Progressives' attack on Sen. Marco Rubio wrapped around memoir

Published Jul. 4, 2012

An interesting UPS delivery to the Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau on Monday.

A hard copy of Sen. Marco Rubio's newly released memoir, An American Son, wrapped in a pink book jacket. The front of the jacket is plastered with Rubio's picture, above the word "TRAITOR."

The attack jacket, which comes as Rubio tours Florida to promote the book, contains an unflattering picture of a wild-haired, pasty-faced Rubio. In English and in Spanish, Rubio is portrayed as a traitor to Hispanics, the middle class, women and seniors.

The "about the author" description rehashes accusations that Rubio took improper contributions during his campaign for U.S. Senate, and that he "billed more than $100,000 in personal expenses such as groceries, minivan repairs and plane tickets for his wife" to a Republican Party of Florida credit card.

The inside cover points readers to a Rubio attack website,

Who is behind the assault?

It's FloridaWatch, the progressive organization that launched the "Pink Slip Rick" and "Pink Slip Mitt" campaigns.

The organization's website says it's dedicated to defending the progressive movement.

Activists from the group have been attending Rubio's book signings, including one in Tampa on Sunday, heckling the senator.

Scott tweaks health law barbs

Gov. Rick Scott is continuing his media blitz, appearing on at least one national radio program Tuesday to criticize the health care law. But one day after having several statements deemed "False" or "Pants on Fire" by PolitiFact Florida, the governor has changed his tune in some ways.

In previous speeches and interviews, Scott talked about a Dairy Queen owner with about 20 employees who said he couldn't bear the costs of the health care law's requirement that businesses offer workers health insurance. PolitiFact rated that "Pants on Fire" because the provision only applies to businesses with more than 50 employees.

When America's Radio News Network host Lori Lundin asked Scott to respond to the ruling, he cast his statements in a new light and said the story demonstrates how the health care law prohibits growth.

"The focus is on many small employers," he said. "Their cost of health care is going up so they won't be able to afford to hire the people they'll need to provide the services to keep their business going."

Meanwhile, Scott is using new numbers to highlight the costs of expanding Medicaid, which he said Florida will not do. PolitiFact ruled Scott's statement that the Medicaid expansion would cost $1.9 billion a year as "False."

Scott now tells ARNN that Florida's costs would be $1.2 billion to $2.5 billion over five or six years.

More named for RNC panel

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell will serve as chairman of the platform committee of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota and Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee will serve as co-chairs. The Platform Committee is scheduled to meet Aug. 19-21 in Tampa, just before the Aug. 27-30 convention.

Libertarian's campaign goes on

Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson will visit Tampa and Dunedin on Friday as part of his long shot campaign.

Johnson, 59, the former two-term New Mexico governor, is planning a luncheon/meet-and-greet at Gaspar's Grotto, 1805 E Seventh Ave., in Tampa from 12:30-2 p.m.

Later, in Dunedin, he will throw out the first pitch at the Dunedin Blue Jays game and then head to a reception at Blur and the Chic-A-Boom Room (319 Main St.).

Times staff writers Alex Leary, Tia Mitchell and Katie Sanders contributed to this report.