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With Santorum gone, Scott looks to rally voters behind Romney

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012 by John Kennedy

Gov. Rick Scott has steered clear of the Republican presidential primary.

But with Rick Santorum suspending his campaign Tuesday, Scott issued a not-quite-endorsement of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney — whose stance was as the GOP’s presumptive nominee was strengthened.

“There is no question that Rick Santorum ran a hard fought campaign,” Scott said. “I commend his passion and his willingness to put the best interest of our party and nation first.”

“Mitt Romney will be our party’s nominee and it is critical that all Republicans coalesce behind Gov. Romney and focus on electing him as President so he can put the policies in place to create jobs, turn our economy around and get federal spending under control.”
   

 

Rubio endorses Mitt Romney, says he has ‘earned this nomination’

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012 by George Bennett

Neutral no more...

Sen. Marco Rubio, who vouched for Mitt Romney‘s conservative credentials before the Jan. 31 Florida Republican primary but didn’t make an endorsement, ended his neutrality tonight and announced his support for Romney.

“I am going to endorse Mitt Romney and the reason why is not only because he is going to be the Republican nominee but he offers at this point, such a stark contrast to the President’s record,” Rubio told Fox News’ Sean Hannity.

Romney, who has struggled to seal the deal with many GOP conservatives, called the endorsement from one of the party’s brightest conservative stars “a major milestone” for his campaign.

Rubio told Hannity that Romney’s Republican rivals “have a lot to be proud of.” But he said scenarios spun by Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich for winning the nomination at the August GOP convention in Tampa are “a recipe to deliver four more years to Barack Obama.”

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Poll: Obama tops Romney in Florida, 49-42; Scott disapproval at 52%

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012 by George Bennett

With Florida voters perceiving an improvement in the economy, President Obama has opened up a 49-to-42 percent lead over Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney in the Sunshine State, a new Quinnipiac University poll says.

Obama leads Republican Rick Santorum by a 50-37 margin in Florida in the new poll.

Florida voters are divided in their opinion of Obama. They narrowly disapprove of the job Obama is doing as president, with 49 percent giving him unfavorable marks and 47 percent approving. But they say by a 50-47 margin he deserves to be reelected.

The poll of 1,228 Florida voters, taken March 20-26, has a 2.8 percent margin of error.

Gov. Rick Scott gets a 52 percent disapproval rating, with 36 percent approving.

The poll found 68 percent of Floridians believe the economy is in a recession, but 57 percent say it’s improving. Asked who would do a better job of handling economic issues, Florida voters side with Romney by a 48-45 margin.

The national unemployment rate was 7.8 percent in January 2009 when Obama took office. It was 8.3 percent in February. Florida’s unemployment rate was 8.7 percent in January 2009 and 9.6 percent in January 2012.

The Florida poll was part of an ongoing swing-state project. Quinnipiac also released polls showing Obama with a 47-41 lead over Romney in Ohio and a too-close-to-call 45-42 edge in Pennsylvania.

Mediscare: Biden to tell seniors GOP wants to ‘end Medicare as we know it’

Friday, March 23rd, 2012 by George Bennett

Biden

Vice President Joe Biden‘s visit to a senior community in Broward County will include accusations that congressional Republicans and their “amen corner” of Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich want to dismantle Medicare, cut Social Security and hold down taxes for the rich.

Biden will speak at the Wynmoor condo community in Coconut Creek around noon.

President Obama‘s reelection campaign has released some excerpts in advance of Biden’s remarks. Read ‘em after the jump…

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County GOP Chairman Dinerstein: ‘You can’t catch Mitt’

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012 by George Bennett

Dinerstein

Palm Beach County Republican Chairman Sid Dinerstein said he’s not endorsing GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney, but “if I were king, I’d ask all the others to drop out…There’s just no path for anyone else.”

Dinerstein was asked about Rick Santorum‘s victories Tuesday in nonbinding contests in Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado and whether they indicate that Romney has a problem with the party’s conservative base.

“There’s less there than meets the eye. As long as there are primaries, there will be conservatives who will vote for some conservative who isn’t Mitt Romney. When the primaries end or when everyone gives up, the conservatives will support Mitt Romney,” Dinerstein said.

