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Dems target Domino and Turnquest with web ads, robocalls blasting Ryan budget

Monday, April 7th, 2014 by George Bennett

With House Republicans expected to vote this week on Budget Chairman Paul Ryan‘s spending blueprint, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is paying for web ads and robocalls that single out two of the six Republicans running for the nationally targeted Palm Beach-Treasure Coast District 18 seat of freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter.

Former state Rep. Carl Domino and former Tequesta councilman Calvin Turnquest are the targets of “Don’t Sell Out The Middle Class” web ads that launched last week and automated phone calls beginning today.


Jeb tops Rubio, Hillary tops everyone in early 2016 Florida poll; Obama disapproval at 57%

Friday, November 22nd, 2013 by George Bennett

Florida Republican voters favor former Gov. Jeb Bush over Sen. Marco Rubio in an early poll of potential 2016 presidential candidates released today by Quinnipiac University.

Hillary Clinton is the overwhelming presidential favorite among Florida Democrats and has an advantage in the state over any potential GOP candidate, the new poll says.

The poll also finds that disapproval for President Barack Obama has hit 57 percent in the state, with 40 percent of Florida voters approving. The president’s signature health care law gets similarly dismal reviews, with only 39 percent supporting it and 54 percent opposed. By a 51-to-44 percent margin, Floridians say Obama is not “honest and trustworthy.”

When asked about 2016, Bush gets 22 percent support among Republicans, Rubio 18 percent, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie 14 percent and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz 12 percent.

Clinton tops Vice President Joe Biden by a 70-to-9 percent margin in a Democratic ballot test.

Clinton also tops any hypothetical Republican challenger, though her 47-to-45 percent edge over Bush falls within the poll’s 2.4 percent margin of error. Clinton holds a 50-43 edge over Rubio, a 45-41 edge over Christie, tops Cruz 52-36, Rand Paul 51-41 and Paul Ryan 50-42.

GOP still lacks candidate, but begins online attacks on Murphy

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013 by George Bennett

The National Republican Congressional Committee today is beginning online video ad buys that attack freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter. The GOP is spending about $2,000 for the online ads against Murphy, one of seven Democrats being targeted around the U.S.

The ads say Murphy already “fits right in” in Washington D.C. and that, “While Florida families are trying to live within their means, Patrick Murphy voted against balancing our budget. He even voted to allow Congressmen to fly first class on the taxpayers’ dime.”

That claim is based on Murphy’s March 21 vote against the Republican budget submitted by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisc. The Ryan budget included a provision eliminating taxpayer-funded first class travel for members of Congress.

Murphy did break with most Democrats to vote for a Republican balanced-budget resolution this year. And while Murphy joined Dems in opposing the Ryan budget, he was one of the few House Democrats to vote against the major Democratic budget proposals as well, saying the plans put forward by his party weren’t serious about entitlement reform.

Murphy, who narrowly beat Republican Rep. Allen West in a GOP-leaning district in 2012, is a top GOP target for 2014, though Republicans haven’t fielded a challenger so far.

Trump says entitlements and immigration are losing issues for GOP; chats about golf and papal conclave

Friday, March 15th, 2013 by George Bennett

OXON HILL, Md. — Part-time Palm Beacher and celebrity capitalist Donald Trump called entitlement and immigration reform losing issues for the GOP, said Republicans lack a leader to energize voters and didn’t rule out running for president in 2016 during a visit to the Conservative Political Action Conference today.

During a wide-ranging speech and wider-ranging session with reporters, Trump took a shot at rising Republican star Bobby Jindal and said Paul Ryan was a poor choice for Mitt Romney‘s running mate in 2012. But Trump put in a good word for soda-regulating New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a favorite target of conservatives.

Trump got in a few plugs for his golf courses around the world, including a new one in Scotland (“they’re saying it may be the greatest course in the world”) and the recently purchased Doral Country Club in Miami (“I’m going to make that place incredible.”)

He also mentioned his personal ties to everyone from Newt Gingrich (“He’s a member of a great club right down the road that I happen to own, so I love Newt”) to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (“Chris is a very good friend of mine. I have a lot of property in New Jersey.”) to OPEC ministers (“I hate to tell you, they’re friends of mine, I know them all.”)


‘Rock stars’ for Romney: Jeb and Condi campaign in Broward County

Monday, November 5th, 2012 by George Bennett

DAVIE — President Obama campaigned with the rapper Pitbull on Sunday and has Bruce Springsteen on the trail with him today.

Mitt Romney‘s campaign relied on a different kind of star power here this afternoon.

“On the other side, they may have Pitbull and Bruce Springsteen, but you’re going to get to see some of the rock stars that we have on our ticket today with Jeb Bush and Condoleezza Rice,” Republican congressional hopeful Adam Hasner told a crowd of about 200 at a get-out-the-vote rally at Broward College.

