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Video blooper may tell why Florida senator has gone viral

Theories abound why Bill Nelson is the second-most-popular search of senators on Google. Was it his blooper?

MAURICE RIVENBARK | Times

Theories abound why Bill Nelson is the second-most-popular search of senators on Google. Was it his blooper?

There is no greater political mystery this week than this: Why in the world would Florida's cautious, low-key Bill Nelson be the second-most frequently searched U.S. senator this year on Google, just behind the late Ted Kennedy? Since the New York Times reported that factoid, we've heard all sorts of theories. His passion for ridding Florida of Burmese pythons is sexy stuff, for instance. He has also focused on troublesome Chinese drywall. Maybe people were mistaking him for the higher profile moderate Democrat Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

The mystery may never be answered but we're afraid the theory shared by Republican consultant Jordan Raynor of Tampa is adolescent, crass and makes the most sense: a viral, 30-second online video of Bill Nelson on the Senate floor somberly talking about how troops are treated and substituting an unfortunate word for interaction:

"Certainly all the intercourse that I had as a military officer was the best,'' Bill "Google magnet" Nelson intones in the YouTube clip. "But that was not the case for a lot of our returning soldiers."

Quote of the week

"Only four Republicans have won statewide office in Florida, and I am two of them."

— The late U.S. Sen. Paula Hawkins.

Corruption politics

Here's a cynical and not necessarily paranoid view circulating among Marco Rubio allies about why Charlie Crist and his anointed seat warmer, U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, are talking so much lately about a South Florida "culture of corruption:" to indirectly tarnish rival Rubio.

Not that anyone seriously questions the accuracy of that description, but clearly the Crist camp understands that most of Florida loathes and distrusts South Florida and especially Miami. Anything that encourages that perception is helpful to Crist, who wasted no time suspending the mayor of West Miami — Rubio's hometown — after he was accused of making more than $70,000 in personal calls on his city cell phone.

Ferre attacking Crist

Crist is swimming in ethical questions himself with one of his former top political money-raisers, Scott Rothstein, accused of bilking investors out of millions while currying favor with Crist. No one has been more aggressive in hammering on the Crist-Rothstein relationship than former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre, the underdog Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, who is calling for federal authorities to investigate what Crist did for Rothstein.

Check out Ferre at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. today on Political Connections on Bay News 9.

Awkward stimulus

Sen. John McCain is sure to campaign in Florida for Charlie Crist at some point, but it could be a tad awkward when the two take questions. Crist enthusiastically campaigned for passage of the $787 billion stimulus package. McCain's take on that bill when talking to Don Imus last week? "I've had to have been smoking something pretty strong to vote for that outrageous use of taxpayers' dollars,'' he said, according to Politico.

Winner
of the week

Sen. Paula Dockery:. Whatever happens in the special legislative session on rail, the underdog Republican candidate for governor was a tour de force in Tallahassee last week. Full of facts, figures and pluck, the Lakeland Republican once again had her supposedly conservative colleagues reeling and struggling to back up lofty job creation numbers and explain why taxpayers should be thrilled to pay a for-profit corporation hundreds of millions of dollars. The lobbying corps and GOP establishment may be fuming, but nobody in Florida politics today looks like a more effective maverick/watchdog than Dockery.

Loser
of the week

Sen. J.D. Alexander: We've already seen Alexander push hard for a massive toll road project that would dramatically increase the value of real estate he owns. Last week, his estranged cousin and family business partner, fellow Winter Haven Republican state Rep. Baxter Troutman, put the spotlight on another conflict: A business they own relies heavily on business with CSX (their company actually features the CSX logo on its Web site), which would be paid hundreds of millions in public money in the high-speed rail legislation. Troutman recused himself, while Alexander so far is dismissive. Gee, wonder why people are cynical about Florida's Legislature?

Video blooper may tell why Florida senator has gone viral 12/05/09 [Last modified: Saturday, December 5, 2009 8:57pm]
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