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May 2010

McCollum fails Truth-o-Meter after getting a falling coconut

Penhead On Wednesday Crowley Political Report issued a FALLING COCONUT ALERT! after an email was released from Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum's campaign manager Matt Williams containing a line that said of Scott:  "This is a man who barely escaped imprisonment..."

CPR checked and could find nothing that suggested that Scott "barely escaped imprisonment" in connection with the federal investigation and $1.7 billion fine that hit Columbia/HCA for Medicare fraud. Scott, a millionaire Naples businessman, is challenging McCollum for the GOP nomination for governor.

Scott was forced to resign from the company.

PolitiFact has checked into the McCollum campaign email and gave it a Fail on its Truth-o-Meter. After a lengthy discussion of the facts PolitiFact concludes:

McCollum's statement was that Scott "barely escaped imprisonment," but the fact is he was never indicted, and the only individuals convicted of wrongdoing associated with the Columbia/HCA ultimately had those convictions tossed out. The corporate convictions aren't tied to any individual and carry only fines, not prison time. While one ABC News report does say he was a target of an investigation, that doesn't translate to barely escaping a prison sentence. We rate McCollum's claim False.

Jeb Bush endorses career politician

While it is not exactly shocking news CPR can't help but to be a bit bemused.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush is one of those Republicans who has longed railed against career politicians. So on the surface, Republican businessman Rick Scott would appear to be the perfect Bush candidate for governor.

Okay maybe that Columbia/HCA Medicare fraud stuff got in the way. So Bush is endorsing Attorney General Bill McCollum suggesting that even Bush can support a career politician.


Questions about David Aronberg

One thing that a candidate for Florida Attorney General definitely does not want to hear is any speculation that he may have broken the law.

That's exactly what is happening today as the St. Petersburg Times delves into the possibility that Democrat David Aronberg's campaign broke campaign finance laws.

True or not, it's the kind of publicity his campaign doesn't need. And if it is true, that could lead to questions about Aronberg's viability as a candidate.

Read for yourself and you decide what it all means.

Wexler political op Eric Johnson joins Crist

Eric johnson As expected, Gov. Charlie Crist has hired Democratic political operative Eric Johnson (seen on the left with Robert Wexler)  to run Crist's South Florida campaign.

Johnson has been involved in South Florida politics ever since he became a candidate for Palm Beach County School Board at the age of 19.

Nearly 20 years later, Johnson has developed a solid reputation as one of the top political operatives in the region. He helped the very popular former U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler stay in office and was instrumental in helping to elect Ted Deutch to replace Wexler.

Continue reading "Wexler political op Eric Johnson joins Crist" »

Florida Democrats' video bashing Rick Scott

AntiScottButton It used to be that if one party was in the middle of a good squabble the other party would cheerfully stay on the sidelines.

Not when it comes to Republican Rick Scott who has spent a fortune challenging Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum to be the GOP nominee for governor.

CPR looked at the Florida Democratic Party video bashing Scott and today, Democrats have added a "Hold Rick Scott Accountable" button pictured on the left.

From their press release: The Florida Democratic Party is encouraging Floridians to join the "Hold Rick Scott Accountable" Facebook group, put a "Hold Rock Scott Accountable" button on their Facebook pages, and learn more about Rick Scott's history of sordid business practices.

The rest of the press release and the video is on the next page.

Continue reading "Florida Democrats' video bashing Rick Scott" »

McCollum campaign responds

Mccolumfin In an earlier post, CPR questioned the suggestion by the McCollum campaign that Republican challenger Rick Scott "is a man who barely escaped imprisonment" during an investigation of Columbia/HCA which Scott headed.

Scott, a wealthy Naples businessman is running a vigorous campaign against Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum to win the Republican nomination for governor.

McCollum's campaign sent out an email slamming Scott. The content of that email is in an earlier post.

