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December 2011

Christmas gifts for the GOP candidates from Mark Foley, Ken Pruitt and more, a creation of Florida's Scripps newspapers and televsion stations, asked a variety of Florida politcal types what they would give the Republican presidential candidates for Christmas.

The answers ranged from quite serious to ponderous to hillarious. Among those participating: Former Florida Senate President Ken Pruitt, former U.S. Reps. Tim Mahoney and Mark Foley, GOP political consultant Chris Ingram, Senate President Mike Haridopolos, USF Professor Wayne Garcia, and others.

A couple of their responses:

Former Florida Senate President Ken Pruitt (R): “I would give each one of the candidates a dove, representing peace, love and kindness, which is what we’re all going to need during this political season.”

Former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL):  “That in the spirit of the holidays, Romney accidentally drinks spiked egg nog and admits it. That in his new role as a Catholic, Newt Gingrich abstains from lecturing the baby Jesus that Bethlehem was an invented location. That someone tells Bachmann that Hanukkah isn’t special bread you make French toast with. That someone explains to Rick Santorum that he doesn’t actually have to pretend he lives in Iowa after the caucuses.”

Read what others had to say here.

Note: Crowley Political Report does political analysis for WPTV NewChannel 5, a Scripps station.

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Newt Gingrich gets keynote speech three days before Florida primary

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich will be the keynote speaker at the Palm Beach County GOP's Lincoln Day Dinner on Jan. 28.  

Crowley Political Report assumes Gingrich will show up whether or not he is still a contender for the GOP nomination. 

Not bad timing either - the Florida primary is Jan. 31.

Here is the release from the Palm Beach County GOP:

Presidential Candidate Speaker Newt Gingrich will be the keynote speaker for the Republican Party of Palm Beach County’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner Saturday, January 28, 2012 at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts Cohen Pavilion in West Palm Beach. 

Newt Gingrich is well-known as the architect of the “Contract with America” that led the Republican Party to victory in 1994 by capturing the majority in the U.S. House for the first time in forty years.  

Continue reading "Newt Gingrich gets keynote speech three days before Florida primary" »

Republican presidential candidates lock out Florida media


Crowley Political Report
 has joined Columbia Journalism Review in its effort to monitor media coverage during the 2012 campaign. These reports can be found at CJR's campaign desk.

Our first report for CJR explored whether the media was fair to Herman Cain during a Florida campaign trip.

In our latest report, we explored the problems Florida's political writers are confronting as they report on Florida's presidential primary. 

By Brian E. Crowley - for Columbia Journalism Review


 Florida’s political reporters are a lonely bunch. Presidential candidates avoid them. Senior campaign staffers rarely return their calls or emails. In fact, it is hard to believe that the state’s January 31 presidential primary is less than seven weeks away.

Sure, the Republican candidates have been to Florida. But most of their trips here have involved private fundraisers with an occasional public event. And one thing they almost never do is take questions from reporters.

“There is no access whatsoever,” says Adam Smith, veteran political editor of the St. Petersburg Times.

Marc Caputo left the Miami Herald’s Tallahassee Bureau earlier this year to become the newspaper’s political writer. Since he took on the job, Caputo says, it has been “impossible” to get access to a presidential candidate’s senior campaign staff—never mind the candidate.

And the challenge of reduced access to candidates and campaigns—new this election cycle—is compounded by a more familiar, widespread challenge: shrinking newsroom budgets.

Smaller budgets, in turn, often means less campaign travel, both in-state and beyond. William March, the longtime political writer for the Tampa Tribune, says that while he used to travel the state to attend candidate events, he now rarely leaves the Tampa Bay area.

Even at the Herald, once a trendsetter of political reporting, Caputo says, “it’s tough” to get the paper to pay for travel, although he expects that to improve as the Florida primary draws closer.

Continue reading "Republican presidential candidates lock out Florida media" »

Jeb Bush cracks under pressure says he will run for president

Now doesn't that headline make you feel better. 

No, Jeb Bush is not running for president. Not in 2012. Not in 2016. Not in 2020. 

Crowley Political Report couldn't resist. Our good friend Adam Smith of the soon-to-be Tampa Bay Times reports on The Buzz that someone is polling in New Hampshire asking whether folks there would like Bush to get in the Republican race.

Adam has it right - "It doesn't necessarily mean anything beyond a public pollster looking for an intriguing peg for attention or a wishful thinker aiming to coax a late entry into the race by a stronger GOP candidate."

See what else Adam has to say on TheBuzz.

Will Rick Perry's anti-gay, pro-Christian ad work in Florida?

The odds of Texas Gov. Rick Perry making it to the Florida presidential primary seem long but it's clear he is willing to bash gays if that will help him get the Sunshine State.

In this ad, Perry criticizes gays in the military, says Christains aren't being allowed to celebrate Christmas and that President Obama is conducting a war on religion.

Perry says, "there is something wrong when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas?"


The best thing about the ad is that Perry manages to complete a sentence with losing his way. Of course, we don't know how many takes it required.

The ad is appearing in Iowa in what is clearly Perry's desperate attempt to appeal to the worst in Iowa's GOP voters.

If he makes it to Florida, we suspect some GOP voters here will be unhappy with this ad. Take a look:


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Newt Gingrich, Tea Party and why Mitt Romney may lose Florida


Look closer at the Quinnipiac Poll that came out today and Mitt Romney may be in even more trouble in Florida than the numbers suggest. 

