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November 2011

Romney in Florida getting cash and endorsements

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is wandering around Florida today picking up cash for his campaign and endorsements of three prominent members of the South Florida Cuban-American community.

 Romney is being endorsed by two Cuban-American members of Congress - Ileana Ros Lehtinen and Mario Diaz Balart. Joining the is former Congressman and older brother of Mario - Lincoln Diaz Balart.

All three are enormously influential among Republicans in the South Florida's Cuban-American community. 

Romney received the endorsments during an early morning stop in Miami.

“Mitt Romney believes that America is an exceptional nation and has a strategy to restore our country’s greatness,” Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement. “The Romney plan for economic growth will create jobs and opportunities for all, especially for South Floridians, who are passionate in their pursuit of the American dream.”

Romney will travel to Naples and Tampa for fundraisers. 


60 Minutes report on Florida's homeless children

If you missed this segment on 60 minutes, you should watch it. These homeless children are in Seminole County, Florida. 

Two of the children in this report, Austin and Arielle Metzger, live in a truck with their father. These are two amazing kids. 

And the story begs the question - should this be an issue in the 2012 election?



UPDATE: Here is a link to the Seminole County School District with information about how to donate to help homeless children.

Was the media fair during Herman Cain's Florida visit?

PenheadCrowley Political Report has joined Columbia Journalism Review in its effort to monitor media coverage during the 2012 campaign.

Today, CPR wrote about the media's reporting on Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain's visit to Florida.

Was it fair? Did the coverage say something about the media?

We look at Cain being questioned about the "wet foot, dry foot" immigration policy toward Cubans, his question about speaking "Cuban,"  and how the media reacted.

An excerpt:

Eleven seconds. That’s how long the exchange lasted between Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain and Miami Herald political reporter Marc Caputo during a campaign swing through South Florida last week.

During a multi-city visit that took Cain to a senior center in Sweetwater, Miami’s Little Havana, Coral Springs, West Palm Beach and Palm Beach, the most newsworthy moment, judging by the resulting press coverage, occurred in those 11 seconds.

While in Sweetwater walking toward the senior center, Caputo, his video camera aimed at Cain, said to the candidate, “I want to ask you about, do you mind, about Cuba, about your Cuba policy, what you think about the wet-foot, dry-foot policy?”

Cain, looking and sounding puzzled, answered, “The wet-foot, dry-foot policy?”


...while the Florida media did a good job of  capturing the entirety of Cain’s Florida trip, media outside the state often took the easy way out: grabbing the tidbit about speaking “Cuban” and/or the “wet-foot, dry-foot” exchanges, both of which served to confirm the (again, not unfounded) media narrative that Candidate Cain does not have a good grasp of things foreign policy. That became the story —We’ve confirmed our hunch, again! Our work here is done. The episode may have revealed something about Cain, but the way it was covered revealed as much about the media.

Please read the complete Columbia Journalism Report here.

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Art by Patrick Crowley

Allen West calls Super Committee appalling and an embarrassment

AllenWestFlorida Republican Congressman Allen West fired off a statement this morning stating the obvious "that politics and partisanship is at the very core of this failure" of the Congressional Super Committee to reach an agreement.

West goes on to say, "I find it appalling that grown adults can not sit down at a table and find a way to negotiate something so important to the future of this nation."

Of course it does not take long for West to get political and partisan himself and point a finger at President Obama.

"President Barack Obama and his Administration are to blame for the anticipated failure of the Super Committee," said West. "He has stood by and done nothing to encourage bipartisanship among this committee."

Really? West believes that Obama would have succeeded as a mediator between House and Senate Democrats and Republicans?


Here is the text of West's statement:

 "The Super Committee was entrusted by the American people and by fellow Members of Congress to work together and come up with a solution to America's fiscal crisis by spending and balancing our budget and finding the means to cut 1.2 trillion dollars over the next 10 years. 

