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Rubio: Republicans must ‘work harder than ever’ to reach minorities, immigrants

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012 by George Bennett

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, an early frontrunner in GOP 2016 presidential chatter, congratulated President Barack Obama on his re-election and said he plans to work on “upward mobility policies” and on communicating the conservative message to minority voters who overwhelmingly backed Obama.

“The conservative movement should have particular appeal to people in minority and immigrant communities who are trying to make it, and Republicans need to work harder than ever to communicate our beliefs to them,” said Rubio, the Hispanic Senator who is probably the GOP’s most prominent minority voice.

Read Rubio’s statement after the jump…


Will Libertarian Gary Johnson be Mitt Romney’s Ralph Nader in Florida?

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012 by George Bennett

Returns are incomplete and the lead has gone back and forth, but as of 9:07 p.m., President Barack Obama holds a 6,437-vote lead over Mitt Romney out of more than 6.6 million votes cast in Florida. Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson — a former Republican governor of New Mexico and a failed GOP presidential contender during this year’s primaries — had 34,302 votes.

If Romney ends up losing Florida by a smaller margin than Johnson’s total, it will undoubtedly bring memories of liberal activist Ralph Nader‘s 2000 candidacy as the Green Party presidential nominee. George W. Bush won Florida, and the White House, my a mere 537 votes over Democrat Al Gore. While Democrats fumed at the Butterfly Ballot and the Supreme Court’s Bush vs. Gore decision, many of them also blamed Gore’s loss on Nader, who got 97,488 votes in Florida that year.

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.”

‘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.


Romney makes final Florida stop — promising to “represent one nation”

Monday, November 5th, 2012 by John Kennedy

Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, greets supporters today in Sanford. (Stephen Crowley/The New York Times)Mitt Romney made his final campaign stop in Florida before a crowd of 4,000 supporters Monday in an airline hangar at Orlando-Sanford International Airport, saying his victory would give Americans a new sense of governing.

“I’ll bring people together,” Romney told those gathered. “I’ll not just represent one party. I’ll represent one nation.”

Romney spoke after a gallery of Florida leaders warmed-up the crowd, including former Gov. Jeb Bush and current Gov. Rick Scott. A request echoed through all the speakers — that supporters should call at least 10 friends and urge them to vote for Romney in the toss-up election.

“The stakes couldn’t be higher,” Bush said. (more…)

Romney to make closing Florida argument Monday in Sanford

Friday, November 2nd, 2012 by George Bennett

Mitt Romney will make a final stop in must-win Florida on Monday, scheduling an appearance in the crucial Interstate 4 corridor.

Romney will make a closing argument in Sanford at Orlando Sanford International Airport. He’s expected to campaign in Ohio and New Hampshire later in the day before Tuesday’s election.

President Obama‘s campaign announced Wednesday that Obama will appear Sunday in Hollywood at the McArthur High School football field. The Broward County appearance is probably the president’s final pre-election visit to Florida, though his Monday schedule has not been announced.

Presidential race now ‘The Million Ad March’

Friday, November 2nd, 2012 by John Kennedy

This year’s presidential race has already passed a major milestone — with more than 1 million TV ads airing in the contest for the first time in history.

As of Oct. 29, the two candidates, their party committees, and political spending groups had sponsored 1,015,615 ads since June 1, a 39.1% increase over the number seen in 2008 (730,041) and a 41% increase over 2004 (720,064), according to an analysis released Friday by the Wesleyan Media Project, based on data from Kantar Media/CMAG , which tracks advertising.

The Orlando market has seen the third highest level of presidential TV spots nationwide, with Miami ranked ninth. Denver leads the nation, followed by Las Vegas, according to the analysis.

The Obama campaign has paid for about 50 percent of all of the ads aired, out-advertising the Romney campaign by a 2.6 to 1 margin in both ads aired and estimated money spent.  But totaling all ads aired on behalf of either candidate, pro-Obama ads outnumber pro-Romney ads by  fewer than 50,000 (574,557 to 526,811).

Romney has been the overwhelming favorite of third-party spending organizations.

“The level of support for Gov. Romney from outside groups is simply incredible,” said Michael Franz,  project co-director.  “Groups supporting Romney out-advertised the candidate and party committees.  That is unprecedented in a presidential election.”


Bill Clinton in Lake Worth: Country is rebounding, Romney wants credit for Obama’s success

Friday, November 2nd, 2012 by Andrew Abramson

Supporters of President Obama and Mitt Romney rally outside the Duncan Theatre at Palm Beach State College to see Bill Clinton this morning. (Photo by Lannis Waters/The Post)

LAKE WORTH – Former President Bill Clinton, the country’s unofficial Secretary of Explaining Stuff, took the stage this morning in front of capacity crowd of 750 in a Palm Beach State College theater as Clinton kicked off a day of stumping for President Obama across Florida.

Clinton’s voice was hoarse but the ex-president was combative, saying GOP nominee Mitt Romney wants to be elected as president and take credit for an economy this is turning around under Obama.