In a survey of 509 Florida Republican voters (with a margin-of-error of 4.3 percent), Newt Gingrich got support from 35 percent. Romney was at 22 percent. No other candidate exceeded 8 percent.

That would appear to be very impressive for Gingrich at this point in the campaign, especially since the Florida primary is just seven weeks away.

But the numbers may actually be much better for Gingrich.  The survey was not limited to the more accurate "likely voters."   Had it been, Crowley Political Report suspects that Gingrich's number would have been higher.


Because many of the folks who are likely to show up for the January 31 Florida primary are likely to be Tea Party voters.

Those folks are not going to vote for Romney.


Here's the Q Poll trendline:

                     REGISTERED REPUBLICANS

                     Dec 08  Nov 10  Sep 22  Aug 04

                     2011      2011       2011      2011


Perry                 4       5      28      13

Gingrich         35      17       7       4

Romney          22      21      22      23

Bachmann        4       4       5       6

Santorum          2       1       2       1

Paul                     8       3       6       9

Huntsman         2       1       2       1

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Ron Paul's barking dogs and what you are missing in Florida

Hard to believe that the Florida presidential primary is a bit more than seven weeks away and we have yet to see a Ron Paul ad.

The Republican presidential candidate's  latest Iowa ad makes it clear that Paul hates his hometown - Washington.

Hometown? you ask.

Well, of course. Paul has worked in D.C. for most of his adult life. And, with the election of his son, Rand, to the Senate, the Pauls have turned the Capitol into a family business.

For Ron, Texas is just a place to hang out between congressional sessions and presidential campaigns.

In this ad, Paul calls his opponents "sorry politicians" who are all bark and no bite.

And he vows that as president he will cut $1 trillion from the federal budget during his first year in office.

Paul also promises to eliminate the Departments of Education, Interior, Energy, Commerce, and HUD.

"That's how Ron Paul rolls" says the voice-over.

Crowley Political Report does not want fellow Floridians to miss out, so here's Paul's new ad:

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Is Herman Cain just a retiree looking for something to do?

Cain bus
It was always difficult to take Herman Cain seriously as a presidential candidate. Cain acted more like a retiree who wanted to hit the road in his RV, visit historic places and perhaps work part time.

Consider this from MSN Money in a story about RV retirees:

More than 1 million Americans have pulled up stakes, sold homes and hit the road in RVs to travel, see family and even work part-time. It's easier than ever in an age of cell phones and satellites, but is it the lifestyle for you?

Cain certainly pulled up stakes and hit the road in his RV. And he even worked part-time, selling books and, well, running for president.

Why not?

Camper 3Cain never thought he would win. Even he seemed surprised when, after apparently spending time doing some thinking in his RV and coming up with 9-9-9, people started to notice.

And where did Cain become a hit? Florida, of course. Home to more than its share of retirees and RVs.

 We have a long proud tradition of folks retiring early and taking off in their recreational vehicle to see the country.

Some people take this type of travel very seriously. They spend years on the road traveling all around the country meeting new people.

Now, doesn't that sound like Cain. 

Our successful businessman and less successful candidate surely was wondering what to do with his life when he turned 65 last year. 

Was the answer as simple as "gosh I think I'll run for president." Camper 2

At Crowley Political Report, we don't think so. Cain may not have needed the money to supplement his Social Security but he surely wanted a glamourous part-time job.

So why not get an RV, write a book, and run for president.

Now to be fair, Cain never became a serious RVer. He didn't spend a lot of time looking for a good spot at the local campgrounds.

And we wonder if he spent any time driving the bus himself.

Herman Cain is home talking to his wife about the future of his presidential campaign. In a matter of hours we'll know whether she has pulled the plug on his part time job.

Camper 1If Cain quits the race, that doesn't mean its the end of his Golden Years as a retiree. He can get behind the wheel and join his fellow travelers. 

We hear there are great discounts at state and national parks. 

So to answer MSN's question - yes Herman Cain, this is the lifestyle for you.

Follow us on Twitter @crowleyreport 

Michele Bachmann goes where the boys are

WheretheboysareRepublican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann is in South Florida this evening where she will hold a press conference in Fort Lauderdale.

From the campaign press release:

Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann will host a press availability to discuss her campaign, the economy, and immigration today at the Westin Hotel in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. This event is open to credentialed media only.

Learn more about the 1960 movie that put Fort Lauderdale on the map.

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Chris Christie campaigns for Mitt Romney in South Florida

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie met with South Florida Romney supporters in West Palm Beach today.

Christie also was interviewed by WPTV-NewsChannel 5 - where Crowley Political Report does political analysis. We'll be talking about Christie and the presidential campaign this Sunday on To the Point which airs at 10 p.m. after Meet the Press.

Christie calls Newt Gingrich, "the newest flavor of the two weeks."  He calls Romney, "the one, steady and constant" throughout the campaign.

Here's a clip from WPTV's interview.



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Will the Tea Party give Florida to Newt Gingrich?


A new poll shows Newt Gingrich supported by 50 percent of likely-voter Florida Republicans. Mitt Romney comes in at 19 percent and Herman Cain is at 10 percent.

What Crowley Political Report finds most interesting is that Gingrich gets 54 percent of the vote from Republicans who say they are Tea Party supporters.

Why does this matter?

Continue reading "Will the Tea Party give Florida to Newt Gingrich?" »