- Back-to-school sales tax holiday weekend runs Friday through Sunday
- Associated Industries makes endorsements in key legislative races
- Sen. Kelli Stargel launches broadside against consultant Anthony Pedicini, while weighing in on HD 40 race
- Marco Rubio special guest at Iowa Republicans picnic
- Gov. Scott questions Citizens travel costs
- Driving high questioned on busy day in Congress
Sunburn for 8/31: A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics
***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.”***
OBAMA IN FLA. NEXT WEEKEND
President Barack Obama plans will travel to St. Petersburg next Friday and spend the weekend campaigning across the state. … He’ll arrive in St. Petersburg Friday night then travel Saturday to Kissimmee and Orlando. On Sunday he’ll go to Melbourne and West Palm Beach.
MITT ROMNEY: PRESIDENT OBAMA’S PROMISES “GAVE WAY TO DISAPPOINTMENT AND DIVISION”
The nation doesn’t have to accept Obama’s failure to deliver on “hope and change,” Mitt Romney said in his speech to the Republican National Convention in Tampa. “Now is the moment when we CAN do something. With your help we will do something.”
“Americans have a choice. A decision,” Romney said. “To make that choice, you need to know more about me and about where I will lead our country.”
The Republican presidential candidate, critiquing Obama’s economic performance, said that families and businesses expected to be doing better by now; college graduates “thought they’d have a good job by now, a place of their own…” and the nation expected by now to be “paying down the national debt and rolling back those massive deficits.”
Romney, who needs to bolster his share of the women’s vote, spoke at length about his mother and the women he has worked with in his career. He said that as Massachusetts governor, he chose women as his lieutenant governor and chief of staff, and half his cabinet and senior officials were women.
ROMNEY BOUNCES INTO NAT’L LEAD
The Reuters/Ipsos tracking poll finds Mitt Romney has moved into a narrow two point lead over President Obama in a small bounce for him from the Republican National Convention, 44% to 42%. Romney entered the week with Obama leading by four points, 46% to 42%.
BASE STRATEGY MAY BE TOO NARROW FOR ROMNEY
Nate Silver: “The argument for a base strategy is something like this: there are very few undecided voters left, and hardly anything has moved the polls. With the election being so close, the contest will come down to turnout. So get your voters as motivated as possible.” … “A risk for Mr. Romney, however, is that even with a favorable turnout, the Republican coalition may have become slightly too narrow for him to win, given that the party is struggling with Hispanics and other minority voters.”
ROMNEY’S JOB OFFER
The New York Times reports that just after Mitt Romney dropped out of the presidential race in early 2008, finance titan Julian Robertson “flew to Utah to deliver an eye-popping offer. He asked Mr. Romney to become chief executive of his hedge fund, Tiger Management, for an annual salary of about $30 million, plus investment profits.”
“But Mr. Romney was uninterested. His mind — and his heart — were elsewhere, still trained in the raw days after his political defeat not on Wall Street but on the White House and an urgent quest: to be understood by an electorate that had eluded him.”
PAUL RYAN GOES TO MASS AT MY CHURCH
Regular 12:10 Mass-goers at Our Lady of Grace parish church in St. Petersburg were greeted by a bigger crowd and a different kind of security than they’re used to. The morning after accepting the nomination of the Republican party, Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan joined fellow Catholics at Mass.
Sitting with his wife, son, mom, and other members of his family, Ryan appeared at home in the front row in front of the tabernacle, seeming to hold his wife, Janna, a little closer, and dig into the pew a little deeper with every word of the psalm. “Jesus urges us to realize that the life God gives us is finite and fragile,” the church’s pastor, Father Damian Amantia, said in his homily, preaching on the gospel of the day, as he would in front of any 12:10 congregation. “May God help us to understand the preciousness of the time he has given us,” so that we may live lives of “love, generosity, and reconciliation,” “compassion and peace,” he prayed.
JEB BUSH: I’D HAVE BEEN SPANKED IF I ACTED LIKE OBAMA
Bush said his brother is unfairly maligned by President Obama: “I just feel compelled to do this because almost every day I hear the current incumbent push down the past to make himself look better. When I was growing up, we were spanked when that happened.”
