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March 2014

Rick Scott's new campaign video

This just arrived from Gov. Rick Scott's campaign. Video link takes you to video on Scott's Facebook page. 

Press release is below: 



MARCH 27, 2014 

People Like Me Cover


TALLAHASSEE, FL – Today, the Rick Scott for Florida campaign launched a new digital ad touting the Governor’s support of cancer research funding. The ad is called “People Like Me.”

Campaign Chairman and State Senator John Thrasher said, “Governor Scott continues to increase funding to support cancer research. Meanwhile, Charlie Crist continues to embrace Obamacare as ‘great,’ even as the law is hurting cancer patients’ access to treatment. This ad shows how Governor Scott cares about cancer patients. Unfortunately, Charlie Crist only cares about his own political career and how embracing Obamacare may help himself.”

The Scott campaign’s new digital buy for “People Like Me” is part of a more than $350,000 buy to promote Governor Scott’s message. To date nearly 8.2 million voters have watched the campaign’s ads online. In the last two weeks alone, 1.9 million voters saw the “Families” ad online in addition to our $2 million statewide TV buy for that ad.

Charlie Crist hits back at Rick Scott in new video

 A few days ago, Florida Gov. Rick Scott's campaign began airing an ad featuring former Gov. Charlie Crist describing ObamaCare as great. The ad is described as an "attack ad" by Scott's campaign.

Yup, his own campaign called it an attack ad. 

"Just yesterday, we launched our first attack ad against Charlie Crist" said Scott campaign spokesman Greg Blair.

 Campaign 101: don't call your ads attack ads.

So now we have the predictable counter attack from Democratic candidate Crist.

The ad opens with a male voice saying Rick Scott is "spending special interest millions to tear down Charlie Crist."

After calling Scott's ad "misleading" and "false," the voiceover says Scott wants to "take us back" to what the Crist ad portrays as a health system that abandoned even children with cancer.

Crist's ad closes posing this choice: "The governor you can trust to work with both sides to fix the problem or the one you can't trust at all."

As the ad hits the "one you can't trust at all" line, a photo of Scott when we was given a despostion is shown.

One big difference in the two ads: Scott's campaign is spending more than $2 million to put it on television. No word from the Crist campaign on what, if anything, it is spending on the ad.

The Crist ad is below. The Scott ad is here.

 Follow us on Twitter @CrowleyReport.

How long before Rick Scott staff quits over Hispanic remarks?

UPDATE: Politico has another email revealing considerable unhappiness and charges of "insulting behavior."

An excerpt: Fernandez shared his blunt view that the reelection operation was months behind schedule, pointing a finger at Scott chief of staff Adam Hollingsworth for alienating top Republican stakeholders from the Scott effort.

Republican political sage Mike Murphy responded to a Crowley Political Report tweet asking "So how long before Scott campaign announces staffer has resigned over Hispanic comments?" with "Veinticuatro horas." 

Okay, Murphy was just being observationally wry. And in a follow-up, Murphy made it clear that he's not giving advice to Scott or his campaign about what should be done.

Our view:  the clock is ticking.

As our previous report noted, the Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times are reporting that two senior Rick Scott campaign staffers are being accused of making fun of Hispanics during a trip to a Mexican restaurant. 

Now, the Times/Herald have published the complete email from fundraiser Mike Fernandez where that complaint and others about the operation of the Scott campaign are offered in detail.

This does not bode well for Governor Scott who allowed his lieutenant governor - Carlos Lopez Cantera - to publicly and adamantly say the disparaging remarks were not made.

Which begs the question: why would Luis, described as Fernadez's business partner, make the claim? Would there be some reason for him to make this up? And what happens if Luis comes forward publicly?

Murphy gives Scott 24 hours. If the accusation is true - even that may be too long. The damage is already being done.

Follow us on Twitter @crowleyreport

Rick Scott's new video about Obama, seniors and Medicare Advantage cuts

 Florida Gov. Rick Scott's campaign has turned a visit to an assisted living facility in Tampa into a video of worried seniors looking to Scott to protect them from cuts to Medicare Advantage.

Forget for a moment that there is little that a governor can do to affect changes in Medicare Advantage, but if you believe that frightened seniors is the path to reelection - it is an effective video.

Let's not forget that Democrats have long used scare tactics to convince seniors that Republicans would take away their Social Security.  It would appear that Scott and other Republicans are just borrowing from that playbook.

This video is about two minutes. Expect a 30-second version to hit the airwaves soon.

Rick Scott's campaign denies staff made fun of Hispanics now there's an email

Failing still another campaign lesson, Rick Scott's campaign tossed its newly minted Hispanic lieutentant governor into a media frenzy of denial that could badly backfire.


Let us begin at the beginning.

