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Frank Biden, brother of VP, in Tallahassee to advocate for charter schools

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014 by George Bennett

Frank Biden talks with Palm Beach County resident Laura Hanley outside the House chamber.

TALLAHASSEE — Among the notables spotted in the Capitol today: Frank Biden, the Ocean Ridge resident whose brother, Joe Biden, is vice president of the United States.

Frank Biden is president of the Mavericks High School in West Palm Beach and director of the Florida Charter School Alliance.

“I’m a charter school advocate and a choice advocate and have a lot of friends up here. It’s always fun to be at opening day. I’m a fan of the political process,” Biden said while standing outside the House chamber before Gov. Rick Scott‘s State of the State speech.

“We are embarking on another year where we want to make sure that the voices of parents and kids in charter schools, public charter schools, are heard. And there’s a great bipartisan flavor around this issue that we want to continue to encourage.” Biden said.

Rare chance for voters to fill circuit judgeship; Dem turnout strategy; Biden factor in Gardens

Monday, January 13th, 2014 by George Bennett

Frank Biden, brother of Vice President Joe Biden, at a recent Palm Beach Gardens council meeting. He's helping one of the candidates in the city's March elections.

Judge Brown

Circuit judge is an elected position, but 24 of the 35 circuit judges in Palm Beach County first got on the bench via gubernatorial appointment. Once in office, sitting judges are rarely challenged. So Circuit Judge Lucy Chernow Brown‘s announcement that she’s retiring at the end of her term sets up a rare open election for a judgeship.

Subscribers to can read about who’s running and who else might get in the judicial race in this week’s Politics column. One-day passes are available for as little as 99 cents.

Also in this week’s column:

** How Palm Beach County Democrats hope to achieve their goal of a 100,000-vote margin in November’s election for governor.

** The latest fundraising estimate for Republican Carl Domino in the nationally watched congressional race for the seat of freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter.

** How vice presidential brother Frank Biden, an Ocean Ridge resident, could be a factor in the March election in Palm Beach Gardens.

** Which Palm Beach County donor recently joined the $1 million club in supporting Republican Gov. Rick Scott‘s re-election.

Freshman Reps. Frankel, Murphy remain cautious on Syria after Biden briefing

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013 by George Bennett

Freshman Reps. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, and Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, offered cautious statements on Syria after getting a briefing this afternoon from Vice President Joe Biden and other officials at the White House.

Neither Frankel nor Murphy has taken a position on President Barack Obama‘s request for authorization of military strikes in response to Syrian President Bashar Assad‘s use of chemical weapons.

“This is probably one of the most agonizing decisions that I’ve ever been asked to make in my life and I take it very seriously. I have not yet decided,” Frankel said.

“I’m like most Americans. I go in with a bias against war,” said Frankel, whose son served in the Marines in Afhganistan and Iraq. “I certainly would like to be able to support the president. I think the use of chemical weapons is just an outrageous crime against humanity…The best result is a diplomatic solution.”

Murphy released this statement:

“The use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime must be stopped. Military action must always be the last resort and I am encouraged that the Administration is working toward a diplomatic solution. I have attended several closed briefings this week with the Vice President, other Administration officials, and top military officials. Because of the gravity of this situation, I continue to carefully weigh all options, consider all information, and closely monitor new developments.”

Q poll: Rubio popular in Florida, but he or Jeb Bush would lose to Hillary Clinton

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013 by George Bennett

Florida voters give Republican Sen. Marco Rubio a 51 percent job approval rating while disagreeing with his vote against gun background checks and having an overall negative view of Rubio’s handling of immigration issues, a new Quinnipiac University poll says.

Hillary Clinton would top Rubio in Florida by a 53-to-41 percent margin if the two were running for president, the poll says. That’s virtually unchanged from a March Quinnipiac poll. Clinton would defeat former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush by a 50-to-43 percent margin, compared to a 51-to-40 percent advantage she enjoyed in March.