Clinton said Romney recently promised 12 million new jobs in his first four years in office, while financial experts are already predicting 12 million jobs “if we don’t mess up what has already been done.”

“Romney’s approach is, ‘I look like a businessman, I talk like one, I know how to balance budgets, so vote for me and people will be so elated that I’m elected that you will get 12 million jobs in the next four years,’” Clinton said.

Clinton hammered Romney for being non-specific on his plans as president. Clinton also brought up Romney’s failure to release years of tax returns, an issue that dogged Romney over the summer.


UPDATE: Bill Clinton back in FL for five-city sweep including Palm Beach County tomorrow

Thursday, November 1st, 2012 by Dara Kam

UPDATE: President Bill Clinton, arguably the country’s most popular living president, will kick off a five-city Florida campaign blitz for President Obama tomorrow morning in Lake Worth. Clinton will appear at the Duncan Theater at Palm Beach State College’s Lake Worth. Doors open at 8 a.m., and Clinton is expected to speak around 9. Tickets aren’t required, but supporters can go online to sign up in advance here.

President Bill Clinton, President Barack Obama’s chief surrogate, will be back in Palm Beach County tomorrow as part of a five-city Florida sweep just days after his last visit to Orlando on Monday.

Clinton will hold rallies in Ft. Myers, Palm Bay, St. Petersburg, somewhere in Palm Beach County and Tallahassee in the crucial swing state where polls show Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney neck-and-neck.

With early voting underway, both campaigns have pulled out the stops in Florida in an effort to get voters to the polls before Tuesday’s election.

Campaigning today in Florida, Michelle Obama is stumping in Jacksonville, where she’ll be joined by R&B icon Stevie Wonder this afternoon, Daytona Beach and Miami. Clinton visited West Palm Beach in mid-September.

Obama was scheduled to join Clinton on Monday but instead took a several day campaign hiatus in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Yesterday, he toured the devastated New Jersey shoreline with Gov. Chris Cristie, one of Romney’s chief supporters and who delivered the keynote address at the RNC in Tampa this summer.

The president, back on the campaign trail today, will be back in Florida with a visit to Fort Lauderdale on Sunday.

Romney was joined by Gov. Jeb Bush at rallies in Tampa and Coral Gables yesterday and will return to Florida before Tuesday’s election.

Obama: ‘Reckless and wrong or steady and strong”

Thursday, October 25th, 2012 by Dara Kam

Two days before early voting begins in Florida, President Obama wooed an overflow crowd in Ybor City, echoing his recent campaign themes of GOP presidential foe Mitt Romney as “reckless and wrong” for the country.

Obama hammered Romney on women’s issues, accusing the former Massachusetts governor of wanting to “turn back the clock 50 years” on women’s reproductive rights and stressing his administration’s support for women’s health care in the federal health care policy.

“Women should be making their own health care decisions,” Obama said to a cheering crowd of more than 8,500 attendees. “That’s where it belongs and that’s where it will stay as long as I’m president.”

Under pressure from Romney’s campaign for a lack of details regarding his plan for a second term, Obama urged supporters to visit his website to check out his five-point plan.

But the president made a slight gaffe when reaching for a copy of the plan that had slipped off the podium.

“Where’s my plan?” he joked.

Brandon resident Sharon Troupe said she plans to cast her ballot for Obama on Saturday, the first day of early voting.

“He’s doing the best and we are improving. Mitt Romney just wants to take us back and we can’t have that,” she said.

Overflow crowd at Ybor park near Obama HQ for prez visit

Thursday, October 25th, 2012 by Dara Kam

A crowd appears to be spilling outside a city park blocks away from President Obama’s Florida campaign headquarters in anticipation of the Democrat’s appearance here shortly.

Former Gov. Charlie Crist, who’s been stumping with the president, spoke briefly at 8:30 this morning at Centennial Park. The crowd greeted Crist, a Republican-turned-independent who lives in nearby St. Petersburg, with a huge cheer.

The one-time U.S. Senate candidate reminded Obama supporters of the president’s aid to the state during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the awarding of $2.4 billion for a high-speed rail project in Central Florida. Gov. Rick Scott rejected the federal funds.

“He had our back. Florida, it’s time for us to have his back,” Crist said, echoing a line he’s frequently used promoting the president,” Crist said.

Obama, back in swing-state Florida after campaigning in Delray Beach Tuesday morning following Monday night’s final presidential debate Monday night, is expected to speak at 9 a.m.

Scott: Foreign policy? It’s all about jobs

Monday, October 22nd, 2012 by Dara Kam

In the spin room at Lynn University, Gov. Rick Scott said that tonight’s presidential debate should center on one thing: Jobs.

That’s no surprise, since Scott ran his own gubernatorial campaign two years ago on the same agenda. Scott promised to create 700,000 jobs in seven years.

So Scott offered a job-centric prediction of what to expect from Romney tonight.

“He’s going to continue to do the same thing he’s talked about. He’s going to talk about the two paths. He’s going to explain the fact that this whole election is about jobs, just like my race in 2010. And his path for job creation is going to be the key thing,” Scott said.

