November 02, 2012

Former Miami mayor Diaz in Spanish-ad pushback: Romney's "exploiting the suffering" of Cubans

One of Miami-Dade's better-respected and least-partisan of politicians, former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, cut a Spanish-language ad for the Obama campaign pushing back on a Romney campaign ad that features favorable statements about the president that were made by Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro's niece.

Diaz is a no-party-affiliation voter, aka an independent. However, he did endorse Obama and spoke at the 2008 DNC. And, boy, the Romney folks are going out of their way to point out Diaz left with a low approval rating (kind of like Romney, who was upside-down 39-59% in his approve/disapprove numbers in the final year as governor)

We're not sure, but this might be a presidential-campaign first: a Spanish-language pushback against another Spanish-language ad.

The script:

Continue reading "Former Miami mayor Diaz in Spanish-ad pushback: Romney's "exploiting the suffering" of Cubans" »

3.5 million FL early ballots in; Dems lead by 76,000. But it's not like 2008

About 3.5 million Floridians have already cast absentee and in-person early voting and Democrats have an edge of about 76,000 ballots cast before the polls re-opened this morning.

Expect that to continue to grow over the next two days of in-person early voting, which Democrats dominate, especially in South Florida, which is why the GOP Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott effectively shortened early voting days. Democrats have rolled up a 156,000 early vote edge while Republicans lead in absentee ballots case by about 80,000. If every Democrat and Republican who requested an absentee ballot voted it, the GOP absentee-ballot lead would be cut by half.

Most polls show Mitt Romney's winning, and Republicans note that Democrats won't have the early vote advantage they had in 2008 (when they led by anywhere from 250,000 to 363,000 ballots, depending on how you analyze the data).

Well, shortening early voting days from 14 to eight will, by definition, help shorten the number of early votes. Understand also that, relative to the actual early voting hours available in South Florida in 2008, early voting time has been cut 20 percent, or 24 total hours. And South Florida favors President Obama the most.

However, Democrats are barely matching their raw early vote numbers compared to four years ago. So there's an enthusiasm gap relative to 2008 as well.

Democrats also point out that Republicans have been talking a better game than they've produced on the ground. Republicans predicted they'd be up in early ballots cast on Election Day. It's pretty clear they won't be. The Democratic total vote margin increases with each day of early voting.

So what happens on Election Day? May the best ground game win.

Early votes

Party          EV Total            %
DEM         770,892 46%
REP         614,988 37%
IND         286,988 17%
Total       1,672,868

Absentee votes

Party         AB Total              %
REP         781,043 44%
DEM         700,970 39%
IND         308,646 17%
Total       1,790,659

Cumulative EVAB

Party            EVAB            %
DEM       1,471,862 42%
REP       1,396,031 40%
IND         595,634 17%
Total       3,463,527

Outstanding absentee ballots:

Party     Outstanding            %
REP         362,920 36%
DEM         406,634 41%
IND         230,042 23%
Total         999,596

November 01, 2012

President Obama's Sunday reelection rally set for McArthur High School in Hollywood

From a press release:

Grassroots Event with President Obama in Hollywood, Florida

EVENT LOCATION: McArthur High School Football Field (6501 Hollywood Blvd. Hollywood FL, 33204) DOORS OPEN: 12:30 PM EST, Sunday, November 4th, 2012 Ticket Distribution Information for Members of the Public: Tickets are still available for the President’s event in Hollywood, Florida. The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required for entrance.

Tickets are available online at http://OFA.BO/Hollywood. Tickets are also available at the following locations beginning tomorrow, Friday, November 2nd beginning at 10:00 AM EST.

Benghazi, Sandy and the politics of disaster

Blown away by Hurricane Sandy: News of the Sept. 11 attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

But the coverage is returning as Sandy’s floodwater’s recede and Republicans press the Obama Administration for more answers about the deadly attacks in the Middle East.

“I think there’s classified information the public should know about eventually but there’s no reason for it to be classified,” Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a member of the Select Committee on Intelligence, said, declining to discuss what classified information he has or has not seen.

Rubio said he hopes for more public information after his committee holds a closed-door hearing on the attacks Nov. 15.

Continue reading "Benghazi, Sandy and the politics of disaster" »

Florida GOP's early vote spin: 96=120.

In 2008, with long lines forming at the early voting polls in South Florida, then-Republican Gov. Charlie Crist extended early voting hours by four hours daily for six days, or the equivalent of two full extra days.

In math terms, that would look like this: 4 X 6 = 24.

So that meant that, in 2008, the people of South Florida had 120 cumulative hours of early voting because the cumulative hours had been capped at 96.

In math terms, what Crist did looks like this: 96 + 24 = 120.

But you wouldn't know that from looking at the Republican Party of Florida's latest press release designed to give cover to Gov. Rick Scott for his likely refusal to keep the polls open longer this year. RPOF is good at math. It news that more early voting hours = more votes for President Obama.

