March 24, 2017

HUD Secretary Ben Carson visits a Broward Habitat for Humanity site



President Donald Trump’s housing chief, Ben Carson, visited the future site of a Habitat for Humanity site in Broward County on Friday — as the administration is proposing to slashing billions for affordable housing.

Housing experts say the cuts, should they occur, will hurt South Florida, one of the most unaffordable metro areas in the nation.

Speaking at the Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Pompano Beach, Carson praised the Habitat development that will include 77 homes.

“This project right here is one of the things that works because of public-private partnerships and how incredible they are at leveraging dollars,” he told the audience of local government officials and housing activists. “That’s how we become a success as a nation. The government can’t do everything, but the government can do things to get things started and then the private sector and faith community comes in and leverages that.”

Carson was confirmed by the Senate earlier this month as the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Carson’s visit comes as Trump has proposed slashing about $6 billion from HUD, a cut of about 13 percent. That includes eliminating funding for programs that help people buy or rent homes. Among them: Community Development Block Grant and the HOME Investment Partnerships Program.

Keep reading here about Carson and the "Rick Case Habitat Community" named for the automotive dealership owner who gave $500,000 for the project.

January 12, 2017

Mel Martinez joins other past HUD chiefs in backing Ben Carson


Former U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez joined three other past Housing and Urban Development secretaries Thursday in backing President-elect Donald Trump's nominee, Ben Carson, for the post.

In a statement released by Trump's transition team, Martinez, Henry Cisneros, Alphonso Jackson and Steven Preston reminded the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs that they all came to HUD with varying degrees of experience -- or lack thereof -- in the field. Carson, whose confirmation hearing is later Thursday, is a retired neurosurgeon.

"We all succeeded thanks to the help of the cadre of dedicated civil servants -- a team of respected, career leaders who have stood alongside each one of us, helping us guide the agency to succeed in its mission," the men wrote. "The singular, common piece of advice every HUD secretary is given is to listen."

Martinez served as HUD secretary from 2001-03 under President George W. Bush.

Here's the four ex-secretaries' full letter:

Continue reading "Mel Martinez joins other past HUD chiefs in backing Ben Carson" »

October 18, 2016

Ben Carson gives wrong early voting start date in Florida



Former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson's group is publicizing the wrong date for the starting of early voting.

A press release today from My Faith Votes, Carson's group which aims to get Christians to vote, says "early voting starts tomorrow in Florida."

No, it doesn't.

And ironically, Carson's press release links to the state Division of Elections website which shows that the early voting schedule can vary depending upon the county but it must begin at a minimum on the 10th day before the election which means Oct. 29th. The earliest date that counties can begin early voting is Oct. 24th -- both Broward and Miami-Dade counties will start that day and offer the maximum number of early voting hours.

From Carson's press release:

"As hard as is it to believe, the election is just around the corner. Finding time on Election Day (November 8th) can be difficult and sometimes impossible.  But with early voting, you can skip the lines and pick a date and time that works best for you.
I noticed you live in Florida, so for you, it literally is around the corner. Starting tomorrow, you can vote early and in person."
Carson, who lives part time in West Palm Beach, has endorsed Donald Trump.
We aren't certain what deadline Carson had in mind for Oct. 19th. Today is the last day to register to vote. 
A spokesperson for My Faith Votes told the Miami Herald in an email this evening that the email about early voting was sent in error and it sent a new email correcting the information:

"You may have recently received an email from My Faith Votes reminding you that early voting was about to begin in your home state of Florida. The email incorrectly stated that Florida early voting begins on October 19th. Early voting in Florida actually begins the week of October 24, with the specific date depending on the county in which you live."

Photo by the Associated Press




July 19, 2016

Ben Carson on Melania Trump's words: 'I don't think that they were plagiarized'


INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Former Donald Trump presidential rival Ben Carson didn't only stand behind Melania Trump's speechwriters Tuesday -- he said the potential first lady's words should be "celebrated," even if they closely mirrored a 2008 address by Michelle Obama.

"I don't think that they were plagiarized," Carson told reporters after speaking at the Florida delegation's breakfast. "I think they were general principles that were very valuable to Americans."

Carson himself apologized during the Republican primary after BuzzFeed reported plagiarism in his 2012 book "America the Beautiful." Yet Carson, a Palm Beach County resident who's now backing Trump, wouldn't call on Melania Trump or the campaign to apologize.

