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Carlton: One elusive mayor, one tough horse — the week that was

In a town rarely lacking for political gossip — or gossips, for that matter — news that Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn was headed to New Hampshire this weekend to campaign for Democrat-for-president Hillary Clinton had people whipping out their stubby pencils and calculating odds.

Two theories often get debated over power breakfasts about what's next when Buckhorn term-limits out as mayor — a job he would surely keep if he could.

One: Buckhorn could go to work for Clinton if she wins. Or two: Buckhorn runs for governor.

On the gubernatorial possibility, conversation tends to turn to what other names might be in the mix and the hurdle of raising money statewide.

But news of Buckhorn lending his shoe leather in New Hampshire ratcheted up talk of Washington.

What say the mayor? Not much yet. He's there to help Clinton, "a friend," Buckhorn said this week, also noting that it's always good for his city to have friends in D.C.

And governor?

"I'm looking at it, doing my due diligence," he said. "I haven't decided and probably won't decide for a few months."

Oddsmakers can figure out if that means once things get settled in the White House.

Oh, so many questions to be asked about Tampa's storied Gasparilla celebration.

Like: Why do grown men dress as pirates? And how come otherwise normal people lose their minds — not to mention their dignity — for the thrill of being thrown cheap plastic beads?

This year, one more: What would motivate a man to punch a perfectly nice horse?

Chad is a good-looking thoroughbred donated to the Tampa police years ago, a mounted patrol veteran of many a raucous night in Ybor City, lover of children, and police ambassador for people who might not otherwise approach a cop but wouldn't mind a pat on Chad's velvety nose. Chad has served honorably as the riderless horse for police memorials. In short, Chad is a good horse.

It is unclear why a fellow named Jacob McKenna approached the big brown horse with the cop on top at last Saturday's parade as if he planned to pet him, then made a fist and popped Chad square in the snoot, according to police. Alcohol, they say, may just have been an element in the crime. And if so, what a buzz kill. Instead of going home after the party, McKenna, 20, went to jail.

Right now you're thinking: OKAY, OKAY, BUT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, WHAT ABOUT CHAD?

"Chad is just fine," reports police spokeswoman Andrea Davis.

Chad flinched, then continued his shift. Don't let those doe eyes fool you, that horse is one tough cop.

It says something about our state of mind that this week's breakfast seminar about active shooters in a time when mass shootings regularly make headlines completely sold out, with about 250 people attending.

Finally, that "tribal gathering" at Tampa's downtown Curtis Hixon Park this weekend for people who follow the antiwomen views of something called the Return of Kings was self-canceled in the face of planned protests at it and similar meetings around the world.

In the end, I guess the anti-feminists weren't man enough to make it.

Sue Carlton can be reached at

Carlton: One elusive mayor, one tough horse — the week that was 02/05/16 [Last modified: Friday, February 5, 2016 10:00pm]
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