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  1. Florida Politics

George W. Bush will skip GOP convention in Tampa, but Jeb will be there

Published Jul. 21, 2012

George W. Bush won't attend the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

"President Bush was grateful for the invitation to the Republican National Convention," Bush spokesman Freddy Ford told POLITICO on Friday. "He supports Gov. Romney and wants him to succeed. President Bush is confident that Mitt Romney will be a great president. But he's still enjoying his time off the political stage and respectfully declined the invitation to go to Tampa."

Former President George H.W. Bush, 88 and using a wheelchair in recent months, also will skip the convention.

But former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will be there, and you can be sure plenty of Florida delegates will be wishing he were the one accepting the nomination inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Burgin: Attack's okay

Former Florida Senate President Tom Lee and state Rep. Rachel Burgin, Republicans running for the Brandon-area state Senate district currently represented by Ronda Storms, appear today on Political Connections at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Burgin has turned the race into a particularly ugly one, with her allies sending female voters a mailer attacking Lee over a 2003 divorce and likening him to Hillsborough Property Appraiser Rob Turner, embroiled in a controversy for sending porn to an employee.

Burgin said in the Political Connections interview that she's comfortable with the mailer, even though she did not produce it.

"I believe that character does matter. And people want someone that they know is a person of character," Burgin said. "Some of his life choices I do not agree with."

Said Lee: "If you have a record and a resume, a distinguished record of public service, you run on that. If you don't, you try to tear the other person down."

The look of Carroll

There are loads of reasons to be skeptical of the accusations hurled against Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll by a former aide fighting criminal charges over illegally taping and releasing a private conversation. But Carroll's comments recently that it was ridiculous to believe she might have had a fling with another female staffer because "black women who look like me don't engage in relationships like that" had some people scratching their heads.

St. Petersburg resident Nadine Smith, the African-American leader of Florida's largest gay rights group, Equality Florida, last week gave her take in an essay for TheGrio.com. An excerpt:

"Yes Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll, you do look like a black lesbian. You also look like a bisexual black woman and a heterosexual black woman too. And yes, some black lesbians are gym coaches and some are models or elected leaders. Some are homeless and some anchor the news. Some are janitors and soldiers and fashion designers or pastors or chemical engineers. We come in all shapes and sizes and political and religious persuasions. Many of us look a lot like you."

Crist against purge

The latest hint that Charlie Crist may be positioning himself to run as a Democratic candidate for Florida governor in 2014: a Washington Post op-ed by Crist blasting Gov. Rick Scott's efforts to verify legitimate voters on Florida's rolls as "insidious political maneuvers."

"This is just the most recent example of a mean-spirited and all-too-partisan attempt to restrict access to the rolls and to the polls," Crist wrote. "A federal court also recently struck down provisions of a law Florida's Legislature passed in 2011, which put heavy burdens on organizations seeking to help voters: burdens that the court described as 'harsh and impractical,' serving no purpose other than to make it harder for Americans to participate in the electoral process."

Presidential holes

Did you know that there have been 18 Republican presidents in U.S. history?

Wait a sec, isn't that also the number of holes on a golf course?

Innisbrook is taking advantage of this accident in history and temporarily renaming each hole of its Copperhead Golf Course after the Republican presidents to further promote that the Florida and South Carolina delegates will be staying at the Pinellas County resort during the Aug. 27-30 Republican National Convention in Tampa.

The holes are named in chronological order, so Abraham Lincoln, who had a terrific short game, gets dibs on Hole 1, Ulysses S. Grant gets his name on Hole 2 and so on through the final hole, which is named after 15-handicapper George W. Bush.

Michael Van Sickler contributed to this week's Buzz. Follow Adam Smith on Twitter: @AdamSmithTimes.

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