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October 2010

Charlie Crist's 4 a.m. phone call and his sister's cross

Crist cartoon Some might laugh at Charlie Crist but the continuing saga of his political demise is truely a sad tale.

Florida's no-party governor is at the end of an embarrasing desperate effort to force Democrat Kendrick Meek to quit the U.S. Senate race.

On Friday, Peter Wallsten of the Wall Street Journal, was told by Meek that Crist called him at 4 a.m., leaving a voice mail urging Meek to meet with him.

Continue reading "Charlie Crist's 4 a.m. phone call and his sister's cross" »

Kendrick Meek has a long night but Charlie Crist comes up short

KendrickMeekFORWEB This odd election year keeps getting odder.

Democrat Kendrick Meek found himself late last night calling a hasty press conference to deny reports that former President Bill Clinton had urged Meek to drop out of the race to be Florida's next U.S. senator.

"I am in this race until Tuesday 7 o'clock central standard time, " said Meek shortly after 9:35 p.m.

Meek said President Clinton remains a supporter of his campaign and "President Clinton did not ask me to drop out of this race."

About an hour after Meek's statement, President Clinton told CNN that he did not ask Meek to drop out of the race.

But Clinton acknowledged that they talked about Meek dropping out but Clinton did not ask Meek to drop out.

“He was trying to determine what was the best thing for him to do,” Clinton said in an interview with CNN’s Susan Candiotti Thursday. “I knew it was being discussed, people had discussed it on and off… it was no secret.”

Continue reading "Kendrick Meek has a long night but Charlie Crist comes up short" »

Rick Scott runs Alex Sink's a cheater ad

Sometimes it is the silliest things that drive a campaign to distraction.

Democrat Alex Sink's text message fiasco suggests that her campaign staff had no clue on how to stop this story before it got out of hand.  Really folks it's not that hard. Step up, tell the full truth, move on.

Instead, Sink was put in the awkward position of trying to finesse textgate. The result - cable news shows are suggesting she was less than honest with them in explaining what happened during the debate.

Good lord if Chris Matthews is turning on you that's pretty bad. Now Republican Rick Scott has turned the who thing into a 30 second ad.


Picking the winner of the Florida governor's race

Eledonk Today during interviews with two television stations, Crowley Political Report was asked whether Democrat Alex Sink or Republican Rick Scott will be Florida's 45th governor.

Polls are of little help.

Quinnipiac has Sink leading 45-41.

Susquehanna has Scott leading 47-45.

Mason Dixon has Sink leading 46-43.

Rasmussen has Scott leading 48-45.

All of the polls suggest that - within their margin-of-error - this is an extremely tight race with neither Scott nor Sink certain of victory.

Crowley Political Report doesn't know who will win - but we're fairly certain it will be a fascinating election night.

Art by Patrick Crowley

Crist - Don't forget me I'm on line 9

If there is anything that symbolizes the fall of No-Party Gov. Charlie Crist it is the closing line in his new campaign ad - "and don't forget to find me on line 9 on your ballot."

Gosh.  It is almost sad.

To think the Charlie Crist was riding so high in 2008 that he was considered a potential vice president.

Now, he has to tell Florida voters to "find me on line 9."

Yes, it is necessary since as a no-party candidate his name is further down the ballot.

Still, it is in its own way, an unintended poignant moment for those who long supported Crist and now are watching the man they followed end his career because he miscalculated his political future.

They must realize that this would be a very different election if Crist has only run for a second term.


Marco Rubio says America risks becoming like Cuba

Using images of the Great Depression, the military, a child holding an American flag, Republican Marco Rubio has a two minute video presenting the closing argument of his campaign for the U.S. Senate.

After all the touching images, Rubio warns that the America is going downhill - "If we stay on this road Washinton has us on right now we will risk the essence of what makes us exceptional."

Rubio talks about his parents fleeing Cuba and how good America has been to his family.

"So now we are being asked whether we want to keep all that or whether we want to become more like the place my parents came from."

Really? That's the choice?  Florida voters must decide whether we want a communist dictatorship or Marco Rubio?

Glad he let us know.

Here's the video:


Does Charlie Crist know it is over?

Cristlimpfin He was unusually subdued.

Charlie Crist took a couple of gentle shots at Marco Rubio during Tuesday night's debate but there was none of the aggressive, personal attacks that Crist used in the last debate.

Overall, this final debate for the three Florida U.S. Senate candidates was a lofty affair with much discussion about issues confronting the state and the nation.

Crist did steadfastedly ignore Democrat Kendrick Meek in an apparent effort to convince voters that the race is really just between Florida's No-Party governor and Rubio, the Republican candidate.

But that tactic seemed silly with viewers obviously aware that there were three candidates in the race.

This has got to be a very tough week for Crist.  He knows his path to victory is now nearly impossible. In less than 10 months he has gone from a popular governor to a politician without a party or an immediate future.

