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Charlie Crist needs a nap




Poor Charlie Crist. The Florida Congressman couldn't sleep a wink last night.  Of course Crist's reason for not sleeping was a tad different than Frank Sinatra's song would suggest. Sinatra didn't have to worry about "Trumpcare."

So here's what Democrat Crist is sending out in an email:

I was up all night thinking about the score of Trumpcare 2.0, friend.

850%. That's the estimate of how much insurance premiums would rise for elderly, poor people over the next decade. That's shameful. I’m incredibly disheartened that my colleagues in the House put politics over people -- and I’m going to do everything I can to stop it.

 Will you help me show my colleagues how many of us are against this horrendous bill? Sign my petition right now.

 Trumpcare 2.0 is un-American. We need to look out for each other -- not rip away health care from 23 million people.

Thank you,

 Sent from my iPhone

Continue reading "Charlie Crist needs a nap" »

Gwen Graham becomes third Graham to run for Florida Governor




Former Congresswoman Gwen Graham today became the third member of her family to run for Florida governor.  Her father, Bob Graham, was governor from 1979 to 1987. He then served in the U.S. Senate from 1987 to 2005.  He ran for president in 2003 but dropped out after nine months.

Gwen Graham's grandfather, Ernest "Cap" Graham, a state Senator, ran for governor in 1944. He was defeated.

Graham's announcement was long expected and she joins a growing field of Democratic and Republican candidates.

Below is the campaign release about her announcement:

Declaring, "We do not have time for typical politics, because this is the time to paint Florida’s future in sharp lines, and bold colors," Gwen Graham announced she is running to serve as Florida's next governor, Tuesday morning.

With her family by her side, Graham said, after almost 20 years of a enduring a state government with the wrong priorities for the wrong people, she would renew Florida's education system, environment and economy.

Citing her experience as a working mother, PTA president and school board official, Graham said she is determined to end the lottery shell game diverting funds from Florida schools and high-stakes testing.  

Graham announced her campaign next to Miami Carol City Senior High, where she spent a full Workday alongside educators teaching students, the previous day. The high school was where her father, former Governor Bob Graham, performed his first Workday in 1974.

“As governor, I won’t just criticize this culture of teaching to the test. I will end it,” Graham said. “Because high-stakes standardized testing has led us to one-size-fits-all learning. Yet our children, parents and teachers are not one-dimensional. Our children, parents, and teachers are not standardized. I will work with the legislature – and do whatever it takes, including using the governor’s line-item veto to end high-stakes testing.”

She also shared her vision for Florida's economy and environment. Graham called for Florida to raise the minimum wage, provide paid sick leave, invest in infrastructure, and diversify Florida's economy.

Continue reading "Gwen Graham becomes third Graham to run for Florida Governor" »

Florida utilities think voters are suckers

By Brian E. Crowley

A dear friend called recently to go over her sample ballot. She wanted me to explain some of the candidates and issues with which she is least familiar. As we worked her way down the ballot she said she was going to vote for Amendment One. 

I asked her what she thought it was all about. She said it appeared to be a pro-solar amendment that would help the environment. I gently explained to her that Amendment One is actually backed by Florida utilities with FPL being one of the biggest backers. There was a pause. 


Yup, really.

Her initial reaction to Amendment One is a common. The utilities were brilliant in their soulless effort to deceive voters. The deceit starts with the name of the group pushing passage of Amendment One - Consumers for Smart Solar. 

Well I suppose in one very broad sense FPL and the other big utilities are "consumers" and the very fact that they were able to get this amendment on the ballot suggests they are smart - but this amendment has little to do with protecting citizen rights to solar energy and everything to do with protecting utility monopolies.

There is no question that there are some complicated issues involved with broadening the availability of solar energy for homeowners and businesses. But those issues do not require a constitutional amendment. It is, as former Florida Governor Bob Graham noted today, the job of the Legislature and regulators to, well, regulate the industry.

Even if one agreed with the position being taken by the utilities - Amendment One must fail because the industry deliberately deceived voters.

Last month, the Miami Herald's formidable Mary Ellen Klas obtained an interesting audio tape:

The policy director of a think tank supported by Florida’s largest electric utilities admitted at a conference this month what opponents have claimed for months: The industry attempted to deceive voters into supporting restrictions on the expansion of solar by shrouding Amendment 1 as a pro-solar amendment.

