June 27, 2011

Mike Haridopolos earns Brevard CC $488 on $152,000 book deal

After Senate President Mike Haridopolos recently said his unusual book deal with Brevard Community College would earn the school some money, the liberal group Progress Florida took that as a challenge. It asked Brevard how much revenue has been produced by Florida Legislative History and Processes. Grand total: $487.90.

That leaves about $151,512 left before Haridopolos book pays off.

The book deal has been a major headache for Haridopolos, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate. Colleges seldom, if ever, pay teachers to write books. The deal is even rarer for community colleges. Critics said Haridopolos, who was a college teacher before becoming a pol, was cashing in on his political position at the same time he bashed big-government spending.

When Haridopolos finally produced the book, it wasn't quite the "scholarly work" that it had been billed as, reading less like a history and more like a how-to advice manual. Democrats mocked it as a coloring book, although Haridopolos handled the hit like a pro. And Haridopolos doesn't always take his own advice when it comes to running for office and running the Senate

Progress Florida has dogged Haridopolos for months and launched a website, Dirty Hari, to chronicle ever slip and hit.

Here's the email:

From: Eskicirak, Pinar [mailto:eskicirakp@brevardcc.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, June 21, 2011 7:43 AM
To: Jon Bleyer, Progress Florida
Cc: Junco, Kate
Subject: RE: Information request re "Florida Legislative History and Processes"
Hi Jon,
The total number of books sold as of today is 70 and the total royalties awarded to Brevard Community College is $487.90. We receive 70 percent of the sale price through Amazon Kindle after a $0.03 delivery cost per book is deducted.
Thank you,
Pinar Eskicirak

Budget Coordinator/Office Manager
Marketing and Media Relations
Brevard Community College
3865 North Wickham Road
Melbourne, FL 32935
Phone: (321) 433-7092

June 26, 2011

Connie Mack to endorse Mike Haridopolos?

We're getting word that U.S. Rep. Connie Mack intends to endorse his old friend, Senate President Mike Haridopolos, in the crowded Republican primary race for U.S. Senate. Mack had toyed with running for the seat, but opted to stay put in his Lee County-based congressional district, which will be redrawn this winter by a Legislature partly controlled by Haridopolos.

Haridopolos' spokesman, Tim Baker, said he couldn't confirm or deny the potential endorsement.

So far, Mack is 0-1 in endorsements in Republican races for U.S. Senate. Remember, he stuck by former Gov. Charlie Crist in the 2010 race that Marco Rubio ultimately won (after chasing Crist out of the Republican primary all together).

One Haridopolos rival, former state House Republican leader Adam Hasner, is hoping to repeat Rubio's performance by hitting the tea-party and Republican straw-poll circuit while his rival concentrates more on sucking up hella cash in Tallahassee. One difference between Hasner and Haridopolos: Hasner would have voted for the Ryan Medicare plan and Haridopolos would've voted against it (background here). Note: Mack agreed in an interview that Haridopolos' position was a "mistake." But apparently it's not enough of an error to cost Haridopolos an endorsement.

The other Republicans running in the Senate race, George LeMieux and Mike McCallister, both say they would've voted for the Ryan plan if they had no other choice. As Haridopolos soaks in the Tallahassee money, LeMieux, a former Crist aide who was appointed briefly to the Senate seat Rubio ultimately won, is counting on some Washington coin. Hasner is hoping to win the movement conservative support and money.

McCallister, a former gubernatorial candidate and college teacher, is running as the most outsider of the contenders. His campaign calls the other three candidates the "Tallahassee triplets." 


June 24, 2011

Mike Haridopolos concerned re: SunRail. Rick Scott's new staff chief in a bind

The strange politics of rail continue in Florida. Now, it's SunRail, the Central Florida commuter line approved in late 2009 by the Legislature. Current Senate President Mike Haridopolos voted for the project then. He's now a U.S. Senate candidate and has decided to raise fresh concerns about the project in a letter that puts Gov. Rick Scott on the spot.

Some tea party folks hate SunRail, and want Scott to block the project, just as he did with a high-speed rail line between Tampa and Orlando. The difference between the two projects: SunRail puts Florida taxpayers far more directly on the hook than high-speed rail.