Former Secretary of State Rice scoffed at Democratic talk of a “war on women” while former Gov. Bush called Obama a failed president who has brought division during his term.


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.

Charlie Crist does surrogate duty for Obama, rips Romney on tax plan and ‘binders full of women’

Thursday, October 18th, 2012 by George Bennett

Former Gov. Charlie Crist, a potential Republican vice presidential pick in 2008 who criticized Barack Obama as a surrogate for GOP nominee John McCain, returned to surrogate duty this afternoon — but this time for Obama.

Crist, who became an independent in 2010 and endorsed Obama in August, appeared on a Democratic conference call to bracket upcoming visits to Florida by Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan.

“As Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan come to our own state all they have to offer are empty promises and failed policies,” Crist said.

Echoing Obama’s stump speeches, Crist accused Romney of backing a deficit-busting $5 trillion tax cut for the wealthy and an unnecessary $2 trillion hike in defense spending.

“He asks for your vote, but he won’t tell you how he’s going to pay for these things,” Crist said.

Crist also picked up on this week’s popular Democratic theme of ridiculing Romney for his description during Tuesday’s debate of his efforts to recruit women for his administration when he was governor of Massachusetts.

“I went to a number of women’s groups and said, ‘Can you help us find folks,’ and they brought us whole binders full of women,” Romney said. Critics pounced on the “binders full of women” phrase and Crist joined in today.

Crist said Romney “talked about (women) as resumes in a binder….He doesn’t understand the challenges they face.”

Crist added that Romney should have known of plenty of qualified female applicants from his prior experience in the business world.

“Why did Mitt Romney even need binders full of women to find qualified candidates?” Crist said.

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.


Debate prep: Romney and Ryan to headline local fundraisers weekend before Lynn debate

Friday, October 5th, 2012 by George Bennett

Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan will attend a fundraiser in Boca Raton on Oct. 19 and Mitt Romney will headline a pair of money events the next day in Palm Beach.

The GOP ticketmates will be raising some final campaign dollars during the run-up to the third and final presidential debate on Oct. 22 at Lynn University in Boca Raton.

Brian Ballard, a finance co-chairman for Romney in Florida, says Romney’s Palm Beach money visits are believed to be the final formal fundraising events featuring the candidate.

The specific location for each of the fundraisers hasn’t been announced. The Ryan event includes a $2,500-a-head general reception, a $10,000 VIP photo reception and a $25,000-per-plate private dinner. The host committee includes former Ambassador Ned Siegel and financier Marc Leder, whose home was the setting for Romney’s “47 percent” remarks.

Romney’s Oct. 20 visit to Palm Beach includes a $5,000 general reception and a $50,000 private dinner. Larry Kawa, a member of the host committee for the Palm Beach events, says 700 to 1,000 people are expected for the general reception and as many as 100 for the dinner.

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.

Paul Ryan coming to Lakeland, Miami, Orlando

Thursday, September 20th, 2012 by George Bennett

Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan will campaign in Florida on Friday and Saturday.

Ryan will arrive in Lakeland on Friday afternoon.

On Saturday, Ryan makes a morning stop at the legendary Versailles restaurant in Miami’s Little Havana, then heads to an afternoon rally at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

Ryan’s visit marks four straight days of events by the GOP ticket in Florida, a state Mitt Romney must carry to win the presidency. Romney was in Miami and Coral Gables on Wednesday and will be in Sarasota today before attending private fundraisers in North Palm Beach this evening.

Rubio on his speech, immigration, Charlie Crist and the joy of being a home state boy

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012 by Dara Kam

After a brief sound check onstage at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio was crushed by a media scrum anxious to hear the GOP rising star wax on about everything from Charlie Crist’s endorsement of President Barack Obama to how to address immigration.

Rubio, Florida’s Republican U.S. senator who grew up in Miami, will introduce Mitt Romney tomorrow night at the Republican National Convention, a primo spot second only to the presidential candidate’s acceptance speech itself.

Rubio said his job is to make clear to the millions of television viewers during his prime-time speech the choices between the two candidates and the role of government in people’s lives.

“This election is about the choice the country has about the role government should play in our country. And really that is what this choice is going to be about. It’s not a choice between a Democrat and a Republican simply. It’s a choice about much more than that. So tomorrow, my job is to introduce the next president of the united states and to do so in a way that makes It clear to people what their choice is.
It’s a great honor,” Rubio said.

Rubio will also talk about his experience as the son of Cuban immigrants, something he does with an earnestness that has made him one of the most popular Republican politicians in the country. Rubio was on Romney’s short-list for veep before the former Massachusetts governor settled on U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan.

When asked what’s different about his tomorrow-night speech, Rubio laughed.