The Miami Herald's intreprid political writer Marc Caputo revealed Friday that Mike Fernandez, a top Scott fundrasier, had resigned from the campaign. One of his concerns was a report from a business partner that top Scott campaign staffers were making fun of Hispanics on the way to a Mexican restaurant.

That must read story is here.

An excerpt:

Before he abruptly resigned as a top fund-raiser for Gov. Rick Scott, health care executive Mike Fernandez complained to top Scott advisers about a “homogeneous” team of campaign advisers who don’t understand the culture of Hispanic voters he needs to win re-election.

Fernandez’s politically explosive complaints were in an email he sent last month that foreshadowed his abrupt resignation last Thursday as co-finance chairman of Scott’s re-election effort. A billionaire owner of and investor in health care plans, Fernandez remains a strong Scott supporter, and hosted a $25,000-per-couple fund-raiser at his Coral Gables mansion Monday that featured 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

But the aftershocks of Fernandez’s resignation are a major distraction for Scott’s campaign and underscore a key part of the Democrats’ opposition strategy: that Republicans can’t relate to Hispanic voters. The most explosive part of Fernandez’s Feb. 20 email was his claim, first reported in the Miami Herald, that two Scott campaign aides imitated a Mexican accent.

When Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera said Monday there was “no validity” to the Herald report, it prompted Republicans sympathetic to Fernandez to release a copy of the email, which in broader terms reveals Fernandez’s uneasiness with the direction of Scott’s campaign.

Fernandez’s email indicates that he never heard the comments he complained about. A business partner named “Luis” apparently did on the way to a Chipolte Grill, a Mexican restaurant.

“It’s culturally insensitive for him to hear a senior staff members [sic] mimicking a Mexican accent on the way to Chipotle. It shows that the team does not understand the culture YOU need to win,” Fernandez wrote on his iPad.

Scott's campaign denied the accusation:

Continue reading "Rick Scott's campaign denies staff made fun of Hispanics now there's an email" »

Rick Scott's new ad about Charlie Crist

Governor Rick Scott has a new campaign ad that attempts to slip a political noose around former Governor Charlie Crist for his support of ObamaCare.

The ad takes a snippet from a CNN interview Candy Crowley (no relation) where Crist tells her that he thinks ObamaCare is "great' for Floridians.

Republicans are convinced that anyone who says anything nice about ObamaCare is politically doomed. 

Could this be bigger than the hug?

With Scott still trailing Crist in the polls, his campaign sure hopes so.

The ad, from Scott's Let's Get to Work reelection committee, is the second ad tying Crist to ObamaCare. The first was released three months ago. Its impact appears to have been minimal since Scott still struggles to close the gap.

The new ad is part of a much wider campaign effort to move voters away from Crist.

Below is the new ad, and the previous ad.


The folly of trying to read Jeb Bush tea leaves

CNN, AP, Reuters and others are breathlessly reporting that Jeb Bush is traveling the country making campaign appearances for various Republican candidates. This they say, is a clear sign that Bush may run for president in 2016.

 As tweeted on @crowleyreport – Yes he is. Always has. Not a sign of anything.

 There is an ongoing storyline that suggests if Bush ignores the advice of his mother and decides to run for president he will immediately jump to the top of the heap. It has become what we now quaintly call “conventional wisdom.”

Unfortunately, history suggests that conventional wisdom is often wrong.

Recently an interviewer asked Crowley Political Report whether Bush will run.


Is Bush thinking about it?


Will he decide to run?


 One could argue that Bush has already said: No.

Bush says he will make a final decision later this year. He adds two considerations: “whether I can do it with joy in my heart and whether it’s going to be right for my family.”

Joy in my heart? Really?

Bush has been directly involved in five presidential campaigns – three for his dad, and two for his big brother.  While folks like to talk about the powerful Bush family political machine, it is worth noting that dad lost two out of three elections, and big brother won the first by a squeak while handily winning his reelection.

 Many seem to forget that even Jeb does not have a perfect electoral record. He lost his race for governor in 1994 against incumbent Democrat Lawton Chiles. He won in 1998 against the poorly run campaign of Buddy MacKay. And in 2002, there was a point where the Bush team worried that they could lose to the late Bill McBride, a Tampa lawyer who had never run for political office before.

This is a case you can make about many winning candidates. Often the reason they win is because the opponent is a lousy or flawed candidate. That fact is usually lost in campaign war stories. One should also remember that in the 2010 Texas governor’s race, the Bush machine backed the campaign of Senator Kay ­Bailey Hutchison against Rick Perry and lost.

Continue reading "The folly of trying to read Jeb Bush tea leaves" »

Reubin Askew commented on becoming governor

Reubin askew

In 2006, Reubin O'Donovan Askew spoke about what it was like to become Florida's 37th Governor.

