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Obama's stars are shining in Florida

Need evidence that Barack Obama has been working harder than John McCain to stir up energy and excitement in the Sunshine State? Consider the emissaries that the campaigns have dispatched for Florida campaign events over the last couple of weeks.

McCain-Palin surrogates in Florida: Lt. Col. Orson Swindle, former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer and retired Air Force Col. Tom Moe participated in a three day veterans bus tour for McCain two weeks ago.

Obama-Biden surrogates (partial list): Bill Clinton; Michelle Obama and Jill Biden; former New York Mayor Ed Koch; actor Forest Whitaker; actor Cynthia Nixon; retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Scott Gration; former White House antiterrorism adviser Richard Clarke; Miami Heat basketball player Alonzo Mourning; NBA Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing; actor Tyler Perry; Bronx borough president Adolfo Carrion; Grammy winner Olga Tanon.

Today and Monday Jay-Z and Wyclef Jean will hold "Last Chance for Change" concerts in Miami for Obama to push people to register to vote by Monday's deadline, while the McCain campaign sends its biggest gun — Sarah Palin — for a two-day campaign swing starting in Clearwater Monday.

Senior McCain adviser Mike DuHaime last week seemed to tacitly acknowledge they have not worked as hard in Florida as they did for President Bush, who "won it with a very aggressive campaign."

Responding to a series of new polls showing Obama leading in Florida, DuHaime noted that Florida has more registered Democrats than Republicans.

"Any state like that, of course, you have to wage an aggressive campaign to be successful. We feel confident about Florida," DuHaime said. "Sen. Obama has spent an incredible amount of money in Florida over time, and throughout the summer we were not on the air. We've just been aggressively on the air for three to four weeks at this point."

Palin will vacuum up cash

When Alaska Gov. Palin makes her two-day campaign swing through Florida, what will get most of the media attention will be her public events, beginning with a rally in Clearwater, followed by visits to Fort Myers, Pensacola and Jacksonville. But Palin also has a series of fundraisers Monday and Tuesday with a goal of collecting $3-million in Florida.

The fundraisers are Monday at the Boca Raton Resort and Club, the Naples home of Republican donor Jack Donahue, reportedly at $10,000 per person, and Tuesday at the Jacksonville Jaguars' football stadium. In addition, Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut is also expected to join Palin in Florida.

Poll gives McCain an edge

A poll released Friday by the Florida Chamber of Commerce shows 45 percent of likely Florida voters surveyed by the Kitchens Group Sept. 30-Oct. 1 backed McCain and 42 percent Obama. The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Sporting Obama support

Spotted at the Tampa Bay Rays' rally in St. Petersburg last week: underneath two-time All-Star Carl Crawford's jersey was a Barack Obama T-shirt.

Dem candidate interviewed

Check out Doug Tudor , the Democrat running to unseat U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam of Bartow, today on Political Connections on Bay News 9. The show airs at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Steve Bousquet, Joni James, and Alex Leary contributed to this week's Buzz.

Winner of

the week

Former Tampa legislator George Sheldon, our winner of the week, couldn't beat Charlie Crist when they ran for education commissioner, but he did earn Crist's respect. The governor tapped him to be secretary of the Department of Children and Families, which, come to think of it, is one of the most thankless jobs in Florida.

Loser of

the week

This was a good week to stock up on Rolaids for state Republican Party chairman Jim Greer, our loser of the week, who would like to get re-elected after November. A slew of polls showed Obama taking the lead or at least neck-and-neck in Florida. And the Rothenberg Political Report concluded that three GOP congressional incumbents — Tom Feeney and Ric Keller in the Orlando area and Lincoln Diaz-Balart in Miami — have a good chance of losing.

Obama's stars are shining in Florida 10/04/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 8, 2008 5:04pm]
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