CPR questioned the appropriateness of the "barely escaped imprisonment" comment. In reply, the McCollum campaign sent CPR the text of a 1997 ABC News report highlighting this remark by reporter Brian Ross:

Continue reading "McCollum campaign responds" »

Is Mayor Bloomberg backing Charlie Crist?

In a fascinating election year with one new twist after another here's a tidbit from Peter Schorsch of saintpetersblog who says he has exclusive information from a variety of sources claiming Gov. Charlie Crist may get a boost from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg?

You can check it out and arrive at your own conclusion.

Adam Smith at the St. Petersburg Times The Buzz reports that there is no way Bloomberg would back Crist.

Here's what the The Buzz reports: We checked in with Deputy New York Mayor Howard Wolfson about the rumor. "False,'' Wolfson said. The chances of Bloomberg helping Crist down the road? "Zero."

"Mayor Bloomberg was very disappointed that Gov. Crist vetoed an excellent education bill and has no intention of endorsing him," Wolfson said.

Did Bill McCollum go too far?


In the email sent out late Tuesday night, Bill McCollum's campaign manager Matt Williams, harshly attacks Republican primary opponent Rick Scott.

Scott, a wealthy Naples businessman, has spent a chunk of his fortune on political ads that have propelled him to within striking distance of McCollum, Florida's attorney general. In a matter of weeks, Scott the surprise candidate has turned a sure-thing nomination for McCollum into a serious primary fight.

That may explain the late-night email from the McCollum campaign as part of an effort to deflate Scott. But McCollum's camp may have gone a bit too far.

In the email there is a line that says of Scott:  "This is a man who barely escaped imprisonment..."

Continue reading "Did Bill McCollum go too far?" »

Bill McCollum slams Rick Scott

Mccolumfin Well here's one thing that Alex Sink and Bill McCollum agree on - Rick Scott needs to be stopped.

That became clear in pair of attacks on Scott, first from Democrat Alex Sink followed by a "Dear Friend" email note from McCollum campaign manager Matt Williams.

"Rick Scott’s sordid history is a reality that must be addressed," Williams writes. "His business practices are filled with scandal, mismanagement and fraud.  Rick Scott was ousted from his business because it perpetrated the largest Medicare fraud scheme in American history." 

The McCollum email suggests that the Republican primary for governor is about to get very ugly. The text of the McCollum campaign email is on the next page.

Continue reading "Bill McCollum slams Rick Scott" »

Yacht buyers love new Florida sales tax break

Much excitement at about the new jobs bill approved by the Florida Legislature and signed by Gov. Charlie Crist.

Tucked into the bill is a cap on sales taxes for boats. Now, only the first $300,000 of the price is taxed, limiting the tax to $18,000.  Not that the state needs the money.

Frank Herhold, executive director of Marine Industries Association of South Florida, is quoted in saying:

 “Florida, always a popular place to purchase a vessel, immediately becomes more attractive for those contemplating purchases over $300,000 with the Boat Sales Tax Cap passed at the very end of the 2010 Legislative Session. . .Our bill is an important part of the Jobs for Florida economic development package and will serve as a Florida marine industry economic stimuli initiative.”

The boat above belongs to Florida resident Tiger Woods. CPR suspects it cost a bit more than $300,000.

McCollum 43, Sink 35 - Rasmussen

FALLING COCONUTS ALERT: CPR warns that standing under the Poll tree can cause serious injury.

Rasmussen concludes that their newest poll is showing that Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum's lead is dropping, Democratic CFO Alex Sink is hanging in, and wild-card Repubilcan Rick Scott could be a problem.

Rasmussen writes: The current results reflect the lowest level of support yet measured for McCollum and match the lowest total for Sink. Last month, McCollum posted a 45% to 38% lead over Sink, who is currently Florida’s chief financial officer.

Continue reading "McCollum 43, Sink 35 - Rasmussen" »

Greene begins commercials, can Meek do more than watch?

Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene now has two ads on the air for his three-week old U.S. Senate race. 

