Previous month:
September 2011
Next month:
November 2011

October 2011

LeMieux takes shot at Nelson and Mack but ignores Hasner

Crowley Political Report wonders if this new web ad by former U.S. Senator George LeMieux is not in fact taking hard shot at Adam Hasner.

How you ask?

After all,  the ad talks about Republican Congressman Connie Mack, the newest entry in the GOP primary for Florida U.S. Senate, and Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson.

Not a word about Republican Adam Hasner.

Perhaps the not so subtle message here is that Hasner is not to be taken seriously. By targeting Mack, who has yet to formally announce his campaign, and Nelson, LeMieux seems to be conveying that he may be a tad more worried about Mack than Hasner.

Should he be?

At this point, we need to hear a lot more from the Mack folks before voters can take him seriously.

Here's the LeMieux video:


Follow us on Twitter @crowleyreport 

Boca Raton's Lynn University to host 2012 presidential debate

Boca Raton, Florida's Lynn University will be the site of the third presidential debate in 2012.  The Commission on Presidential Debates picked the University of Denver to host the first debate, and Hofstra University to host the second debate.

The vice presidential debate will be at Centre College in Danville, Ky.

While the Commission has been extremely successful at hosting debates, the candidates have not always been cooperative. 

In 1996, Bill Clinton and Bob Dole were unable to agree on having a third debate, so it was scrapped at the last minute.

Lynn University is a small, private university with fewer than 2,5oo undergraduate students. Many of the students are from outside the United States.

From Lynn:

Lynn’s vision is to be recognized as one of the most innovative, international, and individualized small universities in America. Lynn University will capitalize on its youth, location, and close student and faculty bonds to become a forerunner institution, a different kind of learning center, an independent, innovative 21st Century university that is unusually devoted to preparing young persons for America’s and the world’s future.

Should Herman Cain quit his presidential campaign?

PenheadThis is turning into a very scary Halloween for the Herman Cain campaign. Just as the Republican presidential candidate is gaining traction - and hiring campaign staff in key states like Florida - Cain is now confronted with accusations of sexual harassment.

Politico dropped this bombshell on Cain and in what appears to be a thorough report on accusations made, and financial settlements obtained, by two women who complained about sexual harassment while Cain was head of the National Restaurant Association.

The Politico story is required reading if you want to understand what all the fuss is about.

So far, Cain's handling of the questions has been dismal. As of this writing, Cain has remained evasive, defensive and unresponsive to the specific questions being asked.

That is a very dumb approach.

This is not going away. And the longer he delays in dealing forthrightly with the issue the deeper the problem is going to get.

INSTANT UPATE: On Fox News a few minutes ago, Cain said about the Politico story:

"I’ve never sexually harassed anyone and yes, I was falsely accused while I was at the National Restaurant Association. I say falsely because it turned out after the investigation to be baseless. …It is totally baseless and totally false. Never have I committed any sort of sexual harassment.”

He added: "If the restaurant association did a settlement, I wasn't even aware of it and I hope it wasn't for much. If there was a settlement, it was handled by some of the other officers at the restaurant association." 

UPDATE NUMBER 2 - Cain speaks at National Press Club:

"Number one, in all of my over 40 years of business experience ... I have never sexually harassed anyone.  Number two, while at the restaurant association, I was accused of sexual harassment. Falsely accused, I might add.

I was falsely accused of sexual harassment, and when the charges were brought, as the leader of the organization, I recused myself and allowed my general counsel and human resource officer to handle it." 

UPDATE NUMBER 3 - See Cain video from NPC:



Perhaps. But even with his remarks to Fox News, this is still a dumb approach.

Cain's remarks leave questions: 

Why did Cain not make the same "baseless and totally false" statement to Politico?

Why would Cain, as head of the National Restaurant Association, be unaware of a settlement involving him? (See Update 2 above).

Why did the National Restaurant Association settle?

This is one of those campaign moments that drive staff nuts. They are left wondering - what else did Herman forget to mention? And what happens if one or more women suddenly go public?

We've seen this play before. Bill Clinton anyone?

Cain's rapid rise since the Florida straw poll has placed him under intense scrutiny. That is a good thing for candidates.

Now, Cain needs to put these questions about sexual harassment behind him by telling the truth, and nothing but the truth, as quickly as possible.

Today would be good. 

