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311 posts from October 2012

October 31, 2012

Mitt Romney runs pain-at-the-pump ads at South Florida gas stations

Mitt Romney's campaign announced a new spot for a captive audience: customers at gas stations equipped with video displays. And in case motorists didn't know fuel costs more these days, Romney's spot will more than remind them.

Drumbeat of political advertising is breaking records in Florida this year

Fueled by cash from outside political groups, the arms race over political advertising has reached a crescendo in Florida, where more than $133 million has poured into the state since April to finance a record-breaking barrage of television ads.

The presidential race alone has shattered Florida’s previous records and nationwide “this election year will go down as a record pulverizing year for political advertising,’’ said Erika Franklin Fowler, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project which tracks political ads.

Since June 1, more than 915,000 presidential ads have been aired on broadcast and national cable television across the nation, the group reported last week. That is a 44.5 percent increase over a similar period in 2008 and a 43.7 percent increase over 2004.

What’s surprising however, is that the millions spent on advertising in Florida’s 10 top media markets in the final week will not be not aimed at persuading voters who to pick in the high stakes presidential contest. Instead the goal is to get people out to vote — and influence media coverage. More here.


Here’s a snapshot of the millions of dollars spent on political advertising on Florida television stations, between April 11 and Oct. 24.

Tampa: $38 million (36,680 ads)

Orlando: $34 million, (35,290 ads)

Miami/Fort Lauderdale: $26 million (18,299 ads)

West Palm Beach: $14 million (19,867 ads)

Jacksonville: $10 million (22,611 ads)

Fort Myers/Naples: $8 million (21,567 ads)

Tallahassee: $1 million, (3,701 ads

Gainesville: $1 million, (5,000 ads)

Source: Kantar Media

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/10/31/v-fullstory/3076533/political-ad-war-in-florida-is.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/10/31/3076533/political-ad-war-in-florida-is.html#storylink=cpy

"Nightmare:" Long lines, mail-ballot glitches in South Florida early voting

From Miami Haitians to a Harvard student from Broward, voting early in South Florida — be it by mail or in person — is proving troublesome.

Some voters have yet to receive absentee ballots they requested weeks ago from Broward County’s elections’ office. Long lines have plagued several early voting sites, especially in Hollywood and Miramar.

In Miami-Dade, the lines have been even longer. Wait times range from 30 minutes to six hours. The North Miami library has had such long waits that Haitian-American advocates held a news conference Wednesday to protest the “disenfranchisement.”

In Aventura, police officers waved away potential voters who couldn’t find parking spots. A county commissioner resorted to enlisting a staffer, to shuttle voters by van from distant parking lots to the polls.

And Miami Gardens had such long lines that former Gov. Charlie Crist, a President Obama campaign proxy, appeared and urged his successor, Gov. Rick Scott, to extend the length of early voting hours countywide. Crist did that in 2008, helping Obama win Florida.

“You cannot believe the line out here right now, it’s phenomenal,” Crist said. Of extending the number of early-voting hours or days, Crist said: “It’s just the right thing to do.”

Scott, a supporter of Republican Mitt Romney, probably won’t extend in-person early voting, which ends Saturday night.

“We think that the hours we have right now are the best hours we’ve ever had,” said Chris Cate, a spokesman for Florida’s elections division, part of Scott’s administration.

Scott signed a law last year cutting early voting days from 14 to eight and eliminated early voting on the Sunday before Election Day, when heavily Democratic African-American voters held “souls to the polls” rallies, though the law guaranteed a Sunday of early voting. The law caps access at 12 hours daily, and a cumulative total of 96 hours. In 2008, voters had a cumulative 120 hours thanks to Crist’s executive order.

In general, Democrats favor early voting, and Republicans favor voting absentee.

Out-of-state voters are having problems, too, in getting their absentee ballots.

At Romney's events in Florida, no sign of Gov. Rick Scott

Mitt Romney held three high-profile Florida campaign events Wednesday in three vitally important markets of Tampa, Miami and Jacksonville. But as usual, Gov. Rick Scott was nowhere to be seen.

Scott has said it's not true that he's deliberately avoiding appearing in public with his party's presidential candidate. "As governor, you do have a job to do," he has said. But Scott's popularity with Florida voters remains a problem and his message that Florida's economy is improving is at odds with Romney's gloomy assessment of the economy. In terms of messaging, the two Republicans are an odd couple. 

In Scott's absence, another Florida governor, Jeb Bush, shared the spotlight with Romney in Tampa and later on the Coral Gables campus of the University of Miami. In Tampa, Romney heaped praise on Bush, calling him "the education governor," at a time when Scott has been striving to be perceived as an ally of public school teachers, parents and students. 

Read the full story here.

-- Steve Bousquet

Lawyers, watchdog groups patrol state in Obama-Romney showdown

TALLAHASSEE — It won't just be voters heading to the polls this week in Florida and other swing states, but thousands of lawyers and volunteers scrutinizing how ballots are handed out, scanned and stored inside precincts. Thousands more will stand outside to detect efforts to intimidate, disenfranchise or reward voters. In the post Bush vs. Gore era, this is what Democracy looks like. "The 2000 election scared the hell out of people," said Nate Persily, a political science professor at Columbia University who has studied election law. "Campaigns are now armed to the hilt with lawyers beforehand so they aren't caught off guard." Read more here.

Jim Greer's wife threatens to spill the beans

The dishwasher is broken, the sink is leaking and Lisa Greer, wife of former GOP Chairman Jim Greer says she is about ready to spill the beans on people who could have helped them.

In a mid-afternoon posting on Facebook, Mrs. Greer described the family’s “Difficult situation,’’ saying they cannot afford repairs.

Continue reading "Jim Greer's wife threatens to spill the beans" »

In Miami and Tampa, Mitt Romney stays positive onstage, appeals for storm-help

Mitt Romney campaigned Wednesday in Miami and Tampa where he largely delivered his standard campaign speech, with two notable exceptions.

Romney called on people to aid the survivors of Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast. And he never mentioned President Barack Obama by name and shied away from ostensibly attacking the Democrat.

“This is a quite a time for the country, as you know,” Romney said in both Tampa and Miami. “We’re going through trauma in a major part of the country…. It’s interesting to see how people come together in circumstances like this.”

Romney’s toned-down approach underscores the difficulties of criticizing the nation’s commander in chief after a disaster.

But, with Vice President Joe Biden campaign sharply criticizing Romney and running mate Paul Ryan, the chances are that the Republican campaign won’t stay too positive for too long.

Romney’s positive tone also indicates his status in Florida: He’s ahead, albeit narrowly, according to numerous polls. Add in absentee-ballot and early vote numbers and the race is as close as ever. Frontrunners usually stay as positive as they possible.

Continue reading "In Miami and Tampa, Mitt Romney stays positive onstage, appeals for storm-help" »

Barack Obama's Broward-County bound Nov. 4

Broward County is Obama country, one of the bluest counties in Florida, and Obama's heading there two days before Election Day to turn out the base. More details to come

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.