"Florida has a law in regard to early voting--this law provides for 96 hours of operation for early voting locations," the RPOF statement says, "the exact same amount of hours as 2008."

Not quite. Not exact. Not the same.

It's true that, in 2008 and in 2011, the maximum statutory hours remain the same. But the actual early voting hours are not the same for about a quarter of the early voting electorate: those who live in South Florida's three big counties, Dade, Broward and Palm Beach. Duval, Hillsborough and Orange (the number three, four and five early vote counties, respectively) are also majorly affected. Add these six together, and the counties account for about 44 percent of the in-person early vote ballots cast.

But we'll stick to South Florida, where the polls were opened 120 total hours for early voting in 2008. Now it looks like 96. That's a real reduction of 24 hours, or 20 percent relative to 2008.

Here's the math: (120-96)/120=.2/100

3m FL ballots already cast; Dems open 59,000 early ballot lead over GOP. Is it enough for Obama?

More than 3 million Floridians have already voted, according to new early and absentee ballot (EVAB) numbers that show Democrats continue to add to their total lead over Republicans: about 59,000.

Democrats have cast 133,000 more early votes, Republicans cast about 74,000 more absentee ballots. That could be as much as a third of the electorate. (Totals below)

But is it enough for President Obama? In 2008, Obama had about a 280,000 cumulative early vote lead before the polls opened on Election Day. At the current rate of growth, it would take Obama nine more days to get there. But that would be Nov. 13, a week after the election. And early in-person voting ends Saturday.

Guess who cut early voting days? Republicans. In 2008, including an executive order from Gov. Charlie Crist, polls stayed open a cumulative 120 hours over 14 days. The Legislature and current Gov. Rick Scott cut those days to eight and capped cumulative hours at 96. Republicans point out that the new early voting law gives the right for early voting on weekends. But in South Florida, where a quarter of early voters cast ballots, citizens had two Sundays of early voting. Now they have only one.

There have been long lines, cries of disenfranchisement and even a "nightmare" of a problem for early voters. Democrats want Scott to exend early voting. Scott probably won't. Story is here.

Continue reading "3m FL ballots already cast; Dems open 59,000 early ballot lead over GOP. Is it enough for Obama?" »

UPDATED Positive campaign? Romney gives Obama the Chavez-Castro-Che treatment in Spanish ad

Yesterday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was onstage in Miami talking about the need to unite the country and to stop all the attacks. On Spanish-language TV, though, Romney's campaign was anything but positive.

Since at least Tuesday, his campaign has begun heavily running this ad that links President Barack Obama with Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chávez, Fidel Castro's niece and communist revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara. The campaign, despite repeated requests, didn't furnish the ad. So please pardon the cheap iPhone video recording of (**) the spot that aired three times in one prime time Spanish-language news program Tuesday and at least four times on the same show Wednesday -- including twice in the same commercial break. (**) The campaign has now posted the ad online, below.

Continue reading "UPDATED Positive campaign? Romney gives Obama the Chavez-Castro-Che treatment in Spanish ad" »

October 31, 2012

Obama Super PAC "connects the dots" between Rick Scott Medicare fraud and Mitt Romney

Priorities USA announced it would run a "Connect the Dots" ad in Florida linking the type of fraud that occurred in 1997 at Columbia/HCA under now-Gov Rick Scott and a company connected years ago to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

The Romney-Medicare fraud link is obviously disputed, and the Washington Post found fault with one line of attack about the matter when it was first raised by a Republican Super PAC backing Newt Gingrich. Whether this works in Florida or not isn't so clear. Remember: Scott was elected (albeit in a Republican wave year).


Obama campaign chief Jim Messina misquotes Florida tea-party activist’s email

In a conference call with reporters today, President Obama’s campaign manager boasted about the Democratic ground game and how the vagaries of the Electoral College disfavor Romney.

“We have the map and they have the myths,” Messina said.

But he then engaged in some myth-telling himself when he talked about the Obama campaign’s turnout machine in Florida (which is doing well).

“You don’t have to take my word for it,” Messina said. “A Republican in Florida had this to say yesterday in a memo, quote: ‘The Democratic turnout machine is cleaning our clock.’ End quote.”

But that wasn’t really the quote. And there's a little context he left out as well.

The email in question, reported first by WPTV in West Palm Beach, came from Palm Beach County tea party activist. It was about the strong Democratic turnout in Palm Beach County.

Messina’s comments, though, made it sound like the Republican was talking about the entire state, and in doing so misquoted the email that said “the Democrat turnout machine in the county has been very effective and they are cleaning our clock.”

Note the phrase “in the county.” It was utterly absent from what Messina said.

Another thing Messina left out? The sentiment that Romney will probably win: “Even if Romney wins the state (likely based on polls), the turnout deficit in PBC will affect our local races.”

Still, Messina’s right that there’s concern in Florida. But it’s on both sides. And while the trends look good for Obama right now, the polls don’t in Florida.