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July 20, 2016

Hillary Clinton campaign opens Miami Gardens office

Ahead of her visit to Miami Saturday, Hillary Clinton's campaign is opening an office in Miami Gardens.

The office will open at 6:45 p.m. Thursday at 4797 NW 183 St. State Rep. Barbara Watson will kick off the opening.

Miami Gardens is a black-majority city and the home of Trayvon Martin, the teenager who was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch captain in central Florida. Former President Bill Clinton spoke on his wife's behalf in Miami Gardens before the primary. Trayvon's mother, Sybrina Fulton, will speak at the Democratic National Convention next week in Philadelphia.

Also on Thursday, the Clinton campaign will open offices in Lakeland and Naples and the Democratic National Committee will open a headquarters office in Port St. Lucie.

Clinton visits Orlando and Tampa Friday and holds a public rally at Florida International University Saturday. She is expected to announce her running mate over the next few days before the convention.

Storm-free Scott: highest convention profile in years

With his prime-time Wednesday speaking slot and a role as a Donald Trump surrogate, Florida Gov. Rick Scott has a bigger role at this Republican convention than he did four years ago in his home state in Tampa.

Not only that, but this is the biggest mark a Florida governor has made at his party's political convention in a long time -- and you can blame the weather for that.

Scott's abbreviated appearance at the Tampa convention in 2012 was due to Tropical Storm Isaac. The storm had dissipated by the time he made an appearance, which added to a perception that Scott wasn't very enthusiastic about Mitt Romney's candidacy. 

Four years before that, then-Republican Gov. Charlie Crist skipped the party's Minneapolis convention because of Tropical Storm Fay, but he sent a videotaped speech. (Fay was a monstrous rain event. You knew it was serious when legislators cancelled fund-raisers at the Governor's Club). And in New York City in 2004, Gov. Jeb Bush stayed close to home for obvious reasons: Hurricane Charley had already slammed the state and Frances was on her way (to be followed in that devastating year by Ivan and Jeanne). But even with no storm brewing at the 2000 GOP convention in Philadelphia -- where his brother George W. was nominated the first time -- Jeb kept a low profile.

Trump staffer fesses up to cribbing Michelle Obama in Melania Trump speech


CLEVELAND -- It took two days, but Donald Trump's presidential campaign on Wednesday acknowledged cribbing from First Lady Michelle Obama's speech -- unintentionally -- when writing Melania Trump's own speech.

Meredith McIver, an "in-house staff writer" for the Trump Organization, said in a statement that Melania Trump read her some of Obama's lines over the phone as inspiration. 

"I wrote them down and later included some of the phrasing in the draft that ultimately became the final speech," McIver wrote. "I did not check Mrs. Obama's speeches. This was my mistake, and I feel terrible for the chaos I have caused Melania and the Trumps, as well as to Mrs. Obama. No harm was meant."

McIver said she offered her resignation Tuesday but it was rejected: "Mr. Trump told me that people make innocent mistakes and that we learn and grow from these experiences."

The statement, printed on Trump corporate letterhead and disseminated by his political campaign, concluded with an apology from McIver "for the confusion and hysteria my mistake has caused."

What remains unclear is why it took the Trump camp so long to take responsibility for the plagiarism, especially if it was inadvertent. The campaign and national Republicans bumbled through several defensive explanations since Melania Trump delivered her speech Monday night. One of them, from Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer, referred to a character from "My Little Pony."

"Melania Trump said, 'the strength of your dreams and willingness to work for them.' Twilight Sparkle from 'My Little Pony' said, 'This is your dream. Anything you can do in your dreams, you can do now,' " Spicer said.


Trump himself wrote about the controversy earlier Wednesday on Twitter.

Rudy Giuliani says GOP convention isn't about Jeb Bush's 'ego'

via @adamsmithtimes

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Rudy Giuliani fired up the Florida delegation this morning, casting Bill Clinton as a predator and Hillary Clinton as a crook. The veteran prosecutor said never had a criminal case with so many violations of federal law and Clinton's email case, which the FBI said did not merit charges.

"I would bet my life, if you put me in front of 12 fair and decent Americans and you let me prosecute this case against Hillary Clinton, she would go to jail," the part-time Palm Beach resident declared.

"Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up!" the crowd chanted.

Asked about party leaders declining to get behind Donald Trump, Giuliani said he would be supporting Trump even if he did not know him as well as he does.

"How could they possibly want to see Hillary Clinton in the White House, We can't play this game," Giuliani said. "it's not about Jeb Bush, it's not about his ego or whether he feels he was insulted... It's not about Mitt Romney and whether he feels --- I don't know what Mitt feels. I never got much feeling from Mitt to start with," said Giuliani, who ran against Romney for the GOP nomination in 2008.

"The establishment of the Republican party was against Donald Trump. Thank God, because the establishment of the Republican party hasn't done much better than the establishment of the Democratic party."

--ADAM C. Smith, Tampa Bay Times

Patrick Murphy releases first TV ad featuring Obama


U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, on Wednesday launched the first TV ad of his Senate campaign, featuring President Barack Obama, who previously endorsed Murphy.

"Patrick's a strong progressive who's fought special interests on behalf of working families – and won," Obama says in the ad, called "Strong." "It's why they're attacking him. Don't believe the negative attacks."

The ad comes a day after the Democratic group Senate Majority PAC released ads of its own touting Obama and Vice President Joe Biden's endorsement of Murphy using "b-roll" footage from Murphy's website. He faces U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson in the Aug. 30 primary election.


