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March 2011

Bob Graham has a few words of warning for Rick Scott

Bob Graham There must always be a bit of frustration for former governors when the new guy in the Florida governor's mansion begins dismantling much of what you worked so hard to do.

It has been 24 years since Gov. Bob Graham left Tallahassee to go to the U.S. Senate where he served until 2007.  During his eight years as governor, Graham fought to reform education - yes with a merit pay plan - and to protect the environment.

In an interview with Lucy Morgan at the St. Petersburg Times, Graham expressed grave concern about the direction Gov. Rick Scott is taking Florida.

"I'm discouraged at a lot of things that are happening," Graham said. "It seems so shortsighted, the idea of cutting education by 10 percent seems unbelievable. To cut Florida Forever (the state's land buying program) to zero and cut down spending on the Everglades — it all damages education and the environment."

Graham is native Floridian who cares deeply about his state. His interview with Morgan can be read here.

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Herman Cain is going to Donald Trump's place

Call it one of those odd political twists.

Herman Cain is going to be hanging out Saturday at Mar-a-Lago, the home/very exclusive country club of Donald Trump.

Cain is going there to mingle with folks who might be interested in a Cain campaign for president. Wonder if The Donald will be attending. After all, Trump is considering is own bid for the Republican nomination.

Both men say they are serious.

Cain is a former top executive with Coca-Cola and Pillsbury. He later became CEO of Godfather's Pizza and is credited with turning the nearly bankrupt company around. He became one of the company's owners.

Crowley Political Report hears that Trump has done okay for himself as well.

The event a Mar-a-Lago is being billed as an "exclusive and private" gathering. It is being hosted by Palm Beach resident Guido George Lombardi.

Maybe there will be a Trump/Cain ticket. Cain/Trump? The Donald could never be number two.

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Labor Dept: Florida unemployment 11.9 percent in January


Florida's unemployment remain at nearly 12 percent in January, according to new statistics just released by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Unemployment was 11.3 in January 2010; 12.0 in December 2010 and 11.9 percent in January 2011, according to Labor.

Excerpts from their report:

The largest over-the-month decrease in employment occurred in Georgia (-15,300), followed by New Jersey (-13,000), Florida (-12,900), South Carolina (-8,500), and Maryland (-7,100).

Nevada continued to register the highest unemployment rate among the states, 14.2 percent in January. The states with the next highest rates were California, 12.4 percent, and Florida, 11.9 percent.

The entire release in on the next page.


Continue reading "Labor Dept: Florida unemployment 11.9 percent in January" »

Rick Scott "Gosh this is great"

Rscott079 Even on the screen you could sense Gov. Rick Scott's excitement - and perhaps a hint of "I can't believe I'm here" as he gave his first State-of-the-State address before a joint session of the Florida Legislature.

"Gosh this is great" gushed Scott as he stood at the podium.

His speech was largely an extension of his campaign speech and predictably ended with his campaign tagline "let's get to work."

But he did have some rhetorical flourishes - "We build magic kingdoms. We launch ships that fly to the moon. Florida can be the state where the American dream continues to be a reality."

Some noted in their tweets during the speech that building magic kingdoms and launching ships to the moon also required heavy government spending. 

Continue reading "Rick Scott "Gosh this is great"" »

Barney Bishop and the Rick Scott love affair


Love is sometimes a fickle thing.

It was only last July when Barney Bishop of Associated Industries was so love torn that he could not decide whom he loved more - Rick Scott or Bill McCollum.

So in his own version of Big Love, Bishop joined hands with both men and endorsed each to be the GOP nominee for governor. Not exactly a profile-in-courge but a good way to hedge your bets.

Bishop has been in a swoon since Scott was elected Florida's 45th governor. And Scott has dazzled Bishop with a bouquet of promises including eliminating the corporate business tax, tossing out business regulations, eviscerating the Department of Community Affairs, and reducing the overall size of government.

Bishop is all but giddy.

Continue reading "Barney Bishop and the Rick Scott love affair" »

Can Rick Scott succeed with the Florida Legislature?