“I don’t know. Thirty-nine million people, probably. Look, it’s a tremendous honor to be able to give this speech in my home state in front of a lot of family and friends,” he said, mentioning his mother and late father.
“It will be affirmation that their lives matter. That all the sacrifices and hard work they went through was worth something…It’s just an honor to be able to introduce the next president of the U.S. and to do so in a way that I hope will make clear the choice that we have and the difference between the two men.”

Rubio blamed complaints that the Romney campaign hadn’t done enough to reach out to Hispanic voters on the campaign’s limited resources and said the pace would pick up in the general election cycle .

Read what Rubio said about immigration, Charlie Crist and Paul Ryan after the jump.

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.

Akin factor: Dems blast Hasner’s support for Ryan budget as anti-woman; Hasner rips ‘scare tactics’

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012 by George Bennett

Missouri Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin‘s remarks about “legitimate rape” have revived Democratic talk of a “war on women” by the GOP.

Democrats have long blasted Paul Ryan‘s budget plan as a threat to seniors, but today the Florida Democratic Party reframed it as a threat to women. The Democrats accused Republican congressional candidate Adam Hasner of supporting a plan that “would turn Medicare into a voucher program, raising the cost of healthcare for women in south Florida by thousands of dollars every year.”

Hasner. who faces Democrat Lois Frankel in Palm Beach-Broward congressional District 22, accused Democrats of “scare tactics” and said the Ryan plan will save Medicare for future retirees.

Pulling a page from Ryan’s and Sen. Marco Rubio‘s campaign playbooks, Hasner also noted that his own mother is a Medicare beneficiary and he wants to preserve the program for her.


Deutch raps Romney, Ryan on Medicare

Monday, August 20th, 2012 by George Bennett

Paul Ryan‘s recent Florida campaign appearance with his mother proves that the Republican plan to overhaul Medicare is a bad deal for future retirees, U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, told a seniors group this morning.

Deutch, who faces two no-party opponents in November, picked up the endorsement of the labor-backed Florida Alliance of Retired Americans and spoke to about 70 of the group’s members in West Delray.

Ryan made his first Florida campaign appearance as Mitt Romney‘s running mate on Saturday and brought along his 78-year-old mother, Broward County resident Betty Ryan Douglas, to assure a throng of seniors in The Villages that the GOP will protect Medicare.

Ryan’s plan, embraced by Romney, would leave Medicare as is for current recipients and those 55 and older. Those 54 and younger would have the option of traditional Medicare or a government subsidy to purchase private insurance.

“When Paul Ryan stands with his mother and says ‘Don’t worry, don’t worry, this plan is not going to affect you,’ I know what I heard when he said that was ‘I know, Mom, that you would never even vote for your son if we made the kind of cuts in my plan to you that we’re going to make to people under the age of 55,’ ” Deutch said.


See pics as thousands gather in The Villages for Paul Ryan rally

Saturday, August 18th, 2012 by George Bennett

Paul Ryan and his mother, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea resident Betty Douglas, take the stage this morning.

Lee Greenwood, whose recorded voice is familiar at Republican rallies, appears in the flesh this morning in The Villages.

THE VILLAGES — Thousands of people have gathered in this Republican-leaning Central Florida retiree bastion for Paul Ryan‘s first appearance in Florida as the Republican vice presidential candidate.

Follow and for coverage of the event and an official crowd estimate later in the day.

See more pictures after the jump…


Paul Ryan to make Florida debut at The Villages

Thursday, August 16th, 2012 by George Bennett


Paul Ryan‘s first Florida appearance as Mitt Romney‘s running mate will be at a Saturday morning rally in The Villages, the Central Florida haven for Republican-leaning retirees.

In addition to the outdoor rally, Ryan is scheduled to headline a fundraiser later in the day in Treasure Island near St. Petersburg.

The Villages, about 60 miles northwest of Orlando, is a mandatory stop for any Republican seeking to carry Florida. Republican presidential candidates routinely trek there and Romney has made several visits (including a primary-eve appearance this year in which he famously sang America the Beautiful).

The Villages was also the site of an enormous rally for Sarah Palin in 2008.

The Paul Ryan factor: Florida donors lead 72-hour cash blitz for Romney

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012 by George Bennett

Naming Paul Ryan as his running mate has been a plus for Mitt Romney‘s fundraising in Florida and elsewhere, the Romney camp says.

In the first 72 hours after Romney announced the House Budget Chairman as his VP choice, the Romney campaign says it logged $7.4 million in online contributions.

Florida was the biggest supplier of post-Ryan cash, the Romney campaign says, with more than 8,000 Sunshine State contributors combining to give more than $620,000.

Ryan is expected to make his Florida debut somewhere in the central part of the state this weekend. Specifics have not yet been announced.

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