U.S. Rep. Allen West not only supported the debt ceiling deal, he actively tried to get others on board. Tea party and other supporters are incensed. Some are talking about recruiting a candidate to run against him in the Republican primary. Many others are posting comments on his Facebook page. "I feel like Col. West stole from me," wrote Tony Wiley of Cape Coral. "I donated to his campaign, even though I'm not in his district. He then turns around and votes 180 degrees from what the people who got him elected want. Can I get a refund?" West never said the deal was perfect, but pitched it as the best that could be achieved. Plenty of Florida Republicans agreed. West spoke recently to Laura Ingraham, who said she would campaign for him if he does face a primary. "One minute they're saying I'm their tea party hero and what, three or four days later I'm a tea party defector?" West said. "That kind of schizophrenia, I'm not going to get involved in it."
A nicer Scott?
Gov. Rick Scott is overhauling his office and attempting a bit of an image makeover. The latest evidence of the latter is an e-mail from his office Monday asking media outlets to swap out his traditional head shots — like those in a photo gallery at links.tampabay.com — with the semi-action shot above. Scott lost his suit and tie this summer in favor of button-down shirts with a state seal and the words "Governor Rick Scott" embroidered just above the pocket.
A new Floridian
In Ames, Iowa, for the GOP straw poll, Buzz caught up with a Floridian — Mike Huckabee. "Yep, I'm voting in Florida now," said the former Arkansas governor who last year moved to Miramar Beach in the Panhandle. We wondered about his thoughts about Florida Republican leaders planning to schedule Florida's primary early enough so that it comes fifth — after Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. Huckabee clearly has a soft spot for Iowa, where he finished a strong second in the 2007 Ames straw poll and then went on to win the 2008 caucuses. "Early is good, but nobody should usurp either Iowa or New Hampshire — not even Florida," he said. "Without this, I think the candidates really don't understand the value of retail politics. Once it gets into the funnel of the long-term campaign these candidates are going to fly in on a chartered jet, they're going to get on a very secure bus. … I want the guy sitting in the Oval Office to understand what real Americans are having to put up with today and not just the ones going to a rah-rah rally or write a big check."
Michael C. Bender contributed to this report.