Which is what made tonight's debate so striking. 

Crist seemed to shift from caustic "heckler" in the last debate two days ago to someone who appeared to be wearily realizng  that tonight's debate would not change his fate on election day.

Art by Patrick Crowley

Florida newspapers continue decline - now what?

While it may be satisfying for some to watch the decline of newspapers, the fact that is often lost is that the decreases in circulation/revenue means fewer reporters on the streets.

With the latest numbers it is clear that the continuing loss of circulation means their are likely to be still fewer reporters and editors at the end of this year.

Many cities in Florida now never see a reporter. That's not good for the taxpayers in those cities. Coverage of courts, schools and county governments also is declining because of the lack of reporters.

Another concern - with so few people reading a daily newspaper, where are they getting news about local and state govenments and schools?

Sorry, MSNBC and FOX and not covering your local town hall.

Here's the grim news as reported by The St. Petersburg Times - the only newspaper without huge losses over the last six months.

Florida Newspapers


Newspaper Daily (Change)* Sunday (Change)
St. Petersburg Times 239,684 (-0.2%) 377,235 (+2%)
Orlando Sentinel 172,271 (-5%) 270,320 (-4%)
Miami Herald ** 151,612 (-7%) 214,891 (-10%)
S. Fla. Sun-Sentinel 149,892 (-2%) 222,594 (-7%)
Tampa Tribune 145,045 (-5%) 249,374 (-1%)
Fla. Times-Union 108,926 (-0.5%) 157,405 (-1%)
Palm Beach Post 100,830 (-12%) 127,862 (-11%)

Was Alex Sink wrong to fire her campaign aide? UPDATE

UPDATE -  CNN's John King had this to say tonight about the debate:

"We listened very closely to the audio, and the makeup artist, when she approached Alex Sink, said I have a message from the staff. And that at point they looked, it was on a cell phone, it was two sentences. It was essentially advice after the last segment of the debate telling her if that question comes up again, remember this, and be more aggressive when Rick Scott questions you. It was two sentences. it was clear that she looked at it and read it. Mr. Scott called her out on that, if you will. His campaign says it's proof that she cheated in the final exam."

King's remarks seem to support Crowley Political Report's earlier assessment of what Sink's off-camera reaction.

And it begs the question again - Should Brian May have been fired?

Here's what we said earlier:

Democrat Alex Sink was caught during Monday night's debate on CNN reading a text message on a phone handed to Sink by her make-up artist during a commercial break.

Continue reading "Was Alex Sink wrong to fire her campaign aide? UPDATE" »

St. Pete Times says Sink cheated during CNN debate

UPDATE: Statement from Alex Sink: 

"After the debate tonight, one of my campaign advisors admitted he tried to communicate with me during one of the breaks.  While he told me it was out of anger with Rick Scott's repeated distortion of facts, it was a foolish thing to do.  It violated a debate agreement and I immediately removed him from the campaign."

Adam Smith of the St. Petersburg Times was one of the questioners during the CNN debate between Democrat Alex Sink and Republican Rick Scott.

At one point during the debate Scott said Sink broke the rules during a commercial break.

Smith in a post on The Buzz reports that Sink did, in Smith's word, "cheat."

Apparently Sink's make-up artist slipped her a phone message about how to respond to a question Scott was raising.  That was against the rules which forbid the campaigns from communicating with the candidate during the debate.

Here is Smith's post.

Yes I know she won't pay a $1.7 billion fine.

Scott, Sink do the ugly on CNN

Rscott079 Asink There is no doubt that the Rick Scott vs Alex Sink debate was entertaining. 

Inspiring? No.

But not a bad political brawl.

Sink lit into Scott sometimes  giving better than she was getting but at times getting close to shrill.

She called Scott a liar, a fraud, and a few other choice nuggets.

Scott fired back sometimes dismissively which seemed to annoy Sink even more.

Sink seemed so annoyed during the debate that at times she lashed out at the two questioners - Adam Smith of The St. Petersburg Times and CNN's John King.

Continue reading "Scott, Sink do the ugly on CNN" »

Nicolle Wallace - why not a woman?

Nicolle Wallace remembers that while she was Gov. Jeb Bush's press secretary she came to admire Hillary Clinton.

At the time, Clinton was going through the humiliation of her husband's affair with Monica Lewinski.

"I remember being so astounded by her grace and dignity," Wallace told Andrea Mithchell today on MSNBC. "I have always been a fan of hers."

Wallace spent more than five years in the George W. Bush White House. She later worked with Sarah Palin during the 2006 presidential campaign. Wallace did her best to help Palin but the Alaska governor wanted none of it.

Now Wallace as a new novel Eighteen Acres about a woman president.