The Members of the Super Committee that stepped up to the plate to complete this task promised their country they would put politics aside, and fulfill this important task. Yet, it is apparent to everyone that politics and partisanship is at the very core of this failure. Over the course of the past two months, including dozens of meetings and hearings, this Super Committee has not been able to agree on a single issue that can help move this country forward. I find it appalling that grown adults can not sit down at a table and find a way to negotiate something so important to the future of this nation. 

Continue reading "Allen West calls Super Committee appalling and an embarrassment" »

Nick Loeb and Sofia Vergara will they or won't they?

UPDATE - Loeb said he is not running. 

We are mere minutes away from finding out if Nick Loeb will be a Florida candidate for U.S. Senate. Loeb and girlfriend, Sofia Vergara, are having a press conference at 2 p.m. at the Sagamore Hotel in Miami Beach.

There have been few signs that Loeb is serious about becoming a Republican candidate. In fact, there have been no signs.

Having a press conference at a Miami Beach hotel is certainly an unusual place to announce a candidacy. 

Will he run? Crowley Political Report is betting - No.  But in this political year, we are perfectly prepared to wrong.

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Adam Hasner new campaign video

Times are tough for Florida U.S. Senate candidate Adam Hasner. Just as it looked like he had a chance to edge out George LeMieux for the nomination, Congressman Connie Mack pops up and says he thinks he'd like to have the GOP nod.

Recent polls show Hasner at 2 percent. He is even behind former U.S. Army Col. Mike McCalister who has shown a singular lack of understanding about Florida politics.

LeMieux, who was appointed to the Senate by former Gov. Charlie Crist to finish the term of Mel Martinez, has struggled to win conservative Republicans and Tea Party voters who loathe Crist and will never forgive LeMieux for being his pal.

A Quinnipiac University poll last week of Florida GOP voters found 32 percent would vote for Mack if the election were held today. LeMieux was at 9 percent, McCalister, 6 percent and Hasner, 2 percent.

How solid are those numbers? We won't know until Mack actually starts campaigning and voters get  better look at him. 

Meanwhile, Hasner offered up this new campaign video today. One suggestion - don't let your candidate sit in back seat. Put him right up there in the front passenger seat so he doesn't look like he has a chauffeur.

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St. Pete Times, Miami Herald may sign exclusive deal with Mason Dixon poll

Florida's political polling landscape is changing with an expected announcement that the St. Petersburg Times and Miami Herald will sign a 5-year deal with Mason Dixon to do exclusive polling for the newspapers.

The Times/Herald already works closely in providing their readers with coverage of the 2012 elections. The news organizations also combined their Tallahassee bureaus.

The newspapers have long done joint polling, usually using two pollsters - one Republican, one Democratic.

Sources tell Crowley Political Report that the agreement will allow for more polling throughout the year giving Florida readers a deeper snapshot of issues, campaigns, and voters.

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Can Florida Republicans save Herman Cain?

A little more than six weeks ago, Florida Republicans gave Herman Cain a gift.  Giving Cain 37 percent of the vote in a straw ballot at Presidency 5 in September, GOP convention delegates shoved Cain to the front of the presidential campaign pack.

Cain more than doubled the vote of second and third place finishers Rick Perry (15 percent) and Mitt Romney (14 percent).

On Wednesday, Cain returns to Florida a different candidate. He will make stops in Miami, Coral Springs and West Palm Beach at time when some are questioning whether Cain's race for the GOP nomination is now doomed.

He has been haunted by multiple accusations of sexual harassment. He has repeatedly and firmly called his accusers liars. Cain's wife, Gloria, appeared on FOX News Monday night with Greta Van Susteren to defend her husband.

But while she was defending him, Cain got himself into trouble over Libya.

Yes, Libya.  

Cain looked confused and unsure about the issue. Here's how CBS reported the incident. Crowley Political Report has seen the full interview and the CBS clip is a fair representation.


A bit of good news today for Cain came from a Bloomberg News poll of likely Iowa caucus voters - Cain is at 20 percent, Ron Paul, 19 percent, Mitt Romney, 18 percent and Newt Gingrich, 17 percent.

