Did he or didn't he? Only his film crew knows for sure. Gov. Bob Martinez's aides claim it was just good fortune that dolphins happened to swim by as the governor walked along a Pinellas beach in a campaign advertisement. A spokeswoman for the state Democratic Party says it looks like a setup.
"They shot the dolphins and then superimposed him over them," said Gayle Andrews, the Democrats' spokeswoman and a former TV newscaster. "I can tell. I've been in this business for umpteen years."
Brian Ballard, the governor's chief of staff, insists it was all a coincidence. "Maybe God's on our side," he said. "Certainly the dolphins are."
Martinez tried unsuccessfully last year to free two dolphins that had been captured in Tampa Bay by a Baltimore aquarium.
A politician never says never
State Sen. Ander Crenshaw, a soft-spoken Jacksonville Republican who often has been mentioned as a potential running mate for Martinez this year, suddenly has become much more available.
Crenshaw is managing director for the Jacksonville office of Drexel Burnham, the investment banking firm that collapsed last week.
"It does look like I'll have a lot more time on my hands," Crenshaw said Friday. "But no one has asked me to be lieutenant governor."
Crenshaw said he would "think about it if asked," but he plans to seek re-election to the Senate seat he has held since 1986. He served in the House from 1972 to 1978 and is the son-in-law of former Gov. Claude Kirk.
"You never know what the future holds," Crenshaw said. "These are pretty exciting times, and I guess you never say never in politics."
Speaker fumes about budget name
House Speaker Tom Gustafson never has been a Martinez fan. Last week, he complained that too many things are missing in the governor's proposed budget _ including a fancy name.
Martinez's second budget was titled "Building a Better Florida." This year's was dubbed "Framework for Fiscal Responsibility." The proposal for 1990-91 has no name at all.
"I don't think he can put a name on it," Gustafson said, "because it is representative of the kind of disaster that is befalling the state of Florida ..."
Ballard said Martinez intentionally did not label his budget proposal. So Gustafson aides have come up with one that refers to Martinez's plan to raise the cigarette tax by 19 cents a pack: "Florida _ Up In Smoke."
Who are you calling dense?
Give Sen. Curt Kiser this week's medal for contributing to the preservation of the English language _ not to mention defending his constituents.
During a meeting of Pinellas County's legislative delegation, county planner Brian Smith was explaining the need for a local bill to curb the proliferation of traffic lights. The county's transportation planners want the power to review each light before it goes up. That's important, Smith said, because Pinellas is "the most dense county in Florida."
An amused Kiser pounced a few minutes later. "Brian, I want to give you the opportunity to correct yourself. I think you misspoke," said the Palm Harbor Republican. "We're the most densely populated county. We're not the most dense county."
Now, go in the corner and wear this dense cap.
Law gives fund-raisers a break
While other legislators are busy inviting lobbyists to Tallahassee fund-raisers, state Rep. Dennis Jones, R-Treasure Island, had a better idea.
In letters mailed last week to lobbyists, Jones announced that he isn't having a fund-raiser in the capital.
"However, I am seeking re-election," Jones said. "My papers are filed, my bank account is open and I am accepting contributions."
Lobbyists say they don't have to look at their calendars to tell when legislative committees are meeting in Tallahassee. All they have to do is check the mail for invitations.
Everyone is in a hurry to beat the deadline in a new campaign finance law that forbids campaign fund raising during legislative sessions.
PSC official considers revenue job
Add another name to the list of those interested in succeeding Katie Tucker as executive director of the state Department of Revenue.
Florida Public Service Commissioner Tom Herndon met with the governor Friday and expressed interest in applying for the job. Herndon said Martinez told him he has no specific replacement in mind and to give it some thought.
"I'm going to mull it over and make a decision in the next few days," Herndon said.
If the governor and Cabinet gave Herndon the job, it would benefit Martinez. Herndon's term on the PSC isn't up until the end of the year, and Martinez could appoint a replacement this spring. That would mean four of the five PSC commissioners would be Martinez appointees.
The interim revenue director, Larry Fuchs, has said he isn't interested in taking the job permanently.
_ Compiled by staff writers Tim Nickens, Lucy Morgan and Bill Moss.