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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Forget 2010 Fla results; Fla very much in play in 2012

27

March

Get ready for another huge presidential battle in Florida. Despite the drubbing Democrats took in 2010, nobody is underestimating Barack Obama's ability to take the state that Republicans need to capture the White House — or the difficulty he'll have winning it again.

"Florida is always in play. Neither party can take Florida for granted, but Marco Rubio proved that our voters tend to be center-right and antideficit spending voters,'' said Republican strategist Sally Bradshaw, a top adviser to Mitt Romney in 2008 and now an adviser to expected candidate Haley Barbour. "Obama's going to have to roll up his sleeves if he wants to convince voters here to return him to the White House. Look at Charlie Crist. We're not usually fooled twice."

In 2008, Obama was the first Democratic presidential candidate since Jimmy Carter to win more than 50 percent of the vote in Florida.

He won America's biggest battle­ground state by nearly 3 percentage points after launching the largest grass roots campaign Florida had ever witnessed, and outspending John McCain on TV ads roughly $36 million to $17 million. And that was in a national climate in which Obama was the candidate of change and longstanding GOP strongholds like Indiana and North Carolina went Democratic.

Winning Florida will take another herculean effort, and there's every sign that Obama and the Democratic National Committee intend to undertake it. The campaign had a stunning 600 paid staffers in Florida on Election Day 2010, and 2012 on-the-ground organizing is likely to start a year earlier this time...

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[Last modified: Sunday, March 27, 2011 10:05am]

    

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