"If we share values, we ought to celebrate that, not turn it into a controversy," he said. "That should make us all very happy, whether it's Democrats or Republicans, we all share the same values."

The other top guest at the breakfast, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton -- who didn't utter the words "Donald Trump" in his speech -- called Melania Trump a "private citizen" and said he's more concerned with presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton "plagiarizing" former rival Bernie Sanders' speeches and President Barack Obama's policies.

March 11, 2016

Ben Carson endorses Donald Trump day after GOP debate

Former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson says he and Donald Trump have "buried the hatchet" after months of political wrangling, and he is endorsing the GOP front-runner's White House bid.

At a press conference in Palm Beach on Friday, Carson, who left the race earlier this month, described "two Donald Trumps" — the persona reflected on stage, and a private, "very cerebral" person who "considers things carefully."

In his introduction to Carson Friday, Trump described the retired neurosurgeon as a "special, special person — special man," and a "friend" who is respected by everyone.

Carson warned that it is "extremely dangerous" when political parties attempt to "thwart the will of the people," and urged politicians to "strengthen the nation," rather than create divisions.

- Associated Press

January 28, 2016

Scott: Don't count Jeb out


Gov. Rick Scott hasn't written off one of his famous predecessor's chances of becoming president.

Scott, in Washington to deliver an address on reforming hospital pricing practices at the American Enterprise Institute, put on his politics hat after the talk.

Scott, governor since 2011, said it's too soon to give up on former Gov. Jeb Bush despite his failure to gain traction in polls.

 "I still think it's early," Scott told the Miami Herald. "I mean, we haven't even done the first primary yet."

Scott said that Bush "was a very successful governor" when he headed the state from 1999 to 2007, noting in particular his education reforms.

"We're at a 12-year high in our K-12 graduation rate," Scott said.

Adding that "Jeb is working hard," Scott said, "The person that works the hardest generally wins."

Despite praising Bush's record in Florida, Scott declined to endorse him. Neither is he endorsing -- yet -- fellow Floridian Marco Rubio, the first-term U.S. senator, nor any of the other Republican presidential hopefuls.

"Like a lot of voters in Florida, I'm watching the candidates," the governor said.

Four days before the Feb.1 Iowa caucuses, Bush tallied just 4 percent in a NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll of that state's Republican voters released Thursday. He was far behind businessman Donald Trump and U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio of Florida, while also trailing neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

Bush is faring better in New Hampshire, which will hold its primary Feb. 9, according to a poll released Thursday by Suffolk University. Bush broke out of the single digits with 11 percent, putting him in a second-place tie with Cruz, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Rubio, with all four men well behind Trump's 27 percent standing.

In addition to Bush, Scott said he has personal relationships with Rubio, along with Kasich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie through the Republican Governors Association.

Scott criticized the Republican National Committee for having scheduled just nine presidential debates this year.

"I wish the national party hadn't limited the number of debates and limited the locations," he said.

The RNC is weighing three additional possible Republican presidential debates.

The March 10 GOP debate will be at the University of Miami, nine days after Super Tuesday, when 14 states will hold Republican primaries or caucuses. Florida will hold its primary on March 15.

Scott declined to comment directly on Trump's decision to skip Thursday night's Fox News debate because of his ongoing feud with Megyn Kelly, one of its moderators.

"Every candidate's got to think about what's the best forum for them to get their message out, whether it's debates, whether it's town halls," Scott said.


December 02, 2015

Quinnipiac poll: Marco Rubio moves up nationally, behind Donald Trump


Marco Rubio has climbed to second place nationally, behind only Donald Trump, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.

The survey shows Trump's enduring lead in the 2016 Republican presidential field. He garnered 27 percent support, followed by Rubio (17 percent), Ben Carson and Ted Cruz (16 percent each). No other candidate made it to the double digits; the next most-popular contender was Jeb Bush with 5 percent support.

With an error margin of 3.8 percentage point, the results show Rubio statistically tied with Carson and Cruz. But the Florida senator is still 3 percentage points higher than he was in the last Quinnipiac poll a month ago. It's also a drop for Carson, who last month was in a statistical tie with Trump. 