George LeMieux fires first shot at Connie Mack

Sen George lemieux
Well that didn't take long. Less than 24 hours after Congressman Connie Mack entered the Florida Republican campaign for U.S. Senate, George LeMieux sent an email to supporters criticizing Mack's record.

But first, LeMieux welcomes Mack to the race. A nice gesture but Crowley Political Report suspects LeMieux feels otherwise.

 Here's the email:

Dear xxxx,

You may have heard the recent news that Congressman Connie Mack is likely to join the Republican field as one of my competitors for US Senate.

Connie is a friend.  His father was an outstanding US Senator for whom I have great respect.  I welcome Congressman Mack to the race, and look forward to detailed debates on the issues and our records.

This race is about the critical challenges facing our country, our economy, and Washington’s disastrous fiscal policies.  It is essential that Florida Republicans choose a nominee in 2012 with a record that stands in stark contrast to that of liberal incumbent Bill Nelson.

While Congressman Mack has done some good things in Washington, he will have to explain to Floridians why he voted in favor of raising his own pay several times, and supported thousands of wasteful earmark projects, including the Bridge to Nowhere, funding for the Connecticut Aquarium and Kentucky Tourism, and the 2005 Highway Bill that included 6,376 earmarks worth $24 billion. At a time when Washington needs real budget and spending reform, Connie Mack's record shows him to be more of the problem than the solution.

Click here to learn more about how my record compares with Congressman Mack and Senator Nelson's records.


Connie Mack joins Florida Senate race - What happens to LeMieux and Hasner?

Florida Congressman Connie Mack caused a Twitter explosion last night after the Miami Herald's Marc Caputo reported that Mack will enter Florida's U.S. Senate race.

This is not good news for Adam Hasner and George LeMieux. 

Give credit to the Hasner folks, they got off their tweets a lot faster than the LeMieux folks.

About 9:3o p.m., the slightly dosing TwitterWorld erupted with this tweet:

Marc Caputo Reconsideration alert: Connie Mack to enter US Senate race

A few minutes later:

SaintPetersblog Peter Schorsch - Whoa! Connie Mack to enter US Senate race (via @marcacaputo)

debitking Nelsa - Ummm? Really? RT@umarsattar  HUGE NEWS: Connie Mack to enter FlSen race.

 Abel Harding - Wow. RT @MarcACaputo: Reconsideration alert: Connie Mack to enter US Senate race

As the tweets gather steam, the first reactions come from the Hasner team:

 Alberto Martinez - Game on. RT @MarcACaputo Reconsideration alert: Connie Mack to enter US Senate race

Christian Camara - No Reconsideration alert: I'll continue supporting @AdamHasner, since hes been a loyal conservative and only candidate that supported Rubio.

POLITICO picks it up:

Ben Smith – Connie Mack jumping in to Fl Sen

Caputo adds to the drama:

MarcACaputo - Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos, who was endorsed by Connie Mack, is scheduled to have a Connie Mack fundraiser

The word spreads and then the speculation begins:

Abel HardingWill be interesting to watch who lines up behind @ConnieMackIV out of the starting gate. Will LeMieux lose endorsements, donors?

Jennifer Duffy - With Rep. Connie Mack poised to jump into #FlSen,  this race just got A LOT more interesting

CrowleyReport - Who does Connie Mack hurt more - LeMieux or Hasner?

An hour into Caputo's original report, tweets from national news organizations are picking up. Speculation continues and Hasner's folks offer this:

TheRickWilson With Rep. Connie Mack poised to jump into #Fl Sen this race just got A LOT more interesting. Over/under on when @george lemieux  leaves the race to spend more time with his law firm?

DJGroup David Johnson Notice eerie silence from the Fans o'George tonight. Usually they are tweetin themselves into tizzy

By midnight, the tweets became a trickle.

But the political drama started last night by Cornelius McGillicuddy IV, once again proves that Florida politics is always full of surprises.

CNN TIME Florida poll Romney 30, Cain 18, Perry 9

Texas Gov. Rick Perry seems to have little traction with Florida Republicans while former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney clings to a commanding lead with Herman Cain following in second place. 

Well maybe.

The sample of 401 registered GOP voters is a tad small. The margin of error is plus/minus 5 percent which is a tad large.

Tadding aside, the important thing is that at this stage of a campaign it's all about headlines and perceptions. 

Here's what the poll really tells us - despite some grumbling, Florida's GOP voters are comfortable with Romney.  Here's what the poll doesn't tell us - who is going to show up to vote?

