07/22/16 State Roundup
CLEVELAND — Maybe Tampa was 10 years too early in hosting a political convention.
I walked toward my gate Friday in Cleveland's Hopkins International Airport and, as I often do in airports, thought to myself how much nicer and easier Tampa International is.
But this time — and not just because three different cheerful volunteers handed me free water and thanked me for coming to the convention — I had to admit Cleveland showed itself off better hosting the Republican National Convention than Tampa did four years ago....
Today, the Florida Democratic Party announced the speaker lineup for the Florida delegation breakfasts at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Monday, July 25th
Senator Bob Graham
Congresswoman and DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro
State Representative Stacey Abrams
Tuesday, July 26th...
07/21/16 State Roundup
CLEVELAND — For most of the past year, America has been variously fascinated, thrilled and appalled by the candidacy of Donald Trump. Why should anyone have doubted his nominating convention would be different?
Of course the 2016 Republican National Convention would be unpredictable, messy and sometimes downright weird. The reality star billionaire doesn't play by the rules of political pros and the mainstream media. Melania Trump warned us Monday night in a line not stolen from Michelle Obama: "It would not be a Trump contest without excitement and drama."...
07/20/16 State Roundup
Two of Donald Trump's toughest primary rivals, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, spoke at his nominating convention Wednesday but opted not to offer full-throated endorsements.
The arena erupted in jeers and boos as Cruz finished his remarks and the crowd realized he was not endorsing the nominee who invited him to speak.
"We want Trump! We want Trump!"...
07/20/16 State Roundup
CLEVELAND — Sorry Utah and California. For all your charms, the cold truth is that when it comes to presidential elections you can't hold a candle to Florida.
That's a big part of the reason California's delegates to the Republican National Convention are housed at a water park an hour away from Cleveland, and the loyal Republicans of Utah are sleeping in Akron.
And that's why Florida's 99 delegates this week have some of the best seats in the Quicken Loans Arena, where on Wednesday night they cheered three local favorites addressing the nation: Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, and, by video, Sen. Marco Rubio....
Rudy Giuliani fired up the Florida delegation this morning, casting Bill Clinton as a predator and Hillary Clinton as a crook. The veteran prosecutor said never had a criminal case with so many violations of federal law and Clinton's email case, which the FBI said did not merit charges.
"I would bet my life, if you put me in front of 12 fair and decent Americans and you let me prosecute this case against Hillary Clinton, she would go to jail," the part-time Palm Beach resident declared....
For all the talk that Donald Trump could be an anchor on downballot Republican candidates, we keep seeing signs that the opposite may be true in Tampa Bay. The Republican nominee is particularly strong in the battleground region, and it's Hillary Clinton who could be a drag on the candidacies of fellow Democrats....
07/19/16 State Roundup
CLEVELAND — After Barack Obama comfortably won re-election against Mitt Romney in 2012 — the fifth time in six presidential elections that Democrats won the popular vote — GOP party elders embarked on an exhaustive autopsy report on what went wrong.
The conclusion: Unless the party significantly changes to become more inclusive, Republicans will continue losing presidential elections....
CLEVELAND -- Gov. Rick Scott appeared to enjoy himself as he made his way through a gauntlet of TV cameras and journalists at the GOP Convention's "media row" by the Quicken Loans Arena, repeatedly swatting away questions about Melania Trump's alleged plagiarism of Michelle Obama's convention speech.
"My experience with Melania is she's a lovely individual that is very nice to sit around to talk to. She's a wonderful mom, and a wonderful wife," said Scott, who expects to address the convention crowd Wednesday. "...I watched what my wife went through, never expecting to be in the middle of a campaign, never expecting to be a politician's wife."...
07/18/16 State Roundup
Here's how screwy the opening day of the Republican National Convention looked Monday:
• The only elected federal official from South Florida willing to show up in Ohio and talk about Donald Trump was U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, head of the Democratic National Committee.
• Hundreds of Florida activists gathered for a delegation breakfast where Trump's name was barely uttered, and the keynote speaker declared Hillary Clinton would be the next president if the vote were today....
From the Donald Trump campaign:
"Jennifer Locetta has been promoted to Florida State Director after serving as the Deputy State Director. She will oversee day-to-day campaign operations in Florida through the general election. Jennifer has an extensive background in campaign management, data organization and grassroots voter outreach. In 2012, Jennifer served as Statewide Data Director for the Republican party of Florida."...
One difference between Tampa's Republican convention in 2012 and Cleveland's this week is that the security perimeter is not nearly as large in the Buckeye State. That makes it easier to take in the color around the main event downtown. So far the protests have been pretty low key, though plenty of people are still on edge given recent events around the country and globe.
Here's one fellow we met:...
CLEVELAND -- The highlight of the Florida Republican delegation's opening breakfast today was a speech from GOP pollster and wordsmith (Death tax, not estate tax) Frank Luntz. He mixed a stand-up comedy routine with advice on how Republicans can more effectively communicate and target their messages.
The kickoff breakfast was hosted by incoming Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, whom Luntz showered with praise....
Ace political consultant Arlene DiBenigno for several years has kept her serious health problems mostly quiet, but friends have started a Facebook page to encourage prayers and hopefully find a suitable kidney donor for the former adviser to Republican Govs. Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist. It's called Let's Find Arlene a Kidney. From the page:...
A week after the pro-Marco Rubio U.S. Chamber of Commerce began airing more than $1-million in TV ads casting Democratic U.S. Senate candidate as untrustworthy and the GOP's Senate Leadership Fund announced a similar ad campaign begining today, Democrats are sending in the cavalry. The Senate Majority PAC, which aims to help Democrats regain control of the senate, says it will begin a $1 million ad campaign next week - which is on top of the $10.5-million it intends to spend in September after the Democratic primary....