. When it comes to our brothers and our sisters, our fellow Americans, our neighbors in the LGBT community, we should recognize that our nation, while the greatest nation in the history of mankind, is one whose history has been marred by discrimination against and the rejection of gays and lesbians. For example not long ago the federal government not only banned the hiring of gay employees, it required private contractors to identify them and fire them. We had laws that prohibited gays and lesbians from being served in bars and restaurants, and many of our cities carried out law enforcement efforts targeting the community. There was a time not long ago where it was still acceptable and common in the broader society to use slurs. To love our neighbors in the LGBT community we should recognize that even as we stand firm in the belief that marriage is the union between one man and one woman, there are those in that community in same-sex relationships whose love for one another is real, and who feel angry and humiliated that the law did not recognize their relationship as a marriage."