Clinton would be a much stronger 2016 presidential candidate in Florida than Vice President Joe Biden, the poll says. Bush would defeat Biden in the Sunshine State by a 47-to-43 percent margin and Rubio would have a 45-to-43 edge — essentially dead heats considering the poll’s 2.9 percent margin of error.

The survey of 1,176 registered voters was conducted June 11-16.

While 51 percent of Florida voters approve of the job Rubio is doing, 35 percent disapprove. Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson has 51 percent approval and 29 percent disapproval scores.

President Barack Obama gets 47 percent approval and 48 percent disapproval from Florida voters in the new poll, substantially worse than in December, when 54 percent approved and 42 percent disapproved.

Despite the recent controversies involving the IRS and Justice Department, Florida voters’ view of whether Obama is “honest and trustworthy” is virtually unchanged from November, shortly after he carried the state on his way to re-election. In the new poll, 50 percent of Floridians say the president is honest and trustworthy, while 45 percent disagree. In a November survey, 52 percent of Florida voters found Obama honest and trustworthy while 43 percent did not.

Biden predicts overall Obama victory but not so sure about Florida

Monday, November 5th, 2012 by George Bennett

Vice President Joe Biden is predicting a big win for President Obama on Tuesday, with the veep forecasting that several battleground states will fall into Obama’s column.

He’s less bullish on Florida, according to a White House pool report from Virginia today:

“I think we have a clear shot of doing well in the so-called firewall. I think we’ll win Ohio. I think we’ll win Wisconsin. I think we’ll win Iowa. I think we’ll win Nevada. I think we’ll win New Hampshire. I think Florida will be close, but I think we have a real shot at winning. And this state, we’ve got a clear shot at winning.”

In Roanoke, Va., where Biden delivered pizzas to campaign workers, he excluded Florida from a list of swing states where he flatly predicted victory, according to another pool report:

“This is no malarkey. We genuinely feel good about the campaign. I’ve spent an awful lot of time in what they call the firewall – Ohio and Iowa and Wisconsin. We’re going to win all three of those states. We’re going to win Nevada, New Hampshire, Colorado. We have a chance not just to win but actually to make a real statement about unifying this country.”

Biden did make an ambiguous reference to Florida later, according to the pool report: “Virginia makes a gigantic statement. Ohio will make a gigantic statement. Florida – all tossup states. … They represent very different constituencies. The same with Colorado.”

Veepstakes: Ryan in Florida Monday, Biden Wednesday

Sunday, October 28th, 2012 by George Bennett

While President Obama and former President Bill Clinton campaign at the University of Central Florida in Orlando on Monday, Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan will be making three Florida stops.

Ryan is scheduled to appear at rallies in Jacksonville, Melbourne and Lakeland. His appearances come after Mitt Romney made stops in Pensacola, Kissimmee and Land O’Lakes on Saturday.

Vice President Joe Biden will also be coming to the state Wednesday. Details for the Biden visit haven’t been announced.

Obama to make post-debate campaign stop in Delray Beach on Tuesday

Thursday, October 18th, 2012 by George Bennett

President Obama will campaign in Delray Beach on Tuesday following Monday night’s debate at Lynn University, the Obama campaign announced this evening.

A specific site and time haven’t been announced, but it’ll likely be an early-in-the-day event. Obama is scheduled to campaign later Tuesday in Ohio with Vice President Joe Biden.

Romney to join Ryan at campaign rally in Daytona Beach on Friday

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012 by George Bennett

Mitt Romney‘s campaign announced tonight that the GOP nominee will join running mate Paul Ryan at a rally in Daytona Beach on Friday night. The rally was announced earlier in the week as a Ryan-headlined event.

Ryan will be in Boca Raton earlier Friday for a fundraiser. And Romney will make a pair of money stops in Palm Beach on Saturday.

Vice President Joe Biden will campaign in the state Friday and Saturday, including a Friday appearance in Fort Pierce.

Romney and President Obama will be in Boca Raton on Monday for the third and final presidential debate at Lynn University.

Ryan, Biden schedule Florida campaign stops

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012 by George Bennett

Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan on Thursday will attend a daytime campaign rally in Ocala and an evening rally in Fort Myers, Mitt Romney‘s campaign announced today.

