August 04, 2017

Trump says he won 84 percent of the Cuban-American vote. Fake news?

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President Donald Trump told Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in a phone conversation that he won 84 percent of the Cuban-American vote in the November elections.

“In the latest election, I won with a large percentage of Hispanic voters. I do not know if you heard, but with Cuba, I had 84 percent, with the Cuban-American vote,” Trump said during the Jan. 27 call, according to a transcript published Thursday by The Washington Post.

But the best estimates of Trump's share of the Cuban-American vote in November are far, far lower — 50 to 58 percent — and experts say they have no idea where Trump could have gotten his number.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

No one knows exactly how Cuban Americans vote because the process is secret, but many voters are regularly surveyed at exit polls to determine their preferences.

Another way to estimate preferences is to look at the residents of voting precincts and try to align them with vote results. Such estimates, however, depend in part on how the residents define themselves — just as Hispanic or specifically Cuban American, for example.

But none of the estimates of Cuban-American votes for Trump reached 84 percent.

Let’s take a look at exit polls first. An exit poll by the non-partisan Edison Research, which does polling for CNN and Fox, gave Trump 54 percent of the Cuban-American vote in Florida. About 67 percent of the 1.2 million voters of Cuban origin live in Florida, according to the Pew Research Center.


Latino Decision, a Democratic polling firm, gave Trump 52 percent of the Cuban-American vote in Florida, based on a November election eve poll. The firm estimated that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton won about half the Cuban-American vote nationwide, indicating that Cuban-American voters outside Florida tend to be less conservative.

Immediately after the election, Republicans and Democrats clashed over the numbers.

Mauricio Claver-Carone, former executive director of the U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC who was appointed by Trump to the Treasury Department, estimated that Trump won 58 percent of the Cuban-American vote based on his review of results from about 30 Miami-Dade precincts with large Cuban-American populations.

Democratic strategist Giancarlo Sopo and Florida International University professor Guillermo Grenier estimated that Trump won 50 percent of the Cuban-American vote after reviewing results from Hialeah, Westchester and West Miami.

Democratic pollsters and analysts said exit polls also showed Trump did not do as well as Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate in 2012, who won an estimated 65 percent of the Cuban-American vote in Florida.

Sopo and Grenier concluded that the Cuban-American vote in Florida was “important but not decisive” for Trump's victory.

“Even under Mauricio's (Claver-Carone) analysis there wasn't a single Cuban precinct where Trump got 84 percent of the vote,” said Sopo.

Read more here.

February 21, 2016

Rubio campaign disputes HuffPo report about Romney endorsement

Marco Rubio's campaign is pushing back against a Huffington Post article that Mitt Romney will endorse Marco Rubio.

"Well that report is false," Rubio said on CNN this morning. "I have no reason to believe that he is anywhere near endorsing. We'd love to have his endorsement.

Rubio strategist Todd Harris tweeted in reply to HuffPo article: "It would be quite a bizarre endorsement roll out strategy: Don't tell us, and break news in Huffington Post."

Harris did not directly respond to the Miami Herald this morning.

From HuffPo:

"Details of Romney's endorsement were still being worked out as of Sunday morning. The sources said that the former Massachusetts governor had been eager to provide his backing to Rubio for days but had hesitated, due to his respect for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), who suspended his campaign on Saturday night following his dismal fourth-place showing in the South Carolina primary. 

Romney spent the day in Utah on Saturday and could potentially be in position to bestow his blessing upon Rubio before Tuesday's Nevada Republican caucuses--a contest that Romney won easily in both 2008 and 2012." 

Keep reading HuffPo here.


December 01, 2015

When Hillary Clinton thought 'Mittens' Romney might lose 2012 Florida primary

via @learyreports

An email from the latest State Department release of Hillary Clinton communications show she was concerned that Mitt Romney, whom she called Mittens, could lose Florida's 2012 GOP primary to Newt "Grinch" Gingrich.

Clinton, who thought a loss could bring changes to ballot access, sent the email to confidant Sidney Blumenthal. Romney won the primary in a blowout.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

June 20, 2015

UPDATED Mitt Romney calls on South Carolina to take down Confederate flag


Mitt Romney said Saturday that South Carolina should take down the Confederate flag from its state Capitol.

His comment echoed remarks he made as a presidential hopeful in 2007. Eight years later, Romney's position puts 2016 Republican presidential candidates on the spot -- and either made it easier for them to say the same thing, or harder for them to disagree.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who took down the flag from the state Capitol in 2001, noted that experience in a statement Saturday that seemed to suggest -- but didn't explicitly say -- that South Carolina do the same.