Cain watchers will be looking closely at how he performs in Florida on Wednesday.  How big will the crowds be? Do they care about the sexual harassment questions? Do Florida Republicans think Cain can win? 

If you want to see Cain in action, you have three opportunities (events are free and open to the public):

11:45 AM – Versailles Restaurant, 3555 Southwest 8th Street, Miami

1:45 PM - Wings Plus, 9880 West Sample Road, Coral Springs

5:00 PM - Palm Beach County Convention Center, 650 Okeechobee Boulevard, West Palm Beach

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Why the Quinnipiac poll goes too far in looking at the Florida Senate race

Florida Republican voters can stay home next year because the nominee for U.S. Senate has already been decided, according to Quinnipiac University.

In fact, the Q's assistant director, Peter Brown, suggests that Congressman Connie Mack has such a formidable lead over his rivals - Adam Hasner, George LeMieux and Mike McCalister - that they should quit now.


“Although 45 percent of GOP voters, including 59 percent of GOP women, say they are undecided, Mack becomes the overwhelming favorite to win the Republican nomination,” Brown said.  “Mack’s candidacy may force the other GOP contenders to reconsider whether they want to stay in the race.”

That tidbit comes from the Quinnipiac press release about the survey results.

There is no question that the poll suggests that 30 seconds after Mack entered the race he jumped into a huge lead.   The survey of 513 registered Republicans (margin of error 4.3), shows 32 percent would vote for Mack if the election were held today. LeMieux was at 9 percent, McCalister, 6 percent and Hasner, 2 percent.

Yes, this is good news for Mack.  Clearly his name recognition - even if some of those voters only know his father, former U.S. Sen. Connie Mack - is a big help.  Mack can now go to potential donors and tell them it's time to get on board.

And the poll results are particularly dismal for Hasner who falls behind the unimpressive campaign of McCalister. As for LeMieux, if the poll is right, the former U.S. Senator continues to have a tough time convincing Florida Republicans that he deserves to go back to Washington.

But is Brown right to draw the conclusion that Mack is so strong the other candidates should consider quitting?


Brown's comments about Quinnipiac polls have increasingly had little to do with political reality. He tends to offer opinions that seem out character for what should be an analytical look at the polling results

For example, in this poll, the Q once again looks at Florida Gov. Rick Scott's job approval  (36 percent approve and 50 percent disapprove) .

Brown describes those numbers with "Scott’s job approval remains in the toilet."  

Hardly an academic approach.

The poll suggests that Mack (40 percent)  and Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson (42 percent)  are in a dead heat.

Brown concludes:  “The fact that Mack is essentially tied with Nelson, who has been a statewide political figure for two decades, should set off warning bells at Democratic headquarters.”

Perhaps, but Brown jumps to a conclusion that a single poll, a year before the election, does not necessarily support. 

Finally, Brown gives us this tidbit:

“In a race as close as the Nelson-Mack affair could become, how President Barack Obama does in the Sunshine State in his re-election could play a major role in deciding who wins the Senate seat,” said Brown.

While Crowley Political Report is delighted to have Brown's opinion, it must be noted that there is nothing in the Q-poll that asks anything about Obama or his impact on the Florida U.S. Senate race in 2012.

The Quinnipiac Poll can be a useful look at a moment-in-time in the campaign when it sticks to the polls results. The meaningless commentary, however, casts doubts on the university's ability to understand its own data.





Florida voters trust Obama and Romney

A new Quinnipiac Unviersity poll released today suggests that Florida voters are evenly divided between Republican Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama.  While these results have little meaning at this point in the 2012 election, there are some interesting tidbits in the poll.

First, the most worrisome number for Obama is 83 percent.

That is the percentage of Florida voters who said they are either "very dissatisfied" (52 percent), or "somewhat dissatisfied" (23 percent), when asked what they think about "the way things are going in the nation today."

The poll fails to explore that question further, so we don't know whether these voters are dissatisfied with Obama, Congress, Wall Street, or all of the above.

Still, no sitting president wants to enter an election year with those kinds of numbers. Dissatisfied voters also are persuadeable voters and that's a good sign for Republicans.

