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293 posts from September 2008

September 30, 2008

Florida GOP chief on Palin: "She needs to be briefed more"

Florida Republican Party chief Jim Greer is among a number of GOP'ers quoted in a New York Times story that suggests "Republicans are worried about how much help (Sarah Palin) will be for (John McCain) in November."

Noting that Palin's "halting interview with Katie Couric on CBS News alarmed many Republicans and gave fodder for a devastating parody on Saturday Night Live," the article quotes Greer as saying:

"I think the Katie Couric interview shows that she needs to be briefed more on certain aspects. She continues to be viewed very positively by the base of the party, but she needs to demonstrate that she's got the knowledge and ability to be president should the need arise."

Read the whole story here.

Bill Clinton to help DWS raise Star Island $

During his not-so-tepid-on-Obama Florida tour, former Prez Bill Clinton is expected to hold a fundraiser to help Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz 8:30 p.m. Wed. Oct. 1 at the Star Island drive home of Amarilis and Claudio Osorio.

Download DWS.pdf

Crist names Sheldon new DCF chief

George Sheldon, the acting secretary of the Department of Children and Families, was given full power over the agency Tuesday when Gov. Charlie Crist tapped him to replace Sheldon's longtime friend Bob Butterworth.

Sheldon, 61, was brought to the agency 20 months ago by Butterworth, and said his top concern was to train case workers to make sure that families receive more information about food stamps, and mental-health and substance-abuse counseling.

"Food stamps are up 23 percent statewide," Sheldon said. "Calls to the abuse hotline are going up 21 percent. There's a clear tie between mental health, substance abuse and economic stress... so it's a matter of integrating all these things in the department."

Sheldon said case workers should be able to handle the extra services because some case loads have decreased for foster care (decreasing from 2,900 to 2,300) while adoptions have increased to record highs.

In tapping Sheldon, Crist turned to an one-time rival to help out. Sheldon unsuccessfully ran against for Education Commissioner in 2000 against Crist who ran a tough ad rapping his then-opponent for a drunken-driving arrest. It came out just as George W. Bush was fending off Democrat attacks for his DUI bust.

Crist expressed some regret: "In life, the older you get, hopefully, the more mature you get."

"George is the kind of guy who understands the people business," Crist said. "He happens to be a Democrat. I happen to be a Republican. But that doesn't matter to us here in Florida."

Sheldon, a former Tampa state legislator, served as Butterworth's deputy attorney general beginning in 1999 and, when Butterworth resigned the office to become the dean of law school at St. Thomas University in Miami in 2003, Sheldon became the associate dean.

Martinez vs. Diaz-Balart, more competitive than ever?

The non-partisan Rothenberg Political Report (which is predicting Democrats will pick up between 10 to 20 seats in the November election) has moved the contest between Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Raul Martinez to "pure toss up."

The match between Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart and Joe Garcia is ranked as "leans Republican."

Both designations are good news for Democrats: the races were added to Rothenberg's list of competitive races for the first time in July. Back then the Lincoln/Raul matchup was considered "leans Republican," and the Garcia/Diaz-Balart head to head was rated as "Republican favored."

September 29, 2008

Joe Garcia within striking distance?

A poll done for the left-leaning website, Daily Kos, suggests trouble for Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart and opportunity for his Democratic challenger.

The survey of likely voters by Rockville, Maryland-based Research 2000 pegs Diaz-Balart at 45 percent and Joe Garcia at 41 percent, with a 5 percent margin of error. Kos calls the Diaz-Balart below 50 number "a danger sign for any incumbent. The poll shows Garcia outperforming Barack Obama who trails 53-38 in the district against John McCain.

See all the numbers here.

The debate that was or wasn't a debate, is off

CBS-4 plans to inform its viewers that the hotly anticipated debate between Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Raul Martinez is off "because both parties were unable to agree on a time that would work for everyone involved."

Here's what "everyone involved" had to say: First up was Democrat Martinez, accusing Diaz-Balart of ending negotiations and refusing to debate, "after continuously lying about the existence of a televised debate on CBS4."

But Diaz-Balart says it was Martinez who quashed the debate "after months of desperate whining and complaining" that Diaz-Balart would not debate. Diaz-Balart's campaign sent out an e-mail from CBS-4 that thanked the parties for agreeing to participate in a debate -- to be held Friday night.

Martinez's camp says it hadn't ever agreed to a Friday night debate -- and already had another event scheduled. And it maintains the first time it ever heard about the CBS-4 debate is when Diaz-Balart told the Herald he had agreed to debate on CBS-4. Then, the campaign says, CBS-4 extended an invitation.

Confused yet? Stay tuned.

Continue reading "The debate that was or wasn't a debate, is off" »

Caught on tape: Democrats boosting Fannie, naysaying regs

A Youtube video viralling around the Internet undercuts the Dem attack over laissez faire Republicanism with this damaging weapon: The Democrats' own words during a 2004 U.S. House of Representatives hearing where they seemed to defend Fannie Mae and resist calls for regulations.

The video is circulated by Republicans and has some clear spin, such as the headline that "McCain and the Republicans tried to stop it (bad loans) over and over again" (without showing a lick of McCain, who said he called for more regulations more than a year after this hearing took place).

Regardless, the images of Dems falling over themselves to defend the loan program (largely because it helped minorities) speaks for itself. At the least, it shows that there's bad-loan blood on both parties' hands.

Dems losing (but gaining) in absentee-ballot war

Florida Republicans are, as usual, beating Democrats in absentee ballot requests, accounting for about half of the 1.26m ballots. The Dems have requested 441k and independents 186k.

But credit the Barack Obama camp and Dems for finding this angle: Last election cycle, Republican absentee ballot requests accounted accounted for 55 percent of all requests, rather than just half. Still, GOP voters have asked for double the number of ballots now - 637k - and elections aren't won by percentages but by raw votes.

The counterpoint: Democratic registration gains are giving Republicans the willies. And the Dems are about to shift their full attention to absentee ballots after new-voter registration ends Oct. 6.

Garcia and Diaz-Balart, no common ground

Democrats Raul Martinez and Annette Taddeo may have sided with their Republican targets, Reps. Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, when it comes to opposing the $700 billion bailout that crashed and burned on the House floor today.

But not Joe Garcia. The Democrat challenging Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart assailed the Republican for voting against the measure while the "economy plummets.

"I'm not saying it's a perfect bill, but this is about taking responsibility," said Garcia. "These guys broke it, but they're not willing to pay for it."

He called the bill a "first step at getting our economy back on track," and said he would have voted for it, had he been in Congress.

Diaz-Balart said the bill had "taxpayers footing the bill to bailout Wall Street for its reckless and irresponsible behavior. Wall Street should be required to pony up capital before asking the taxpayers to bail them out," he said.

Lies, damn lies and the presidential candidates

From Factcheck.org:

"Normally we post a "Whoppers" compilation the week before Election Day. This time we've already seen such a large number of twisted facts, misleading claims and outright falsehoods that we are doing that now.

It's not just Sarah Palin's claim about killing the bridge project that she had supported until it became a national laughingstock and Congress turned against it. That's just the whopper that got the attention of many news organizations earlier this month. There have been lots of others.

McCain has made multiple false representations of Obama's tax proposals. Obama has made false claims about McCain's stance on Social Security. Both McCain and Obama have traded some whoppers about their energy policies, about Iraq, and about Iran, and about supporting troops."

The lies so far are here