Ryan is also slated to be in Boca Raton on Friday for a fundraiser.

Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to campaign on Friday in Sun City Center near Tampa and in Fort Pierce later in the day. Biden will also campaign in Florida on Saturday, but details have not been released.

Also expected to campaign for President Obama in Florida over the weekend: Chicago Mayor and former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.

Obama and Romney will be in Boca Raton next Monday for the third and final presidential debate at Lynn University.

Mitt-mentum: Dem pollster says Romney gains 5 points in Florida since debate

Monday, October 15th, 2012 by George Bennett

A new Florida poll by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling shows Mitt Romney edging President Obama in Florida by a 49-to-48 percent margin — a net gain of five points for the Republican nominee since a PPP poll in late September showed Obama with a 50-to-46 percent edge.

The poll shows independent voters breaking toward Romney since the end of September. Romney leads 51-to-43 percent among independents in PPP’s survey of 791 likely voters conducted Friday through Sunday. The poll has a 3.4 percent margin of error. Obama held a 51-to-40 lead among independents a few weeks ago, according to PPP.

“Mitt Romney has the momentum after his strong debate performance last week, but Barack Obama’s still very much in it,” says PPP President Dean Debnam.

The poll found Florida voters thought Vice President Joe Biden won last week’s debate against Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan by a 44-to-40 percent margin. But voters have an overall negative opinion of Biden (45 percent favorable, 50 percent unfavorable) and an overall positive view of Ryan (50 percent positive, 44 percent negative).

PPP’s survey says Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson leads Republican Connie Mack by a 45-to-37 percent margin. Nelson and Mack hold a televised debate Wednesday night from Nova Southeastern University in Davie.

Paul Ryan’s mom offers simple debate advice; sister describes goosebumps

Monday, October 8th, 2012 by George Bennett

Betty Douglas phones a voter from a GOP office in Fort Lauderdale.

FORT LAUDERDALE — Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan‘s mother offered some simple advice to her son in advance of Thursday night’s debate with Vice President Joe Biden.

“Any advice for him? Just be yourself, which he is anyway,” said Betty Douglas, a Lauderdale-By-The-Sea resident.

“I think he’s going to do very, very well because, first of all, he’s not afraid to speak. He’s not afraid to confront. And he does do his homework, and oh has he been studying,” Douglas told reporters and campaign volunteers at a Mitt Romney campaign office tonight.

Douglas and her daughter, Janet Ryan Rock, stopped by the office on East Oakland Park Boulevard so Douglas could place what campaign officials estimate was the 9 millionth call contacting Florida voters for Romney.


Biden fires up Democrats near site of Romney’s ’47 percent’ remarks

Friday, September 28th, 2012 by George Bennett

Two miles and a few economic strata from the site of Mitt Romney‘s “47 percent” remarks, Vice President Joe Biden told a retiree crowd today that Romney and running mate Paul Ryan don’t understand America and have “bet against the American people.”

Biden stumped for President Obama‘s reelection at the Century Village of Boca Raton retirement community. The legendary Democratic condo bastion is just down Lyons Road from Marc Leder‘s house in upscale Long Lake Estates, where Romney was secretly videotaped telling big-dollar donors in May that 47 percent of Americans are “dependent upon government” and won’t vote for him.

Biden said Romney’s remarks, and remarks by Ryan about a “culture of dependency” on government, show the Republican ticket is out of touch with ordinary Americans.

“I don’t recognize the country they’re talking about,” Biden told the crowd that filled the large lobby of a clubhouse building.

“I know where I come from, Americans got knocked down but they’re getting back up. I know where I come from, nobody feels dependent, all they want is an opportunity. I know where I come from, these people are fighting back with every single thing they have. I don’t sense any sense of dependency. They’re just looking for a little opportunity, a level playing field, a fair shot,” Biden said to loud applause

“Ladies and gentlemen, I got news for Gov. Romney and Congressman Ryan. America and Americans are neither dependent nor in decline. And I’ll say to them, gentlemen, it has never, never, never been a good bet to bet against the American people.”