The number one issue for Florida voters remains the economy (55 percent), followed by the federal deficit (13 percent), and health care (11 percent). All other issues were in signal digits.

With few signs of a significantly improving economy between now and November 2012, the dissatisfaction numbers and top issues concerns are not likely to change. This should worry the White House which needs Florida's 29 electoral votes to win a second term.

Good news for Obama - Florida voters believe he is "honest and trustworthy" (52 percent).  But Mitt Romney did as well as Obama with 51 percent.  Herman Cain, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich hover between 37 percent and 40 percent.

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Can Herman Cain be the next Bill Clinton?

Women love Bill Clinton. Even after Clinton wagged his finger at the television camera and angrily said, "I did not have sex with that woman."

Even after they watched Chelsea walk between her parents as they headed toward Marine One, the presidential helicopter.

When it was all over, Clinton made a trip to Miami. After his speech, women rushed the rope line to shake his hand and be close to him.

Why? Crowley Political Report has asked that question of many women over the years. They smile. They agree what Clinton did was wrong. 

But they like him and they are willing to ignore his sexual transgressions.

So far, Herman Cain has not been accused of anything nearly as severe as the misconduct of Bill Clinton.

Cain has steadfastedly denied doing anything wrong.  The women who have come forward have, at this point, largely accused Cain of the kind of boorish behavior often committed by a 14-year old.

Two of the women,  Karen Kraushaar and Sharon Bialek, are preparing to have a joint press conference to talk more about their allegations. Other women may join them.

Cain says they are liars.

Someone is lying.

The fact is, that while Cain denies the accusations and supporters defend him, the questions will linger - even if he becomes the GOP nominee. Even if he becomes the next president.

What his campaign must calculate now, is whether Cain will be granted the same political immunity that was given to Bill Clinton.

Will women voters feel the same way about Cain as they did Clinton?

And do women voters need to hear from Cain's wife, before they make a decision about Cain?

What would Bill do?

Of course there is one major difference between Bill and Herman.  Clinton was accused of consensual relations with other women.  Cain is being accused of unwanted behavior.



Will Republican delegates pick Jeb Bush to be the nominee?

By mid-morning, the folks on Morning Joe seemed to have a little had too much caffeine. It started with Joe Scarborough and Michael Steele talking about the possibility of a brokered Republican convention.

This led them to fantasy land, where the dispirited delegates would rise up and proclaim that Jeb Bush should, no, MUST, be the party nominee.

Chants and shouts would ring through the hall, as a reddened Jeb Bush insisted that he does not want the nomination.

Finally, unable to turn down the passionate pleas from the delegates - Jeb Bush becomes the 2012 Republican presidential candidate.

This will not happen.

Now understand, Crowley Political Report would love a brokered convention. Delegate count after delegate count. 

Deals, drama, and great television. It would turn the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa into a political reality show instead of the achingly dull info commercial of today's conventions.

Voters would be excited. Delegates would be energized with real power. The convention could go on for days. 

Every four years, political writers dream of having a brokered convention. In 2008, there was high hope that Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama would fight it out until the last delegate on the convention floor collapsed in exhaustion.

The last time there were multiple ballots at the GOP convention was 1948. Thomas E. Dewey needed three ballots to lock up the nomination against strong opposition.

In 1976, Republicans nearly had a brokered convention when Ronald Reagan came within a whisker of defeating Gerald Ford.  Both men spent a lot of time making backroom deals to win the nomination.

The last Democratic brokered convention was in Chicago in 1952. Prior to the convention President Truman had urged Illinois Gov. Adlai Stevenson to run, but he declined. At the convention, Stevenson gave a great speech and the delegates swooned.

Delegates demanded that Stevenson accept the nomination. He did. Stevenson lost to Dwight Eisenhower. Stevenson was nominated again in 1956. He lost again.

 A few years ago, New York Times photographer Stephen Crowley found Stevenson's portrait at the DNC - hanging in the back of a coat closet.

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