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March 2012

Republican Adam Hasner embraces his Democratic video tracker

Her name is Jesse and from the sound of her voice and the reflection of her image in the window of Republican Adam Hasner's SUV, she is young and blond.

The four-minute video starts with the camera pointing down at the parking lot. It is clear Jesse is moving quickly toward her target. As Jesse raises the camera, she calls out, "Mr. Hasner." And then asks, "Before you go inside can you answer a couple of questions for me?

"Yeah, but can I get dressed first?"

"Sure, I won't look."

Jesse and Adam have met before. In an earlier video, Jesse tracks Hasner down in another parking lot on his way to a speech. Hasner invites her in. When he asks who she is working for, Jesse says, "The D-trip." Hasners sounds puzzled and she explains, "the Democratic Party."

From the two videos we learn that she lives in the "Tidewater area of Virginia." She mentions Virginia Beach and when asked if she plays golf, Jesse says she plays tennis. Jesse also describes herself as "not a politician I'm just a camera person." 

We find out that Jesse has been in Florida for several month and attended James Madison University. Her grandmother played golf and would sometimes take Jesse to the driving range.

Hasner asks her, "so what are we talking about today?"

"The Ryan budget, Social Security, Fair Tax," says Jesse.

Jesse is one of hundreds, often college kids, who are hired by both Republican and Democrat campaigns to stalk the candidates. Their goal is capture every utterance, every gesture, everything that could possibly be used against the opposition.

Hasner, is running for Congress in the seat abandoned by Republican U.S. Rep. Allen West who decided to flee north for safer ground. 

This video is an interesting look at life on the modern campaign trail:




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Sean Hannity's love affair and the Tampa Bay Times does it right

A new story by Brian E. Crowley for Columbia Journalism Review begins this way:

Whenever Sean Hannity interviews Marco Rubio, he gushes like 12-year old smitten with the girl next-door. Hannity’s beating heart could be heard as he swooned through an introduction of the Florida GOP senator during his March 28 broadcast on Fox News.

After exploring Hannity's apparent love affair with Marco Rubio, the story goes on to look at the reporting that was done by the Tampa Bay Times Adam Smith and Alex Leary:

. . .no one, until this week, has looked beyond Rubio’s insistence that he is not trying to position himself to get the job. In a smartly done story, Smith and Leary took a closer look at the actions of Rubio and his advisers—and they conclude that Rubio has in fact been positioning himself to become the vice presidential nominee.

Read the full story here.

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Marco Rubio joins Jeb Bush in endorsing Romney does anyone care?

Last night on Fox's Sean Hannity, Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio endorsed Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination. 

Rubio's bold pronouncement was this - "I endorse Mitt Romney because he is going to be the Republican nominee."

Wow. Bold. Tough. Decisive. 

Now, Crowley Political Report is certain that the Romney camp is delighted to have Rubio's endorsement. Rubio is the hero of the Tea Party and beloved by the Sean Hannity crowd.

But you can bet your first-born that the Romney folks would have loved to have had the endorsement during the Florida primary. Or any other competitive primary after that. Apparently now that Rubio believes the Romney ship is sailing into Tampa with the nomination locked up, it is time for the big endorsement.

Frankly, Jeb Bush's recent Romney endorsement also falls into the better-late-than-never category. The endorsements may help Romney make the case that reasonable Republican leaders are falling in line so Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich should drop out, but frankly neither endorsement is going to have much of an impact on voters. Endorsements rarely do.

At this point,  these endorsements are aimed less at voters than the folks who write the big checks. If they can be convinced that they are wasting money sending it to Santorum and Gingrich, those campaigns will crash form the lack of cash.

So what reaction should you have about the Rubio and Bush endorsements?

A yawn will do.

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Quinnipiac Poll gives Florida Democrats something to smile about

Florida Democrats have had little to smile about in the past few years. They have lost so many elections that they are nearly irrelevant in Tallahassee and Washington. Democrats hold just one statewide office - that of U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.

So you can't blame Florida Democrats if they woke up this morning feeling a little better about themselves. A new Quinnipiac University poll shows President Obama leading Mitt Romney by seven points. 

The Q-poll also looks at Pennsylvania and Ohio. The complete poll results for all three states are below:

In his best showing in this election cycle, President Barack Obama pulls away from former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum in two critical swing states, while a third state remains too close to call, according to today’s Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Women back the president over Romney or Santorum by 6 to 19 percentage points in the three states, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.  Most matchups among men are too close to call.  Voters in these states are much more concerned with the economy and health care than they are with social issues and women’s reproductive health.

Matching Obama against either Romney or Santorum in each of these key states – no one has won the White House since 1960 without carrying at least two of them – shows:

  • Florida: Obama tops Romney 49 – 42 percent;  Obama beats Santorum 50 – 37 percent.
  • Ohio: Obama over Romney 47 – 41 percent;  Obama leads Santorum 47 – 40 percent.
  • Pennsylvania: Obama edges Romney 45 – 42 percent;  Obama tops Santorum 48 – 41 percent.