“At the end of the day, you can’t catch Mitt…This was decided with the Florida primary,” Dinerstein said.

Scott, Rubio, West highlight strong Florida presence at annual conservative blowout in D.C.

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012 by George Bennett

Gov. Rick Scott will speak at this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, joining a lineup that includes encore performances by Sen. Marco Rubio and U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation.

CPAC is the conservative movement’s premiere annual showcase. Rubio’s status as a rising star of the right was confirmed when he was booked for a featured 2010 speaking gig while former Gov. Charlie Crist was still the establishment favorite for Florida’s GOP Senate nomination. Tea party megastar West keynoted last year’s conference.

Mitt Romney‘s 2012 presidential bid arguably began four years ago at CPAC when he chose the venue to announce he was dropping out of the 2008 Republican nomination hunt. Romney, who has had his troubles firing up the GOP conservative base this year, was considered the conservative alternative to John McCain in 2008.

Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are all scheduled to speak at this year’s CPAC, which begins Thursday and ends Saturday.

Santorum plans to resume campaign Monday, but not in Florida; cancels Boca Raton stop

Sunday, January 29th, 2012 by Andrew Abramson

After cancelling two Florida stops on Sunday to care for his ailing 3-year-old daughter, Rick Santorum’s campaign announced that he will be back on the road Monday — but not in Florida.

Santorum last appeared in Florida Friday afternoon before returning home to Pennsylvania for a fundraiser. He also filed his taxes over the weekend. Santorum had planned appearances in Sarasota and Punta Gorda on Sunday and at Boca Raton Synagogue Monday morning. His campaign still held rallies in Sarasota and Punta Gorda, with surrogates, including his adult daughter, Liz and a reality TV family, in his place.

On a conference call Sunday night, Santorum said his daughter Bella had suffered from pneumonia but was recovering.

Santorum, expected to finish third in Florida, had already announced that he wouldn’t stick around for Tuesday’s vote. He said he regretted staying in South Carolina when the votes were counted there because it was a wasted campaign day.

So instead of returning to Florida just to campaign in Boca, Santorum will appear in Missouri and Minnesota on Monday.

He will then travel to Colorado on Tuesday and hold a primary night watch party in Las Vegas Tuesday night.

Liz Santorum: ‘My dad today is exercising his most important role; being a dad’ as 3-year-old hospitalized

Sunday, January 29th, 2012 by Andrew Abramson

Santorum and daughter Bella

SARASOTA — Just two days before Florida GOP voters go to the poll, Rick Santorum stayed behind in Pennsylvania to care for his ailing 3-year-old daughter, Bella.

Santorum’s 20-year-old daughter, Liz, appeared in his place, giving a brief speech to a crowd of about 250 at an airport hanger in Sarasota.

Liz Santorum

“My dad wishes he could be here with all of you today,” Liz Santorum said. “My dad today is exercising his most important role; being a dad.”

Bella Santorum suffers from Trisomy 18, a genetic condition caused by the presence of all or part of an extra 18th chromosome. Santorum has teared up speaking about Bella at past campaign stops, saying she wasn’t expected to live past the age of 1.

Liz Santorum didn’t provide many details about Bella’s condition, telling reporters after the speech that “we’re hoping and praying she’ll be better soon.”

Liz Santorum said on Sunday that her family knew from the beginning that the presidential campaign “would not be the easiest campaign for our family.” She said they knew there would be tests and trials, “but we knew this would be worth it because America is worth it.”

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Romney opens big polling lead as Tuesday’s primary nears

Sunday, January 29th, 2012 by George Bennett

NAPLES -- Big turnout for Romney's first event today.

NAPLES — A large crowd is here waiting to see Mitt Romney, who has opened up a double-digit lead over Newt Gingrich in three new polls as Tuesday’s Florida Republican presidential primary approaches.

Here’s the latest polling roundup from RealClearPolitics.

Gingrich, who got Herman Cain‘s endorsement Saturday night in West Palm Beach, vowed on ABC News this morning to press his fight for the nomination all the way to the Republican convention in Tampa this summer.

Romney has a campaign stop here around noon, then heads to Hialeah, Pompano Beach and Jacksonville today.

