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THE BUZZ: FLORIDA POLITICS

New ad ties Obama to Mohamed Atta

Not sure how widely this ad by the independent National Republican Trust PAC is airing in Florida, but producer Rick Wilson says it's up tonight in Tampa, Orlando, Ohio and Pennsylvania. It relates to driver's licenses for illegal immigrants, similar to one Tom Feeney is airing against Suzanne Kosmas (over legislation backed by Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist).

Posted by Adam Smith at 10:26:33 PM on October 21, 2008

Obama wraps up Florida swing in Miami

Another city, another huge crowd for Obama. He is wrapping up a two-day swing through Florida with a speech in Miami. Listen here.

"I've got nothing but love for Joe the plumber. That's why I want to give him a tax cut. And yet John McCain is still out there, just saying this stuff, just making it up. He knows full well that I will cut taxes for all the working Joes."

Posted by Alex Leary at 7:16:53 PM on October 21, 2008

Attorney: 'No match' can be resolved at polls

An attorney for the Florida Association of Supervisors of Elections sent a letter to supervisors statewide today weighing in on the ongoing tiff between Pinellas County Supervisor Deborah Clark and Secretary of State Kurt Browning over voter verification at the polls.

The opinion of Ron Labasky: Clark is within her right to resolve discrepancies under the "No match" law on Election Day.

Browning, a former Pasco supervisor, has argued that matching problems need to be resolved before Election Day, and in those cases that are not the voter will be allowed to cast a provisional ballot that would count only if the discrepancies are resolved within two days.

Labasky writes "the statute does not preclude the applicant from providing that information at that time [at the polls], thereby obviating any need for subsequent contact with the supervisor, assuming that information is documented." Read the full letter here. (http://blogs.tampabay.com/buzz/files/fsase.unverified.voters.10-21-08.pdf)

Will Van Sant, Times staff writer

Posted by Times Editor at 5:42:45 PM on October 21, 2008

Obama's $53.77 deli order

All those photo ops make for a hungry candidate.

So Sen. Barack Obama stopped by the Deli Den in Hollywood for some whitefish salad, bagels and cookies (and a helping of more earned media). The Buzz brings you in on the action. Click here to listen to him place the order.

Posted by Alex Leary at 4:52:56 PM on October 21, 2008

McCain coming to Ormond Beach, Sarasota

More details on John McCain's excellent I-4 adventure Thursday, dubbed a "Keep your wealth" bus tour in honor of Joe the plumber.

McCain will be in Ormond Beach, in Volusia, at All Star Building Materials, 1361 N U.S. 1, in the morning. Doors open at 7 a.m., and tickets are available here. (http://www.johnmccain.com/ste/eventrsvp.aspx?guid=382c96ff-6939-4ecb-a890-f2d68aaa66aa)

He'll be at Robarts arena in Sarasota that afternoon. Doors open at 3 p.m., and tickets are available here. (http://www.johnmccain.com/ste/eventrsvp.aspx?guid=983db42e-e55c-4bb1-8cd5-9bdfc5b39d0f)

Posted by Adam Smith at 4:38:08 PM on October 21, 2008

Crist headines McCain conference call

Gov. Charlie Crist just made a rare appearance on a McCain-Palin conference call (listen HERE) (http://blip.tv/file/1382683/), touting McCain's understanding of the economy, small-business needs, climate change and Florida.

McCain "has actually lived in Florida, appreciates Florida, understands our state and cares deeply about it. He understands that the people are hurting, and he understands very directly that tax cuts are the way to go. ... All of us have seen how graphically that was illustrated by the now extremely famous Joe the plumber. And I think that why that's caught on and why that's had such traction is, people can really relate to that guy."

On the threat of voter fraud: "I don't anticipate it will be a significant problem, hopefully not a problem at all in Florida."

On the Florida ground game: "We've done such an extraordinary job in the past, I'm sure it will happen again -- a good mail plan, a good phone-calling plan -- to make sure that we get out the vote and win this for Sen. McCain in Florida. I'm confident it will happen."

Continue reading "Crist headines McCain conference call" " (http://blogs.tampabay.com/buzz/2008/10/crist-headines.html#more)

Posted by Adam Smith at 3:52:07 PM on October 21, 2008

Obama mania in Fort Lauderdale

Barack Obama made a stop at a barbershop and early voting site in Fort Lauderdale, causing pandemonium as dozens of people tried to get a glimpse of him or, better yet, shake his hand. At left, he talks with Kirby Talley, 41.

More pictures below.

Continue reading "Obama mania in Fort Lauderdale" " (http://blogs.tampabay.com/buzz/2008/10/obama-mania-in.html#more)

Posted by Alex Leary at 3:44:54 PM on October 21, 2008

Barack Obama: Chill, smart, hip and Hawaiian

Trying to shore up the surfer vote for Barack Obama, a Palm Beach County coalition called barackthebeach08.com (http://barackthebeach08.com/) was distributing this flier at today's rally. "Let's not dwell ... let's surf like hell to glory, victory and respect," it reads.

Posted by Alex Leary at 1:34:21 PM on October 21, 2008

PPP poll: Obama up by one

Public Policy Polling's Oct. 16-19 robo poll (http://publicpolicypolling.blogspot.com/2008/10/close-race-in-florida.html) of likely voters (moe +/-2.9%) shows a dead heat in Florida, with Barack Obama leading John McCain, 48% to 47%.

"There has been some movement in John McCain's direction with both white voters and Hispanics over the last three weeks. McCain's margin has increased five points with whites, from 52-41 to 55-39. Hispanic voters, who have swung back and forth both in PPP's polls and those of most organizations conducting surveys in Florida, are supporting McCain 50-46 after going for Obama by the exact same margin in our previous poll."

