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August 2015

Patrick Murphy supports Iran Deal

Florida U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy announced today that he is supporting the Iran deal with reservations. Murphy, a two-term Democratic congressmen, is facing a tough Democratic primary.

His top rival, Congressman Alan Grayson has not made a decision - at least publicly.

Murphy's statement:

 “I have promised Floridians that they can have faith in me to listen to them, to listen to my conscience, and to deeply study every bill. With the proposed nuclear agreement with Iran on my desk, I have taken my promise more seriously than ever. This has been the toughest decision of my time in Congress.

“I have listened to the strong cases made by advocates on both sides of this debate, which at times has become unfortunately rancorous. I have carefully studied the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, its appendices, and the classified reports from the negotiations, and have sought answers from both supporters and opponents.

“Armed with nuclear weapons, Iran would pose an unacceptable threat to America and Israel. The United States must always retain the option to take military action to protect our freedom and our allies, and the time may come when we are obligated to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons by force. Before placing our country’s brave men and women in uniform in harm’s way, I owe all Floridians — and especially our servicemembers — to have tried every available option. The deal on my desk is flawed, but after searching my own soul and conscience, I have decided I will support this agreement as the best available option to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

“With the proposed nuclear deal with Iran on my desk, I have been thinking of the decision to go to war in Iraq. Over a decade ago, Congress faced a vote whether to commit America’s armed forces into a conflict in the Middle East. I was twenty years old when we went to war in Iraq, and as the casualties mounted in that unnecessary and costly war — eventually to over 4,000 brave American soldiers — I woke up to the horrible reality of war and the consequences of the decisions Congress makes. The tragedy of the war in Iraq set me on the path to run for Congress to do my part to ensure such an avoidable war never happened again.

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Donald Trump ad attacks Jeb Bush on immigration

Donald Trump's ad attacking Jeb Bush is very short but brutal. In 15 seconds, Trump takes Bush's comment that for most immigrants coming to the United States "is an act of love," and juxtaposes Bush's remark with apparent pictures of convicted felons.

It is a huge distortion of Bush's beliefs about immigration. 

But it is also a hint at just how ugly this campaign for the Republican presidential nomination is going to get.


Scott Walker goes negative on Jeb Bush

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush made the mistake of telling the truth to a Nevada audience. Now Bush is getting hit with two new ads by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker who is suggesting that Bush is simply not tough enough on Iran.

Walker's campaign pulls this snippet from Bush's remarks about the Iran deal: "One thing I won't do is to say . . . I'm going to tear up the agreement the first day."

Bush has explained that no one taking office would have the people in place, the national security briefing, and other aspects of assuming the presidency to honestly proclaim the deal would be scotched on the first day in office.

During his July appearance in Nevada Bush said: “At 12:01 on January, whatever it is, 19th [2017], I will not probably have a confirmed secretary of state; I will not have a confirmed national security team in place; I will not have consulted with our allies. I will not have had the intelligence briefings to have made a decision. If you’re running for president, I think it’s important to be mature and thoughtful about this.” 

Many took Bush's comment as a shot at Walker who earlier proclaimed: "We need to terminate the bad deal with Iran on the very first day in office."

Perhaps the most notable thing about this exchange is that, so far, Donald Trump is not a part of it.

Here's the 30 second Walker ad: 


And here is the longer, slightly tougher version:


Bill Nelson to run for reelection

Florida Senator Bill Nelson announced today he will run for a fourth term. The Democrat made the announcement during a speech at the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches.

Nelson chose not to comment about the likely candidacy of Republican Gov Rick Scott.

Nelson will be 73 next month and recently recovered from prostate cancer. Nelson, who was joined at the event by his wife Grace, also talked about his support for the deal with Iran, the threat of a congressional budget showdown, and speculated that Vice President Joe Biden will not run against Hillary Clinton.

After the speech, Nelson was on the phone for a lengthy conversation with former President Bill Clinton. Grace Nelson also spoke with the former president.

