Saturday, December 16, 2017
Politics

Welcome to the NFL, Charlie Crist

Charlie Crist's campaign in recent days has been in full outrage mode, suggesting that Gov. Rick Scott and his allies have hit "a new low" in sleazy, negative campaigning. Why?

Because Scott's Let's Get to Work Committee released an ad Wednesday that featured an image of former first lady Carole Crist and noting that the Crists are declining to release her tax returns. "What's he hiding?" the ad asks. Crist campaign adviser Kevin Cate contends that targeting a candidate's spouse in a TV ad is unprecedented in Florida and beyond the pale.

But why shouldn't the public have a look at the investments of the woman Crist says has the greatest influence on his decisionmaking? Heck, why isn't the Crist campaign demanding to see more disclosure of the trusts Scott put under the control of his wife?

Team Crist cried foul last week when Progressive Choice Florida, widely believed to be a GOP front group helping Scott, started airing radio ads that the Crist campaign claims associates Crist with slavery.

"While Crist was coddling the gun lobby, he was cracking down on us," the ad says. "Passing maximum sentencing laws. Signing the nation's harshest marijuana laws. And enacting the country's strictest penalties against nonviolent offenders — many of whom just happen to be black."

It's a tough spot, but Crist certainly didn't mind when the Times labeled him "Chain Gang Charlie" in the early 1990s, when he wasn't courting African-American voters. He embraced the label then, and he owns it today.

Back in 1995, Florida House Speaker Peter Wallace, D-St. Petersburg, called the idea of chain gangs in Florida "degrading and disgusting."

After watching images of newly reinstituted chain gangs in Alabama, Wallace (now a Crist supporter) said this: "To me, it brought back images of slavery, and it's just unacceptable."

This reminds us of something a veteran Republican pol named Charlie Crist once said to Marco Rubio when he was complaining about tough attacks: Welcome to the NFL.

Bush fundraiser

Former Gov. Jeb Bush will hold a fundraiser in Tampa for a number of U.S. Senate candidates, continuing to wade into elections around the country.

The Sept. 23 event will be held for Cory Gardner of Colorado, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Monica Wehby of Oregon and Tom Cotton of Arkansas. "The event may also benefit the winner of the Aug. 26 Republican primary in Alaska," reports the Wall Street Journal.

Bush allies suggest it could aid him in a potential presidential run.

"I think it will help him make a decision about what he's going to do and to articulate the policies he thinks the country should be pursuing," fundraiser Al Hoffman told the Journal.

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, meanwhile, sent an email to his supporters to raise money for Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor, the Democrat that Cotton is trying to defeat.

Cruz's Core criticism

Bush's advocacy of the Common Core education standards continues to be a sore point among hard-core conservatives. And Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas did not hold back in bashing the standards during a recent GOP event in Miami, Bush's base. "We need to repeal every word of Common Core," Cruz said to sustained applause.

The event for the Miami-Dade GOP was Cruz's fourth stop in Florida this year. He was in Sarasota and Palm Beach in February and Naples in April. There's talk in Jacksonville for getting him there early next year, when the presidential race will be heating up.

Deputy Whip Ross

Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland, has been named a senior deputy whip under newly elected House Whip Steve Scalise, who moved up amid Majority Leader Eric Cantor's stunning primary loss in Virginia.

Nan Rich interview

Nan Rich may have little name recognition and even less campaign money, but she insists that she, not Crist, is the stronger Democrat to take on Scott.

"The Democrats would come out and be more excited to have a progressive Democrat running, and I think I would mobilize and motivate the base better," the former South Florida state senator says in a Political Connections interview airing today on Bay News 9.

What's more, she argues, former Republican Crist would likely energize more Republicans to turn out to defeat him, while Rich would energize voters eager to elect Florida's first female governor.

As it stands, Rich appears to be an extreme long shot to beat Crist in the primary, and she laments in the Political Connections interview that the national and state Democratic parties have been "putting their finger on the scale" in favor of Crist.

Political Connections airs at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Comments
CDC gets list of forbidden words: ‘fetus,’ ‘transgender,’ ‘evidence-based’

CDC gets list of forbidden words: ‘fetus,’ ‘transgender,’ ‘evidence-based’

Trump administration officials are forbidding officials at the nation’s top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases - including "fetus" and "transgender" - in any official documents being prepared for next year’s budget.Polic...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
Female congressional candidate leaves race after sexual harassment allegations resurface

Female congressional candidate leaves race after sexual harassment allegations resurface

A Democratic candidate hoping to flip a hotly contested congressional seat in Kansas has dropped out of the race after allegations that she sexually harassed a male subordinate resurfaced amid her campaign.Andrea Ramsey, 57, who was running to unseat...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Romano: Some bullies survive beyond the schoolyard

Romano: Some bullies survive beyond the schoolyard

Sometime soon, members of the Florida House will be asked to consider a potential solution for bullying in public schools. It’s a dubious idea based on the premise that students should flee their tormenter, and use voucher funds to attend a private s...
Published: 12/16/17
Highlights of GOP compromise bill to overhaul tax code

Highlights of GOP compromise bill to overhaul tax code

WASHINGTON — Republicans in Congress have blended separate tax bills passed by the House and Senate into compromise legislation that seeks to achieve a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s tax code. GOP leaders are looking toward passage of the final pa...
Updated: 2 hours ago
With Rubio, Corker back on board, GOP speeds ahead with tax plan

With Rubio, Corker back on board, GOP speeds ahead with tax plan

WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers on Friday secured enough votes to pass the most sweeping tax overhaul in decades, putting them on the cusp of their first significant legislative victory this year as party leaders geared up to pass a $1.5 trillion t...
Published: 12/15/17
Experts chart path for Hillsborough to grow smarter before sprawl takes over

Experts chart path for Hillsborough to grow smarter before sprawl takes over

TAMPA — Nearly 600,000 more people will live in Hillsborough County by 2040, and if elected officials and county planners don’t take bold steps now, the population boom will turn the county into the soulless sprawl of Anywhere, U.S.A.That’s the messa...
Published: 12/15/17
Tillerson retreats on offer of unconditional N. Korea talks

Tillerson retreats on offer of unconditional N. Korea talks

WASHINGTON — America’s top diplomat stepped back Friday from his offer of unconditional talks with North Korea, telling world powers that the nuclear-armed nation must earn the right to negotiate with the United States. Secretary of State Rex Tillers...
Published: 12/15/17
Judge signals release of ex-Trump chair Paul Manafort to Florida home under curfew and GPS monitoring

Judge signals release of ex-Trump chair Paul Manafort to Florida home under curfew and GPS monitoring

A federal judge Friday said a bail package has been put together that would release former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort from home confinement in his condominium in Virginia and allow him to reside at his house in Palm Beach Gardens, but unde...
Published: 12/15/17
The meta-soap opera of Omarosa Manigault’s White House exit

The meta-soap opera of Omarosa Manigault’s White House exit

WASHINGTON — As the spooling drama of Omarosa Manigault Newman’s White House departure spun into its 36th hour, Washington began asking itself: "Does it actually matter whether Omarosa quit or was fired?"Dumbest story ever," tweeted John Harwood, the...
Published: 12/15/17
Know your candidates: Florida State House | District 58

Know your candidates: Florida State House | District 58

A hard-fought Republican primary ended with the nomination of Lawrence McClure in October during a whirlwind special election cycle to replace state Rep. Dan Raulerson, who is stepping down for health reasons. The GOP winner faces face three less wel...
Published: 12/14/17
Updated: 12/15/17