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July 2012

Where is Jim Davis 2006 ad is today's Where is Connie Mack ad.

Well this is a cost-effective way to do a campaign ad. Just use one that was used against Democrat Jim Davis when he was running for Florida governor in 2006. This time the ad, largely using the original version, is being use to ask the question - Where is Connie Mack?

Davis was a congressman at the time and the ad suggested he was spending very little time in Washington. Now the same attack, with nearly the exact same ad, is being used to question how much time Republican Congressman, and U.S. Senate candidate, Mack is spending in the nation's capitol.

Here's the Davis ad (follow the moving chairs):

And here's the Mack ad (follow the moving chairs):


Lynn University in Boca Raton hosting foreign policy debate between Romney and Obama

Folks at Lynn Univeristy of been working and planning for months to get everything ready for the Oct. 22 presidential debate. 

Here's the latest media release from the Commission on Presidential Debates:

Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr. and Michael D. McCurry, co‐chairmen of the non‐partisan, non‐profit Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), today announced formats for the presidential and vice presidential debates that feature extended discussion of major issues to be announced in advance.

The formats for the 90‐minute debates are as follows:

 First presidential debate (October 3, 2012, University of Denver, Denver, CO)

The debate will focus on domestic policy and be divided into six time segments of approximately 15 minutes each on topics to be selected by the moderator and announced several weeks before the debate.

The moderator will open each segment with a question, after which each candidate will have   to respond.  The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a discussion of the topic.

Vice presidential debate (October 11, 2012, Centre College, Danville, KY)

The debate will cover both foreign and domestic topics and be divided into nine time segments of approximately 10 minutes each.    The moderator will ask an opening question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond.  The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a discussion of the question.

Second presidential debate (October 16, 2012, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY)

The second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which citizens will ask questions of the candidates on foreign and domestic issues.  Candidates each will have two minutes to respond, and an additional minute for the moderator to facilitate a discussion.  The town meeting participants will be undecided voters selected by the Gallup Organization.

Third presidential debate (October 22, Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL)

The format for the debate will be identical to the first presidential debate and will focus on foreign policy. 

All debates will be moderated by a single individual and will take place from 9:00‐10:30 p.m. Eastern Time.  There will be no opening statements and two‐minute closing statements in all the debates.   In all the debates except town meeting, the CPD recommends that the candidates be seated at a table with the moderator.  Moderators will be selected and announced in August.

Continue reading "Lynn University in Boca Raton hosting foreign policy debate between Romney and Obama" »

Herald, Times and the complexity of Florida's Hispanic vote

This story originally appeared in Columbia Journalism Review.

By Brian E. Crowley

FLORIDA — One of the most wearisome elements of media coverage of the 2012 election campaign is the often trite and lazy reporting about Hispanic/Latino voters. So it was refreshing to read a story on Sunday byMiami Herald political writer Marc Caputo that looked beyond the usual caricature of such voters.

Caputo’s lede immediately let readers know that they were in for something different here:

Rep. Ana Rivas Logan’s opponents call her loads of names on the campaign trail.

But one seemed to bother her more than others: “Nicaraguan.”

“They’re making calls to the little old Cubans, telling them, ‘Don’t vote for her. She’s a Nicaraguan. Your commitment is with the Cuban vote,’” a choked-up Logan said last week about her bare-knuckle race against fellow Republican Rep. Jose Felix “Pepe” Diaz.

Welcome to Miami.

This is a place where calling the daughter of Cuban parents a “Nicaraguan” is a slur even though she was born in Nicaragua and says so on her website. Diaz denies participating in or authorizing the attack.

The fact that it was 1) used against the Cuban-American lawmaker and 2) worked enough to deeply unsettle her is a sign of the hardball politics in Miami-Dade. And it stands as a clear sign that Florida’s Hispanic vote is anything but monolithic.

Just beyond the Spanish-English language barrier is a not-so-brave world of ethnic tensions, borderline racism and nationalistic pride that will subtly play out this election season…


Often the media—especially the national media—concentrates its reporting about Florida Hispanics on the Cuban community. There is no question that Cuban-American voters are a critical segment of the South Florida vote. But the growing generational divide within the community is too often overlooked by reporters. Second- and third-generation Cubans tend to be less rigid about some issues than first-generation Cubans who fled the Castro regime.

But the Herald’s Caputo went well beyond that obvious difference. He delved into areas that are rarely reported. For example, he wrote:

Continue reading "Herald, Times and the complexity of Florida's Hispanic vote" »

Connie Mack and Dave Weldon finally debate

Debate? Who says Connie Mack won't debate. Why we have it right here - a debate between Mack and Dave Weldon. These two Republican, Florida senate candidates really mix it up.

Well sort of.

Actually, it is a somewhat odd and amusing attempt by Weldon to have a faux video debate with Mack who has already declared himself the GOP nominee.

In fact, from Mack's point of view, Republican voters can just go ahead and skip the GOP primary because Mack is the self-appointed nominee. This clearly annoys Weldon who spent a considerable amount of time making this video.

So pull up a chair, turn up the volume and watch Florida's version of the Great Debate.