But House Speaker Dean Cannon and the Central Florida power structure want SunRail desperately. And Scott's decision to cancel the project would be a political bombshell. So, in a perfect tea-party world, Scott would cancel it. But this isn't a perfect tea party world.

That's especially true for Haridopolos' former chief of staff, Steve MacNamara. As Haridopolos top exec, he would have approved the letter that highlights Scott's tough position. The letter was delivered yesterday. Today is MacNamara's first day on the job -- working as Scott's chief of staff. So now he has to explain to his new boss why he helped usher in this spot of controversy that the governor's office has to deal with.

Then there's Cannon. He has endorsed Haridopolos, but on the last day of session he put the Senate President through the ringer. Now, as Haridopolos moves a little to the right on the rail issue and takes the mantle of fiscal watchdog from Scott, he can enjoy a little incidental gigging of his counterpart in the Legislature. That's likely not Haridopolos' motivation, but it's a bit of a political-paybacks plus.

Here's the letter Download Sunrail_eog:

Continue reading "Mike Haridopolos concerned re: SunRail. Rick Scott's new staff chief in a bind" »

June 07, 2011

Dems to keep rattling Florida Republicans on Medicare

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee plans an online campaign to press Florida GOP Senate hopefuls Mike Haridopolos, Adam Hasner and George LeMieux on the GOP budget plan that last week emerged as an issue in the GOP Senate primary.

The DSCC says its online effort will "mobilize thousands of activists and call on Mike Haridopolos, Adam Hasner and George LeMieux to tell the Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell and other Washington Republicans that their extreme plan to end Medicare is a non-starter.

The DSCC says it plans to use a "wide array of online tools" to reach activists, including launching a series of online ads targeted at Floridians. The party says under the GOP plan, 275,900 seniors in Florida would pay $7,383 more in out of pocket health care costs.   

Hasner and LeMieux have backed the plan; Hardidopolos said it would need to be changed before he'd vote for it. The push, of course, won't move the lawmakers. But it gives the Democrats another chance to hammer at the spectre of the GOP looking to mess with Medicare.

June 02, 2011

Rick Scott pollster: Mike Haridopolos makes 'gutsy,' 'dangerous' Medicare move

If anyone knows anything about elections in Florida, it's pollster and advisor Tony Fabrizio, who helped Rick Scott in his upset wins against Bill McCollum and then Alex Sink to become governor. How will Senate President Mike Haridopolos' decision to say he'd vote no on Paul Ryan's Medicare plan play out in the U.S. Senate race.

His response: "Politically, his position is gutsy and not without some logic.  If he wins the primary, he enters the general not having to play defense on the Medicare issue which increases his odds of making the race about nelson and his record and not himself and Medicare.  The flip side is it is always dangerous to start running your general election campaign when you aren't even close to winning your primary yet."

Dangerous indeed. Haridopolos old pal, U.S. Rep. Connie Mack (who thought of running for U.S. Senate) wasn't too pleased that the Merritt Island Republican said he'd vote no. From an MSNBC interview:

Connie Mack: "I think it's important that Republicans join -- it's important that Republicans join and support Ryan's plan. I'll tell you why: if we fail to act, then the program goes bankrupt. So those who are choosing not to support either this plan or another plan are choosing to let medicare go bankrupt. That means it's not available for anybody. Ryan's plan has, in my opinion, been demagogued by the white house and democrats to the point where people have this impression that we're just going to destroy it and it goes away for everyone. We're actually saving the program."

Chuck Todd: "You think it's a political mistake here?"

Mack: "I do. I think that it's a good plan. it preserves the program as is for people 55 and older."


June 01, 2011

Take 3: Mike Haridopolos now says he would vote against Ryan Medicare plan

Third time's the charm for Senate President Mike Haridopolos. His campaign press shop, which initially told us "no comment" when we asked if he'd vote for Congressman Paul Ryan's Medicare plan, now says the Republican would vote against it.

Haridopolos ducked the question yesterday on a conservative radio show that ultimately booted him off. This afternoon, he issued a statement lacking a yes or no. Now it's a no. Apparently. 