ALLEN WEST: FLA HAS ‘CRITICALITY’ IN PREZ RACE
Florida has a “leading role,” in the presidential race, a “criticality,” to the success of Mitt Romney, U.S. Rep. Allen West told Florida delegates to the Republican National Convention Thursday morning at a breakfast event in north Pinellas. “No one can win this presidency without the electoral votes, without this great state,” West said. “Florida will take the leading role … and all eyes will be upon the state of Florida and we shall shine no brighter than we will on the sixth of November.”
WARNING: “The demographics race we’re losing badly. We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term,” – South Carolina U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham.
***A message from Associated Industries of Florida and the Florida Section of the American Water Works Association: Florida 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***
ABRAMOFF MAKES CONVENTION APPEARANCE via POLITICO Influence
Former GOP uber-lobbyist Jack Abramoff says that he is going to both the Republican and Democratic conventions to continue his quest to reform the country’s lobbying system, and also provide insight on how special interests operate. Abramoff, who made his first convention appearance as a speaker in 1984, said the 2012 RNC event reminds him of that time. ‘I detect some of the same hope and enthusiasm of those days here in Tampa, and it certainly causes me to miss the days when I was politically active,’ he said. ‘While there have been a few cynical comments made by those who may feel threatened by my current activities, most of those I have encountered in Tampa have been incredibly supportive and kind. I hope I can say the same about Charlotte next week.’
BONDI TICKED OFF SOMEBODY
Frank Torres sums up the general disappointment felt for Pam Bondi’s performance last night at the Republican National Convention: “Who did Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi tick off, to get that weak placement with the Georgia AG? … In a cramped speech with a partner that drew comparisons to Barney Rubble on Twitter, Bondi and Rubble trudged through an clumsy attack speech that should have been burned, reformed in a laboratory and then burned again. My heart goes out to one of the rising political stars of Florida who I’ve witnessed do better a dozen times. Here’s hoping better opportunities come forward for her.”
CEO’S SKIPPED THE FESTIVITIES via The National Journal
The country’s chief executives and other top officials skipp(ed) Tampa because of anti-Wall Street sentiment, tough logistics, or simply fewer guarantees that the schlep will be rewarded with enough meetings to move the policy needle. The shadow convention that for years was where the real business was transacted, away from the klieg lights and balloon drops, is beginning to look a lot more like the main event—a messaging show.
A senior executive of a major business trade group (who asked not to be named because he is not authorized to speak on its behalf) said he had planned to feature some of the group’s member-company CEOs at the 2012 national conventions but ditched the idea after realizing it was impossible to ensure them meetings with important policymakers.
“Clearly, the level of intimacy at these events is not what it used to be. And, as a result, the opportunity for those conversations that CEOs would have found meaningful and a good use of their time are fewer,” he said. “Conventions are no longer a Super Bowl. Conventions are an all-star game. In a Super Bowl, you actually win a championship—and that doesn’t happen at conventions.”
CHRIS CHRISTIE OMITS RICK SCOTT FROM LIST OF IMPORTANT GOVERNORS
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was talking this morning to the Florida delegation to the Republican National Convention and spent quite a bit of time talking about the importance of individual leaders and the difference that can be made in electing Republicans, reports the News Service of Florida. He used the states as an example, and talked about how different things are because a given state has a good Republican governor in charge. Some cynics believe it doesn’t matter who is elected, he said.
“You tell the people in Wisconsin that life isn’t different because they’ve got Scott Walker,” Christie said. He also mentioned Michigan’s Rick Snyder, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez.
Not mentioned in his list of important Republican governors in his speech to the Florida delegation: their governor, Rick Scott.
DICTION: The New York Times offers a look at how often speakers at the RNC have used certain words and phrases so far, based on an analysis of transcripts from the Federal News Service.
DID THE ROMNEY CAMPAIGN SANDBAG RUBIO?
For the third time, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has been tripped up by an anonymous leaker connected to Mitt Romney’s presidential bid.
This time, Rubio’s much-anticipated speech introducing Romney was leaked in its entirety hours before the show to the Weekly Standard. It’s the only leak of its kind during the Republican National Convention.
Last week, Romney’s campaign had planned to bounce Rubio from the spot, but the plan was scuttled seemingly at the last minute (and after the Weekly Standard first reported about the move [good for the WS, by the way]). And, last month, anonymous Romney sources told national media outlets that Rubio wasn’t even on the vice-presidential shortlist –a leak timed to coincidet with the launch of Rubio’s book tour to plug his autobiography, “An American Son.”