Florida's Gov. Rick Scott begins his first real test as a political leader when the gavels drop today to mark the start of the 60-day legislative session.

Much of what Scott and his fellow Republican leaders want to do in the House and Senate is highly controversial and devisive.

This may make them feel special - look at us we're taking on the big issues.

Well not really. There are often big issues and taking them on, for better or worse, is nothing new.

Continue reading "Can Rick Scott succeed with the Florida Legislature?" »

Mike Haridopolos already a failed candidate for U.S. Senate


Sure it may seem preposterous to declare a candidate dead long before the race to be Florida's next U.S. senator has really gotten underway but Crowley Political Report can give you 152,000 reasons.

Really Mike what were you thinking? If someone is going to pay you $152,000 to write a book, it better be one helluva a book.

Florida Legislative History and Process is not one helluva book. It is one helluva taxpayer ripoff. Yup, you paid for the book - and I'll bet you don't even have a copy.

Back to the orignial premise - Haridopolos' campaign for U.S. Senate is toast.

Continue reading "Mike Haridopolos already a failed candidate for U.S. Senate" »

Rick Scott wins High Speed Rail decision in Florida Supreme Court

In a one paragraph unanimous decision the court denied the emergency petition.

"Based on the limited record before the court and a review of the federal and state law relied on by the parties, the Court has determined that the petitioners have not clearly demonstrated entitlement to quo warranto, mandamus, or any other relief. Accordingly the emergency petition is herby denied."

"No motion for rehearing shall be permitted."

Earlier today Crowley Politcal Report predicted that Florida Gov. Rick Scott would successfully beat back a challenge to his decision to refuse $2.4 in federal money to pay for a high speed rail from Tampa to Orlando.

Scott has won the first judicial challenge to his authority.

Scroll down to see the earlier post about the case.

Florida Democratic Party spokesman Eric Jotkoff tweeted this reaction: It seems official - Rick Scott has destroyed 71,000 job-years, stopped critical investment in FL, by blocking high-speed rail.

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Is Rick Scott likely to win Supreme Court decision on High Speed Rail?

Crowley Political Report
has not sat in on a major Florida Supreme Court hearing since 2000 when there was a little squabble between Al Gore and George W. Bush.

And it is always dicey to interpret judicial intention from the questions justices ask and their body language - especially while watching on live web feed.

Still, when the justices issue their opinion today in the High Speed Rail case, it would be a surpise if they did not side with Gov. Rick Scott.

The justices appeared to struggle with the notion that Scott had violated the constitutional seperation-of-powers when he told the Obama administration that he did not want $2.4 billion pegged to building a high speed rail between Tampa and Orlando.

Scott thinks the whole project is folly and a waste of money. The folks in Tampa, Orlando and the burgs in between disagree.

Continue reading "Is Rick Scott likely to win Supreme Court decision on High Speed Rail?" »

Rick Scott to greet President Obama in Miami

Earlier Crowley Political Report asked the question - will Jeb Bush hug Obama? 

Today is the big day. President Obama makes his way to Miami where he will tour Miami Central High School with Bush. Both men have pushed for making dramatic changes to education.

Now, the early word is that Florida Gov. Rick Scott will greet Obama when Air Force One lands in Miami. Scott does not strike us as the hugger type so we would be surprised if the two men embrace.

After the school tour, Obama is attending two fundraisers for Bill Nelson and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. One will be at the Fountainbleu and the other is at the Miami Beach home of Michael Adler.

More about the Adler event here.

Haridopolos $152,000 book now available on Amazon

Yup.  You too can be the proud owner of Senate President Mike Haridopolos' $152,000 book about the Florida Legislature.

You can now buy an electronic version for just $9.99 on Amazon.

Brevard Community College is offering this text that is so rare there is only one copy. And the school would like you to know that the book is available "worldwide."

Worldwide? Crowley Political Report had no idea there was such demand.

Let's see at $9.99 per electronic book (you download it on Kindle), the college only needs to sell 15,200 to break even.

Will Rush Limbaugh be at Club for Growth gathering in Palm Beach?



Once again the Club for Growth will be looking out for the little people during a conference this weekend at The Breakers  in Palm Beach.