But tonight’s debate is focused on foreign policy, a reporter pointed out to Scott.

“Foreign policy is all about jobs. It’s all about how we create predictability so businesses want to invest so we can get more jobs. This race 100 percent about jobs. The foreign policy focus is just like cars. How do we participate in a global economy, how do we get more jobs for America,” Scott said.

Don’t touch that dial: WPB ranks 4th in nation in political advertising

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012 by John Kennedy

No wonder Palm Beach County TV viewers keep the remote close at hand.

A new study by the Sunlight Foundation, a non-profit campaign tracker, shows that the West Palm Beach media market is ranked fourth in the nation when it comes to the number of political ad spots airing.

 With the Orlando market ranked second, Florida is living up to its reputation as the nation’s biggest toss-up state in the presidential race by being the only state that has two cities in Sunlight’s top 10.

Las Vegas is drawing the most ads, according to the foundation’s searchable website:

Along with the presidential contest, Florida’s flood of campaign advertising is advanced by some hot congressional raceds in the Orlando and West Palm Beach area — and a U.S. Senate contest already featuring millions of dollars in spending by outside political committees.

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.

Romney coming to Port St. Lucie on Sunday

Thursday, October 4th, 2012 by George Bennett

Mitt Romney, buoyed by strong Wednesday night debate performance against President Obama, will spend three days campaigning in critical Florida, wrapping up with a rally Sunday in Port St. Lucie.

The Romney campaign had already announced a Friday rally in St. Petersburg.

There’s a Saturday rally in Apopka in Central Florida.

And Romney will appear Sunday at Tradition Town Square in Port St. Lucie. Doors open for the event at 12:45 p.m. with the program scheduled to begin at 3:10 p.m.


Romney to campaign in St. Petersburg on Friday

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012 by George Bennett

Mitt Romney will appear at a rally in St. Petersburg at Pier Park on Friday, his campaign announced today.

Romney last visited the crucial Sunshine State on Sept. 19 and 20, taping a Univision interview in Miami, appearing at a rally in Fort Myers and raising money in North Palm Beach.

Poll: Prez race deadlocked in Florida, but Nelson has breathing room

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012 by John Kennedy

Another poll Wednesday shows the race between President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney deadlocked in Florida, but gives Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson more breathing room in his contest with Republican Connie Mack IV.

Obama holds a 47-46 percent lead over Romney in a survey of 890 likely voters, according to the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, which conducted the Sept. 20-Oct. 1 poll for NBC News and the Wall Street Journal. The survey has a 3.3 percent margin-of-error.

Nelson, however, commands an 11 percentage point lead over Mack among likely voters, 52-41 percent, with only 7 percent undecided.

Suffolk University in Boston released a poll Tuesday showing Obama up by 3 percentage points in Florida, within that survey’s margin-of-error. Nelson held a more modest, 6 percentage point lead, Suffolk found.

In Marist’s survey of the presidential race, Obama has lost some of his once-sizable lead among women voters in Florida. A month ago, Obama held a 12 percentage point lead over Romney among women voters — with the margin now down to 3 percent in the latest survey.

Romney, too, has lost some of his dominance among men. Once ahead of Obama by 4 percentage points among men, Romney’s edge is now one percent, Marist found.

In Florida’s Senate contest, Nelson holds a six percentage point lead over Mack among men and a 15 percent margin among women voters.


Poll: Obama, Nelson still up in Florida — but wild cards abound

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012 by John Kennedy

A new poll shows President Obama holding a narrow lead over Republican Mitt Romney in Florida — with the state still living up to its toss-up status.

While Obama appeared to be widening his distance over Romney nationwide last week, Suffolk’s survey of 600 registered voters in Florida shows Obama’s 3 percentage point lead remains within the poll’s margin-of-error. Obama was up 46-43 percent, with seven percent of voters undecided.

“On the eve of the first debate, both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney know the importance of each percentage point in a state like Florida,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston.  “Not only are the remaining undecided voters critical, but so are the voters of all the third-party candidates here – and there are many.”

 The Suffolk University/7NEWS (WSVN-Miami) survey is the first taken in Florida this year that includes all 12 of the candidates who qualified to appear as presidential contenders on the Florida ballot.

 Libertarian Gary Johnson, Green Party nominee Jill Stein, and Peace and Freedom Party nominee Roseanne Barr were each favored by 1 percent of voters polled. In a state where the George W. Bush and Al Gore’s epic 2000 election deadlock was helped by third-party candidate Ralph Nader, these also-rans could loom as a factor in Florida’s final count.

The Florida Senate race also looks tougher to call in Suffolk’s survey.

Although Democrat Bill Nelson has built a commanding lead in many polls, Suffolk showed him holding a 40-34 percent lead over Republican Connie Mack, with 20 percent of voters still undecided.

 Other contenders on the Florida Senate ballot, Chris Borgia and Bill Gaylor, gain 4 percent and 1 percent, respectively, of the vote in the poll.


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.

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