Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Club for Growth's presidential cattle call is held behind closed doors

The influential conservative group Club for Growth held a presidential cattle call of sorts this weekend outside Palm Beach, featuring potential presidential candidates: Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Alas, the club wouldn't allow reporters in, because each of these men has a record ripe for sharp questions from CFGers who prefer purity when it comes to fiscal conservatism.

In addition to spending and fee increases while he was Massachusetts governor, Romney has that pesky little issue of enacting in Massachusetts a health care overhaul much like Barack Obama's. "The individual mandate is diametrically against what free-market conservatives believe in," Club for Growth vice president Andy Roth told the Washington Post last year. He added that if Romney thinks his plan amounts to a conservative policy "than I think he is in the wrong party."

Pawlenty faces pointed questions about leaving Minnesota grappling with a major deficit, along with other issues. From the Washington Times in 2009: "He broke his no-new taxes pledge by supporting cigarette-tax increases," Roth said. "He signed a raise in the state minimum wage. He signed a statewide smoking ban. He supports government-negotiated price controls on Medicare. … You put all of these liberal actions together, and he is not the true believer that the conservative base is looking for."

Then there's Barbour, who as Mississippi governor supported cigarette tax increases and a hospital tax, though we haven't seen any criticism of him from the Club for Growth.

A spokesman for the club said it had no comment on their gubernatorial records but was just starting to compile white papers on the presidential contenders.

Why no press? "It's a private event," said Mike Connolly.

GOP chief is coming

Preparing to shore up the finances of the Republican National Committee for an election cycle expected to include more than $2 billion in presidential campaign spending, recently elected chairman Reince Priebus will be in St. Petersburg Wednesday morning. Former Ambassador Mel Sembler is hosting a private reception with him and other prominent Republicans at his development office. It's part of a three-day, seven-city swing through Florida.

Bush, Obama mingle

When President Barack Obama mentioned at a Miami Beach fundraising reception Friday night that he had been with Jeb Bush at a Miami high school, Democrats hissed and booed at the Bush name.

Presumably mindful that he can't win Florida without independent voters, the president cut them off:

"Even though Gov. Bush and I disagree on a range of issues, we agree on the importance of education to America. … It's still possible for us to tackle tough problems in a constructive way. We don't have to be calling each other names. It doesn't have to be an ideological battle.''

Haridopolos book becomes Twitter fodder

Democrats in Florida haven't had much reason to smile in recent months, so they can thank Mike Haridopolos, the Florida Senate president and U.S. Senate candidate, for providing considerable yuks last week. Eight years ago, Brevard Community College paid Haridopolos, a teacher and hometown state senator, $152,000 to write a textbook about Florida politics and the Legislature. The college printed just one copy of the book, but last week it was made available online, Florida Democratic Party communications director Eric Jotkoff gleefully tweeted assorted excerpts and pearls of wisdom from Haridopolos' taxpayer-funded book:

"Unlike the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate, the (Florida) Sen. Pres. serves for only two years, but during those two years, he is a king."

"Lobbyists are another integral part of the legislative process."

"A computer … is equally important (in a campaign). It will enable the candidate to run computer software.


of the week

Adam Hasner, George LeMieux, Connie Mack. The potential Republican U.S. Senate candidates showed it's sometimes wise to take your time jumping into a race. They are quietly laying the groundwork for campaigns, while already announced Mike Haridopolos, the Florida Senate president, is having to explain why Florida taxpayers paid him $152,000 to pen a political science textbook that is less sophisticated than School House Rock's Bill sitting on Capitol Hill.


of the week

Botox, hair dye, and charm. Former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco had all of them in spades, and was widely seen as the heavy favorite to be elected mayor of Tampa yet again. It turned out that Tampa voters wanted to turn the page forward, not backward. His gracious concession highlighted why he'll always be a popular giant in his community.

Club for Growth's presidential cattle call is held behind closed doors 03/05/11 [Last modified: Saturday, March 5, 2011 9:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rowdies shut out at Pittsburgh


    PITTSBURGH — The Rowdies lost their first USL game in nearly a month, 1-0 to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

  2. Trump reveals that he didn't record Comey after all


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Thursday he never made and doesn't have recordings of his private conversations with ousted former FBI director James Comey, ending a monthlong guessing game that he started with a cryptic tweet and that ensnared his administration in yet more controversy.

    President Donald Trump said Thursday that he didn’t record his conversations with James Comey.
  3. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case


    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  5. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate


    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.