Sal Nuzzo, a vice president at the James Madison Institute in Tallahassee, detailed the strategy used by the state’s largest utilities to create and finance Amendment 1 at the State Energy/Environment Leadership Summit in Nashville on Oct. 2.

Nuzzo called the amendment, which has received more than $21 million in utility industry financing, “an incredibly savvy maneuver” that “would completely negate anything they (pro-solar interests) would try to do either legislatively or constitutionally down the road,” according to an audio recording of the event supplied to the Herald/Times.

You can read the Herald story and hear the audio here. You will also find disclaimers from supporters of Amendment One.

Spending at least $25 million, with much of the money coming from FPL, Consumers for Smart Solar are running television ads that make it appear that these folks are just trying to Make Florida Great Again.

They are not. Instead, they clearly think Florida voters are suckers who are easily misled.

For that reason alone, Amendment One should fail.

My friend is now voting no.

Donald Trump campaign's new ad Two Americas to air in Florida

Donald Trump's campaign released it first campaign ad talking about immigration and Hillary Clinton. The ad is expected to appear in key Florida markets, particularly in Orlando and the Tampa Bay area.

From a Trump news release:

The new ad provides a stark comparison between Hillary Clinton’s reality in which Americans are victims of the rigged system in Washington that compromises our borders, jeopardizes our jobs, and flouts our laws, and Mr. Trump’s vision for our country in which we secure our borders and put American jobs and safety first.

The campaign will spend $4.8 million dollars to air this ad and more on television stations over the next 10 days in the battleground states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida.

Here is a transcript provided by the campaign:

VO: In Hillary Clinton’s America:

The system stays rigged against Americans.

Syrian refugees flood in.

Illegal immigrants convicted of committing crimes get to stay.

Collecting Social Security benefits, skipping the line.

Our border open.

It’s more of the same, but worse.

Donald Trump’s America is secure.

Terrorists and dangerous criminals: kept out.

The border: secured.

Our families: safe.

Change that makes America safe again.

Donald Trump for President.

I’m Donald Trump, and I approve this message.

Here is the video:




Patrick Murphy video reminds Marco Rubio that he called Donald Trump a con man

RubiofinThis is not a video that will be much of a surprise to the Marco Rubio or his campaign team. They have been preparing for battle with Democrat Patrick Murphy and there little doubt that they have expected Murphy to remind Florida voters about some of the things Rubio said about Donald Trump.

In this minute-plus video, we repeatedly hear Rubio call Trump a "con man." The video also shows Rubio repeatedly being asked how he can support Trump now after spending months calling him a con man.

Left out of the video is Rubio's explanation that as much as he disagrees with Trump, he disagrees with everything that Hillary Clinton believes. Rubio also says if he returns to the Senate, he will be in a position to provide opposition to policies he disagrees with no matter which candidate enters the White House.

Still, Rubio has neatly tied himself to Trump and his supporters. The only question that remains: If Trump implodes does Rubio fall with him?

Here's the video:


Will Gwen become the the third Graham to run for Florida governor?

This morning, North Florida Congresswoman Gwen Graham posted a video saying she is seriously considering running for governor in 2018 following in the footsteps of her father and grandfather.

Let's start with this premise - yes she is running.

This will bring great joy to many Democrats who look at a very thin field of potential candidates with the most notable being Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

Graham, 53, was elected to Congress in 2014 but now faces daunting odds after redistricting all but handed her seat to the Republicans. 

Ernest GrahamGraham's grandfather, Ernest "Cap" Graham (fifth from the left) ran for governor in 1944 after serving two terms in the Florida Senate. It was a time when winning the Democratic primary meant winning the governor's race. It was also a time where most political power rested in North Florida. 

Graham had moved to Miami to grow sugar for Pennsylvania Sugar Company, later named Pennsuco Farming Company. When Pennusco gave up, Graham acquired much of the land and converted it to dairy farming. Some of that land is now Miami Lakes.

Coming in third, Graham lost to Millard Caldwell. Graham died in 1957. 

In 1978, his son Bob Graham, successfully was elected governor and serve two highly terms. In 1986, Graham was elected to the U.S. Senate where he served until 2005.

