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93 posts from September 11, 2016 - September 17, 2016

September 13, 2016

Rubio attack ad accuses Murphy of distorting 'truth'


Marco Rubio is attacking challenger Patrick Murphy in a new TV ad titled "Truth" that ends on a dark note: "Patrick Murphy: Just too many lies."

The spot, which relies on a narrator and the voice of Murphy and news reporters, hits Murphy for embellishing his business résumé and academic record, and for being "one of the least effective members of Congress."

PolitiFact has rated as Mostly False two claims from news reports about Murphy's having "never" been a CPA or a small businessman. The Rubio ad, however, says Murphy was never licensed as a CPA in Florida, which is true. It's unknown how much of the business Murphy owned. PolitiFact has also found the ineffectiveness claim, from an outside group, to be Mostly False because the group's methodology narrowly focused on legislation passed out of committee.

The Miami Herald reported earlier this year that Murphy's website claimed he graduated with two degrees -- but really it was one degree with two majors.


Kaine stars in Florida radio ad for Clinton in Spanish


Hillary Clinton's campaign is putting bilingual running mate Tim Kaine into use in its first Spanish-language radio ad in Florida.

It kicks off with Donald Trump's rally chants of "build that wall." A woman narrator then warns against a Trump presidency.

Enter Kaine: "When I went to Honduras with Jesuit missionaries, I learned the strength of the most important values: faith, family and hard work," he says. 

Later, he urges listeners to register to vote: "Join our campaign. Raise your voice and vote."

The ad will also air in Ohio.

It was released on the same day as a new Clinton TV ad in Spanish, targeted for viewers in Florida and Nevada. That spot highlights Clinton's promises for children and families, such as debt-free college, equal pay for women and paid family leave.

"Soy Hillary Clinton," the candidate says at the end of the ad, "and I approve this message."


Florida radio ad asks African-American millennials to vote for 'our girl Hillary'


Hillary Clinton's campaign is up with a new Florida radio ad aimed at African-American millennial voters. It focuses on Clinton's pledge to invest in historically black colleges and universities.

"Us HBCU students and alums, our families, our friends, have to get registered and vote for the only candidate running for president who has our back: Hillary Clinton," says the spot, narrated by TV personality and actor Terrance J, who graduated from North Carolina A&T University. "Her plan will dramatically reduce debt for both public and private HBCU students. Now that's what I'm talking about. But we have to do our part. It's on us to get everybody registered and get everybody voting for our girl Hillary."

The ad, titled "Relief," will also run in North Carolina, according to Clinton's campaign. Her team is trying to register and reach young voters ahead of the Nov. 8 election against Donald Trump.

September 12, 2016

Rubio goes on air on Miami Spanish-language TV


Marco Rubio has put out his first TV ad of the general election in Spanish. It's a translated version of a spot he's already aired in English.  

The spot, airing in Miami's crowded Spanish-language TV market, features the mother of a young woman who had breast cancer. She talks about how, desperate for an experimental drug for her daughter, she contacted Rubio's office -- and they helped her.

"He didn't hesitate for a second," Blanquita Trabold of Orlando says of the Florida Republican senator.

Her daughter, she adds, implored her, "Never forget what he did for us." 



In secret tape, Joe Garcia says Hillary Clinton 'is under no illusions that you want to have sex with her'

007 Joe Garcia DS

Joe Garcia, the former Miami Democratic congressman running for his old seat, told supporters in a candid moment over the weekend that Hillary Clinton "is under no illusions that you want to have sex with her, or that she's going to seduce you."

Why Garcia went there is unclear. He was secretly recorded by a political "tracker" as he spoke informally at a Key West Democratic campaign office opening Saturday, video obtained by the Miami Herald shows.

The video -- recorded upside down as if a cellphone was in the tracker's hand -- showed Garcia standing in an office hallway with a few other men, apparently before Garcia was scheduled to address the full crowd. Clinton signs decorate some of the walls.

"I believe that we're going to have -- I'll mention it when I speak -- I believe we're about to see the most consequential presidency that we've seen since Lyndon Johnson," Garcia says. "This is not because I think Hillary Clinton is the greatest ever. But I do believe she is extremely, exceedingly competent, and she -- I know this is going to sound weird to you, but to me, as somebody who studies history, she's going to be very similar to Lyndon Johnson.

"Lyndon Johnson wasn't a particularly charming man, wasn't a particularly nice man: He would ask you nice, and then when you didn't do it, he made you do it," Garcia continued. "And Hillary is under no illusions that you want to have sex with her, or that she's going to seduce you, or out-think you."

One of the men in the hallway then makes an inaudible comment.