Gingrich attended church in Lutz near Tampa this morning, then heads to The Villages and Jacksonville.

Rick Santorum called off morning appearances in Florida today because his 3-year-old daughter was hospitalized in Pennsylvania. But he may still make it to events later today in Sarasota and PUnta Gorda.

Rick Santorum cancels Florida appearances as 3-year-old daughter hospitalized

Saturday, January 28th, 2012 by Andrew Abramson

Rick Santorum cancelled his Suday morning Florida appearances after his 3-year-old daughter Bella fell ill on Saturday. It’s not clear yet when he will resume campaigning in Florida. He is scheduled to appear in Boca Raton Monday morning.

Hogan Gidley, Santorum’s communications director, released a statement saying: “Rick and his wife Karen are admitting their daughter Bella to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia this evening. The campaign will cancel Rick’s upcoming Sunday morning Florida campaign schedule. However, Rick intends to return to Florida and resume the campaign schedule as soon as is possible”

Bella suffers from Trisomy 18, a genetic condition caused by the presence of all or part of an extra 18th chromosome. When asked about her, Santorum says his daughter was not expected to survive until her first birthday and often has to catch himself to stop from tears.

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Santorum cancels Abacoa Tea Party rally; will appear Friday in Miami, leave Florida before primary

Thursday, January 26th, 2012 by Andrew Abramson

Rick Santorum’s sporadic Florida campaign has cancelled his scheduled appearance in Jupiter on Friday. Santorum was going to hold a Tea Party rally in Abacoa. Santorum will instead spend Friday morning being interviewed by three Florida radio stations, including NewsRadio 610 in Miami at 7:50 a.m.

Santorum will address the Latin Builders Association conference at the Downtown Miami Hilton at 1:30 p.m. on Friday. That comes after Santorum’s scheduling snafu left him out of Wednesday’s Univision forum, which could have helped get his message across to Hispanic voters.

Santorum is then leaving the state for a Friday night fundraiser in Pennsylvania. He will also prepare his tax returns before heading back for one final day of campaigning in Florida. Santorum, who is a distant third in the polls to Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, will appear in Sarasota and Punta Gorda on Sunday and at the Boca Raton Synagogue Monday morning. Of course, Santorum’s travel plans can change by the minute.

John Brabender, Santorum’s long-time political consultant, said Santorum will likely leave Florida for good on Monday and travel to Nevada and Colorado, two states Santorum is eyeing.

While Santorum hasn’t been able to afford TV ads in Florida, Brabender said Santorum’s first Nevada TV ad will air tonight. Santorum is expected to be in Colorado when Tuesday’s Florida election results come in, although Brabender said that hasn’t been officially determined.

“The press is interested to hear from us wherever we are,” said Brabender of Santorum giving his post-Florida primary speech from another state.

Santorum: Osama aside, Obama has made country more dangerous

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012 by Andrew Abramson

NAPLES — In Tuesday’s State of the Union address, President Obama received his largest applause when he brought up the death of Osama bin Laden, and Obama has mostly received high marks for national defense since taking office.

But at a campaign rally on Wednesday, Santorum said Obama takes credit for bringing down bin Laden while radical Islamism is growing around the world.

“I’m very happy that Osama bin Laden is dead, but Osama bin Laden was not the only threat to America,” Santorum said. “The vehement threat that has erupted around the world under this president, the Muslim Brotherhood is now ascending in both Libya and Egypt, and is not ascending but has ascended in Egypt.

“What we’ve seen with the president twiddling of his thumb as Iran develops a nuclear weapon. Oh, he’ll give the tough talk, saying Iran’s not going to get a nuclear weapon. He’s doing precious little. He’s out there trying to negotiate with the Taliban, negotiating with the people who helped orchestrate and plan attacks on our country and are still radical Jihadists.”

Santorum cancels (then tries to get back in) Univision forum; says Republicans no longer party of big business

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012 by Andrew Abramson

NAPLES — If Rick Santorum thinks the media is turning the GOP primary into a two man race between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, his own scheduling snafu didn’t help.

While Gingrich and Romney participated in a Univision forum today in Miami and got valuable air time in the Hispanic community, Rick Santorum headed off to private fundraisers.