Most recently, Graham has been in the news, including a spot on 60 minutes, as a leader of bipartisan effort to release 28 secret pages of the 911 report. These pages, which Graham saw while chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, contain information about possible Saudi connections to the 911 terrorists.

While there is a long Graham family history in Florida, the road for a second Graham in the governor's mansion, a places she first moved into as a teenager, is a far from assured.

Her video is the start of a long journey that could either end up like her father or her grandfather.



Donald Trump surprise ad in South Carolina takes campaign in new direction

The murder of a black teenager is featured in a new ad being shown in South Carolina from Donald Trump's campaign. 
The 30-second ad focuses on the 2008 murder of 17=year old Jamiel Shaw, Jr.  The teenager was killed by an illegal immigrant. Jamiel's father, is featured in the ad.
Jamiel Shaw, Sr. says in the ad the Trump is the only one talking about stopping illegal immigration. "I believe Donald Trump is going to make us great again and he loves America," says Mr. Shaw.
It is a powerful, and certain to be controversial campaign ad.





Jeb Bush should be asked this question about Terri Schiavo during Iowa debate

Jeb Bush never called Michael Schiavo.

Consider that for a minute.

Whether you agree or disagree with ending of Terri Schiavo’s life shouldn’t Bush have called the husband?

There is no question that Bush became overwhelmed by the sadness of the situation. He quickly sided with Terri’s parents who deeply believed that their daughter could still recover. Her parents fought in every way they could to stop Michael from allowing doctors to remove life support.

Despite a series of state and federal court decisions, and despite the finding of the doctors who cared for her, Bush abused his office in a futile effort to stop doctors from the pulling the plug.

Even after Bush lost, he tried to have Michael investigated. Bush wanted revenge.

A devout Catholic, who in a recent statement about abortion said he believes in supporting life “from inception to natural death,” Bush simply did not believe that anyone had the right to end Terri’s life – even if doctors were convinced she was in a persistent vegetative state.

But unlike the parish priest who would have met not only with Terri’s parents but her husband as well, Bush never reached out to Michael.

How can the governor of a state interfere in such a family tragedy without talking to the husband?

Even if he had, Bush may have still taken all the same actions.

But how do you step into the middle of a family tragedy without talking to the husband? And what does that say about Jeb Bush?

Even after speaking with Michael Schiavo, Bush may have decided Michael was wrong and that the governor should use all the powers of his office and intervene.

But how do you not speak with the husband? Isn’t that a fundamental obligation once you decide you might want to step into the middle of a sad family saga? And isn't it particularly relevant now that Bush's Right to Rise PAC is using Terri Schiavo in a new campaign ad?

And  shouldn't we know - what would President Jeb Bush do?

Bush should be asked during tonight’s debate – Why didn’t you speak to the husband?

Note: For an excellent review of Bush's role in the Schiavo case read this Politico story by Michael Kruse.

Barbara Bush says in new ad she likes Jeb

Jeb, "I'm my own man" Bush has brought in his mom to help out his presidential campaign. In a new 30-second ad, Barbara Bush talks about what a swell son here third child is and how Jeb would be a swell president.

The former First Lady, famously said the White House has had enough Bushes and that someone else should run for president. She quickly changed her mind when Jeb made it clear that he was intent on running. Polling suggests that many Republicans agree with his mother's original assessment. 

Jeb's campaign has seen a bit of a rebound and having spent more than $60 million on campaign ads - far, far more than all the other campaigns, Jeb may need mom more than ever.


Marco Rubio campaign ads tough on amnesty and border security

 Marco Rubio has two news television ads on the heels of last night's Republican debate.

From his news release:

 The first ad, “Support,” features Kelly Terry-Willis, whose brother, Brian, was murdered protecting the U.S. border in 2010. Brian’s murder exposed the Obama Administration’s infamous Fast and Furious operation. Kelly supports Marco because she knows he will give U.S. border patrol agents like Brian the support they need to their job, and as commander-in-chief he will keep our country safe. 
“My brother, Brian, sacrificed his life while serving our country on the southern border, so my family knows firsthand how important it is to once and for all secure it,” Kelly said in a statement about the new ad. “And for seven years now, Barack Obama has done nothing. Such a scandal never would have happened with someone like Marco Rubio in the White House. For my family, there is no greater priority than electing a president who will keep us safe. That’s why I’m proud to support Marco Rubio. As president, I trust him to secure the border and keep America safe. Senator Rubio is not just someone who can win the nomination. He is a standard bearer that can make it to the White House. "


 The second ad, “Happening,” sets the record straight on Jeb Bush’s desperate false attacks. As Marco does on the campaign trail, he says there will be no amnesty, promises to cancel President Obama’s unconstitutional executive orders, and deport criminal illegal aliens. Marco also describes his plan to protect the U.S. Southern Border with 700 miles of fencing and 20,000 additional border agents.