"You really can't get too prepared to become governor. The roof falls in on you and all of a sudden you realize you don't get any smarter. You just get an awful lot more responsibility and you're on your own to try to determine for sure exactly how to govern."

Governor Askew not only determined exactly how to govern, but the impact of his leadership is still with us today - from improving the environment to open government, from a reformed judicial system to an improved tax structure. 

Reubin Askew set a standard for governing that few have been able to match. We can only hope that those in Tallahassee who are praising him today, reflect on what he did and what he would do.

Governor Askew died Thursday. He was 85. 




Rick Scott spends $2.2 million on first campaign ad

 Struggling in the polls with most Florida voters saying they do not believe he deserves a second term (Quinnipiac poll 54%), Gov. Rick Scott is starting his television campaign with an attempt to reconnect with the average voter.

We had a preview of this ad during the final minutes of his recent State of State address before a joint session of the Florida Legislature.

Scott's campaign is spending $2 million on this ad. The problem with trying to change the governor's image is that he has done this multiple times over the past three years. He's taken a stab at doing "work days," a political trademark of former Democratic Governor Bob Graham. He's offered the ban-the-tie where a casual shirt with Florida emblem image. And Scott's team has even ditched three years of the "Let's Get to Work" slogan for a new "Let's Keep Working" slogan.

Even Republicans are getting nervous. Here's a must read by the Miami Herald political writer Marc Caputo.

Does the video work for you?

New Poll suggests Jeb Bush should stay out of 2016 presidential campaign

First let's start with something Crowley Political Report has been saying for a decade - Jeb Bush is not going to run for president. Yes, Jeb says he is thinking about it. Yes, there are some folks who would love to see him run (although that apparently does not include his mother). 

Jeb is just being polite when he says he is thinking about it. Of course he is. It's hard not to when Republican operatives, the national media, and Bush admirers keep urging him to think about it.

As a side note - it should be remembered that Bush has not run for office since his 2002 reelection campaign for Florida governor.

Today, a new ABC/Washington Post Poll suggests that it would be an uphill battle for Bush to win the White House.

Rick Klien, ABC political director, writes:

The poll has plenty of good news for Hillary Rodham Clinton. Two-thirds of Americans say they’d consider voting for Clinton in 2016, and a full 25 percent say they will definitely support her. Again, among all Americans – not just Democrats, or Democrats and independents – one in four say they are fully on board for Hillary Clinton right now, no questions asked.

As for Jeb Bush? He has the rock-solid support of just 6 percent, a level that puts him alongside Mike Huckabee and Gov. Chris Christie. He ranks below Sen. Rand Paul, and even Mitt Romney.

What’s worse for him, nearly half of Americans – 48 percent in the poll – say they will definitely not support the former Florida governor for president.


As one close Bush adviser told CPR, "Jeb has a good life, why would he want to put himself through a campaign."

Maybe Jeb should listen to his mother and end the speculation now.

Read more about the poll here.

Tallahassee cops tracking cell phones without warrants ACLU protests



Thousands of lawmakers, lobbyists, reporters and citizens are gathered in Tallahassee for the annual 60-day legislative session. Warning - you might want to turn off your cell phones.

Apparently, the Tallahassee Police Department has used a device called "stingray" that allows it to secretly track cell phones and "reveal their precise locations and information about all of the calls and text messages they send and receive," according to the ACLU.

There is an ongoing court case about Tallahassee cops using this technology that has been largely kept secret.

According to the ACLU:

 It appears that at least one police department in Florida has failed to tell judges about its use of a cell phone tracking device because the department got the device on loan and promised the manufacturer to keep it all under wraps. But when police use invasive surveillance equipment to surreptitiously sweep up information about the locations and communications of large numbers of people, court oversight and public debate are essential.

The devices, likely made by the Florida-based Harris Corporation, are called “stingrays,” and unfortunately this is not the first time the government has tried to hide their use.

Tallahassee police have secretly used this technology more than 200 times, according to ACLU.

A Wired story described it this way:

The shocking revelation came during an appeal over a 2008 sexual battery case in Tallahassee in which the suspect also stole the victim’s cellphone. Using the stingray — which simulates a cellphone tower in order to trick nearby mobile devices into connecting to it and revealing their location — police were able to track him to an apartment.

During recent proceedings in the case, authorities revealed that they had used the equipment at least 200 additional times since 2010 without disclosing this to courts and obtaining a warrant.

The ACLU nails it here:

Potentially unconstitutional government surveillance on this scale should not remain hidden from the public just because a private corporation desires secrecy. And it certainly should not be concealed from judges.

Unfortunately, it is appears that this technology is being used by other law enforcement agencies in Florida and elsewhere.

Read more from ACLU here.

Wonder if the Legislature cares.