“We had a change in schedule a few days ago and asked (Univision) if they could move it and they said they couldn’t,” Santorum said to reporters Wednesday after a large rally at First Baptist Church in Naples. “We tried to change out schedule so we could do it, and they said they weren’t willing to change the schedule. It’s unfortunate. We were able and wanted to do it, but they couldn’t. And it’s not their fault, they just said they couldn’t reorganize.”

Santorum drove off in a Dodge pickup truck after telling reporters that he isn’t giving up in Florida, despite polls continuously showing him a distant third or even fourth behind Ron Paul, who isn’t campaigning in the state.

Santorum said he will campaign in Florida on Thursday and Friday and then leave the state on Saturday and head to a private fundraiser in his hometown state of Pennsylvania, where he will also prepare his tax returns. He said he will return to Florida on Sunday and campaign through Tuesday’s primary.

When asked what his tax returns will show compared to his rival candidates, Santorum smiled and cupped his mouth.

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Newtmentum: Q poll says Gingrich has erased Romney’s Florida lead

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012 by George Bennett

The 12-point lead that Mitt Romney enjoyed two weeks ago in Florida has disintegrated, says a new Quinnipiac University poll that finds the Republican primary a virtual tie between Romney and surging South Carolina winner Newt Gingrich.

The poll — conducted Thursday through Monday — shows Romney getting 36 percent support from likely GOP primary voters and Gingrich getting 34 percent. The poll has a 4 percent margin of error. Rick Santorum gets 13 percent and Ron Paul 10 percent. Among voters surveyed after Saturday’s South Carolina primary, Gingrich leads Romney 40 percent to 34 percent.

Gingrich’s Florida surge comes even as Republicans believe, by a 49-to-35 percent margin, that Romney would be better able to defeat President Obama in the general election.

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Santorum on homosexuality: Government should only reward ‘healthy activity’

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012 by Andrew Abramson

Santorum in Stuart

STUART — Despite low poll numbers, Rick Santorum isn’t changing his focus, continuing to campaign as the hero of the far right.

At a campaign stop at Community Christian Academy in Stuart on Tuesday, a woman asked Santorum why her gay son doesn’t have the same rights as a heterosexual.

“Everybody in America should have the same rights, and I would agree with that,” Santorum said. “Everyone in America should have rights that are endowed to them by the Creator, those are unalienable rights. And your son, just like everyone else here, has those unalienable rights.”

But, Santorum said, “There are certain things that government does that gives people privileges in order to promote activity that are healthy for society and are best for society. And those things we promote would give people advantages or benefits, government benefits because we think that is healthy activity. Mothers and fathers coming together, forming healthy marriages, having children and raising those children. Every American child has the right, and the government should support the right to have and know their mother and father and be raised by their mother and father.”

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Santorum on Romney’s tax return: ‘Congrats to him, that’s a lot of money’

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012 by Andrew Abramson

Rick Santorum, selling himself as the everyday regular working Republican, became the first presidential candidate residents can remember ever visiting Okeechobee. And he took some time to speak to The Palm Beach Post Tuesday morning about Mitt Romney’s tax return, which showed Romney made $21.7 million in 2010 and paid $3 million in taxes.

“Congrats to him, that’s a lot of money,” Santorum said. “He paid it in capital gains. As he said last night, under Newt’s plan he wouldn’t pay any taxes. It would be $21 million in gains and no taxes whatsoever. I don’t support that. I think there should be taxes on capital gains and dividends. I’m for a low rate of taxation, I’d cut it to 12 percent because we need capital to move through the economy.

“It just points out that people who have been successful can avoid taxation if they want to and can take their income in a lot of different ways and they will do so. They will structure their income to avoid taxation. What you want them to do is to deploy it in a way that maximizes not just benefit to them but benefit to society. That’s what it seems like Gov. Romney did.

“My income, we’re going to be reporting our taxes as soon as I get home and get them out. We’re going to be reporting our taxes soon and we are a small fraction of what Gov. Romney is. Look for me, I did well, better than I’ve ever done before in my life, the past couple of years, so I’m pretty excited about that for our family. But this past year wasn’t as good and this next year isn’t good at all. I’m not making a lot of money right now.”