Obama arrives in Florida, he is no Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter
President Obama arrives in Jacksonville this afternoon to start a two-day campaign swing through the Sunshine State. Florida has not been kind to Democratic presidential candidates. Since 1952, Florida has voted for the Democratic nominee just four times in 15 elections.

Florida may be a swing state but in fact it hasn't done much swinging. Even the four Democrat victories have reasonable explanations that would suggest Democrats won more because of historical flukes than a genuine swing to the Democratic Party.

Continue reading "Obama arrives in Florida, he is no Jimmy Carter" »

Is Florida Veep jinxed?

Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Charlie Crist, Bob Graham, Reubin Askew, Claude Kirk ... some of them dearly wanted to be Veep, one of them said hell no. But whatever the reason, Florida pols never seem to make the final cut when the presidential nominee is looking for a number two.

In 1968, the Republican National Convention was in Miami Beach. No one wanted to be Richard Nixon's running mate more than Florida Gov. Claude Kirk. It was not to be. Instead, Nixon picked Spiro Agnew. The former Maryland governor had a bad habit of accepting bribes leading to his indictment and resignation as vice president.

Perhaps Agnew's most famous quote was his description of liberals and the media: "nattering nabobs of negativism."

By 1972, Democratic Gov. Reubin Askew was on presidential nominee Walter Mondale's short list. Mondale reportedly asked Askew to join the ticket and Askew declined. In 1984, Askew ran for president. He finished last in the New Hampshire primary and dropped out.

Both Bill Clinton (1992) and Al Gore (2000) seriously considered Democrat Bob Graham to be their running mate. He came closest to making the cut with Gore. The former governor and U.S. Senator decided to run for president himself in 2004. He made little progress.

Former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist hoped that Sen. John McCain would tap him for the Veep slot in 2008. Crist was always a long shot. Rather than pick a running mate from the Sunshine State, McCain reached up to the permafrost and picked Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

A lot of Florida Republicans hoped that former Gov. Jeb Bush would run for president in 2008. While they could understand why he might pass up the opportunity to follow his brother that year, the hope didn't die this year. Bush has firmly and repeatedly said he not interested in being at the top or the bottom of the ticket.

Which leaves us with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Some Republicans are simply giddy over the notion that Rubio is the best fit for GOP nominee Mitt Romney. They are convinced that having a Cuban-American on the ticket from a swing state would be all Romney needs to defeat President Obama in November.

Rubio has one big hurdle to overcome - the Florida jinx. 

Follow us on Twitter @crowleyreport

A Florida Senate political ad that might leave you out of breath

Just watching this video can be exhausting. Folks are running - literally - all over the place. And while the video hammers President Obama, it is not until the final seconds of this 90-second video that you find out who the ad is really about.

David Weldon.

The former Florida congressman is still trying to pull ahead of U.S. Rep. Connie Mack in the race for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate.  This week, Weldon received the endorsement of  the Tampa Bay Times. To say that the Mack campaign did not take kindly to the Weldon endorsement is putting it mildly.

Mack campaign manager, Jeff Cohen, fired off a lengthy nasty-gram to Times editorial page editor Tim Nickens (he also takes on Times political editor Adam Smith). Some excerpts:

 Adam Smith and your newspaper have been waging a tireless campaign against conservatives and Republicans. You always have and apparently you always will. It’s evident in every political story you write.

 . . .

Your attacks on Connie are reminiscent of your brutal attacks on his father when he ran for the U.S. Senate. It’s fair to state that former Senator Connie Mack was perhaps the finest U.S. Senator to have ever served, but your Left Wing venom could not be contained then or now.

. . .

It’s your newspaper and it’s your right to cover or manufacture news however you like.  
But what people find offensive and intellectually dishonest is your refusal to admit that Adam Smith’s agenda is Left Wing and Democrat, as is your newspaper. You have and will endorse Bill Nelson and Barack Obama in spite of the fact that their records are dismal and they have failed Floridians at almost every level.

. . .

It’s the Tampa Bay Times’ right to be the National Enquirer of Florida politics. And it’s Adam Smith’s 1st Amendment right to attack Connie, so long as he doesn’t cross the line of slander or libel, of course.
But at least Adam Smith and the Tampa Bay Times should have the decency to admit they are Left Wing Democrats whose circulation is declining because their Left Wing agenda is offensive to so many rational conservative voters.
Your readers deserve at least that much.

Gosh, we sure hope the Mack campaign feels better. Although we're not sure we would have recommended using such a pugnacious tone. Perhaps Mack should sound a bit more senatorial.

Meanwhile back to Dr. Weldon (he is a physician).  Here's his video. You may need to catch your breath when it is over.

Obama to make two day, five city trip to Florida next week

President Obama brings his campaign to Florida next week, spending Thursday and Friday in the Sunshine State, Crowley Political Report has learned.

Obama will travel to Jacksonville and West Palm Beach on Thursday and spend the night in Manalapan. On Friday, Obama will travel to Fort Myers and Orlando. He will return to Washington that night.