Florida Senate should dump Latvala and Negron

GETTING FIREDFlorida's legislature often embarrasses itself. Petty fights. Petty egos. Petty thoughts. It has been going on for decades.

Part of the problem is that the state Capitol is in Tallahassee. It is so isolated from the rest of the state that when lawmakers arrive it is their parties sent them away to an overindulgent summer camp. These kids are never under control - except by lobbyists.

Now, we have the continuing saga of two grown men battling unmercifully over who gets to be the next Senate president. Republican Joe Negron claim he has the vote and therefore he has won. As reported by Politico's Marc Caputo - Jack Latvala says Negron is full of it.

Let's put this gently - the Senate is full of it.

Negron biggest defender is former Senate President Don Gaetz. 

Don Gaetz?


You mean the guy who lied to the public when he said redistricting would be "the most transparent" in Florida history?

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Right to Rise web ads in New Hampshire for Jeb Bush

If you are a reader of the Manchester, New Hampshire based Union Leader, you are seeing a series of ads on the newspapers website touting the record of former Florida governor Jeb Bush.

The first of the four ads below, has Bush taking pride in getting rid of "poor performing" state workers and, eliminating seniority. (oddly, it is Bush's "seniority as a political leader that is one of his selling point for becoming the third Bush president).


Right to Rise also brags that Bush was a tax cutter. Opponents might argue that his tax cuts reduced state revenue to such a degree that Florida was in weaker shape to deal with the Great Recession. Still, tax cuts are loved by most voters (as long as they keep getting the tax funded services they want).

Jeb AD NH 2

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Alan Grayson web ad attacks Patrick Murphy

Florida's Democratic primary for U.S. Senate is a bare-knuckles affair with a touch of humor and a shade of meanness. Orlando area Congressman Alan Grayson's first web ad is mostly humor featuring a little cartoon character. 

So far, Treasure Coast Congressman Patrick Murphy has largely ignored Grayson. One suspects that is not going to last much longer.




Don Gaetz should apologize and resign from Florida Senate

Don Gaetz has been exposed. The former Senate President promised Floridians that during his tenure, legislative and congressional redistricting would be "the most transparent" in Florida history.

Gaetz lied.

Court documents obtained by the Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times show that Gaetz was part of a conspiracy to deceive the public. A lower court and the Florida Supreme Court tossed out the congressional map calling it unconstitutional. The Senate has already admitted it got caught and will redo the senate map.

Gaetz, who smugly sat on witness stand during the circuit court hearing, secretly worked with political operatives, Senate staff and others to create an illegal Senate map that would favor Republicans.

According to the Herald/Times, court documents show that "before the public release of that map, Gaetz was privately conducting secret briefings with individual senators, via video conference, in which they would discuss possible alterations to the proposed Senate map."

In a deposition, John Guthrie, the former staff director of the Senate Reapportionment Committee who retired in June, said that Gaetz intentionally conducted individual meetings with senators so they could “share their reactions” and avoid the public meeting requirements of the Senate rules.

This is a must read story
In one sense, none of it is new. The depositions are a confirmation of the deliberately secret acts orchestrated and allowed to take place by Gaetz.
Gaetz only got caught because he wound up in court. He has cost the taxpayers a great deal of money in special sessions and needless court fights.
Many in Tallahassee like to preach about accountability. 
Gaetz is accountable. Now what is he going to do about it?

Some things that will not be highlighted in the Quinnipiac Florida poll

JEB BUSH _Polls are ruling. Presidential campaigns are being dogged by a constant barrage of polls. And now, a new Quinnipiac poll suggest more Republican voters are supporting Donald Trump than Jeb Bush - in Florida.

It makes for a wonderfully astonishing headline. But it is nonsense.

According to Quinnipiac's numbers, Trump leads Bush 21-17. Let's flip those numbers. The Q-poll is suggesting that 83 percent of Florida's registered Republicans would prefer someone other than Bush.

