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Sunburn for 8/28: A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

By on August 28, 2012

A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.

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NECK AND NECK NATIONALLY

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows Mitt Romney edging President Obama, 47% to 46%, among registered voters — “barely changed from the deadlocked contest in early July.”

“The findings continue a months-long pattern, with neither the incumbent nor the challenger able to sustain clear momentum, despite airing hundreds of millions of dollars in television ads — most of them negative — and exchanging some of the harshest early rhetoric seen in a modern presidential campaign.”

ROMNEY TAKES THE EDGE IN GALLUP

Gallup’s tracking poll, which updates daily at 1 p.m., shows Romney leading Barack Obama 47 percent to 46 percent. The one-point margin is well within the margin of error. Remember, though, that since 1952 the candidate ahead in the final poll before the first convention has won 12 of 15 times.

CNN POLL OF FLORIDA: OBAMA 50%, ROMNEY 46%

A new Time/CNN/Opinion Research poll in Florida shows President Obama leading Mitt Romney by four points among likely voters, 50% to 46%.

“Obama’s edge in Florida is bolstered by women voters, among whom he’s beating Romney, 54%-42%, and by nonwhite voters, with whom he boasts a 70%-29% advantage. There are signs the incumbent is stitching together the same demographic coalitions that helped him capture Florida’s 29 electoral votes four years ago.”

EXPAT VOTES COULD TILT ELECTION

New York Times: “With the U.S. presidential election just over two months away and the Republican convention opening on Tuesday, it is not lost on either camp that American expatriates might make a difference this year, much like the role they played in Florida in 2000. Overseas voters, especially military voters, cast crucial votes in a close election ultimately decided by the Supreme Court in favor of George W. Bush.”

“The common caricature is that expats tend to be affluent, or military-linked, and thus conservative; or unpatriotic malcontents, and thus left-leaning. The actual picture is more complicated.”

MITT ROMNEY: ‘I AM WHO I AM’

Mitt Romney conceded President Obama has succeeded in making him a less likable person in an interview with Politico but he offered a defiant retort to those hoping he will open up this week: “I am who I am.”

Romney quoted that Popeye line three times in a 30-minute interview… swatting away advice from Republicans to focus on connecting with voters in a more emotional, human way at this convention. … The issue seems close to the surface for Romney. He even used the same line in an interview with Fox News that aired Sunday: “Remember that Popeye line: ‘I am what I am and that’s all what I am.’”

ROMNEY TO ARRIVE IN TAMPA AHEAD OF SCHEDULE

Romney was originally scheduled to arrive in Tampa at least a day later as he prepares to accept his party’s nomination on Thursday with a speech meant to reintroduce himself to the nation. But his campaign decided to send him two days early amid uncertainty about the convention schedule because of Tropical Storm Isaac.

The ostensible reason: to watch his wife, Ann, deliver her speech Tuesday evening.

>>>Romney and Paul Ryan will attend an RNC “farewell victory rally” Friday in Lakeland.

MORE INTEREST IN GOP PLATFORM THAN ROMNEY’S SPEECH

A new Pew Research survey finds more Americans express interest in learning about what’s in the Republican party platform than in the speeches by either Mitt Romney or his running mate.

About half of the public (52%) is interested in learning about the Republican Party’s platform, while 44% are interested in Romney’s acceptance speech and about the same percentage (46%) in Ryan’s convention speech.

BOB GRAMAM: ‘YOU THOUGHT THE 2000 RECOUNT WAS BAD…” via Joni James of the Tampa Bay Times

As the nation looks to Tampa for the Republican National Convention, former Florida Gov. and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham weighs in on the inconsistent voting rules that this important swing state will have in play come Nov. 6.

“A central issue in Bush vs. Gore, which declared George W. Bush president of the United States, was whether the equal protection of the laws was violated by the variation among Florida counties’ election and recount procedures. It took the better part of six weeks the settle the 2000 elections. If this year’s election in Florida is as close as it appears it will be, unfold your favorite lounge chair. It’s going to be a long time before this one is settled…”

CHARLIE CRIST TO SPEAK AT DNC

The former Republican governor confirmed Monday that he will be speaking at the Democratic National Convention next week in Charlotte, N.C. It’s news that comes as Republicans hold their convention to nominate Romney as their presidential candidate – an event being held across Tampa Bay from Crist’s St. Petersburg home.

“I think so much of what the president has done and the good he’s tried to do for Florida,” Crist said.

He cited the efforts to help the Gulf Coast states after the BP oil spill and money that the president tried to steer to Florida for a bullet train, which Gov. Rick Scott rejected.

“On issue after issue after issue, he’s proven himself as the kind of person who’s willing to work across the aisle for the betterment of the people.”

CAN CHARLIE CRIST BEAT RICK SCOTT? by the Associated Press’ Gary Fineout

While Crist is probably more likeable than Scott the Republicans can make the election a referendum on Crist’s term as governor. Instead of defending Scott’s record they get to attack Crist’s. And that may prove to be a much easier task than going after a fresh face.