If you watch the dance in teh 2012 Florida's U.S. Senate race, plus last year's race for governor and U.S. Senate, it is pretty clear that the most likely voters in the January 31 primary will be Tea Party voters and other who feel similarly.

Not good for Romney.

He is still a tough sell to the Tea Party - a group known to be willing to cut a candidate off at the knees for the slightest perceived transgression.

Could Rick Perry take his place? Maybe. But at 9 percent in this poll - tied with Newt Gingrich - it's pretty clear that Florida Republicans remain unimpressed. 

The wild card remains Cain. He's popular with Tea Party and may finally be putting together the money and Florida organization he needs to have a shot.

We're less than 100 days away from the Jan. 31 primary - and the candidates still have to deal with Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Enjoy the poll - but don't take it too seriously.

Consider this, 50 percent of those surveyed said they might change their mind.

The results: Romney 30%   Cain 18%    Gingrich 9%    Perry 9%    Paul 6%    Bachmann 4%    Huntsman 1%    Santorum 1%    No opinion 14%

Follow us on Twitter @crowleyreport

Did George LeMieux make a $150,000 mistake?

FallingcocofinMarc Caputo of the Miami Herald took a moment to chat with Jim Greer, the deeply embarassed and criminally charged, former head of the Florida Republican Party about a little financial deal that was arranged for George LeMieux.

The conversation was not pretty.

First, let's all understand that Greer is cranky. He believes a bunch of folks, including LeMieux, threw him under the bus. So, it is not surprising that Greer may no longer be in the mood to defend the folks who cheerfully put him in charge of the party.

But some facts are not in dispute.

Continue reading "Did George LeMieux make a $150,000 mistake?" »

Herman Cain gets serious about Florida and yellow flowers

This morning, Crowley Political Report spent more than 30 minutes talking about Herman Cain with a Washington reporter from Reuters.

Cain has become a popular interview subject ever since his stunning victory in the Florida Republican Party's straw poll. Since then, Cain has led in some polls including last week's NBC/Marist poll. Cain's closest competitor has been Mitt Romney. 

Can Cain win Florida?


But it is not going to be easy.

Continue reading "Herman Cain gets serious about Florida and yellow flowers" »

Marco Rubio fibs, the media goes bonkers and does it really matter

RubiofinWho do we blame for the current controversy about Florida Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio?

By now you know the story. The St. Petersburg Times published a story last week about nut-case birthers questioning whether Rubio could legally become vice president or president.

A day later, The Washington Post ran a story suggesting that Rubio lied about his family history by claiming that his parents had fled Fidel Castro's Cuba when in fact they did not.

Rubio easily dismissed the birther question. But he has been in full campaign mode trying to explain why his statements over the years about his parents have been, at best, muddled.

Thousands of words have been written. Prominent Republicans have jumped to Rubio's defense. There has been quibbling over the word "exile." And of course it is all a plot by the evil, liberal media.

Rubiofin1All the noise drowns out a very simple fact - at times, Rubio fibbed about his parents. They did not come to the United State after Castro took over Cuba on New Year's Day 1959.  Rubio's parents came here in 1956.

Fibbed. Crowley Political Report uses the word very deliberately.  A fib is defined as a "small or trivial lie; a minor falsehood."

Continue reading "Marco Rubio fibs, the media goes bonkers and does it really matter" »

Is George LeMieux's Florida Senate campaign in trouble?

First the good news for George LeMieux. Crowley Political Report took a look at what LeMieux and his Florida U.S. Senate race rival - Adam Hasner - reported in their most recent campaign finance statements to the Federal Election Commission.

The most important numbers, at this point in a campaign, are always in the cash-on-hand column. Far too often a candidate who raised lots of cash early the campaign,  squanders it on all sorts of things that are profitable for consultants but leave the candidate broke in the final weeks of a campaign.

(Details from the FEC reports are below)

 LeMieux appears to be doing fine. He has raised $1.35 million and his cash-on-hand as of Sept. 30, was just bit more than $1 million.

Hasner has raised $1.1 million but his cash-on-hand is just $785,000.

Yes, I know, you have to spend money to make money.  And groundwork is being laid, blah, blah, blah.

So that's the good news for LeMieux. He has managed to hang on to most of the money he has raised.

But the FEC report also suggests that LeMieux's campaign is having problems. He raised less money than Hasner in the three months ending Sept. 30. LeMieux raised $403,000, while Hasner collected $535,000.

What does this mean?

