Consider the field of potential candidates for president, everybody from Barack Obama to Tim Pawlenty to Sarah Palin.
Now ask yourself: If you could have a one-on-one lunch with any of these people, who would you pick? Not join for a beer — two likely Republican candidates, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, are teetotaling Mormons — but a nice lunchtime chat?
The folks at Tallahassee-based Ron Sachs Communications commissioned a national poll recently to answer that burning question. The results were lopsided.
More than three times as many Americans — 53 percent — would choose to have a one-on-one lunch chat with President Obama over any of the Republican presidential contenders. Palin came in a distant second at 16 percent. That compares to 9 percent for Romney and 6 percent for Ron Paul.
"Overwhelmingly, Americans find President Barack Obama to be the most likable and lunch-worthy date compared to any of those hoping take his job in the 2012 election," said Ron Sachs, president of Ron Sachs Communications. "There is no baloney in this simple truth: The 'lunch pal' poll very likely reflects the significant advantage President Obama enjoys heading into his re-election against a party that has no 'candidate du jour.' "
Even 25 percent of Republicans chose Obama as their top lunch mate, while 5 percent of Democrats picked Palin. One in 10 voters nationally would prefer to dine alone.
Republican U.S. Senate candidate George LeMieux of Broward County has hired Brian Seitchik, a well-respected Republican operative who has worked on campaigns in California, Ohio and Nevada, to manage his campaign. Seitchik also managed Sen. Marco Rubio's campaign in its early stages.
LeMieux's main rivals for the nomination to take on Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson are Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos of Merritt Island and former state House majority leader Adam Hasner of Boca Raton.
Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty named Winter Park investor and veteran Republican activist Phil Handy as his Florida state chairman and a national finance co-chairman. Handy, former chairman of the state board of education and early champion of term limits, backed John McCain in 2008.
"We are fortunate to have his experience and credibility and he will be a key member of our team," Pawlenty said. "He brings years of experience to the table as a leader in business, and in the field of education policy."
Justin Sayfie, a Fort Lauderdale lobbyist and founder of a news-aggregating website, will serve as a co-chairman of the Florida campaign.
Buchanan won't back off Medicare cuts
Check out U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, on Political Connections today on Bay News 9 at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. He explains, among other things, his support for the controversial Paul Ryan plan to overhaul Medicare. He also said that while "there's a lot of bad things that will happen" if Congress doesn't raise the debt ceiling, he will vote against it unless he sees major spending cuts.
Sink aide will head her policy foundation
Former Democratic chief financial officer and former gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink appreciates loyalty. She said Jim Cassady, her former campaign head, chief of staff at the CFO's office and fellow Bank of America alum, will be executive director of the public policy foundation she is putting together.