Biden is scheduled to visit another heavily Democratic retiree crowd this afternoon at Kings Point in Tamarac. He’s also scheduled to campaign in Fort Myers on Saturday.

Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch and Debbie Wasserman Schultz also spoke to the crowd before Biden.

Biden made brief mention of Israel to heavily Jewish audience, while Deutch devoted a significant portion of his remarks to defending Obama’s support for the Jewish state. Republicans have tried to peel away traditionally strong Jewish support for Democrats by accusing Obama of being a weak ally of Israel.

Biden coming to Century Village of Boca Raton today

Friday, September 28th, 2012 by tmalmer

Vice President Joe Biden hits the South Florida condo belt today with a stop at Century Village of Boca Raton and a visit to Kings Point in Tamarac. Both are heavily Democratic senior havens.

Biden will also campaign in Fort Myers on Saturday.

Biden also worked the condo circuit in March with a visit to Wynmoor in Broward County.

And President Obama campaigned at Century Village of West Palm Beach in July.

Biden coming to Century Village of Boca Raton on Friday

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 by George Bennett

Vice President Joe Biden hits the South Florida condo belt on Friday with a stop at Century Village of Boca Raton and a visit to Kings Point in Tamarac. Both are heavily Democratic senior havens.

Biden will also campaign in Fort Myers on Saturday.

Biden also worked the condo circuit in March with a visit to Wynmoor in Broward County.

And President Obama campaigned at Century Village of West Palm Beach in July.

Obama to make post-convention visit to Florida next weekend

Saturday, September 1st, 2012 by George Bennett

President Obama will campaign in Florida next weekend, the Obama campaign announced this afternoon.

He’ll be in the crucial Sunshine State on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 8 and 9. Additional details haven’t been released.

The Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., is Tuesday through Thursday. On the day after the convention, Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, will travel to New Hampshire for a campaign event.

The president then heads to Florida while Biden goes to Ohio, another big swing state.

Biden scrubs Monday visit to Tampa, cites storm and security concerns

Saturday, August 25th, 2012 by George Bennett

President Obama‘s campaign has altered its plans to grab some spotlight from the Republican National Convention, announcing late Friday that Vice President Joe Biden is scrubbing a planned campaign stop in Tampa on Monday because of “disaster preparedness and local security concerns.”

With Tropical Storm Isaac churning toward Florida and tens of thousands of delegates, protesters and media coming to Tampa for the convention, Tampa Bay Online reported that Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee voiced concerns about the added security burden of a vice presidential visit.

“It does complicate things. Certainly, it’s not the best day for us because we are trying to do a good job for the people that are going to be down in Tampa for this other event so they are all safe,” Gee said.

“We’re stretched, no doubt, and we may become more stretched with this storm out there,” Gee said.

Even Tampa’s Democratic mayor, Bob Buckhorn, sounded less than enthusiastic about his city’s ability to handle the convention, the storm and a Biden visit.

Buckhorn told TBO Online he didn’t know where Biden was planning to visit, but “If it is in the city, then I’m sure we’re going to have to deploy some resources to it…They are resources I would prefer not to have to deploy, but it is what it is.”

Said the Obama campaign: “This change in schedule is being taken out of an abundance of caution to ensure that all local law enforcement and emergency management resources can stay focused on ensuring the safety of people who might be impacted by the storm, as well as those attending the activities in Tampa.”

Biden is still slated to campaign Tuesday in Orlando and St. Augustine, though the Obama camp says those plans are “subject to change due to weather-related precautions.”

Q poll: Obama lead narrows in Florida after Ryan ‘micro-bump’ for Romney; Nelson leads Mack

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012 by George Bennett

The newest Quinnipiac University poll shows President Obama holding a 49-to-46 percent lead over Mitt Romney among likely voters in Florida — down from a 6-point Obama lead in the state three weeks ago.

Quinnipiac attributes Romney’s modest gain to a “micro-bump” from naming Paul Ryan as his running mate.