Continue reading "Is George LeMieux's Florida Senate campaign in trouble?" »

Times say Romney plan gives free health care to illegal immigrants

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been slammed repeatedly by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for supporting a Texas plan that allows the children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition for college.

Now, questions are being asked Romney's Massachusett's healthcare plan and how it applies to illegal immigrants.

Noam Levey of  The Los Angeles Times writes:

The Massachusetts healthcare law that then-Gov. Mitt Romney signed in 2006 includes a program known as the Health Safety Net, which allows undocumented immigrants to get needed medical care along with others who lack insurance.

Uninsured, poor immigrants can walk into a health clinic or hospital in the state and get publicly subsidized care at virtually no cost to them, regardless of their immigration status.

. . .

The Massachusetts program, which cost more than $400 million last year, paid for 1.1 million hospital and clinic visits. It's unclear how many undocumented patients benefited because the state does not record that data.

The Romney campaign referred questions to Tim Murphy, who served as Romney's state health and human services secretary. Murphy said the governor never intended the Health Safety Net to serve undocumented immigrants.

"Our view when we signed the law was that all benefits would be for people in the commonwealth who were here legally," Murphy said, noting that the regulations implementing the program were written after Romney left office in 2007.

 Read the entire Los Angeles Times story here.

Perry's campaign wasted no time pouncing:

“Governor Romney’s government-mandated health care plan provided free care for illegal immigrants in Massachusetts, establishing just the kind of illegal immigration magnet Governor Romney claims to oppose,” said Perry spokesman Mark Miner.

“Program rules established by the Romney Administration in 2004 clearly state that citizenship is not required for free health care and subsidies and health centers cannot consider citizenship before rendering that free care.”

What's the truth?

It may not be clear at this point except for this - illegal immigrants will continue to be political fodder in the GOP primary and Hispanic voters in Florida and elsewhere may soon begin to wonder whether the issue is just about illegals.


Adam Hasner: Occupy members are anarchists and extremists

Well perhaps it takes one to know one. Republican Adam Hasner who warns against the continuing threat of Sharia Law and Agenda 21 would like you to know that the Occupy folks are just another bunch of extremists.

In an email received moments ago by Crowley Political Report, the GOP Florida U.S. Senate candidate writes of his concerns about Occupy.

President Obama and the Democrats have chosen sides.
Instead of standing with the millions of middle class Americans who work hard, play by the rules, and want government to get off their backs and out of their way - President Obama is siding with a collection of left-wing activists, anarchists, and extremists who are occupying cities from New York to Miami.

Hasner thug
(Image from Hasner campaign)

This is who our President supports? Thugs tackling police officers?
The front lines of President Obama and the Democrats' new supposedly anti-capitalist army is manned by kids decked out in the latest designer logoed clothes and sporting the latest high-tech toys from some of the world's most successful corporations. They're joined by born-again communists and ranting anti-Semites who want to destroy Israel.

Continue reading "Adam Hasner: Occupy members are anarchists and extremists" »

Herman Cain struggles, Perry fights back and AFSCME takes on Allen West

Not that was a great Republican debate. And for those dummies out there who think the squabbling was a CNN plot - please turn in your voter card.

Crowley Political Report was among the first to note that Herman Cain's 9 9 9  plan would result in a 15 percent sales tax in Florida - the very state that propelled Cain to the top of the heap by giving him a stunning victory in the Presidency 5 straw ballot.

Cain did a decent job fighting back during the debate but for the first 20 minutes he was pounded by his rivals for the GOP nomination. 

Early prediction - the sales tax aspect is going to hurt Cain. He can't explain it in a 30-second ad but his opponents can scare the hell out of voters with it in less than 30 seconds.

Rick Perry showed that he in fact does have a pulse. And watching him and Mitt Romney left the clear impression that they will not be running mates.  Perry was stronger than in previous debates but he still stepped on his lines and at times seemed out of it.

Romney started taking on the petulant tone of someone who thought the nomination would be easier this time.  When he asked Anderson Cooper to step in and help stop Perry from interrupting, Romney looked like the kid running to his daddy.

Michelle Bachmann proved once again that she is willing to say any ole outrageous thing just to get attention.

And while Rick Santorum had his best night, he still reminds us why Pennsylvania voters tossed him out of office.

Oh, and Ron Paul was there still collecting his paycheck from that evil federal government that has supported him since 1976.  We hear it's now a family business. Gosh, wonder when that will appear in an ad.