Posted by Adam Smith at 1:33:06 PM on October 21, 2008

Obama rally: 'I'm not Joe the plumber'

Trying to appear presidential and in command of the economic crisis, Barack Obama just wrapped up a detailed policy discussion in Palm Beach.

"This is not one of our usual rallies," Obama said, before attributing a litany of problems to President Bush and, by extension, Republican presidential nominee John McCain. "This economic crisis is the final verdict on that failed leadership," Obama said. "It's time to try something new."

Sitting at a table adorned with sings reading "Growing American Jobs," Obama was flanked by governors from Ohio, New Mexico, Michigan and Colorado and business leaders like Google Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt. Twelve American flags completed the tableau.

Continue reading "Obama rally: 'I'm not Joe the plumber'" " (http://blogs.tampabay.com/buzz/2008/10/obama-rally-im.html#more)

Posted by Alex Leary at 12:52:32 PM on October 21, 2008

Did Florida4Marriage cloak donations?

Florida Red&Blue, the organization running the SayNo2 campaign alleged Tuesday morning that Florida4Marriage.org, the sponsor of Amendment 2, is trying to avoid disclosing the names of political donors.

The group says that ads being run by the Florida4Marriage are actually being paid for by Florida Family Action, a separate, non-for-profit organization.

Alicia Apfel, an attorney for Florida Red&Blue, said the group was filing a complaint with the Florida Elections Commission, and they were asking state attorneys in the areas where the alleged possible violations took place to investigate.

The group says that $350,000 of the ads may have been funded by secret donors. "The least we expect to know is who's writing the checks," said Derek Newton, the group's campaign manager.

Austin Bogues, Times staff writer

Posted by Times Editor at 12:29:58 PM on October 21, 2008

Crotzer gets clean slate

The Executive Board of Clemency granted Alan Crotzer, originally of St. Petersburg, a clean slate Tuesday, wiping from his record two prior convictions that were unrelated to the 24 years he served in prison for a crime he didn't commit.

In 2006, Crotzer was cleared from essentially a life sentence in prison for robbery and sexual assault charges, crimes a judge cleared him of after he spent 24 years in prison. In 2008, the Legislature compensated him for the wrongful charges.

At clemency, an FDLE staffer said he didn't think the Clemency Board had the authority to expunge a conviction, because the Florida Supreme Court had said so back in 2004. But Gov. Charlie Crist said he thought they should move forward anyway, adding, "We have a couple of new members over there. It's up to the panel. The law is whatever those judges say on any given day."

Continue reading "Crotzer gets clean slate" " (http://blogs.tampabay.com/buzz/2008/10/crotzer-gets-cl.html#more)

Posted by Jennifer Liberto at 12:29:32 PM on October 21, 2008

McCollum floats new clemency rule

Attorney General Bill McCollum offered up a rule to ban ex-felons from becoming mortgage brokers or lenders for at least seven years after they get clemency.

McCollum said he believes that the Cabinet overstepped its authority a few months ago when it passed an agency rule change aimed to prevent felons from serving in the mortgage industry. So he pitched this rule change, framing it as a different way to get at the same problem.

The Florida Executive Board of Clemency, made up of the Cabinet, won't consider this proposed rule change until the next meeting. McCollum has been talking about this seven-year wait period for several months, and so far the Cabinet has been cool to the idea.

Posted by Jennifer Liberto at 12:16:51 PM on October 21, 2008

For Obama faithful, it's 'Jobs, baby, jobs'

Teresa Brinkley stood in the back of the gym, fanning the heat with a scrap of paper, waiting for Barack Obama to take the stage.

The topic during today's rally at Palm Beach Community College is the economy, and Brinkley, 46, is symbolic of the message Obama is trying to convey in a two-day swing through Florida.

"I can't find a job," Brinkley said, explaining she got pregnant last year and was unable to get back her job ferrying the handicapped across the county. "We're struggling here. Groceries are up. Lights are up. Gas is up. Water is up."

Brinkley said she thinks Obama has a better grasp on the issue than John McCain because he has come from humble means. "He understands," she said.

It's now 11:05, and the crowd is growing anxious waiting for Obama and other political and business leaders assembled for the policy discussion. "Jobs, baby, jobs," the crowd chants.

Posted by Alex Leary at 11:08:36 AM on October 21, 2008

Democrats winning nearly 2-1 on early votes

Early vote totals from day one: 81,828 by Democrats; 42,789 by Republicans; 21,124 by others. Of the nealy 146,000 votes cast, 56% were by Democrats, 29% by Republicans, and 14% other. (Note: Polk County results not yet in.)

At this in '04, 20,751 Democrats had voted, 19,431 Republicans, and 5,827 other.

Posted by Adam Smith at 10:49:58 AM on October 21, 2008

Politics and baseball

With the world series to begin tomorrow between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Philadelphia Phillies, Republican presidential candidate John McCain made clear whom he's backing during a campaign stop outside Philly this morning: Neither.

"I'm not dumb enough to get mixed up in a World Series between swing states!" he told the crowd.

He needled his Democratic opponent, Barack Obama, for showing "love to the Rays" during a stop in Tampa on Monday. Both states are among the most hotly contested big states in the country.

Posted by Wes Allison at 10:34:31 AM on October 21, 2008

Bensalem, Pa., welcomes...

Kitty Martinez! The wife of U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., has been traveling around with Cindy McCain and the wives of other Republican politicos during Mrs. McCain's "Velvet Thunder" tour of Pennsylvania in recent days. The prospective first lady introduced her to the crowd at T.C. Millwork just now outside Philadelphia.

Sen. Martinez frequently travels with Sen. John McCain, too.

Posted by Wes Allison at 10:28:06 AM on October 21, 2008

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