"As Senator Haridopolos made clear in his statement, the current Ryan Medicare plan should be amended to provide for greater protections for seniors,'' spokesman Tim Baker told the St. Petersburg Times. "If the question is would he vote for the Medicare provisions as they are currently written without amendment, then the answer is No, Sen Haridopolos would not vote for the plan as currently written."

The Adam Hasner campaign calls this "The Day Mike's Campaign Died."

But at least consider a new Florida poll by the respected Democratic firm Lake Research Partners for several Democratic-leaning groups wanting to protect Social Security benefits.  The March 3-7 poll (MoE +/- 4.4%) found 76 percent of likely Florida votersn oppose cutting Social Security benefits in order to reduce the federal deficit. That includes 90 percent of Democrats, 66 percent of Republicans, 71 percent of Independents, and 56 percent of Tea Party supporters.

Nearly seven in ten (69 percent) Florida voters say they would be less likely to vote for a Senate candidate who supports cutting benefits to reduce the deficit, including two-thirds of voters in every region of the state. And swing voters? By a margin of 57 percent to 9 percent of independents and a margin of 65 percent to 5 percent of those who are undecided in the generic 2012 Senate ballot, voters said they would be much less likely to vote for a candidate who supports cutting Social Security benefits to reduce the deficit. Twenty-seven percent  said they were undecided in the contest.

In damage control, Mike Haridopolos responds to Medicare controversy (sans a yes/no answer)

After he was booted from a conservative talk-radio show for refusing to answer a direct question about Paul Ryan's Medicare plan, Senate President and U.S. Senate candidate Mike Haridopolos just issued the following statement.

I absolutely support the goals of the Ryan Plan to cut federal government deficit spending and applaud Rep. Ryan's bold leadership in putting forth an intelligent and serious plan to tackle the largest issue confronting our nation. Rep. Ryan's leadership in actually putting forth a plan to tackle the deficit is in stark contrast to the irresponsibility demonstrated by President Obama and the Democratic Senate who have failed to pass a budget for over 750 days, adding trillions to the debt during that time. While I support almost every provision of the Ryan Plan, I believe that it must be amended to provided greater protections for Seniors.

Fighting for Seniors is not new to me. One of the main reasons I fought ObamaCare, including passing Florida's Health Care Freedom Act, is because of the devastating cuts it dealt to Seniors, cutting $500 billion from Medicare to fund ObamaCare-Welfare programs.

 Again, I absolutely support the goals of the Ryan Plan and believe in almost all of the provisions to cut federal government deficit spending and address entitlements. As a candidate for the US Senate, I am the only person in this race with a proven record of reforming entitlements [Medicaid, Government Pensions, and Welfare] and a demonstrated commitment to making cuts to balance the budget in the state of Florida without increasing taxes or fees.


Unwilling to answer about Medicare plan, Mike Haridopolos booted off talk show

U.S. Senate candidate and Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos was essentially booted off a conservative St. Augustine radio show when the Republican refused to tell host Ray Junior if he'd vote for or against U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan's Medicare plan. 

After repeated efforts to get a straight answer out of Haridopolos, the exasperated host finally said "get rid of him." Will voters do the same if Haridopolos keeps it up?

The transcript:

Junior: The question is simple: You're a Senator today. The Ryan plan comes across your desk. Are you voting yes or no?

Haridopolos: Again, Ray Junior, I'm not getting into that today because it's not the vote that I'm dealing with

Junior: But you're on my show. This is the question I'm asking. We're trying to figure out whether we want to vote for you to become a U.S. Senator. Are you voting for the Ryan plan or not? This is not about what you want to talk about. This is what I want to talk about. I want to know: Do you vote for this bill or not?

Haridopolos: What I'd like to talk about is simple - what did I do in the state Legislature...

Junior: I'm not interested in what you want to talk about, Mike. I’m mention what the voters want to talk about. The voters want to talk about the budget. And I'm interested in what I want to talk about -- my show. Tell me: You voting for the Ryan plan, yes or no?

Haridopolos: Again, I don’t have all the information to make that decision yet.

Junior: How could you possibly not have all that information, you're running for Senate?

