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Crossroads GPS attack ad targets Sen. Bill Nelson

It was a tough week to be Sen. Bill Nelson.

The Democratic senator, who is up for re-election in 2012, was hit with two TV attack ads from third-party political groups. First, Karl Rove's group Crossroads GPS launched its second attack on him that seemed to blame him for everything from runaway spending to the higher cost of groceries.

Then the Concerned Women for America, a conservative Christian group, began running a mock prescription drug ad that mentioned Nelson. "Ask your doctor or congressman if your conscience is strong enough for Spenditol," it went.

Nelson spokesman Dan McLaughlin blasted the Crossroads ad as coming from a "shadowy front group funded by a handful of partisans with buckets of money. None of them will ever have to face Florida voters. But they run tons of TV attack ads that intentionally distort Sen. Nelson's attempts to get a responsible budget. Welcome to politics and democracy post-Supreme Court decision that money is free speech."

Bachmann coming

She's exciting Florida conservatives more than most presidential candidates, and now U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., is coming to the state.

Bachmann will be the featured speaker at the Florida Family Policy Council's sixth annual policy awards dinner Aug. 27 in Orlando. Also appearing will be Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos and House Speaker Dean Cannon. The theme of the event at Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel is "Igniting a cultural transformation," according to an invitation. Bachmann will also participate in the inaugural CPAC FL conference in late September. Other confirmed CPAC FL speakers are Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Sen. Marco Rubio.

Rubio 'beautiful'

Rubio is beautiful. So says the Washington publication the Hill, which publishes an annual list of the 50 most beautiful people. "In a city of hundreds of 'rising stars,' many Washington insiders are placing their bets on this young, conservative Hispanic lawmaker. The Florida native's telegenic smile doesn't hurt. He seems to have the charisma that many of his colleagues can only fake."

When he came to the Senate in January, Rubio was unsure whether he would move his family to Washington. Now the family has decided to say in Miami, where the children will re-enroll in school this fall.

The home-vs.-Washington decision faces many members of Congress with children, and people handle it different ways. South Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, for example, has long taken the Rubio approach, and says goodbye each week to her husband and three children. They stay in touch via the phone, text messages and video chats.

Spokesman shakeup

After three years and 26 days on the job, Florida Democratic Party spokesman and prolific acerbic tweeter Eric Jotkoff is moving on to other ventures. His last day is sometime in the next two weeks, he said: "Or whenever they kick me out the door." Jotkoff said he is laying the groundwork for another job, but wouldn't reveal what it is.

Meanwhile, Amy Graham has started as deputy communications director in Gov. Rick Scott's executive office. She takes over the role left by Brian Hughes, who is now Republican Party of Florida communications director. Graham, 25, joined Scott during the transition and had worked as his traveling press secretary. She'll earn $71,000 in the new job.

Hasner endorsements

Adam Hasner's U.S. Senate campaign says that John Rood, former U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas, and Jacksonville businessmen Gary Chartrand, Duane Ottenstroer and Bill Walton are joining his team in North Florida.

Also on board are former Duval County GOP chairman Mike Hightower and Chip Case, former deputy chief of staff to Allan Bense.

Times staff writers Michael C. Bender, Janet Zink and Adam C. Smith contributed to the Buzz.

Winner of the week

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Craig Miller. We're suckers for the lost art of political gimmickry, so we can't help but appreciate former Ruth's Chris chief executive Miller lifting a page from Bob Graham and his workdays. Miller, who started his career as a dishwasher, has launched "Miller on Main Street" campaign events, where he regularly works alongside working stiffs across Florida. He started last week at a Winter Park pizza joint.

Loser of the week

Florida's congressional delegation. Blame tea party Republicans or cut-averse Democrats, but either way, the U.S. House looked pretty stubborn and petty to many Americans in the showdown over the debt ceiling. Florida lawmakers could face angry voters back home and a throw-the-bums-out threat.

Crossroads GPS attack ad targets Sen. Bill Nelson 07/30/11 [Last modified: Saturday, July 30, 2011 10:56pm]
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