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Florida is one of 28 states that allow late-term abortions to preserve the health of a mother, but John McCain staunchly opposes that exemption to the ban on late-term abortions.

"I believe in the exemptions of rape, incest, and the life of a mother," he said in an exclusive interview airing today on Political Connections on Bay News 9.

"The most radical (prochoice) people say health. What does that mean, a headache?" said McCain, whose Democratic rival, Barack Obama, supports exemptions for rape, incest and the life and health of a mother.

The interview airs on Bay News 9 at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Jeb: 'High-grade, unadulterated hooey'

Apparently Jeb Bush won't be taking in the new Oliver Stone movie W., which explores the complicated Bush family relationships.

"The Oedipal rivalry is high-grade, unadulterated hooey," Jeb told the Washington Times.

Playing dodgeball

Considering the importance of socially moderate swing voters in Florida, we were a little surprised at how eagerly McCain swung at the hot-button abortion issue. But not nearly as surprised as we were about McCain shunning, repeatedly, an invitation to pander about the Tampa Bay Rays.

Any advice for the Rays, we asked on Friday in advance of Game 6. "I don't know. The Red Sox have some momentum," he muttered, quickly changing the subject.

We tried again later, asking if he was rooting for the Rays, Phillies or Red Sox, helpfully reminding him that only one of those teams comes from a megastate he absolutely must win.

"I can't weigh in on that, except to say this has turned into a memorable series between the Red Sox and the Rays," dodged McCain, noting that he was still mourning the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Go figure. Maybe it's his fondness for New Hampshire in Red Sox country.

District becoming joke

Between former Republican Rep. Mark Foley's sexually suggestive e-mails to congressional pages and current Democratic Rep. Tim Mahoney's assorted extramarital affairs, it seems there's something in the water in Florida's 16th Congressional District in South Florida. On The Daily Show, Jon Stewart suggested a slogan for the district. "FL 16: Where old Jews vote for perverted Irishmen."

Close election, 2010

A survey released last week by Democratic pollster Dave Beattie suggests 2010 could be another interesting political cycle in Florida. Only 44 percent of voters surveyed said they would vote to re-elect Republican Sen. Mel Martinez. (Grain of salt alert: Beattie has worked for Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, a Democrat who is increasingly expected to run against Martinez.) Meanwhile, Beattie's poll found that Gov. Charlie Crist received 52 percent of the vote - strong but not that daunting - over 34 percent for a generic Democratic candidate, and 14 percent undecided.

Cap on government growth

A coalition of small-government advocates last week launched an effort, called "Your dollar, your decision," to place a constitutional cap on local government growth on the 2010 ballot. It would limit growth to inflation plus population, or about 5 or 6 percent a year, without voter approval in cities and counties.

Winner of the week

Greg Howard: As we don't have a dirtbag of the week award, our winner of the week is Panhandle teacher Greg Howard, who managed, remarkably, to keep his job after "teaching" his students about Barack Obama. On Sept. 26, Howard, 43, wrote the word CHANGE - the mantra of Obama's presidential campaign - on a dry-erase board at Marianna Middle School, then, according to reports, added his own definition: Come Help A (N-word) Get Elected. The Jackson County School Board this week decided he only deserved a suspension and transfer, rather than termination.

Loser of the week

Tim Mahoney: Rep. Tim Mahoney, D-Palm Beach Gardens, two years ago narrowly won his seat, succeeding disgraced Republican Mark Foley by touting "faith, family and personal responsibility." Um, maybe not so much. This week he admitted having "multiple" affairs, and paying one mistress/staffer $122,000 to keep her mouth shut. Two words, Tim: Bye-bye.