BLOG POST OF THE DAY via Jake from Rantings from Florida: “But if Crist made the switch to Democrat now, if he spent the next two years fighting for Barack Obama to win Florida, for Democrats to take more seats in the state Legislature, to rebuild a party which has been in tatters for a decade and a half, then Democrats should consider forgiving Crist of his past sins. But he shouldn’t get a pass to the big race. He needs to prove he cares more about a set of public principles than his own ambitions. The good news is there is still time to do it.”

ONE OF THE MOST PREPOSTEROUS NOTIONS ABOUT FLA. POLITICS I’VE READ IN A WHILE from Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald: “One Democratic consultant told us, that Alex Sink holds all the cards. ‘If Alex Sink decides to run, Crist is more likely to get out of the Democratic primary but if Sink decides to sit it out and gets behind a Democratic opponent of Crist’s, he’s in bigger trouble.’”

***On 3 Public Relations welcomes delegates, alternates, their guests, media and volunteers to the 2012 Republican National Convention. “Every four year gathering brings its own unique opportunity to hear from rising stars and political veterans while conneting with like-minded activists across the country,” said On3PR’s Christina Johnson, a former RNC staffer, volunteer, alternate delegate and consultant to five GOP conventions. “To be part of an historic process to officially nominate Mitt Romney as our candidate to serve as the 45th President of the United States here in my homestate is incredible.”***

NO CHANGES EXPECTED IN CONVENTION SCHEDULE

The Romney campaign says there are no more schedule changes planned for the 2012 Republican National Convention.

Romney strategist Russ Schriefer said “no change over the next three days” expected.  Schriefer said the storm was being monitored and additional updates would be forthcoming. “Moving forward, no change with our Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday schedule.”

The convention is on track to convene at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

GOES WITHOUT SAYING: JEB BUSH A MAJOR PLAYER AT RNC

Bush appears ready to take his brand of policy-driven conservatism to a broader national audience. Bush this week will be a prominent figure at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, including giving a high-profile speech Thursday before GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney takes the stage to formally accept the party nomination, reports Jim Saunders of the News Service of Florida.

Bush started the week with interviews Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and in the Tampa Bay Times newspaper. He criticized President Obama’s economic leadership but also showed a willingness to question members of his own party about issues such as immigration and taxes.

“He’s the elephant in the room,” said Allison DeFoor, a former vice chairman of the Republican Party of Florida and the GOP’s candidate for lieutenant governor in 1990.

Longtime Bush supporters, gathered Monday at a Florida delegation hotel in Palm Harbor, said they think he is trying to fill a gap in national politics — a gap that longtime Republican fund-raiser Mike Hightower described as an “abdication of leadership in Washington.”

MARCO RUBIO HEADLINES FLORIDA DELEGATION BREAKFAST

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio will headline the Florida delegation breakfast Tuesday at the Republican National Convention. According to the speaking lineup released by the Republican Party of Florida, the delegation will also hear from Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, U.S. House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California and Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuno.

FOLEY & LARDNER PLAN STAR-STUDDED SALUTE TO CLETA MITCHELL TONIGHT

Law and lobbying firm Foley & Lardner is gearing up to fete one of its partners, Cleta Mitchell, with a political star-studded event during the Republican National Convention.

Among politicians scheduled to speak or appear at the event, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the firm’s Tampa office: Sens. Kelly Ayotte, Jim DeMint, Jim Inhofe, Marco Rubio and former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum. Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association; Al Cardenas, chairman of the American Conservative Union and Newsmax Publisher Chris Ruddy, are also slated to attend.

Mitchell’s practice, according to her bio, focuses on advising “corporations, nonprofit and issue organizations, candidates, campaigns, and individuals on state and federal campaign finance law, election law, and compliance issues related to lobbying, ethics and financial disclosure. She has also in the past lobbied for various clients including the Heritage Foundation, Educational Testing Service and Alliance for Charitable Reform, federal records show.

GOP-PROUD HOSTING HOMOCON 2012

Hosted by the gay conservative organization, GOProud and produced by local event planner, Bryan Farris and his company, Premier Events of Tampa Bay, the guest list already includes such conservative luminaries as Ann Coulter, Grover Norquist and Dana Loesch of Breitbart.com.  Also in attendance will be New York Post gossip columnist, Cindy Adams.  “There might also be a few surprise guests”, said Farris. HOMOCON 2012 will start at 10:30pm at The Honey Pot nightclub in Ybor City.

JAMES O’KEEFE UNABLE TO ATTEND JMI LUNCHEON 

Conservative provocateur James O’Keefe is skipping the Republican National Convention, where he was scheduled to speak at a luncheon hosted by the James Madison Institute.

O’Keefe “will not be able to personally attend,” because “the federal government has revoked permission for him to travel to Tampa,” according to an update on JMI’s website.

TWEET, TWEET: @BuzzFeedAndrew: Still on probation?

MONDAY’S NUESTRA NOCHE PARTY A “CLUSTERF*CK”

@ChrisSpencerFL: epic fail in Ybor.