The poll, conducted Aug. 15-21 with a 2.8 percent margin of error, is sure to continue the debate over Quinnipiac’s voter sample. In the latest survey, 34 percent of voters identified themselves as Democrats and 28 percent as Republicans. That compares to actual 2008 Florida turnout that was 37 percent Democratic and 34 percent Republican, according to exit polls.

Republicans have accused Quinnipiac of oversampling Democrats in its last few polls; Democrats aired similar complaints in May when Quinnipiac’s sample was 34 percent Republican and 31 percent Democrat and Romney had a 6-point lead.

Ryan is viewed favorably by 35 percent and unfavorably by 29 percent of Florida voters in the new poll. Vice President Joe Biden, by comparison, is viewed favorably by 37 percent and unfavorably by 44 percent.

The new poll also gives Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson a 50-to-41 percent lead over Republican Rep. Connie Mack. And it continues Gov. Rick Scott‘s streak of underwater approval ratings, with 41 percent approving of the governor’s job performance and 47 percent disapproving. Scott’s approval/disapproval score was 36/52 in Quinnipiac’s Aug. 1 poll.

Bracketology: Joe Biden coming to Tampa area during GOP convention

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012 by George Bennett

Taking opposition “bracketing” to a new level, Vice President Joe Biden will campaign in the Tampa area and other cities on Monday and Tuesday — the first two days of the Republican National Convention.

Both parties routinely make high-profile surrogates available in person or on conference calls to siphon some attention when a rival candidate is coming to town. The surrogate usually isn’t a member of the presidential ticket, however.

During Mitt Romney‘s last visit to Florida, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz made a bus tour of the state to counter Romney’s message. During the run-up to Florida’s Jan. 31 GOP primary, Romney supporter and U.S. Rep. Connie Mack attended several Newt Gingrich events to offer instant counterspin.

In Manalapan, Biden mourns Colorado victims, praises acts of bravery

Monday, July 23rd, 2012 by George Bennett

MANALAPAN — Speaking to a police union group in what had been scheduled as a political event, a somber Vice President Joe Biden mourned the victims and hailed some of the stories of individual bravery that have emerged from the movie theater shooting in Colorado that left 12 people dead last week.

Biden avoided political or policy issues when he addressed the National Association of Police Organizations annual convention at the Ritz-Carlton.

“It is my belief that the audience I’m speaking to today understands better than anyone, anyone in this country, both the grief the families are feeling and the courage of those undaunted heroes in that movie theater late Thursday night,” Biden told the crowd of about 400.

“We as a nation have been there before — Columbine, Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, Tucson, Sept. 11 and so much more. And just like before, we refused to yield. We refused to give in to our darker side,” Biden said.

Biden described the initial feelings of the victims’ families as “a black hole in your chest.” Biden suffered sudden loss in 1972 when, just after he was elected to the Senate from Delaware, his wife and 1-year-old daughter were killed in an auto accident.

Biden highlighted the stories of bravery by people who went to the midnight movie of the latest Batman movie and ended up witnessing a mass shooting.

“These are the people who define who we are as a nation. They are the hymns of our hope. Because they remind us of the goodness. Sometimes we forget the goodness, the decency, the bravery,” Biden said.


Obama to visit Palm Beach County on Thursday, Biden coming next week

Monday, July 16th, 2012 by George Bennett

President Obama will visit West Palm Beach on Thursday during a two-day campaign swing through crucial and closely contested Florida.

Obama will stop in Jacksonville before coming to West Palm Beach on Thursday. He’s scheduled to spend Thursday night in Manalapan, then attend Friday events in Fort Myers and Orlando. Additional details have not been released by the Obama campaign.

Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to address the National Association of Police Organizations convention in Manalapan on Monday.

Obama won Florida with 51 percent in 2008 and polls show him in a close race with Mitt Romney for the state’s 29 electoral votes this year. Obama has made several stops in Florida this year. He made appearances in Lake Buena Vista and Tampa on June 22, then scooped up more than $1.4 million in contributions at a pair of Miami Beach fundraisers on June 26.

Obama visited Palm Beach County in April, attending a fundraiser in Palm Beach Gardens and speaking at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.

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