"My position on how to address the confederate flag is clear," he said. "In Florida, we acted, moving the flag from the state grounds to a museum where it belonged. This is obviously a very sensitive time in South Carolina and our prayers are with the families, the AME church community and the entire state. Following a period of mourning, there will rightly be a discussion among leaders in the state about how South Carolina should move forward and I'm confident they will do the right thing."

Bush canceled a Charleston campaign event scheduled for Thursday after the Wednesday night shooting of nine people at Charleston's Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. 

"It breaks my heart that somebody, a racist, would do the things he did," he told the Hillsborough County Republican Party on Friday night, referring to the accused gunman.

UPDATE: Before speaking at the Miami-Dade Republican Party's Lincoln Day fund-raiser Saturday night in Miami, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio told reporters South Carolina's decision should not be dictated by "outsiders."

"What's important to remember -- because this is happening in the aftermath of a horrible tragedy -- is you had one individual full of hate in his heart who carried out an act motivated by racial hatred, and it's an atrocity," Rubio said.

He added that South Carolina has dealt with questions over its Confederate flag before and reached a "bipartisan consensus" to have it at its current location.

"I have confidence in their ability to deal with that issue again," he said. "This is an issue that they should debate and work through and not have a bunch of outsiders going in and telling them what to do about it."

Asked if he "supported" Florida's (that is, Bush's) decision in 2001, Rubio said, "I support that decision. And I think that ultimately the people of South Carolina will make the right decision of South Carolina."

The Huffington Post reported Friday that, as a state lawmaker, Rubio supported legislation in 2001 that purported to protect monuments of historical significance but was seen as a direct response to Bush's action intended to protect the Confederate flag's place in public places.

January 23, 2015

Zogby online GOP-voter poll: Bush and Rubio tied at 13%, trail Romney at 16%


Zogby Analytics, which conducts online surveys (note: they're controversial/experimental), is out with a new poll. From its website: 

A new Zogby Analytics of likely Republican primary voters shows that the 2012 nominee is in the lead for 2016, but only three points ahead of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and current Florida Senator Marco Rubio.The poll of 223 likely primary voters was conducted online January 16-18 and has a margin of sampling error of +/-6.6 percentage points.

Romney is on top with support from 16% of the voters, followed by Bush and Rubio with 13% each. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is next with 11%, followed by former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee with 9%, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker at 6%, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindahl with 4%, and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, and Texas Senator Ted Cruz all at 3%. Other names included South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Ohio Senator Rob Portman, New Mexico Governor Susanna Martinez, and former Pennsylvania Rick Santorum --- all receiving less than 1%.

January 22, 2015

Headlined by Donna Shalala, Ready For Hillary PAC to raise Miami $ in Bush/Rubio country


Ready4HillIs Miami ready for Hillary Clinton?

The Ready for Hillary PAC is about to find out Feb. 12, when the political committee holds its first major South Florida fundraiser.

It’s headlined by the former Secretary of State’s close friend, outgoing University of Miami President Donna Shalala, the former health secretary under President Clinton.

This is only the beginning of the 2016 fundraising season, so expect more because Miami-Dade has some of the deepest pockets for Florida fundraisers, making it a regular stop on the political money-grubbing circuit.

This fundraiser is set to be held at the home of philanthropist Adrienne Arsht (after whom the county’s performing arts center is named). The host committee includes Hispanic-outreach wiz Freddy Balsera, fundraiser-lawyer Mitchell Berger, former DNC treasurer Bob Farmer, former U.S. Rep. Hon. Joe Garcia, lobbyist Alex Heckler, and former Clinton White House aide and current Arsht Foundation executive Suzanna Valdez.

The Miami fundraiser has an added dose of political interest because it’s being held in the home county of potential Hillary Clinton rivals, former Gov. Jeb Bush and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

As the state’s most-populous and most-Hispanic county, Miami-Dade is also one of the most hotly contested, although it has trended more and more Democrat in recent years. Bush is the only Republican in at least 15 years who has one a majority of the vote in Miami-Dade County (53 percent in 2002). Rubio in his 2010 bid for Senate won the county with 43 percent of the vote, but that’s partly because then-U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek and then-independent Gov. Charlie Crist.

Last year as a Democrat, Crist won a greater share of the Miami-Dade vote in his failed bid for governor, 58 percent. But in raw votes (541,000) and in percentage terms (62 percent), President Obama in 2012 firmly established Miami-Dade as a Democratic bulwark.