This would be an incredible collapse for Florida's former governor. It is certainly arguable, and we've made this case before, that Bush's Florida political machine is not what it once was. Certainly the candidacy of Sen. Marco Rubio suggests that Bush's hold on the Sunshine State may not be what it once was.

And it has been 13 years since Florida voters cast ballots with Jeb Bush on the ticket. And he has been out of office since January 2007 - nearly 9 years. As others have noted, Florida's has moved from the 4th largest state to the the 3rd largest since then. Many Floridians have never seen a Jeb Bush campaign.

Still, there a problems with the Quinnipiac Poll. Most media will point to its 3 percent margin of error. But that is misleading. That MOE is for the overall poll. The margin for GOP voters is 4.5 percent. (For Democrats it is 5.3). Those are significant margins that actually suggest Bush and Trump are tied.

Even more troubling is the time frame of the poll. The survey was done from August 7 to 18. That is a very long time. Voter moods can change from day to day. There is no assurance that what a voter said on August 7 would be the same on August 18. When you add the volatility brought by Trump, it is fairly safe to conclude that opinions change rapidly.

And who was surveyed. The polls suggests self-identified registered voters. But it does not appear that the question of being registered was asked. Instead, Quinnipiac asked respondents: PARTY IDENTIFICATION QUESTION WORDING - Generally speaking, do you consider yourself a Republican, a Democrat, an Independent, or what?

Saying you consider yourself a Republican does not make you a registered Republican. And for survey accuracy that is a big difference.

There is little doubt that the Bush campaign is struggling. And there is no question that his home-base may need some tender-loving care. But this poll, and many like it, begs more questions than it answers.



Jeb Bush Foreign Policy speech text

Below is the text of Jeb Bush's remarks tonight at the Ronald Reagan Library in California. The Republican presidential candidate hits hard at Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Jeb Bush:

“Thank you very much.  It’s good to be with all of you, and I appreciate the kind hospitality of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. 

 “I bring greetings from the wonderful guy who is still very proud to have been Ronald Reagan’s vice president. A competition turned into friendship, and the better my Dad got to know Ronald Reagan, the more he admired and loved him.  On my way here this afternoon, I made a call to Nancy Reagan, to thank her for this honor and let her know how much we all love her.

 “Seven elections have come and gone since the Reagan name was last on the ballot.  Yet in many ways, that name, and the qualities it brings to mind, is still the standard.  A leader of clarity and resolve, not given to idle words, it was President Reagan who took command of events, rebuilt America’s strength, and moved the world toward peace. Strategically and morally, he conceded nothing to America’s enemies.  He believed that the Cold War could be won, not just endlessly managed, and in the end he put an age of conflict behind us.  They don’t always give out peace prizes for that, but peace is what Ronald Reagan left behind, and that is the legacy of a good and great man.

 “In our time as well, it is strength, and will, and clarity of purpose that make all the difference.  Good things happen when America is engaged with friends and allies, alert to danger, and resolved to deal with threats, before they become catastrophes.  We’ve seen in recent years how critical each one of these principles is to our security, because when it counted most, they were missing. 

 “To really grasp what the next president will face, we have to look candidly at a few policies that have gone very wrong in these years –above all, in what we used to call the global war on terror.  Despite elaborate efforts by the administration to avoid even calling it by name, one of the very gravest threats we face today comes from radical Islamic terrorists. The terrorists are possessed by the same violent ideology that gave us 9/11, and they are on the offensive and gaining ground.  It is not true, and was wishful thinking by the Administration to claim, that ‘the tide of war is receding.’


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Jeb Bush website attacks Marco Rubio

Bloomberg News grabbed a screenshot of  a page on Jeb Bush's campaign website attacking fellow Floridian Marco Rubio.

Bush's website also had an attack on Scott Walker. Apparently the "joyful" campaign is ready to be less joyful in the effort to ensure that Jeb becomes the third Bush in the White House.