FLORIDA GOP HAS NO REGRETS ABOUT CONVENTION, EARLY PRIMARY
After a week of hour-long trips to the Tampa Bay Times Forum, lost buses and the equivalent of exile for delegates, state officials at the Republican National Convention have made up their minds, reports Brandon Larrabee of the News Service of Florida.
They would do it all over again. And next time, they just might.
“I have no regrets whatsoever, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat,” said outgoing House Speaker Dean Cannon, a Winter Park Republican who was one of the leaders in pushing for an early primary.
JEWISH GOP GROUP HOSTS GOVERNORS, BILLIONAIRE DONOR SHELDON ADELSON by Jodie Tillman of the Tampa Bay Times
Half a dozen Republican governors, including S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, spoke as part of the Republican Jewish Coalition’s Salute to Republican Governors” at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at Westshore.
Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire Las Vegas Sands Corp. CEO and Republican donor, sat in the front row of the event but did not speak. Journalists, and two plates of cookies, were cordoned off by velvet ropes.
Several of the governors blasted Obama’s relationship with Israel. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett said the only way to promote democracy in Israel is “to end the term of President Barack Obama.”
INNOVATORS SHOW OFF THE GOODS
Entrepreneurs of all stripes – but mostly tech-related – showed off the products at a showcase put on by The Huffington Post and Startup America about two miles from the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Among the intriguing ideas was Sponsorist, a site that helps find sponsors for causes or events, and Zeel, which is sort of Open Table-style reservation service for non-MD health care needs like chiropractors. One startup owner laughed when asked if he was also here for the convention. ‘God, no,’ he said. ‘I’m in and out today. I didn’t even realize those people were here.’
LAW FIRM HONORS AFRICAN AMERICANS AT RNC
The national law firm of Quarles & Brady hosted a luncheon Wednesday honoring the contributions of African-Americans attending the Republican National Convention. More than 100 guests, including several Republican leaders, attended the RNC Visions Luncheon, which was held at The Avila Country Club. Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer S. Carroll, Rep. Allen West and Sharon Day, co-chairman of the RNC, spoke at the event. ‘This is a historic moment for African-Americans in the GOP,” said Stephen Lackey , public affairs advisor and one of the event’s organizers, in a statement. “Not only are we growing in numbers, but we have become a pivotal force in the future of this country.”
TECH TRADES, COMPANIES PARTY IT UP
TechNet, TechAmerica, CEA, Microsoft, Facebook and others yesterday held the RNC iteration of Innovation Nation – a party they’re also throwing next week in Charlotte – to honor Reps. Darrell Issa and Kevin McCarthy. Intriguingly, many tech folks accidentally wandered into the room across the hall by mistake, where the actor Jon Voight was addressing a gathering of military veterans.
THE WORST JOKES OF THE CONVENTION here.
TWEETS OF THE DAY: @JordanRaynor: Dancing on the floor of the Republican National Convention has to be the lamest thing ever. … @mattgaetz: Tonight @abcnews has only one hour to give #RNC2012 – yet they have time for “Wipeout” – which is one hour of people falling off of stuff … @Reaganista: Fla should payback RNC by moving up its 2016 presidential primary to the day after Christmas 2015
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I think I got bumped for Charlie Crist.” – Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn jokes after being asked if he will speak at DNC in Charlotte.
WINNERS & LOSERS via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times
Winners: Paul Ryan, Condi Rice, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Ken Jones, president and CEO of the Tampa Bay Host Committee, Jeb Bush, Jane Castor, Rick Scott, Charlie Crist, Marco Rubio.
Losers: Bill Harris and Mike Miller, the convention CEO and COO, Barricades, Chris Christie, Gulf Coast States, Pam Bondi, teleprompter jokes, Jon Voigt.