With margins like that, it’s not easy to see how Bush or Rubio could beat Clinton in their home county. But both speak Spanish, unlike Clinton and unlike 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

Romney lost the county by more votes (208,459) than any other recent Republican candidate. That margin helped cost Romney must-win Florida and, therefore, the White House. Romney's hardline positions on immigration likely helped cost him a significant portion of the Hispanic vote, the state and nation's fastest growing major demographic that promises to be even more influential in 2016.

So it's a good bet that Miami, and perhaps Florida, is far less likely ready for Mitt than Hillary

Awkward: Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney to meet privately in Utah

From The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney are scheduled to meet privately this week in Utah, raising the possibility that the two former governors will find a way to avoid competing presidential campaigns that would split the Republican establishment next year, two prominent party members said Wednesday night.

The meeting was planned before Mr. Romney’s surprise announcement two weeks ago to donors in New York that he was considering a third run for the White House.

Mr. Bush proposed the meeting, according to one of the party members familiar with the planning, who did not want to be quoted by name in discussing a secret meeting.

The original idea was for Mr. Bush, who announced his presidential ambitions in December, to show his respect for Mr. Romney, the Republican Party’s 2012 nominee. The meeting stayed on both men’s calendars even as Mr. Romney took steps to test the presidential waters, moves that could make the meeting awkward.

January 16, 2015

Like others in FL, million-dollar Romney donor Mike Fernandez leans Jeb-ward


Billionaire healthcare executive Miguel “Mike” Fernandez was an early support of Mitt Romney’s in 2011– and he was a generous giver, contributing at least $1 million to elect the Republican, hosting a big fundraiser and, he estimates, getting others to contribute as much as $7 million more.

But Fernandez is from Coral Gables. That makes him a neighbor of former Gov. Jeb Bush. So he likely would choose Jeb over Mitt (like, say, former ambassador Mel Sembler or Romney’s former Florida campaign manager Brett Doster).

Asked if he plans to contribute to Bush, Fernandez was quick to reply by text message: “When asked, I would be happy to do so. Mi Casa is Jeb's Casa!!”

Fernandez wouldn’t say if he has definitely committed to Bush, though he’s ready to give.

“I have known Jeb for over 20 years and friends support friends,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez did discount a rumor that he personally rebuffed Romney go-betweens who had reached out to him recently.

Continue reading "Like others in FL, million-dollar Romney donor Mike Fernandez leans Jeb-ward" »

January 10, 2015

The 'Bush clan' and 'Romney clan' could be on a collision course

Must-read from the Washington Post

Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney have much in common. Both were pragmatic as governors, mild-mannered as candidates and more comfortable balancing budgets at their desks than clinking glasses at a political dinner.

The two Republican leaders’ personal rapport is cordial. But they are hardly chummy — and at moments their relationship has been strained, with each man’s intertwined political network carrying some grievances with the other’s.....

“We’re seeing the first shots of the war between clan Romney and clan Bush,” said Alex Castellanos, a Republican strategist who has worked for both men. “Both bring to the battle incredibly powerful fan clubs as well as wounds they have to heal. How ugly could it get? You’re only competing to lead the free world.”

All in for Jeb Bush: The SuperPAC man who kept Mitt Romney from being ‘toast’


Mitt Romney rocked the political establishment and Jeb Bush’s quasi-campaign for president when the former Massachusetts governor announced he might run for the White House a third time.

But this time, Romney would have to do it without the guy who kept him from being “toast” in 2012: Charlie Spies, the Republican election-law lawyer who advised Romney’s 2008 campaign and ran the 2012 political action committee that spent $156 million on the 2012 GOP nominee.

Also, this time, Spies is all in for….. Jeb Bush.

Spies is the lawyer behind both of Bush’s leadership PAC and the pro-Bush SuperPAC called “Right to Rise.” Spies signed on with Bush long before Romney’s surprise Friday announcement, but he makes clear that he’s comfortable with his support for Bush while he also views Romney with affection.

“Obama’s bumbling presidency has made it clear we need a president with executive leadership experience. The world would be much different and safer if Gov. Romney won and was president today,” Spies said. “But politics is about timing. And Gov. Bush is now rising to the moment and I hope he decides to run.”

Romney certainly heard the ticking of the clock now that Bush on Wednesday began raising hedge-fund money in Greenwich, Conn. So Romney dropped his bomb Friday at a previously scheduled meeting with former donors in New York.

“Everybody in here can go tell your friends that I’m considering a run,” Romney told the donors, according to Politico. The Wall Street Journal first reported the story. Time, however, casts some doubts on Romney's level of interest.

Continue reading "All in for Jeb Bush: The SuperPAC man who kept Mitt Romney from being ‘toast’" »