During her interview with Mitchell, Wallace made an interesting observation. While the nation has never had a woman president, said Wallace, "I find it more stunning that we have never had a woman White House chief of staff. . .It is astounding to me."

Nicolle Wallace is married to Mark Wallace who worked on Jeb Bush's 1994 and 1998 campaigns. The Wallaces met during the 2000 presidential election.

Is Florida going to do 2000 all over again?

If you believe the latest stats from FiveThirtyEight/NYTimes Florida's race for governor is incredibly close.

Using a complicated formula based on demograhpic and polling data, FiveThirtyEight's newest projection for what will happen on election day suggests that Democrat Alex Sink and Republican Rink Scott are just one-tenth of a point apart.

The projected election day results shows Scott at 48.9 and Sink at 48.8.

Read it just for fun.  Take it as seriously, or not, as you want.

But it is safe to conclude that as of today - this remains an incredibly close race with the question remaining - which candidate will break out?

Charlie Crist fumbles during CNN debate

 Charlie Crist sounded desperate.

And maybe he is.

With polls showing him still double digits behind Republican Marco Rubio, Crist's six month journey as a No-Party candidate for Florida U.S. Senate appears to be going nowhere.

During Sunday's CNN/St. Petersburg Times debate, Crist frequently lashed out at Rubio and in the final minutes of the debate Crist interrupted Rubio so often that Rubio, clearly annoyed, called Crist a "heckler."

Both Rubio and Democrat Kendrick Meek questioned Crist's political honesty. They accused Crist of flip-flopping on the issues just to save his political career.

Crist, a former college quarterback, offered this explanation:

Continue reading "Charlie Crist fumbles during CNN debate" »

Bill McCollum decides not to fight gay adoption ruling

Will this be an issue in the final days of 2010 campaign?

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, just hours before the deadline, has decided not to challenge an appeal court ruling allowing gays to adopt children.

McCollum said he does not believe the decision by the Third District Court of Appeal is the right case to defend Florida's law banning gay adoptions.

In a statement, McCollum said:

"The constitutionality of the Florida law banning adoption by homosexuals is a divisive matter of great public interest. As such, the final determination should rest with the Florida Supreme Court, not a lower appellate court. But after reviewind the merits of independently seeking Supreme Court review, following the decision of our client, the Department of Children and Family Services, not to appeal the decision of the Third District Court of Appeal, it is clear that this is not the right case to take to the Supreme Court for determination.

"No doubt someday a more suitable case will give the Supreme Court the opportunity to uphold the constitutionality of this law."

McCollum's final line suggests that while the issue appears resolved today, there is a chance that new case challenging gay adoptions will eventually find its way to Florida Supreme Court.



Scott, Sink debate - yawn

Anyone looking for inspiration during last night's debate between Democrat Alex Sink and Republican Rick Scott was left disappointed.

Sure they got a bit fiesty with each other but both of them seemed like a pair of high school debate team members.

Scott started out particularly nervous with none of the cockiness and confidence he shows when giving depositions (see earlier post).

Sink, despite speech and debate training, was only marginally better than Scott.

Both succeeded in getting off their pre-packaged jabs but neither exactly inspired confidence.

Here's an idea - toss out the talking points and have a real conversation. Yell at each other if you want but show some passion and insight.

It will drive your advisers crazy "stay on message, stay on message, stay on message"  but you might enjoy the freedom to say what you're really thinking.


Is Rick Scott stupid?

RickScott Many of you have already seen this video of Republican Rick Scott giving a deposition. The video is being sent around by Democrat Alex Sink.

Obviously, the idea is to show Scott as being a shady character who can't be - wait for it - trusted!

Here's another take on the  video. 

Scott looks smug. He's a cocky lawyer/business executive who is playing games with the attorney asking the questions.

Scott is not stupid.  Clearly Scott knows the answers but he's not about to help the other guy's case. Instead, Scott torments the guy. And you can see the bemused look on Scott's face. 

What Scott didn't know was that years later his smug toying with the attorney would turn into a campaign video to be used against Scott in the race to be Florida's next governor.


Art by Brian J. Crowley

Somebody needs to help Marco Rubio's mom

Last night's Florida senate debate must have been especially frustrating for No Party Gov. Charlie Crist.

You could just tell he wanted to rip into Republican Marco Rubio but the stilted format gave Crist few opportunities to engage Rubio directly.

Rubio got in a nice little dig when he noted that Crist keeps talking about how he would bring warring factions of Senate Democrats and Republicans to the table for peace talks but seems unable to avoid picking fights during the campaign.

Overall the debate was pretty much a rehash of the soundbites that Crist, Rubio and Democrat Kendrick Meek have been using for months.

There is one point that Rubio keeps raising that makes Crowley Political Report worry about his mom.

Rubio keeps saying that "Social Security is the sole source of income that she has."

Really Marco?

Maybe you should pony up a few bucks to help mom out.