McCollum gets a break on day he makes nice

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, who lost a bitter gubernatorial primary, finally endorsed rival Rick Scott on Friday.

"We need merit pay and an end to teacher tenure in our public schools, major litigation reform, smaller government, low taxes and a repeal of Obamacare," McCollum said. "With this in mind, I will cast my vote for Rick Scott for governor. It's the better choice for Florida."

Magnanimous fellow, right?

Well, a few people also noticed that McCollum's gesture came on the same day he received Ethics Commission approval to lobby the governor's staff when he leaves office in January. He cannot directly lobby the governor or members of the Cabinet, an advisory opinion said.

Jeb is a fan of Palin

Jeb Bush was asked on CNN Friday whether he was running for president. No, he said. Would you support Sarah Palin?

"If Sarah Palin's the nominee and she's running against Barack Obama, you betcha!"

Palin has competition

Trying to keep his name circulating in the presidential mix, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty was in Florida Tuesday to campaign with Scott and to spread around some money. His Freedom First PAC said it was contributing $1,000 to eight congressional candidates: Steve Southerland, Dan Webster, Dennis Ross, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Mario Diaz-Balart, Allen West, Sandy Adams and David Rivera. Pawlenty noted he had already given $5,000 to Marco Rubio.

Stimulus hypocrisy?

Several members of Florida's congressional delegation make an appearance in a new government watchdog report that looks at lawmakers who bashed or voted against the stimulus — but lobbied for money anyway.

Among them is interim Sen. George LeMieux, who sent a letter in support of nearly $152 million for road projects requested by the Florida Department of Transportation. Rep. Gus Bilirakis of Palm Harbor sought $16 million to widen Bruce B. Downs Boulevard in Hillsborough and Pasco counties, calling it an "important economic recovery and transportation project." Rep. Adam Putnam wanted money for a "biorefinery" at the University of Florida.

In general, lawmakers who have lobbied behind the scenes for money say that although they do not support the stimulus, they feel their home state should get a piece of the pie.

But some critics say it doesn't matter. "The GOP should not be taking this money and spending it regardless of where it came from," Rob Gaudet, national coordinator for Tea Party Patriots, said in the Center for Public Integrity report. "They should be fighting against it with every fiber of their elected beings."

Vice President Biden in Orlando

Vice President Joe Biden will be in Orlando Monday to address the International Association of Chiefs of Police annual conference and also to raise money for U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson.

Which candidate is the outlaw now?

Days after Democrats went on an all-out blitz to highlight a news report connecting Republican congressional candidate Allen West to a biker gang, West's campaign uncovered a 2009 photo of Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, hanging with some bikers.

Klein's campaign says West did more than pose for a photo — and maintains there's nothing wrong with bikers in general — pointing out he wrote a column for a magazine with supposed ties to the Outlaws.

Klein, elected in 2006, is in a very close race with West and quickly put together a TV ad on the biker flap.

Winner

of the week

Bill Clinton. The ex-president seemed to have lost his mojo in 2008, but it was back on display in Florida this week as he campaigned for Alex Sink and Kendrick Meek. There's still one Democratic president most candidates aren't wary of embracing this year.

Loser

of the week

Florida Democrats. Rocked by scandal after scandal, the Florida GOP has never seen as much internal turmoil as this year. Despite that, the latest St. Petersburg Times-Miami Herald-Bay News 9 poll shows the GOP poised to sweep every statewide election.

McCollum gets a break on day he makes nice 10/23/10 [Last modified: Saturday, October 23, 2010 11:19pm]

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