Anyone who has been at The Breakers knows it is not Motel 6 but they will leave a light on for you.

Not far away is the palatial ocean front home of Rush Limbaugh who make more money sitting in front of a microphone for three hours a day than the average Club for Growth member makes in a lifetime.

Still, Crowley Political Report would not be surprised if Limbaugh is on the agenda. Or, if at the very least, he doesn't drop by to mingle with crowd.

Three potential presidential candidates will be there - Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour.

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio also is scheduled to attend.

Wonder if any of them will swing by Belle Glade.

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Art by Patrick Crowley

Will Jeb Bush hug President Obama?

Crist obama hug  
It was the hug that shook the nation.

Gov. Charlie Crist and President Barack Obama doing a not quite bromance hug during the President's 2009 visit to Florida.

Crist was hammered by his fellow Republicans. How dare he embrace Obama. For that matter, how dare he be seen in the same state with Obama.

The 2009 hug turned into a 2010 election rout that forced Crist to leave the GOP and attempt a run for the U.S. Senate as an independent.

That hug spawned Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Gov. Rick Scott. It even helped energize the Tea Party.

It was a helluva costly hug for Crist.

So how close will Jeb Bush get to Obama during the pair's visit to Miami Central High School?

Here is Florida Republican strategist Alberto Martinez's Twitter response to that very question: He could kiss the Pres and no one would question his conservative cred.

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Did Rick Scott illegally sell the state's planes?

Florida Tribune's Gary Fineout has obtained emails showing that Gov. Rick Scott's own staff questioned whether he had the legal right to sell the state's two airplanes.

Scott’s own staff in the Office of Policy and Budget prepared outlines and documents that said that the sale of the planes needed to be signed off by the Legislature, including possibly requiring that the sale had to be approved by the Legislative Budget Commission,  writes Fineout.

And then Fineout reports this exchange (Alexander is J.D. Alexander, chairman of the Senate budget committee):

When asked about the e-mails, a spokesman for the governor repeated that the transaction had been reviewed by legal staff. But he also questioned whether lawmakers would have gotten rid of the planes on their own.

“If the Legislature were in charge of selling the state airplane, it would still be on the tarmac costing taxpayers $2.4 million a year,’’ said Brian Burgess.

Alexander took issue with the statement, saying that he tried to sell the planes and bid out the service, but that his actions were blocked by former Gov. Charlie Crist.

“It seems like they are trying to pick a fight with the Legislature or it’s sheer arrogance or maybe both,’’ Alexander said. “I can’t figure out what it is.”

You can't help but get the feeling that the governor's office considers the Florida Legislature a mere inconvience to doing the thing the intent on doing anyway.

Read Fineout's story.

Nikki Haley suggests Newt Gingrich's time has passed

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley apparently is not impressed with the fact that Newt Gingrich is expected to enter the 2012 presidential race this week.

Speaking to The Fix, Haley said this of the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives - "There was a place and time for him. I think that there is a respect for him that he's been there and done that."

When asked whether she was saying Gingrich's time had passed, Haley laughed it off.

"Don't read into my words," she said. "You know, I'm just being very honest with you."

With South Carolina billed as the "first primary in the South," if the popular Haley dismisses fellow southerner Gingrich it could put a crimp in his presidential plans.

Read more from The Fix here.

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Michele Bachmann is in Jupiter today

Well of course Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is in South Florida today where the high is going to be 82 degrees.

Back home in Stillwater, Minnesota it is 19 degrees with a high of expected of 37 and low tonight of 1 degree.

Anyone else notice the irony that Bachmann is from a town called Stillwater?  You would expect the third term congresswoman to be from a place called Raging Waters.

The founder of the congressional Tea Party Caucus will be in Jupiter, Florida today to attend a Tea Party event at the Abacoa Golf Club.

The mother of five children is scheduled to speak about "spending and the Constitution," from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

Later in the day she is meeting with NewsMax executives. Bachmann also will attend a Club for Growth conference.

Recently she was in South Carolina and Iowa.  Is she running for president or just building a power base to strengthen her hand in Congress?

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