According to Bloomberg, the pages were quickly removed, although not fast enough to prevent Bloomberg from getting screenshots. 

Bush campaign spokesman Tim Miller told Bloomberg these were "draft pages that were taken down, we have lots of material to prepare for the debate as circumstances require."

As circumstances require? Ponder that for a moment.

Here's a look at one of the screenshots (click to enlarge). Read the Bloomberg story here. 

Bush Rubio chart

Could Planned Parenthood funding debate lead to a government shutdown

At least one prominent federal budget expert believes that there is a strong chance that the debate over federal funding for Planned Parenthood could lead to a government shutdown.

Stan Collender, a frequently sought speaker on federal budget issues, frequently appears on Bloomberg TV and writes a column for Forbes. He is also a friend of Crowley Political Report.

Collender, who carefully monitors congressional action on the budget, believes that the outcry over videos showing Planned Parenthood officials talking about the sale of tissue from aborted fetuses. The undercover video was shot undercover by an anti-abortion group. Planned Parenthood claims the videos are heavily edited.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who previously voted for federal funding for fetal tissue research, announced that the Senate would take up a bill to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

Florida Democratic Congresswoman Lois Frankel defended Planned Parenthood calling the GOP plans to cut funding, “another insidious effort by extremists . . .which would result in blocking millions of women from accessing critical and lifesaving healthcare.”

Collender says this kind of sharp divide could lead to a government shutdown.

Collender writes:

In the past that line-in-the-sand issue has been budget-related: the national debt, the federal deficit and taxes. This time it’s the new GOP push to defund Planned Parenthood – a highly emotional social issue that has quickly become a political litmus test for Republicans.

Republicans are vowing with ever-increasing vehemence to vote against legislation – including a CR — that includes funding for Planned Parenthoodand that means that a continuing resolution that simply extends existing funding at current levels won’t be acceptable to the GOP majorities in the House and Senate. The House and Senate Republican leadership could cobble together a coalition with the moderate members of their own caucus and Democrats, but they would do so by placing themselves and their members in extreme political peril.

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Jeb Bush starts debate with plan to secure border

With the first Republican presidential debate just three days away, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush unveiled a six-point plan to secure the U.S. border with Mexico. 

Bush describes it as "a robust strategy to improve border security."

There is nothing particularly new in the plan. Much of it has been said by Bush in earlier musing on how to secure the border. Perhaps more importantly, Bush does not back away from his central belief that the 11 million undocumented immigrants deserve a chance to become U.S. citizens.

"I believe that for those already in the country, we need to put in place a rigorous path that requires individuals to pass a thorough criminal background check, pay fines, pay taxes, learn English, obtain a provisional work permit and work, not receive federal government assistance, and over an extended period of time earn legal status," said Bush.

"But any plan to address the status of illegal immigrants must be accompanied by a robust strategy to improve border security."

Bush also said he would stop federal funding to "sanctuary cities" that do not enforce immigration laws. It is a position that suggests that while Bush is opposed to Washington "dictating' to the states, he is willing to make exceptions as he deems necessary.

Bringing up immigration now, seems to be a calculated effort to frame the coming debate that will feature the 10 top GOP contenders in the prime time while the remaining candidate appear in an earlier forum on Fox News.

Donald Trump, who tops recent polls, has been a boisterous critic of border security. His often harsh comments have drawn approval from a significant chunk of Republican conservatives.

From Bush's statement:

Securing the border is possible, but it will require Washington to move beyond divisive rhetoric. The following six proposals offer concrete steps that the federal government should take to help secure the border and enforce our immigration laws. We must transform immigration from a broken system into one that benefits every American.

1. A forward-leaning Border Patrol with the flexibility to deploy resources to meet threats.

2. Use new technologies to achieve continuous surveillance of the border.

3. Bolster border infrastructure and improve access to federal lands.

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