"I don't want to be offensive to women," Garcia responds. "What I'm talking about is exactly that: It's getting it done. Unlike Obama, who has this profound sense that logic can move people -- it can't move crazy. That's trending in the Republican Party."

Garcia then recommends listening to the Johnson tapes, admiring how Johnson got votes for the Civil Rights Act by calling senators from Western states by threatening to kill money for their water projects.

Asked to explain why he would refer to someone wanting to have sex with Clinton, Garcia issued a statement to the Herald.

"I believe Secretary Clinton is the most competent and qualified presidential candidate in the history of this country, man or woman," he said. "My comments speak to Secretary Clinton's focus on getting things done, and not on the gender stereotypes and biases women in public life are frequently subjected to. I fully support Hillary Clinton for president, and I'm confident she will be one of our country's most effective presidents."

National Republicans, however, cast Garcia's remark as embarrassing.

"It's shameful and disgusting that Joe Garcia would describe Hillary Clinton's qualifications to serve as president in terms of whether or not he would have sexual relations with her," National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Katie Martin said in a statement. "It's time for national Democrats to answer whether they are going to support a sexist candidate like Joe Garcia who would say such sexually disparaging things about the first-ever female Democratic nominee for President of the United States."

Several hours later, Garcia issued a second statement -- this time saying sorry.

"I apologize for my poorly worded comment about Secretary Clinton," he said. "My comments were intended to speak to Secretary Clinton's relentless focus on getting the job done, despite the unjust gender stereotypes and biases women in public life are subjected to."


This post has been updated to include Garcia's second statement.

Photo credit: David Santiago, el Nuevo Herald

Murphy, Rubio have agreed to two debates; others up in the air

Rubio murphy


After battling over how many debates they would have, U.S. Senate candidates Marco Rubio and Patrick Murphy have agreed to at least two tête-à-tête’s so far before the November election, and several more debates are still on the table.

Murphy’s campaign on Monday said it had committed to at least two other events — one debate and one candidate forum — while Rubio is still pushing for six debates in all.

Rubio, the Republican incumbent, and Murphy, his Democratic challenger, will participate in a live, one-hour debate at 7 p.m. Oct. 17 at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. The event, announced Monday evening, will be sponsored by WFTV Channel 9 in Orlando, Politico Florida and two Cox Media Group radio stations.

“The race for the U.S. Senate seat in Florida will be one of the most watched in the country,” Paul Curran, vice president and general manager of WFTV Channel 9 and WRDQ TV-27, said in a statement. “This is an opportunity for our viewers to hear directly from Senator Rubio and Representative Murphy on where they stand on the key issues facing our region, our country and the world. Our expectation is that both candidates will use this forum to better educate the voting public on their vision for the future.”

Rubio and Murphy had also previously committed to a debate at Broward College on Oct. 26, sponsored by Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association.

Neither of the agreed-to events are in Miami, nor are they Spanish-language debates. Rubio, who is fluent in the language, had requested at least one debate be sponsored by a Spanish-language media outlet.

The morning after the Aug. 30 primary, Rubio challenged Murphy to six debates. Murphy has said he’d have “multiple” debates with Rubio, but whether he’d commit to six would be contingent on Rubio committing to serve a full six-year term in office, if re-elected. That counter-challenge is in reference to the potential for Rubio to run for president again in 2020.

Murphy said in a statement Monday that he was “excited to debate Marco Rubio and talk about the issues that matter most to Florida families.” But Rubio accused Murphy of “ducking debates yet again.”

“I did six debates six years ago. Why only do half now?” Rubio said in statement. “Floridians today deserve no less than what they received in 2010, and they deserve to know where we stand on the important issues facing our country.”

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Six more Clinton offices to open in Florida, including 2 more in Miami-Dade


Hillary Clinton and national and Florida Democrats plan to open a handful of new offices this week, including in Coral Gables and Pinecrest, two affluent Miami suburbs.

The new digs will bring the total number of "coordinated campaign" offices across the state to 57, according to Clinton's team. Her South Florida headquarters are in Miami's Wynwood neighborhood.

The Coral Gables and Pinecrest offices will open Thursday. The other four new offices are in Key West, East Orlando, West Orlando and Fort Myers.

Republican Donald Trump's campaign, which until recently had a single office, in Sarasota, inaugurated its first South Florida office Saturday in Fort Lauderdale. Another office is scheduled to open Tuesday in Coral Springs.

Campaign chief says Clinton offers clear choice on climate change


When it comes to climate change, Hillary Clinton presents a clear choice over her opponent, Donald Trump, who has called the phenomenon driving increased flooding in South Florida a "hoax," campaign chairman John Podesta told a University of Miami crowd Monday

"There’s a stark difference between the two sides and a stark reality that the country is facing," said Podesta, who was largely preaching to the choir, with an audience made up of mostly university researchers, climate activists and solar advocates.