Florida GOP Congressman Allen West did not attend the debate but Florida viewers may have been surprised to see this ad during a the festivities:


 Follow us on Twitter @crowleyreport

Allen West spends a lot, Patrick Murphy and Lois Frankel spend less

Electfinal_edited-1Gonna be a good year for campaign consultants. A Crowley Political Report look at the Federal Election Commission reports filed by Allen West, Lois Frankel and Patrick Murphy show that the three congressional candidates have already spent nearly $2.9 million.

Yup. $2.9 million by the end of September.

The biggest spender is Republican incumbent Allen West at $2.26 million.  Democrat political newbie Patrick Murphy spent $381,000.  Meanwhile Democrat Lois Frankel spent $223,000.

Check out the details yourself from the FEC reports shown below.

Continue reading "Allen West spends a lot, Patrick Murphy and Lois Frankel spend less" »

Florida official says journalists are lobbyists

Crowley Political Report continues to be baffled by what some elected officials are dreaming up these days. While this is not as bad as firing squads or tossing inmates off bridges, we now have a Broward County mayor who thinks reporters are lobbyists.

No, really.

Lauderhill Mayor Richard Kaplan has informed the Sun Sentinel that Broward's new Code of Ethics means that reporters are lobbyists because their newspaper editorial boards try to influence public opinion.

There is an interesting exchange of emails between Kaplan and Sun Sentinel reporter Brittany Wallman that you should read.

Let's hope Kaplan's silliness doesn't spread.

Follow us on Twitter @crowleyreport

Florida Republican says lets have firing squads - or toss them off a bridge

Sometimes Crowley Political Report worries that Florida is becoming the nation's largest lunatic-fringe state. Now, we have a Republican legislator who is introducing legislation to use firing squads to execute death row inmates.

This story was first reported by The Florida Current and you should click on over and give it a read.

State Rep. Brad Drake of Eucheeanna is frustrated with legal maneuvers over lethal injection. So Drake would like to replace lethal injections with firing squads of electrocution. Somebody is going to have to find Old Sparky.

"There shouldn't be anything controversial about a .45-caliber bullet. If it were up to me we would just throw them off the Sunshine Skyway bridge and be done with it," Drake told The Current.

Crowley Political Report would like to congratulate the voters of Brad Drake's district - you should be proud.

Follow us on Twitter @crowleyreport

George LeMieux, crushing regulations, expensive seniors and more

Crowley Political Report got an email from Florida Republican Senate candidate George LeMieux. Oh wait, he sent this to everyone.

Anyway, this is LeMieux's "Four Freedoms Plan" - these include "freedom to work, freedom from debt, freedom from foreign independence and free to pursue the American dream."

LeMieux even gives a nod to Norman Rockwell - not likely to help him with the under 30 voter. He also likes the word "crushing."

Among his ideas:

Cut corporate tax rate to 25 percent. No government bailouts. Repeal "crushing" regulations. Establish a national right to work law.

Plus the usual cap spending, cut spending, reform spending. Toss in means testing for Social Security and Medicare and raising the retirement age.

Let's not forget banning earmarks, freezing salaries for all federal employees (oops, except the military), and, our favorite "for every two employees who retire, only one should be hired."

Does that include members of Congress?

 LeMieux would also allow oil and gas drilling "100 miles off our coast." (like in the Bahamas? Cuba?)

Let's not forget "Repeal Obamacare," school choice, abolish Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, oh and get rid of more of those "crushing regulations."

You can read LeMieux's plan here.

LeMieux is facing Adam Hasner and Mike McCalister in Florida's GOP primary.

Follow us on Twitter @crowleyreport

Allen West piles up the cash, should Democrats just surrender now?

AllenWestGood lord? Really? Crowley Political Report does not shock easily but Florida Republican Congressman Allen West raised a stunning amount of campaign cash during the three months ending Sept. 30.

$1.9 million.  Yup. $1.9 million.

Consider this - Democratic U.S.  Sen. Bill Nelson raised nearly $2 million. Let's call it a tie.

There are two Democrats hoping to win West's District 22 seat - former West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel and Broward County businessman Patrick Murphy.

Frankel says she raised $415,000. Murphy raised $313,000. That would be a combined $728,000 for the two Democrats compared to West's $1.9 million.

Should Frankel and Murphy just go home?

Frankel has raised a total of $1.1 million since starting her campaign. Murphy has raised $1.2 million.