Jeb Bush decides path to victory is to call Donald Trump a jerk in new campaign ad

With his campaign spinning out of control, Jeb Bush seems to be going off in a dozen different directions in the effort to save his candidacy. He has made fun of Marco Rubio's height and his Right to Rise PAC is using a boots wearing figure to call Rubio a flip-flopper despite the fact the Bush and Rubio agree on nearly every issue and have been great pals until Rubio dared to challenge Bush for the GOP nomination.

Now, frustrated by Trump's rise in the polls, Bush who brags that he wants to campaign "joyfully" and concentrate on issues...has stooped to a little name calling.

In a new ad being shown in New Hampshire, Bush calls Trump a "Jerk" for having made fun of a reporter with a disability. It is hard to disagree with Bush that Trump was a jerk to do that but one can't help but note that Bush is more than happy to use it to his own advantage. That's politics.



Bush campaign cancels Iowa and South Carolina TV ads

JEB BUSH _The Des Moines Register is reporting that Jeb Bush's flailing Iowa campaign is canceling it television ad buys in Iowa. 

From the Register:

Jeb Bush's campaign is canceling its Iowa television advertising buy and shifting money to double staff on the ground in January, the final month before the high-stakes Iowa caucuses.

The news will raise questions about whether the former Florida governor might pull out of Iowa given his fifth-place status here, with just 6 percent support of likely GOP caucusgoers.

That's not the case, Bush campaign manager Danny Diaz told The Des Moines Register.

The number of Iowa paid staffers who make personal contact with voters will be boosted from 11 to more than 20, including its Hispanic outreach director, he said.

. . . Diaz said the campaign is removing $3 million in previously reserved TV time: an Iowa buy of about $1 million and a January buy in South Carolina of about $2 million. It's instead increasing direct voter contact with a total of 60 additional staffers.

Bush's Right to Rise PAC has spent heavily in the early states - especially New Hampshire. So far, polling has suggested that while the Bush campaign and his PAC have far outspent his rivals, the ads have not had the desired impact.

Right to Rise continues to have ads in the early primary and caucus states.

See the Des Moines Register story here.

This comes on the heels of reports today that Bush is essentially closing his Miami headquarters and moving almost all of the staff there to early primary states.

Both moves suggest the campaign is deeply worried and abandoning what it once thought was an winning strategy.

Is it too little too late?



Hillary Clinton ad talks about security and economy

Hillary Clinton's campaign is using the Saturday's debate as a launching point for this new ad which is expected to go up in Iowa and New Hampshire.

The ad starts in black and white showing families with Clinton saying: "America is not just electing a president, we're also electing a commander-in-chief. That choice matters because...."

Well see for yourself.


Lindsey Graham video announcing end of presidential campaign

This morning South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham used YouTube to tell supporters that he is no longer a candidate for president. The Republican's campaign never really garnered much support and the biggest question facing him - and a number of other candidates, has been when it would end.

Graham describes his effort as "a problem solvers campaign."


New Jeb Bush video hits Donald Trump on Hillary Clinton

 Clearly Right to Rise, the Jeb Bush PAC, has had a Vulcan mind meld with the Bush campaign. Both are aggressively attacking Donald Trump as if Trump is the only candidate left in the Republican presidential primary.

Surely it is just a coincidence.

This video, the second in as many days, takes snippets of Bush's comments at the last debate, and uses facial reactions from Trump to make Trump look silly.

The topics include Trump being a "chaos candidate," and Trump comments on ISIS, Hillary Clinton, and where he learns about foreign policy. 

Toward the end of the ad, Bush's debate challenge to Trump is repeated: "Donald you are not going to be able to insult you way to the presidency. That's not gonna happen."

Interestingly, today Bush insulted Trump again calling him a "jerk" at a morning appearance in New Hampshire. Bush has also called Trump "unhinged" and as he frequently repeats, "the chaos candidate."