Podesta, who did not address Clinton's weekend health issues, took part in a round table held at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science that included local elected officials, solar advocates and a university climatologist organized by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. The panel offered a mostly unfettered chance to make his candidate's case, with UM atmospheric scientist Ben Kirtman, County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner, and Broward County sustainability chief Jennifer Jurado also participating.

While the panel spent a fair amount of time outlining challenges, they also told Podesta that South Florida has made some advances. Financing for solar panels has increased and cooperation among the four counties has overcome political divides.

"We created a regional action plan [in 2009] that has endured," Jurado said.

Podesta said Clinton fully intends to carry on the mission of addressing climate change started by the Obama administration, where he served as a senior advisor on the issue.

"It’s something that I think Hillary has put front and center in the campaign," he said.

When asked if the hastily organized round table was held to reinforce the message, organizer Susan Glickman said scheduling more than anything dictated the timing.

"Now people are paying attention to the general election and this is going to be a key issue," she said. "There's a clear contrast and the timing has more to do with we're in the season."

After delaying Florida ad buy one week, DSCC now cutting back funds

Murphy primary nite 3 - richard graulich pbp


One of the main national political groups providing outside financial support to Patrick Murphy's U.S. Senate campaign is further reducing its planned TV advertising time in Florida for September, the Herald/Times has confirmed.

A week after the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced it would delay its first week of statewide advertising until Sept. 27, the group is now cutting its ad spending for that week by 70 percent.

The DSCC had reserved $1 million in TV time for the last week of September but will now spend only $300,000 that week, a source familiar with the plan said. (Politico first reported the news.)

Democrats continue to emphasize that their shift in spending strategy isn't a reflection on Murphy's viability against Republican incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio. Most polls show a close race, but with Rubio having the edge.

The Senate Majority PAC -- a Democratic super PAC with ties to outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid -- is still scheduled to begin a planned $10 million fall ad buy in Florida on Wednesday. AFSCME, a major government workers union, also has a $1.8 million ad buy debuting this week to support Murphy.

But Republicans are still likely to find optimism in the DSCC's latest change of strategy, as they did after last week's news. They said the DSCC's decision to cancel its first week of advertising and shift its resources closer to Election Day showed Democrats were "bailing" on Murphy's "losing campaign."

"This is desperate spin from Republicans who are concerned that Senator Rubio is struggling to persuade Floridians that he won't just serve his own political ambition with another term," Murphy spokeswoman Galia Slayen said in a statement, noting the campaign has support from several outside groups, including the DSCC. "We are confident we'll have the resources necessary not just to compete, but to win this November."

The DSCC -- whose mission is to elect Democrats to the U.S. Senate -- had previously reserved $10 million in fall ad time for Florida. It's unclear whether the DSCC has reserved the time to increase its ad buy closer to the election, as an official last week said the committee intended to do.

The DSCC's spending changes come as more Senate races nationwide are considered in play for the Democrats, including states like New Hampshire where TV advertising is far cheaper than Florida. National political analysts say that could be potentially detrimental to Murphy because it means Florida isn't as essential for Democrats in their push to win enough seats to take back the U.S. Senate.

Photo credit: Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post

Democratic group files FBI complaint against Bondi, Trump


TP_405699_ELLI_0403_trumpspA Democratic group has filed a complaint with the FBI questioning contributions from Donald Trump to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, calling it a "prime example of public corruption."

The complaint by the Democratic Coalition Against Trump highlights $651,000 in contributions received by Bondi and her political committee, And Justice for All, when she was seeking reelection in 2013 and 2014.

Among them is a $25,000 check that came as Bondi's office was reviewing a New York lawsuit alleging that Trump University scammed thousands of people. Bondi and her predecessor, Bill McCollum, received more than 20 complaints about Trump University.

As well, the anti-Trump group's complaint points to two $500 donations by Trump and his daughter, Ivanka. And it raises questions about money given by Republican groups.

In July and August 2014, Donald and Ivanka Trump gave a combined $125,000 to the Republican Party of Florida, which spent more than $1.4 million in support of Bondi's reelection.

And they ask that the FBI investigate a $500,000 donation to And Justtice for All from the Republican State Leadership Committee, though there are no known links between that group and Trump.

Both Bondi and Trump have insisted that they never discussed Trump University when Bondi called to ask for a campaign contribution. Whitney Ray, a spokesman for Bondi, said in an email last week that "the matter never rose to the attorney general's level for any decision of any kind."

Last week, the Democratic Coalition Against Trump filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice alleging bribery and civil rights violations.

Photo: Loren Elliot, Times