With Charlie Crist out in Arizona this weekend socializing with John McCain and fellow vice presidential contenders Mitt Romney and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, how could the Veep-O-Meter not look strong for our governor? Crist strikes us as a lot more fun to kick back with than the teetotaling Romney.
Of course, the trip could be as much about McCain publicly flattering the governor of a critical state as anything else.
For all the national publicity Crist is courting and receiving and the 27 electoral votes he could help deliver, there is strikingly little buzz about him being a likely contender for the final cut. The National Journal conducted an unscientific study of 81 GOP and 78 Democratic political pros, and only 4 percent said Crist would make a good pick for McCain. Topping the list was former Massachusetts Gov. Romney at 32 percent, former U.S. Trade Representative and Ohio Rep. Rob Portman at 14 percent and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty at 9 percent.
Obama on 'Political Connections'
Barack Obama is the guest today on Political Connections on Bay News 9.
McCain coming back to Florida
McCain returns to Florida, starting with a private fundraising reception at the Renaissance Vinoy on June 4, and then on to Orlando to raise more money and speak with Florida newspaper editors. June 6 he will be in South Florida.
Bad company penalties
The Rev. Jeremiah Wright is to Obama what George W. Bush is to McCain? Forty-three percent of Florida voters polled by Quinnipiac University said they are less likely to vote for Obama because of his association with his controversial former pastor. And 43 percent said they are less likely to vote for McCain because of his association with President Bush.
Democrats say it with fruit
The national Democratic Party's rules and bylaws committee meets Saturday to decide whether Florida should get some, all or no delegates seated at the Democratic National Convention, and the grass roots group Florida Demands Representation has found a creative way to lobby the 30 members: It calls on Floridians to mail each an orange imprinted with "COUNT OUR VOTES."
Now he says 'enough punishment'
That rules committee is the same panel that stripped all of Florida's and Michigan's delegates in the first place. One member everybody will be watching is senior Hillary Rodham Clinton adviser Harold Ickes, a party rules expert who voted in August to severely punish Florida and now is a vocal advocate for giving Florida all its delegates.
Natch, Ickes sees no contradiction. In August, he said, the idea of meting out such stiff punishment was to send a strong message to other states not to follow Florida and Michigan's lead. It worked, Ickes noted, and Florida and Michigan "have in fact been punished" with the candidates not campaigning there.
Michigan hardens up
Most Florida Democratic leaders suggest they'd accept Florida getting half its delegates restored (or all its delegates getting half votes) but Michigan is making noises about leading a potentially bitter floor fight at the convention.
"If we're punished in any way by the rules committee, I would be in favor of going to the floor," Michigan Sen. Carl Levin told the Detroit News.
Wait a minute, Hillary
Hillary Clinton is likening the controversy over Florida's uncounted Florida primary votes to the Florida recount in 2000. Some veterans of that battle aren't buying it.
"That's ludicrous," former Al Gore campaign chairman Bill Daley told Buzz. "This isn't like we woke up the day of the election and there are total screwups. Everybody knew the rules all along." Daley, one of Obama's national co-chairmen, said if Floridians should be angry at anyone, it should be state party leaders who broke the clear-cut rules.
Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile, ostensibly neutral and a key member of the DNC rules committee: "It was an unfair comparison given the history of the recount and the politics of state officials who openly defied party rules."