The president's two-day trip is a clear indication that the Obama campaign is concerned about winning here. The Sunshine State is key to Obama's chances for a second term and the state is no sure thing for the Democrats.

It will be interesting to see whether U.S. Senator Bill Nelson joins the president on all or part of his trip. Nelson found out this week that winning a second term may not be as easy as many thought against likely GOP nominee U.S. Rep. Connie Mack. 

Nelson huge money advantage was wiped out when the Karl Rove group Crossroads announced it would be spending $6.4 million on the helping Mack. Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson is pouring in another $1 million for Mack.

It is also a sign that Republicans believe they have a shot at defeating both Nelson and Obama here. 

 Follow us on Twitter @crowleyreport

The forgotten candidate goes after Connie Mack

Well here's a surprise, former U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon remains a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate and he even has a new radio ad knocking his Republican rival, U.S. Rep. Connie Mack.

Mack, who drove former interim U.S. Sen. George LeMieux out of the Florida GOP primary by simply ignoring him, is using that same, "I'm the only Republican who matters" strategy with Weldon. So far, Weldon is refusing to go away. 

You should listen to his radio ad. You might find it amusing.

Romney's stashing cash overseas

The Democratic National Committee has a new video featuring foriegn accents from around the world: Switzerland, Bermunda, Cayman Islands and Luxembourg. The message - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has money stashed in banks around the world and he's keeping it all a secret.

Frankly, the video seems a bit silly. The point is legitimate. Romney should release his income tax statements for the past decade. Not doing so, simply builds on the suspicion that Romney has something to hide. But is this DNC video going to have the desired impact? Doubtful.


Romney's new ad calls Obama a liar

Oh my this is getting uglier and uglier. And we haven't seen the worst of it from either presidential campaign. Floridians are about to get hit with a harsh, new ad from Republican Mitt Romney that calsl Democrat Barack Obama a liar.

The ad opens with: "When a president doesn't tell the truth, how can we trust him to lead?"

In another segment, the grim male voice says: "Candidate Obama lied about Hillary Clinton" and then shifts to a Clinton sound bite they have used in other ads: "Shame on you Barack Obama."

The ad concludes with this: "Obama's dish0nest campaign: Another reason America has lost confidence in Barack Obama."

Tough stuff. And possibly effective.


Follow us on Twitter @crowleyreport

Donald Trump proves Sarasota Republicans are either brilliant or idiots

First a hat-tip to the Tampa Bay Times for popping this tidbit - the Sarasota Republican Party has named Donald Trump "Statesman of the Year."

The part-time Palm Beach resident and full-time blow-hard, is renowned for waking up each morning with a new idea for how to get his name in front of the media. With his birther "investigation" apparently still underway, Trump has proven time and time again that having a great deal of money does not protect one from being an idiot.

Trump sarasota

So what are the fine folks in Sarasota thinking? 

Best guess....they knew Trump would get them tons of publicity. And he will. Unfortunately, even their fellow Florida Republicans are going to be clucking about this decision.

Statesman of the Year?

On behalf of the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce - it's only a joke. Right?


Is Obama's sizzle starting to fizzle?

Obama cartoon
There has been lots of gnashing of teeth over the idea that Mitt Romney just doesn't "get it"  - whatever "it" is. It is true that the Republican presidential candidate is less than inspiring. But the sizzle that was once Barack Obama is beginning to feel bit more like fizzle.

Today we learned that unemployment is still 8.2 percent. Job growth is weak. The overall economy is still shuddering. In parts of Florida, unemployment remains in double digits. Many of those who are working are making less money. Some have multiple jobs to help makes ends meet. 

Is it any wonder why so many Florida voters are in a foul mood?

The Obama campaign still seems to be struggling with a message about to improve the economy. At this point the greatest strength of the Obama campaign is the weakness of the Romney campaign.

Is anyone feeling inspired by either candidate? 

Florida voters are just weary. And the independents that both campaigns are counting on, could decide to just stay home.

There is one bright spot in the economy - top campaign consultants are making a fortune even if their work, so far, has been less than impressive.

Here's the latest television ad from Crossroads GPS:

Connie Mack, Allen West and Lois Frankel duck the voters

As folks fire up their grills and stare at the fireworks, they may want to remember that the Founding Fathers engaged in long, deep debates about the issues confronting the nation. In fact, without those debates and the compromises they fostered, we might be a very different country.

In our latest report for Columbia Journalism Review, Crowley Political Report editor Brian E. Crowley examines why Florida congressional Allen West and Lois Frankel, as well as U.S. Senate candidate Connie Mack, appear so reluctant to participate in political debates.

By Brian E. Crowley

FLORIDA — Former Miami Herald humor columnist Dave Barry once wrote: “I can win an argument on any topic, against any opponent. People know this, and steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign of their great respect, they don’t even invite me.”

In Florida, candidates are invited to the party—debates—they just refuse to go. When it comes to debating in the Sunshine State, candidates for federal office are saying, “No.” It is becoming a troubling trend.

Continue reading "Connie Mack, Allen West and Lois Frankel duck the voters" »