Haridopolos: Ray, I thought you wanted to talk about what we had accomplished, not about a hypothetical.

Junior: Your guy that asked for you to be on the show said “Hey, I’d like to get him on the show.’ I said ‘fine. Let’s bring him on the show.’ So I’m asking you that question.
The only reason people avoid questions like this, Mike, is because they don't want to be tied in -- when they don't want to actually have people see how they would do things. There's no reason to avoid this question. How could you possibly be running for U.S. Senate and not know what's in the Ryan bill?

Haridopolos: I know what's in the Ryan bill, but again, what you're asking me is a fair question. What I'm telling you is...

Junior: Ok, I'd like a fair answer...

Haridopolos:...A lot of people are talking about hypotheticals -- if they run, if they win. Let's talk about what I actually accomplished

Junior: Laughter... no, no, no. You're not doing that, Mike. Every single thing a person talks about when they're on the campaign trail is a hypothetical. A hundred percent of it. There's nothing that's not hypothetical. The only way we know whether it's going to be true or not is when they get into office is if they follow through on the things they said they would do. That's why I'm asking you: Would you vote yes or no on Ryan?
Haridopolos: Exactly what I'm bringing up. My point as well. I made a promise to balance the budget, not raise taxes, not raise fees..

Junior: Ok, does the Ryan plan do that? Does the Ryan plan do that?

Haridopolos: Look, the Ryan plan is what's in Washington

Junior: Ok, get him off my phone. I don't want anything to do with this guy. Get rid of him.

May 25, 2011

Mike Haridopolos takes aim at 'arm-chair extremists... revisionist history'

Senate President and U.S. Senate candidate Mike Haridopolos just sent out this email to fellow Republicans:

As I have reflected upon the work we just completed in Tallahassee and your integral and important role, I wanted to take a moment to express my thanks and congratulations to you. The challenges we faced were unprecedented, as were our accomplishments on behalf of the people of the State of Florida.

Indeed, you have taken the tough steps to put our state back on the road to fiscal health.  This work will create the certainty and stability entrepreneurs and private sector job creators need to start hiring again. And you tackled the challenges in front of you with a long-term view instead of seeking quick fixes or just kicking the can down the road.

It is not surprising that some have tried to revise history, characterizing the session as a failure and thus the accomplishments that you worked so hard for as failures as well.  The liberal and political beneficiaries of this revisionist history are predictable.  As is their playbook: single out one or two issues left on the table and ignore the voluminous conservative accomplishments that will help to get our economy and Florida's families back on track.

This tremendous body of work, that the liberal and political spoilsports can’t and won’t acknowledge, includes:
*A Balanced Budget that cut almost $4 billion without Raising Taxes or Fees
*Education Reform that recognizes and rewards good teachers
*Medicaid Reform that is quickly becoming a nationwide model
*Pension Reform
*$308 million in Tax Cuts
*A Smart Cap Amendment to Limit Future Government Spending
*The Health Care Freedom Act to block ObamaCare mandates
*Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients

Your accomplishments certainly do not stop there and are literally too numerous to mention in this note. I am proud of you and the hard work you did, not only on the part of your constituents, but in service to our whole state.

I know some of the decisions you had to make weren't easy, and we may not have always seen eye to eye on everything, but at the end of the day, we did the right thing and this was a session full of accomplishment to be proud of.  I simply won't let the arm-chair extremists tell people otherwise about you or this Legislature.

Thanks again for all that you do for our great state


May 12, 2011

Cash analysis: Who gave Mike Haridopolos what, and did it pay off?

Whether it’s trial lawyers vs. the business community or workers comp doctors weighing in on pill mills, some of the biggest battles of the lawmaking session left their mark – and money -- on the U.S. Senate campaign of Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos.

An analysis of the $2.5 million Haridopolos raised in the first quarter of 2011 shows how the Republican received his biggest chunks of money from the special interests who wanted something out of the 60-day legislative session.

The city with the most generous Haridopolos donors: Tallahassee, the state capital, where lawyers, consultants, lobbyists and business people contributed $194,335. Miami donors contributed the second highest-amount: $140,010.

Continue reading "Cash analysis: Who gave Mike Haridopolos what, and did it pay off? " »