Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Politics

Sen. Marco Rubio overshadows Sen. Rob Portman at faith forum

WASHINGTON — Pity U.S. Sen. Rob Portman.

The Ohio Republican gave a well-received speech before religious conservatives here that showed off a statesmanly command of the issues that has made him a top choice for running mate to GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

He drew laughs for a riff on "the private sector is doing fine" remark President Barack Obama made last week, saying, "He needs to get out more."

Only problem was Portman was followed by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, another VP shortlister.

For 21 minutes, Rubio charmed, engaged and generally wowed his audience with a sweeping take on the country's origins and future, a defense of religion in politics and sharp criticism of Democrats.

"We're not just blessed so that we can have. We're blessed so we can give. And the greatest thing we can give the world is the American example," Rubio said. "The world is coming in our direction, why would we ever head the other way?"

If Rubio, 41, and Portman, 56, are in competition, the Faith & Freedom Coalition crowd assembled at the Renaissance hotel for the start of a three-day conference decided it easily.

"They're both very qualified but the energy is with Marco Rubio," said Leonard Neuringer, 62, of New Jersey. "He has the charisma that many people are looking for in a leader, he has the values, he has the understanding."

"I find him unbelievably brilliant and inspiring," said Barbara Delo, 59 of New York, who stood at a table to buy an advance copy of Rubio's autobiography, An American Son, which is out Tuesday.

Rubio spoke more of religion than he usually does in speeches, saying the founding principles of the country revolved around faith.

"If you live in a society that has no faith, if you live in a society that teaches or encourages the belief that there is no God, well then, what's the source of your rights? If there is no creator, well then, what's the source of your liberty? A piece of paper, the eloquent writings of people 230 some odd years ago?"

He sounded a partisan note, too, accusing "one side of the political equation" of espousing a big government prescription for prosperity.

"They say things that are deeply divisive, by design. They tell our fellow Americans that the reasons they are worse off is because others are doing too well, that the way to protect your job is to raise your boss' taxes."

Rubio laced the seriousness of his address with jokes, ribbing Faith & Freedom Coalition leader Ralph Reed, whose parents attended the University of Florida, for going to the University of Georgia: "I always tell people that the American Dream is your kids can grow up to have a better life than you did, but it's not a guarantee."

Portman's attempts at humor were more subdued, his speech far more dry, delivered monotone. The former Bush administration official and congressman-turned-senator told an emotional story about returning home to be with his mother as she dealt with (and died from) cancer.

Reporters swarmed him after the speech and asked whether he had provided any documents to the Romney campaign for a vetting process.

"I hate to be boring," Portman said, "but I just don't talk about that."

Comments
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, mangr...
Updated: 12 minutes ago
Romano: A Tampa Bay

Romano: A Tampa Bay "superstaríí caught in the crosshairs of Trumpís border policy

At this moment, she is Tampa Bayís 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 Trumpís border...
Published: 06/19/18
FBI agent removed from Russia probe for anti-Trump texts says heís willing to testify before Congress

FBI agent removed from Russia probe for anti-Trump texts says heís willing to testify before Congress

The FBI agent who was removed from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election for sending anti-Trump texts intends to testify before the House Judiciary Committee and any other congressional committee that asks, his attorney sai...
Published: 06/17/18
Erosion of immigrant protections began with Trump inaugural

Erosion of immigrant protections began with Trump inaugural

The Trump administrationís move to separate immigrant parents from their children on the U.S.-Mexico border has grabbed attention around the world, drawn scorn from human-rights organizations and overtaken the immigration debate in Congress.Itís also...
Published: 06/17/18

Pasco Political Notebook

Perenich to ĎWalk the DistrictíStephen Perenich, Democratic candidate for U.S. House of Representatives, Florida District 12, will be "Walking the District" June 25-29. Perenich will be walking 55 miles in five days, starting in Dade City and heading...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18
GOP lawmakers decry family separations as WH defends policy

GOP lawmakers decry family separations as WH defends policy

WASHINGTON ó Congressional Republicans distanced themselves Thursday from the Trump administrationís aggressive policy of separating children from their parents at the southern border even as the White House cited the Bible in defending its "zero tol...
Published: 06/14/18
Sarah Sanders and  Raj Shah are planning to step down, per CBS report

Sarah Sanders and Raj Shah are planning to step down, per CBS report

Press secretary Sarah Sanders and principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah are considering stepping down, according to a CBS report. Sanders promptly responded in a Tweet saying, "I love my job and am honored to work for @POTUS." Does @CBSNews k...
Published: 06/13/18
Updated: 06/14/18
Fed raises key rate and sees possible acceleration in hikes

Fed raises key rate and sees possible acceleration in hikes

WASHINGTON ó The Federal Reserve has raised its benchmark interest rate for the second time this year and signaled that it may step up its pace of rate increases because of solid economic growth and rising inflation. The Fed now foresees four rate hi...
Published: 06/13/18
Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister hits $1 million mark in first bid for election

Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister hits $1 million mark in first bid for election

TAMPA ó Law enforcement officers never want to be outgunned. Neither do political candidates.Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister need not worry.The Republican candidate has amassed what appears to be a record-sized war chest of just more than $1 mil...
Published: 06/12/18
Romano: It ainít voter suppression if you bother to show up

Romano: It ainít voter suppression if you bother to show up

So the Supreme Court is in favor of voter suppression.Or is it election integrity?I suppose your interpretation depends on your party affiliation.Liberals seem convinced that an Ohio voting law upheld by the Supreme Court on Monday is a devious plot ...
Published: 06/12/18