@jacobperry: #NuestraNoche sponsored by @acuconservative @sayfiereview is an incredibly unorganized clusterfuck. Couldn’t be more poorly organized

@JeremySWallace: I’m not sure I’ve ever seen more humans crammed into as small of a space as VIP area at Nuestra Noche in Ybor at #2012RNC party

MORNING JOE SPEAKING IN ST. PETE IN TUESDAY

Join MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski for a luncheon and conversation hosted by the Poynter Institute on Tuesday.

Points of conversation for the luncheon will include the convention, politics, media and current events. The audience is invited to ask questions and converse with Joe and Mika. “Tickets” are $100 are sold out.  There will be a  check-in-list at the door versus actual tickets.

WILL WEATHERFORD: RISING STAR

Will Weatherford lunched with a small group of reporters Monday and discussed Florida politics and the presidential election. The get-together was organized by GOP strategist Phil Musser, the former executive director of the Republican Governors Association.

BEST QUOTES OF THE DAY

>>>Alan Fisher, a correspondent for Al Jazeera, tweets: “Dear American TV reporters – downtown Tampa does not look like a warzone – pick a better comparison.”

>>>National media pundit Howard Kurtz tweets: “Passed striking number of bail bondsmen on way to Tampa hotel. How many people need to be sprung from the slammer?”

WORST QUOTE OF THE DAY

>>>Rep. Darrell Issa, speaking to the California delegation’s breakfast:“I think what you have to remember is Republicans are going to take Washington by storm on January 20th of next year, so if this is the first storm of Republicans taking control of our country again, making America competitive again, I’m fine with that. I don’t care if we get blown in by a hurricane or a tornado, ultimately there’s going to be an earthquake in Washington next January.”

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DCCC TARGETING BUCHANAN, YOUNG WITH AKIN-THEMED ROBOCALLS

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is seizing on a plank in the Republican platform that calls for a Constitutional amendment banning abortions, without including exemptions for rape, incest or life of the mother with new automated phone calls attacking 20 incumbents (17 of whom are men). Among those targeted: Sarasota’s Vern Buchanan and Pinellas’ Bill Young.

Here is a sample script:

 “Hello…By now, I’m sure you’ve heard Congressman Todd Akin’s unbelievable comments about rape and his outrageous beliefs about women’s rights. You know what’s even more worrisome? He’s not alone. Republicans like your Congressman Bill Young share some of these radical, right-wing beliefs- that the government should take away a woman’s access to making informed decisions about her own pregnancy. It’s outrageous. This week, Congressman Young’s Republican Party platform will include a plank that says no to a woman’s right to choose without any exceptions even in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is at risk. If you’re tired of this right-wing social agenda from Congressman Todd Akin and Congressman Young then call him now…”

DAN WEBSTER LAUNCHES HIS FIRST TV AD IN CD 10 RACE

Five days after his Democratic opponent put up the first TV ad in the 10th Congressional District race, Republican U.S. Rep. Dan Webster began airing an ad of his own.

The 30-second spot focuses on Webster’s family-owned heating and air-conditioning business, which was started by his father. It also features the freshman Republican’s sons, Brent and John, and carries on the “Washington is broken” message that helped Webster win in 2010, referencing rising debt and government regulation. Watch here.

TAMPA BAY AWASH IN SPECIAL INTEREST ADS

Conservative groups are together dropping hundreds of thousands of dollars to help keep the spotlight in Tampa on Mitt Romney.

Americans for Prosperity, 60 Plus Association, American Crossroads and its nonprofit affiliate Crossroads GPS and Restore Our Future have spent at least a combined $430,000 on ad buys on Tampa’s ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox affiliates for the week of the convention,

Romney’s campaign has spent an additional $14,650 for spots on the ABC affiliate WFTS, according to an analysis of documents posted on the Federal Communications Commission’s database.

The combined effort represents twice the amount President Barack Obama’s campaign and the super PAC Priorities USA Action have spent on spots for the week. Obama for America has bought more than $200,000 in ad time during the week and Priorities USA has spent $6,730.

***A message from Associated Industries of Florida and the Florida Section of the American Water Works AssociationFlorida is facing a water crisis. Join leaders from across the state at the 2012 Florida Water Forum to discuss the most pressing issues affecting Florida’s water future, Thursday, Sep. 6, at the Renaissance SeaWorld in Orlando. Register and learn more at www.flawaterforum.com***

HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY to Liz Goodman.

SOCIALISTS START PRESIDENTIAL BID: The Florida Socialist Workers Party on Monday filed paperwork with state election officials to put their presidential candidate, James Harris, on the ballot for the November election, reports the News Service of Florida. Saying the nation is headed for the worst economic upheaval “any of us have ever seen” backers say the party offers an alternative to both Democrat and Republican candidates, who despite opposing  each other still represent  “the ruling rich,” the party contends. In Florida, Harris will be teamed up with vice presidential candidate Alyson Kennedy.

WHAT’S YOUR POLITICAL INSIDER SCORE: Engage developed a Facebook application on the Trendsetter social data platform that gives people a “Political Insider Score” from 1 to 100 based on your Facebook activity. Find yours?

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