TAMPA BAY TIMES RELEASES ITS FIRST ROUND OF CONGRESSIONAL VULNERABILITY RATINGS
Newly created seat (9th District). Former Rep. Alan Grayson (D) vs. Todd Long (R); Republican-held seat being vacated by Rep. Allen West (22nd District). Lois Frankel (D) vs. Adam Hasner (R); Newly created seat (18th District). Rep. Allen West (R) vs. Patrick Murphy (D); Republican seat held by Rep. David Rivera (26th District). Rivera vs. Joe Garcia (D); Republican seat held by Rep. Vern Buchanan (16th Dstrict). Buchanan vs. Keith Fitzgerald (D); Republican seat held by Rep. Steve Southerland (2nd District). Southerland vs. Al Lawson (D); Republican seat held by Rep. Dan Webster (10th district). Webster vs. Val Demings (D); Republican seat held by Rep. C.W. (Bill) Young (13th district). Young vs. Jessica Ehrlich (D).
DEMOCRATIC POLL SAYS PATRICK MURPHY VS. ALLEN WEST RACE A VIRTUAL TIE by George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post
Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy is in a virtual tie with U.S. Rep. Allen West in a new poll being trumpeted today by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
The DCCC said a poll it commissioned by Grove Insights gives Murphy a 47-to-46 percent edge. The survey of 400 likely voters was taken Aug. 21-24 with a 4.9 percent margin of error.
The DCCC released a three-paragraph pollster’s memo but not the complete poll. The memo says West is viewed favorably by 43 percent of District 18 voters and unfavorably by 38 percent. His job approval/disapproval percentages are 41/52.
West campaign manager Tim Edson disagreed but declined to reveal any of West’s internal polling numbers.
AS FBI AND QUESTIONS SWIRL, MARCO RUBIK KEEPS DISTANCE FROM ‘NIXONIAN’ PAL DAVID RIVERA by Marc Caputo of the Miami Herald
(I)t hasn’t gone unnoticed in the Florida delegation at the Republican National Convention, where folks are whispering about David Rivera. Even (Marco) Rubio’s inner circle believes Rivera did it. Many use the same word to describe Rivera: “Nixonian,” a nod to the fact that the Miami Congressman has a reputation for getting involved in schemes he doesn’t need.
…And Rubio, who still owns a Tallahassee house that was almost foreclosed upon when Rivera suggested they stop making their monthly payments, is keeping his distance.
“I only know what I’ve read in the press. I haven’t had a chance to speak with him since that all came out. I just hope none of it is true. I continue to give him the benefit of the doubt on all these things. I just hope none of it is true,” Rubio said.
DEMS ADD RIVERA-CHALLENGER JOE GARCIA TO “RED TO BLUE” PROGRAM
Joe Garcia, has been added to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Red to Blue” program, an indication that it will invest more money and time to support candidates it sees as probable wins for the party.
>>>The DCCC also added Jessica Ehrlich to its “Emerging Races” list, indicating the race is one they hope will become more competitive as the election cycle wears on.
TAMPA PORT IN SHIP-SHAPE CONDITION, THANKS TO U.S. REP. BILL YOUNG
Ask a port director along the East Coast what he needs most and the answer comes fast: More money for dredging and operations. The Port of Tampa, however, has no such worries. “You’ll probably get less from me than another port director, in the sense that the Port of Tampa actually does not have as many problems as a lot of other ports, that’s the good news,” said Port Director Richard Wainio. One of the big reasons: Rep. Bill Young, who’s represented a region across the bay from the port since 1971 and helped it secure funds in his job on the Appropriations Committee.
***I’ve called Kevin Cate one of the smartest guys in any room, but that was last year. His firm continues to change the way public relations works in Florida. Believe me, you want www.CateComm.com on your side.***
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Ed Moore on Friday; Judi Spann on Saturday; John McBride on Sunday.
HARVARD CHEATING SCANDAL: The Crimson: “Harvard College’s disciplinary board is investigating nearly half of the 279 students who enrolled in Government 1310: ‘Introduction to Congress’ last spring for allegedly plagiarizing answers or inappropriately collaborating on the class’ final take-home exam.”
POLLTRACKER MOBILE: Introducing PollTracker Mobile, an iPhone app that puts every poll from around the country, along with helpful race averages and trend charts right at your finger tips. Best of all, if you want to know the very latest, PollTracker Mobile sends you notifications every time a new poll is released on a race you’ve favorited.
THANK YOU to Wayne Garcia who tweeted – @poho: Three pleasures about #RNC2012: TBO @jeffhouck’s tweets,@SaintPetersblog and @michaelkruse’s The Big Tent blog.