His opponent in the Democratic primary, U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek must make some tough money decisions.

Meek had $3.7 million in his campaign bank account as of March 31. Not great, not bad. But if you suddenly have a billionaire challenger willing to spend his own money to win that $3.7 million starts to look pretty paltry.

Continue reading "Greene begins commercials, can Meek do more than watch?" »

Crist doomed, race over, voters can stay home

Nice try Charlie but the new Rasmussen poll shows you're toast.

NPA Gov. Charlie Crist - 31, Republican Marco Rubio 39, Democrat Kendrick Meek 18

Hard to believe that just two weeks ago, Crist was at 38, Rubio at 34.

Of course it's all kind of silly. Rasmussen only polled 500 likely voters - a very small sample - with a margin of error of 4.5 percent which means Crist could be slightly ahead with 35.5 to Rubio's 34.5.

Continue reading "Crist doomed, race over, voters can stay home" »

Can the son equal the father?

CHILES1 Forty years ago, Lawton Chiles rose from little known state senator to U.S. Senator by capturing the imagination of Florida's voters.

Today, his son Lawton "Bud" Chiles III, is about to announce he is a candidate for governor.

Many like to believe that Lawton Chiles political career began with his 1,003 mile walk from the tiny Panhandle town of Century (not Pensacola as is often misreported) to the Keys.

Continue reading "Can the son equal the father?" »

Hastings and Diaz-Balart meet on oil spill

U.S. Reps. Alcee Hastings and Lincoln Diaz-Balart will hold a delegation meeting Wednesday to discuss the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

They will be joined by representatives from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development, and the U.S. Coast Guard.

The meeting is in the Cannon House Office Building.

Wonder if Gov. Charlie Crist will make a cameo appearance?

Kendrick Meek's campaign lacks traction and this isn't going to help

KendrickMeekFORWEB The Miami Herald's Friday story about questions surrounding the relationship of Kendrick Meek, his mother, former U.S. Rep. Carrie Meek, Kendrick's former chief-of-staff and a developer under police investigation has brought the U.S. Senate candidate the kind of attention no campaign wants.

Some excerpts:

As U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek championed a proposed biopharmaceutical complex for Liberty City in 2003, his Miami chief of staff received $13,000 from the project's developer to help the aide buy a house, newly released police records show.

The developer, Dennis Stackhouse, is now awaiting trial, accused of stealing nearly $1 million from the failed Poinciana Park project that was supposed to revitalize the blighted Liberty City community. Nothing was ever built.

Continue reading "Kendrick Meek's campaign lacks traction and this isn't going to help" »

Eric Eikenberg departs

CPR has known Eric Eikenberg since he first started running campaigns for former Republican Congressman E. Clay Shaw of Fort Lauderdale.

They were always tough races. At one point in 2000, he called as the polls were closing sounding worried. "I think we lost."

Eric was wrong. Shaw won that race by 599 votes. But it was a sign that Shaw's political future would be drawing to a close.

As a young guy, Eric, now 34, was always way ahead of his contemporaries. He is the kind of guy that will let you spell his first name with a "k" a couple of times before gently telling you it's with a "c."

The St. Pete Times has an excellent story today about Eric. This is his last day as campaign manager for Charlie Crist.

It will be interesting to see where he lands next.

Crist hires his sister as campaign manager

This is the kind of move that usually happens when someone is in their first race for a local office - Gov. Charlie Crist has hired his sister, Margaret Crist Wood,  to run his new independent campaign for U.S. Senate.

Crist met with the St. Pete Times editorial board and, according to the The Buzz, when asked if he needed a seasoned pro, Crist said: "No. You know what you need? I’ve learned I've learned this in the last month - Somebody who’s loyal, really, honest, that cares about you, and is smart and tough. My older sister Margaret has always been that."

St. Pete's Adam Smith described the Crist interview as "a fascinating and wide-ranging talk." You should go to The Buzz and learn what Crist thinks about Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, and much more.