“President Barack Obama is on a roll in the key swing states.  If the election were today, he would carry at least two states.  And if history repeats itself, that means he would be re-elected,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

“But the election is not today.  It is seven months away.  Two months ago President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney were in a statistical tie in Ohio and Florida,” Brown added.

“The biggest reason for the president’s improving prospects probably is the economy.  Roughly six in 10 voters in all three states think the economy is recovering.   Moreover, voters blame the oil companies and oil-producing countries for the rise in gasoline prices and only about one in six voters blame them on President Obama.

 “Although the lead Romney had over Obama in trial matchups late last year has disappeared, he remains the stronger of the two major GOP contenders.  Voters in Pennsylvania still see Romney as better able than the president to fix the economy and both Romney and Obama are stronger than Sen. Rick Santorum on that measure in each state.

“Despite the focus on social issues such as same-sex marriage and women’s reproductive health, these issues are lower priorities for the voters.”

Voters blame oil companies and oil-producing nations more than Obama for gas prices.  And about 60 percent in each state blame environmental regulations for increased prices.

Continue reading "Quinnipiac Poll gives Florida Democrats something to smile about" »

A sneak peek at Marco Rubio's new book

Rubiofin1Politico's Mike Allen is reporting that the release of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio's memoir is being moved from October to June. The decision is apparently an effort to get ahead of the planned release of The Rise of Marco Rubio, by the Washington Post's Manuel Roig-Franzia.

Rubio's memoir titled, An American Son, recently received a lot of media attention because of revelations that Rubio, while living in Nevada as a teenager, converted to the Mormon church. Rubio stayed with the Church of Latter Day Saints for several years. He later returned to the Catholic church and remains a practicing Catholic.

Allen has an exlusive look at the book jacket for An American Son -

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Florida House stalls Right to Speak bill

Crowley Political Report will be the first to admit - it is a shame that legislation like this is necessary in the Sunshine State. 

Dark clouds hover over any number of public meetings where officials find the idea of allowing the public to speak to them a terrible inconvenience. 

On behalf of the public, Crowley Political Report apologizes. We would suggest, however,  that if allowing the public to speak to you is bothersome, it may be time for you to return full time to the private sector.

Now let's be frank, most government bodies allow folks to speak at their meetings. But from time-to-time, citizens are blocked from exercising what Crowley Political Report foolishly thought was an already a well established right in those documents called the U.S. Constitution and Florida Constitution.

Apparently not. So state Sen. Joe Negron offered up Senate Bill 206, that would put into Florida law the right for people to speak before boards and commissions subject to the Sunshine Law.

The Senate wisely passed this bill - unanimously. Thank you, Sen. Negron.

Now, the legislation sits in the House. The clock is ticking. We are a day away from the end of the 60-day legislative session.

House Speaker Dean Cannon can fix this. He needs to get SB 206 to the floor. And he needs to encourage his members to pass it. He owes it to every Floridian who deserves the right to be heard by their government.


Florida Senators nearly come to blows

Dempsey Barron
"You little shit, I'm going to whip your ass and throw you out of the Senate right now." -
June 1, 1981.

One of the journalism phrases that should be edited out of news stories is "in recent memory." Usually that just means the memory of the writer.

Some folks in Tallahassee say the feuding in the state Senate this year is the worst "in recent memory." They need longer memories.

You know things have gotten ugly when the Senate President and its most powerful member nearly get into a fist fight on the Senate floor.

In June 1981, Senate President W.D. Childers and Senate kingmaker Dempsey Barron got into a very personal quarrel. The two North Florida men had been roommates and friends. But that all ended once W.D. became president and made the mistake of thinking he was really in charge.

Barron began plotting an overthrow and Childers - nicknamed the Banty Rooster - grew increasingly paranoid. Barron would wander around the chamber whispering to other senators and giving public hints that a vote to oust Childers could come at any time.

Childers began to think Barron was making his move on June 1, 1981. Childers, who had been roaming the floor, suddenly rushed to the podium, grabbed the gavel and ordered an immediate recess. Barron stood up and suggested that one of his senate buddies take over as presiding officer.

Childers ignored Barron and ordered the recess. Seconds later Childers charged down the center aisle to confront Barron

Barron, who towered over Childers, looked at Childers and said: "You little shit, I'm going to whip your ass and throw you out of the Senate right now."

"You're going to do what?" replied Childers as he lunged toward Barron.

Sen. Edgar Dunn quickly stepped between the two men, put his hands on Childers shoulders and tried to lead him away. Childers tried to spin away but Dunn, with the help of Sen. Pete Skinner, was able to restrain Childers.

Later, Childers said he wanted Barron to repeat his comment, "to make sure I didn't need a hearing aid."

Childers didn't need one. He heard it right the first time.

In the picture above, Dunn is wearing glasses. His hands are on Childers who has his back to the camera. Barron is facing Childers their noses just inches apart.

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