Santorum avoids glitter bomb, doesn’t correct woman who calls Obama a Muslim

Monday, January 23rd, 2012 by Andrew Abramson

Glitter falls on Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum after protesters threw the glitter at the stage during a town hall meeting in Lady Lake, Fla. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel)

LADY LAKE — Several protesters were taken away by police after they threw a bomb at GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum — a glitter bomb, that is.

Protesters first tossed glitter at Santorum several days ago in South Carolina because of his stance against homosexuality.

Santorum appeared to have avoided the hit at a town hall in Lady Lake on Monday, not showing any sign of glitter on his face or head as he left the town hall. Several of his staffers were directly hit.

The protesters were grabbed by Santorum’s staffers, and then several sheriff’s deputies hauled them away. It took two deputies to carry out one of protesters by his legs and arms.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office said the protesters were from Occupy Tampa. They were not arrested but given a trespassing order not to return.

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Amid sinking poll numbers, Santorum says voters like him the best, but think he can’t win

Monday, January 23rd, 2012 by Andrew Abramson

LADY LAKE — As Newt Gingrich surges and grabs much of the conservative vote that Rick Santorum covets, Santorum pleaded with an overflow crowd of close to 400 at a town hall in Lady Lake to go with their conscience and vote for him.

Santorum is polling at just 11 percent in Florida in two polls released Monday.

“I have the best positive-negative ratio of anyone in the race, but people say ‘he can’t win, so I’m not going to vote for him’,” Santorum said. “That is called a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Santorum said Gingrich has “a favorable/unfavorable that approaches 30 or 40 percent negative, whereas mine is like 5, or +1, depending on the poll you’re looking at.”

Santorum said GOP voters should choose the candidate they believe holds their values, because the eventual nominee will have the money and backing to compete against Obama.

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Santorum: Central and South America building closer alliances with radical Islamists

Monday, January 23rd, 2012 by Andrew Abramson

POMPANO BEACH — Would a Rick Santorum presidency be good for the Hispanic community?

Santorum touched on issues that affect South Floridians on the start of his Florida tour Sunday, blaming both President Bush and President Obama for allowing Central and South American countries to form “closer alliances with China and closer alliances with radical Islamists, becoming more anti-American because of our our inattentiveness and in some cases absolute horrific policies and in some cases absolute horrifc policies.”

Santorum said he warned of “the unholy alliance between the Socialists in South American and Central America and the Jihadists,” during his failed 2006 Senatorial campaign but that “it was not one of most popular things to talk about. We were losing the Iraq War.”

Santorum said he was specifically focused on Cuba and Venezuela, but he said other countries, including Colombia, are acting against the Untied States’ best interests because the U.S. hasn’t engaged them. “They didn’t think they have a reliable friend in the United States,” he said.

Of the Obama administration’s attempts to pressure Honduras to reverse the 2009 ouster of President Manuel Zelaya, Santorum said, “What this president did in Honduras is just inexplicable, how he allowed Central and South American to go to seed under this administration.”

Republicans and Democrats have been fighting over Zelaya’s ouster after the U.S. Law Library of Congress released a Republican-commissioned report that supported the constitutionality of Zelaya’s ouster and condemning his expatriation. The Democratic chairmen of the House and Senate foreign relations committees have asked for the report to be retracted, saying it’s incorrect and flawed.

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Pastor at Santorum rally: Americans won’t vote for Mormon president, Mormon church is racist

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012 by Andrew Abramson

Rev. O’Neal Dozier, the conservative pastor of Pompano Beach’s Worldwide Christian Center, told the Palm Beach Post Sunday that Mitt Romney cannot win the presidency because Americans won’t vote for a Mormon president.

Following his third place finish in South Carolina, Rick Santorum made his first Florida campaign stop at Dozier’s church, where he gave a faith-based sermon. Dozier has been an outspoken critic of homosexuality and radical Islam. In November, former presidential candidate Herman Cain decided minutes before a speech not to have Dozier deliver his invocation, as was originally planned.

“You can look at the June Gallup poll that shows the people have already spoken – 22 percent of the electorate will not vote for a Mormon,” Dozier said. “The American people will not vote for a Mormon to be president of the United States.”

Dozier, who is black, said a Republican will need at least 10 percent of the black vote to win the presidency.

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