Friday, June 22, 2018
Politics

President Barack Obama to bring economy message to Florida

President Barack Obama will travel to Jacksonville on Thursday and deliver remarks at the Port Authority as part of a series of events scheduled to focus on the economy, the White House announced Monday.

The larger trip, which was announced last week shortly after the president spoke about racism in the wake of the not guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, is intended as part of a nationwide campaign aimed at emphasizing the administration's attempt to build the economy by boosting the middle class. But in Florida, the president's remarks also are likely to be viewed in the context of the racial issues festering since the Zimmerman verdict.

At his surprise visit to the White House briefing room last week, Obama called on states such as Florida to re-examine "stand your ground" laws and he invoked concerns that the laws may "encourage the kinds of altercations, confrontations and tragedies as we saw in the Florida case, rather than defuse potential altercations."

Since then, dozens of protesters continue a sit-in outside Gov. Rick Scott's Tallahassee office, demanding the Legislature convene a special session to repeal the "stand your ground" law and address the disparities in sentencing for black teens. The governor and legislative leaders have said they oppose changing the law and refuse to call a session.

Obama will begin his "focus on the economy" tour in his home state of Illinois where he will deliver a major address at Knox College in western Illinois on Wednesday, the White House said.

Obama believes Washington "has taken its eye off the ball on the most important issue facing the country,'' said White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer in an email Sunday. The president will "lay out his vision for rebuilding an economy that puts the middle class and those fighting to join it front and center,'' he said.

Pfeiffer bashed the infighting that has paralyzed progress in Congress saying, "instead of talking about how to help the middle class, too many in Congress are trying to score political points, refight old battles and trump up phony scandals."

But Pfeiffer's comments supplied a convenient opening for the Republican Party of Florida, which launched an "Eye Off the Ball" series on its website Monday to chide the president.

"We, too, have noticed the president's lack of leadership on the economy," said Susan Hepworth, RPOF spokeswoman. The party has posted a mock-up of the president throwing a football and suggesting his speaking tour is "a Hail Mary pass on the economy."

Comments
Carlton: Could anything be more partisan than going nonpartisan?

Carlton: Could anything be more partisan than going nonpartisan?

So Hillsborough County commissioners — most of them, anyway — want voters to consider dropping political parties from certain elections, making those races nonpartisan instead.This would mean when you go to vote in those elections, you won’t know if ...
Published: 06/22/18
Hotel renovator approved by council to restore New Port Richey’s Hacienda Hotel

Hotel renovator approved by council to restore New Port Richey’s Hacienda Hotel

NEW PORT RICHEY — A seasoned historic hotel renovator and operator is going to take a crack at getting New Port Richey’s city-owned Hacienda Hotel back into action. New Port Richey City Council members, acting as the Community Redevelopment Agency, u...
Published: 06/20/18
Pope Francis criticizes Trump’s family-separation policy on migrants, says ‘populism is not the solution’

Pope Francis criticizes Trump’s family-separation policy on migrants, says ‘populism is not the solution’

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis stepped into a growing controversy over President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, criticizing the separation of migrant families at the U.S.-Mexican border and saying that "populism" and "creating psychosis" are not t...
Published: 06/20/18
Raburn out in State House 57 race. Now who’s in?

Raburn out in State House 57 race. Now who’s in?

Well, that didn’t last long.U.S. Army veteran Michael Sean McCoy filed to run as the Republican candidate in the State House, District 57 race just hours after incumbent State Rep. Jake Raburn, R-Lithia, announced he was stepping down.McCoy, who live...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Romano: A Tampa Bay ‘superstar’ caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s border policy

Romano: A Tampa Bay ‘superstar’ caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s border policy

At this moment, she is Tampa Bay’s most influential export. A smart, accomplished and powerful attorney making life-altering decisions on an international stage.But what of tomorrow? And the day after?When the story of President Donald Trump’s border...
Published: 06/19/18
‘Don’t leave me, Mom’: Detainee tells of separation from son

‘Don’t leave me, Mom’: Detainee tells of separation from son

SEATTLE — The call came at mealtime — an anonymous threat demanding $5,000 or her son’s life. So Blanca Orantes-Lopez, her 8-year-old boy and his father packed up and left the Pacific surfing town of Puerto La Libertad in El Salvador and headed for t...
Published: 06/19/18
Trump defiant as border crisis escalates, prepares to lobby House GOP on immigration bills

Trump defiant as border crisis escalates, prepares to lobby House GOP on immigration bills

WASHINGTON - As he prepared to visit Capitol Hill, President Donald Trump on Tuesday continued to insist that Congress produce comprehensive immigration legislation, while anxious Republicans explored a narrower fix to the administration policy of se...
Published: 06/19/18
Trump, GOP to huddle as outrage builds over border policy

Trump, GOP to huddle as outrage builds over border policy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Calls are mounting on Capitol Hill for the Trump administration to end the separation of families at the southern border ahead of a visit from President Donald Trump to discuss legislation.Trump’s meeting late Tuesday afternoon with...
Published: 06/19/18
Another detention center for immigrant children planned for Houston

Another detention center for immigrant children planned for Houston

Another facility intended for detaining undocumented children is reportedly in the works for Houston as the number of children separated from their parents at the border continues to swell.Southwest Key Programs, the same contractor that operates the...
Published: 06/19/18
Muralist working with huge St. Pete ‘canvas’ to create neighborhood eye-grabber

Muralist working with huge St. Pete ‘canvas’ to create neighborhood eye-grabber

ST. PETERSBURG — They appear to rise out of nowhere — two enormous, reclaimed-water tanks with an artist’s white clouds scudding across a blue background.A closer view reveals silhouettes of a lone coyote howling at the sky, mangrove islands, oak, cy...
Published: 06/19/18