Apparently Bush does believe you can insult your way to the GOP nomination.

Will Bush's effort to focus on Trump pull the billionaire real estate mogul off the top of the polls?



Conservative group goes after Patrick Murphy on ISIS

Better Florida Alliance has a new web video suggesting the Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy is weak on ISIS and too eager for more gun control.

Murphy is a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio. Murphy is being challenged in a hot-lead battle with Democratic U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson.

Which begs the question - why is a conservative Florida group injecting itself in the Democratic primary? Why is the group attacking Murphy?

Interestingly, as reported by Peter Schorsch in October, the group is led by two folks with connections to Florida Governor Rick Scott - Brian Burgess and Josh Cooper. According to Schorsch, Cooper is executive director of Better Florida Alliance and the Scott supporting Let's Get to Work. Burgess was Scott's communications director.

Burgess told Times/Herald Buzz the ad will run on social media during the Holiday break.

Perhaps the ad is a suggestion that Florida Republicans would rather be up against Grayson than Murphy.

Is the ad fair?



Is the air fair?

Jeb Bush video takes on Donald Trump and ISIS

There seems to be a bit of an odd juxtaposition in this new Right to Rise ad for Jeb Bush. The 30 second ad start with a voice over saying , "one candidate tough enough to take on the bully." The screen splits showing  Donald Trump and Bush who says, "Donald, you are not going to be able to insult your way to the presidency. That's not going to happen."

Then the announcer says: "One candidate tough enough to take on ISIS."

Let's pause for a screeching halt here. From Trump to ISIS? Really?

Oh my.

The ad continues with scenes of crowds, bombs dropping, an American flag, and more from Bush.

Clearly the ad is trying to convince voters that Bush is one tough hombre.

It remains interesting that Bush, who has called Trump "unhinged" and the "chaos candidate" believes one cannot "insult your way to the presidency."

Right to Rise ads have largely proven ineffective. After spending more than $30 million on ads, Bush's poll numbers have dropped. 

Will this ad help Bush?



Marco Rubio saying nothing brilliantly in this video

This is Marco Rubio at his video best. Looking earnest. Looking concerned. Looking determined.

And saying - well nothing really. But it sounds very good.

"We will have a foreign policy of moral clarity that is clear whose side we're on. We are on the side of freedom and democracy and those who are willing to fight for their own freedom and democracy.  And our enemies and our adversaries will not dare test us because they will know if they do they will not prevail"

 The ad concludes with this from an announcer:

"Marco Rubio, the one Republican Hillary hopes she never has to run against."

Now let's dissect a bit.

Is there a candidate not "on the side of freedom and democracy?"

Is there a candidate not on the side of those "willing to fight for their own freedom and democracy?"

And this bit: "our enemies and adversaries will dare not test us."

Let's just note that history would suggest otherwise.

So will this ad, done by the Rubio supporting PAC Conservative Solutions,  sway Iowa and New Hampshire voters? 

It may have less impact than Rubio's performance tonight at the Las Vegas debate.

You decide.


Jeb Bush starts Las Vegas debate with a new video

 Jeb bush's new video starts with this question - "What makes us who we are?"

It is a question that Bush has been struggling to answer since he launched his campaign for president. Recent polls suggest that Bush is largely an after thought, if that, for many Republican voters.

Still, Bush clings to the notion that when all is said and done, Republicans will reject Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson and all the rest of the GOP field in favor of someone who last held public office 9 years ago.

If Bush is right, it would be one of the biggest comeback stories in modern politics. 

While this ad suggests that Bush is the only one who can take on ISIS, Bush has a more pressing concern at tonight's debate in Las Vegas - proving he can take on Trump and the rest of the field.

Marco Rubio begins new television ad in Iowa and New Hampshire

Marco Rubio's new television ad is dubbed "About."  The ad begins tomorrow in Iowa and New Hampshire.

As he often does, Rubio simply faces the camera and using his best earnest voice speaks to the audience.

"This election is about the essence of America. About all of us who feel out of place in our own country. A government incredibly out of touch and millions with traditional values branded bigots and haters. This is about wages growing slower than the cost of living. A generation drowning in debt, and a president humiliated by Putin, Iran, and Islamic jihadists.

"I'm Marco Rubio. I approve this message because this is about the greatest country in the world and acting like it."