Annette Taddeo continues attacks on Joe Garcia


The Democratic primary in U.S. House District 26 is getting testy, as evidenced by a candidate forum Tuesday night in which Annette Taddeo continued her offensive against former Rep. Joe Garcia

Taddeo defended her campaign's recent use of negative advertising against Garcia, and said the newly redrawn district that extends from Westchester to Key West doesn't need any more political shenanigans. 

Taddeo was referring to Garcia's former chief of staff, who secretly financed a ringer tea-party candidate in 2010.

"My level of disappointment to find out that the exact same thing that David Rivera had done was done by the person I supported was very high," Taddeo told the Kendall Federation of Homeowner Associations. "I think that we have had enough of playing with voters, playing with elections and doing things that are just not right." 

She insinuated that her negative attacks will pale in comparison to what Republicans will do if Garcia wins the Aug. 30 primary. 

"Believe me, when the Koch brothers and the Republicans get a hold of the attack ads, it will be 10 times worse," Taddeo said. 

Garcia, who leads in the polls, said he won't go negative. 

"I don't think we have to do that," he said. "I think what we have to do is speak about the issues and speak about my record. Whether it's taking on FPL (Florida Power and Light), whether it's making sure the environment is clean...all these things are tremendously important."  

On the issues, both candidates agreed on many of the topics brought forth by voters, such as agriculture policy, the Iran nuclear deal, climate change and fracking.

One issue where Taddeo attacked Garcia was on his Obamacare record. 

"There is a record of votes," Taddeo said. "Eight times my opponent voted against Obamacare with the Republicans. Those votes had only three or four Democrats that voted with the Republicans and he was one of them. Let's check the record with Obamacare." 

Garcia defended his Obamacare support and said his votes were about the well-publicized implementation failures Obamacare had during the first few months of its release.

"I don't go to Washington to represent the president, I go to represent the people of this district," Garcia said. "You saw the implementation problems Obamacare had. I was on the floor of the House of Representatives. Unlike her, I actually have a record. I was sitting there voting for them. What we did was make it easier for people to subscribe to and expand Obamacare." 

July 19, 2016

Florida GOP adds breakfast headliners, including Rick Scott


CLEVELAND -- The Florida delegation will start the last day of the Republican National Convention with a high-powered breakfast.

Newly announced speakers are former House Speaker and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, Gov. Rick Scott, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions and former Amb. John Bolton

The downside? The breakfast has now been moved up to 7:15 a.m. -- an early hour for delegates (and reporters) who will inevitably be bleary-eyed from the night before.

Wednesday's speakers are political commentator Dick Morris and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, still a beloved figure among many Florida Republican politicians.

Scott is expected to address the full convention Wednesday night.

PolitiFact: Sharon Day misleads on Hillary Clinton and gender pay gap

Hillary Clinton is a hypocrite for playing the gender card, says Sharon Day, co-chair of the Republican National Committee from South Florida.

"She repeatedly plays the gender card. In fact she boasts ‘deal me in.’ Well, Mrs. Clinton, consider yourself dealt in because as a senator you paid women less than the men in your office," said Day at the Republican convention July 19.

The gender pay gap is a frequent talking point -- sometimes botched -- by Democrats. So Day, a prominent Republican woman, is calling out the Democratic Party’s own here for the alleged sin of unequal pay. We could not reach Day Tuesday night.

Keep reading from PolitiFact Florida.

Chris Christie says Clinton is 'guilty' on Cuba policy


CLEVELAND -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie took the Republican National Convention stage pledging to prosecute a case against Hillary Clinton on foreign policy. And in what he called his "evidence," Christie talked about Cuba -- the first time the island's been mentioned at the presidential nominating convention.

Now we go to Cuba. Hillary Clinton supported concessions to the Castro brothers and got almost nothing in return for ending the embargo. She supported a deal that didn’t even require this murderous regime to return a cop killer, JoAnne Chesimard, to face justice. See, I know about this personally: Chesimard murdered a New Jersey State Trooper in cold blood, fled to Cuba and lives there to this very day.

I want to ask you: How can someone live with your own conscience when you reward a domestic terrorist with continued safety and betray the family of fallen police officer waiting for decades for justice for his murder? So let's ask the question: Hillary Clinton, as coddler of the brutal Castro brothers and betrayer of the family of fallen Trooper Werner Foerster and his family, is she guilty or not guilty?

The crowd responded with a resounding, "Guilty!"

Dave Barry riffs on 'actual news' in Melania Trump plagiarized words

via @rayadverb

In a shocking development, an outbreak of actual news has broken out here. This almost never happens at political conventions. Usually they’re so boring that the TV networks employ men with cattle prods to periodically jolt the anchors awake.

The big story of course concerns Melania Trump, the Slovenian-born former model, who gave a prime-time speech in which she endorsed Ted Cruz.

No, seriously, Mrs. Trump declared her support for her husband, Donald Trump. Initially Mrs. Trump’s speech was well-received by media analysts, because these analysts are mostly males and she is hot. But within minutes some disturbing facts came to light:

▪ A passage in Mrs. Trump’s speech was suspiciously similar to one from a speech delivered by Michelle Obama at the 2008 Democratic convention in Denver, specifically the part where Mrs. Trump said, quote, “It is so nice to be here in Denver in 2008.”

▪  Mrs. Trump’s legal name is actually “Betty.”

▪  It turns out that there is no such place as “Slovenia.”

Asked to explain these apparent inconsistencies, the Trump campaign issued the following statement: “We are going to have such an unbelievably great explanation, that we can tell you.”

More here.