"It doesn't seem to matter what he says or who he offends, whether the facts are contested or the 'political correctness' is challenged, Donald Trump seems to be wearing Kevlar," Tim Malloy, the poll's assistant director, said in a statement. "Dr. Ben Carson, moving to center stage just one month ago, now needs some CPR. The Doctor sinks. The Donald soars. The GOP, 11 months from the election, has to be thinking, 'This could be the guy.'"

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton grew her lead over Bernie Sanders and is now ahead of him 60-30 percent, the poll shows, compared to 53-35 percent in November. Martin O'Malley came in at 2 percent.

In general-election match-ups, Clinton and Sanders beat all the top Republicans.

"Secretary Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders have to be hoping Trump is the GOP's guy," Malloy said.

November 18, 2015

Florida GOP will submit documents by Nov. 30 qualifying presidential candidates for primary


One by one, the Republican presidential candidates who attended the Florida GOP's Sunshine Summit last week signed a piece of paper asking to be on the state's March 15 primary ballot.

That was the summit's biggest allure, after all: To qualify for the Florida ballot, the Republican Party of Florida required candidates to either attend the Orlando summit and sign the party oath -- or pay a $25,000 fee, or amass 3,375 voter petitions.

All but one of the candidates still in the race at the time (former New York Gov. George Pataki) spoke at the summit, and all signed the oath. (Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has since dropped out.)

Donald Trump's campaign tweeted about it. 

Marco Rubio bragged he had been the first to file the paperwork -- because he was the summit's first speaker. And Ben Carson claimed Wednesday that he had "submitted" the document.

None of the oaths, though, have made it to the Florida Division of Elections yet. The party will turn them over to the state by Nov. 30, RPOF spokesman Wadi Gaitan said.

November 13, 2015

Fact-checking Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and rest of GOP presidential field before the Sunshine Summit

GOP presidential candidates including U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush speak at the Republican Party of Florida Sunshine Summit in Orlando today.

Here is a link to PolitiFact’s Truth-O-Meter records of all the 2016 candidates including Donald Trump and Ben Carson.

Let’s take a look at a recent fact-check for some of the candidates:

Bush: "My plan actually gives the middle class the greatest break: $2,000 per family." Middle-class families could potentially realize a higher percentage tax break, based on Bush’s plan. But that’s only counting those who would file their tax returns using the standard deduction, something the wealthy aren’t likely to do. Even with caps on itemized deductions, a range of experts said the wealthiest Americans stand to benefit more than the middle class, thanks to Bush’s proposed changes in corporate, estate and other taxes. We rated this statement Mostly False.

Rubio: "Welders make more money than philosophers." It made for a great soundbite, but neither salary nor labor statistics back up Rubio’s claim. Statistically, philosophy majors make more money than welders -- with much more room to significantly increase pay throughout their careers. We rated this statement False.

Carson: Says Hillary Clinton told her daughter and a government official that Benghazi "was a terrorist attack, and then tells everybody else that it was a video."  Carson is oversimplifying and distorting Clinton’s comments to portray a complex situation in the worst possible light. He has a point that Clinton told her daughter that terrorists attacked in Benghazi, and she told the Libyan president that a terrorist group had taken responsibility. But those were private comments made hours after the attack.  Carson misleads when he said that she told everybody else that it was a video. We rated this statement Mostly False.

Trump: Says President Dwight Eisenhower "moved 1.5 million illegal immigrants out of this country." Trump is referring to a 1954 campaign known as "Operation Wetback." While the idea that the operation resulted in more than 1 million deportations is not pulled out of thin air, historians widely cite that number as far too high for a variety of reasons -- including the fact that hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants would have had to self-deport. We rated this statement Half True

November 12, 2015

Ben Carson's Mostly False claim about Benghazi and Hillary Clinton

In Ben Carson’s playbook, a good defense is a good offense.

Media reports have raised questions about Carson’s account of being violent as a child and whether he was offered a West Point scholarship. So the retired neurosurgeon got a question on his biography at the Nov. 10 debate.

"Are you worried your campaign -- which you've always said, sir, is bigger than you -- is now being hurt by you?" asked Fox Business Network debate moderator Neil Cavuto.

Carson switched the topic to call Hillary Clinton a liar for her comments as secretary of state about the attack in Benghazi.

"When I look at somebody like Hillary Clinton, who sits there and tells her daughter and a government official that no, this was a terrorist attack, and then tells everybody else that it was a video. … Where I came from, they call that a lie."

See what PolitiFact found.