West has raised  $3.9 million.

Fun with math - Two Democrats total - $2.3 million. West - $3.9 million.

Fun fact - Much of the money Frankel and Murphy raised will have to be spent in the Democratic primary. West does not have, and is not like to have, a serious primary opponent.

Nope, West is just going to keep raking in the dough. A few more million for West and the DCCC may take West off their target list.

No matter how much Democrats would like to get that seat back, Frankel and Murphy are going to need a whole lot more cash to pull it off.

Follow us on Twitter @crowleyreport

Art by Chicago artist and graphic designer Brian J. Crowley

American Crossroads ad greets Obama in Orlando

President Obama comes to Orlando and Lake Mary today to raise a few bucks for his reelection campaign. Florida polls suggest he's going to need the money.

Bad news for Orlando - Air Force One is expected to land around 4:40 p.m. with the presidential motorcade leaving shortly after that for the downtown Sheraton.

Start honking your horns now or ask the boss if you can go home early.

After that event, Obama travels to Lake Mary for a fundraiser at the home of attorney John Morgan - you know Morgan and Morgan, the Charlie Crist firm.

There also is talk that Obama will meet with Orlando workers so he can tout his American Jobs Act which appears to be going nowhere fast.

The Karl Rove group, American Crossroads, is offering Obama an Orlando greeting which is running during his visit to the area.

Here's the ad:


 Follow us on Twitter @crowleyreport

Mitt Romney, Florida's Mormon U.S. Senator and other facts about Mormons

Crowley Political Report is packing a lot of infomation about Florida Mormons and Mitt Romney in today's edition of CPR.  But first, let's start with this observaton, Rick Perry's little friend, Robert Jeffress, is a moron.

The pastor of the Dallas First Baptist Church is clearly a religous bigot. He is fond of accusing other religions of being cults - and not just Mormons.

Jeffress also believes that John F. Kennedy belonged to a cult - Catholicism.

Crowley Political Report tracked down this little sermon Jeffress gave about Catholicsim which he believes is a religion of Satan.  This will not help Perry with Catholic voters. An excerpt fron his sermon about Catholics:

"This is the Babylonian mystery religion that spread like a cult throughout the entire world. . ."


"You say, pastor how can you say such a thing that is such an indictment of the Catholic Church, after all, the Catholic Church talks about God and the Bible and Jesus and the blood of Christ and salvation. Isn't that the genius of Satan?

"You know if you want to counterfeit a dollar bill you don't do it with purple paper and red ink. You're not going to full anybody with that. If you want to counterfeit money you make it look as closely related to the real thing as possible.

"And that's what satan does with counterfeit religion. He uses, he steals, he appropriates all of the symbols of true biblical Christianity and he changes it just enough in order to cause people to miss eternal life."

Hear it for yourself here.

In 2007, Romney was shouted down during a visit to The Villages, a mandatory Florida campaign stop for Republcian candidates, by an angry man who accused him of pretending to be a Christian. The man refused to accept the idea that a Mormon could be a Christian.

That outburst, led to the following 2007 story about Florida Mormons - a story that is even more important today as Romney leads in most polls.

By Brian E. Crowley - Palm Beach Post Politcal Editor

There are always questions.

Some are merely curious: Why do Mormons avoid coffee and tea? Shun tobacco?

Others are more pointed: Are you polygamists? Are you Christians? Are you a cult?

None of this is new to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But what is new is the presidential campaign of Republican former Massachusetts governor and devout Mormon.

Romney has made Florida a key state in his bid to win the GOP nomination, bringing with him a spotlight on his religion and the 125,000 Mormons who live and worship in the Sunshine State.

Members, including more than 15,000 in South Florida, also must deal with this sobering fact: A USA Today/Gallup poll in February found that 24 percent of those asked said they would not vote for a well-qualified Mormon to be president. Among Republicans the number was 30 percent.

"You, sir, are a pretender. You do not know the Lord. You are a Mormon," a man yelled at Romney during a campaign stop last month at The Villages, a retirement community near Ocala.

The man was shouted down by the crowd of more than 800, but he offered a view of the church that is not uncommon. The Southern Baptist Convention describes Latter-day Saints as a cult.

Jacob Weisberg, editor of the online magazine Slate, wrote in December that the religion is based on "a transparent and recent fraud," which is why he would not vote for Romney.

Continue reading "Mitt Romney, Florida's Mormon U.S. Senator and other facts about Mormons" »