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FDP News Clips -- May 1, 2012

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"NOW OBVIOUSLY IN HINDSIGHT, IT LOOKS BAD RIGHT" Rubio faces credit card, Rivera, mortgage questions [Politico] "In an interview last night with Fox News's Bret Baier, the Florida senator fielded a series of questions about three of the top known issues that could snag him in VP vetting: how he used his Republican Party of Florida credit card, his friendship with embattled Rep. David Rivera and a foreclosure threat on a house he and Rivera owned…These questions could be enough to spook the Republicans vetting a running mate for Mitt Romney. Just as important is the fact that these are the issues that are already out there in public, before the VP vetting process even begins in earnest." WATCH VIDEO HERE

$8,000 fine for Marco Rubio was not his first from FEC [Tampa Bay Times] "As a ranking state legislator, Rubio routinely charged personal expenses to his party-issued credit card from 2006 to 2008. Rubio also acknowledged double-billing state taxpayers and the party for eight plane fares to Tallahassee, calling it a mistake. He said he reimbursed personal expenses on the credit card and repaid the party for the flights. Those issues, first reported by the Times/Herald, were part of a citizen ethics complaint during the 2010 Senate race that Rubio was using political funds to 'subsidize his lifestyle.'"

In Fox interview, Rubio explains use of GOP credit card, friendship with David Rivera [Tampa Bay Times] "In an interview on Fox News that just ended, Sen. Marco Rubio defended his use of a Republican Party of Florida credit card and said he would stick by his friend, embattled Rep. David Rivera."

Some in GOP try to make case against Rubio as Romney's VP [Miami Herald] "On Valentine’s Day two years ago, the campaign sent out a mock Valentine’s candy sampler that listed 10 made-up sweets dinging Rubio for everything from his 'Coconut Carbon Tax” to his 'Hazelnut Hypo- crisy.' 'Marco Rubio is like a box of chocolates,' the sampler said. 'You never know what you’re gonna get.'

MeanwhileSen. Rubio's vote on Violence Against Women Act draws controversy [News-Press] "Sen. Marco Rubio – a strong contender for the GOP vice-presidential nomination – is finding his vote against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act to be a source of controversy."

FDP'S STATEMENT ON REDISTRICTING DECISIONS: "Last fall, Florida voters overwhelmingly demanded an end to partisan gerrymandering and incumbent protection. The Florida Democratic Party led an unprecedented effort to ensure that the will of the people was heard in the redistricting process and to hold the Republican-led Legislature accountable to Florida's Constitution. We remain concerned about elements of the map and we will continue to evaluate our legal options moving forward. We have and will always be on the side of Florida voters in calling for fairness, transparency, and accountability from Florida's elected officials." 

SCOTT AND GOP SLAMMED AGAIN ON EDUCATION Retrenchment [Gainesville Sun Editorial] "First Gov. Scott signed a new state budget that cut $300 million in state university spending. Then he signed a bill to create an expensive new "polytechnic" university that will surely cannibalize the resources of existing institutions. Then he vetoed a bill that would have allowed UF and Florida State to make up for crippling state budget cuts with tuition rates higher than state law currently allows."

Florida's pre-K programs need improvement [Tampa Bay Times column] "Florida may have the nation's highest voluntary pre-K enrollment, but we certainly can't brag about our teachers' qualifications or the per-child investment. We are giving lip service to the future. When will we get serious about pre-K education and demand improvements?"

Florida Poly Will Take Time to Set Up, Brogan Says [Lakeland Ledger] "Frank Brogan, chancellor of the State University System of Florida, said Monday there is no way the new Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland can open for classes this fall."

FLSEN: TIME FOR "REPUBLICAN PLAN B" [Wall Street Journal] "Disgruntled with the current crop of GOP candidates, Florida Republicans are clamoring for another conservative to jump into the Senate race—and for good reason. A new Rasmussen poll has Mr. Nelson leading the Republican heir apparent, Rep. Connie Mack, by 11 points."

ON THE CONGRESSIONAL FRONT — WEST COMMENTS DAMAGING GOP BRAND 

Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem [Washington Post column] "Rep. Allen West, a Florida Republican, was recently captured on video asserting that there are “78 to 81” Democrats in Congress who are members of the Communist Party. Of course, it’s not unusual for some renegade lawmaker from either side of the aisle to say something outrageous. What made West’s comment — right out of the McCarthyite playbook of the 1950s — so striking was the almost complete lack of condemnation from Republican congressional leaders or other major party figures, including the remaining presidential candidates."

West's communist comment about Democrats continues to reverberate [Palm Beach Post] "From a comic's barb at the White House Correspondents' dinner to a colleague's slap at a Forum Club of the Palm Beaches luncheon, Republican U.S. Rep. Allen West has caused a stir with his recent accusation that as many as 81 congressional Democrats are communists."

West Accuses Deutch Of Taking A “Cheap Shot” Against Him [FLDemocracy2012] "Rep. Allen West (R-FL) and Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) faced off at a forum on healthcare Monday at the Palm Beach County Convention Center."

OTHER NEWS WE THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW 

For Florida Republicans, a humid Siberia [Tampa Bay Times Column] "This is a bit like being invited to a fancy-schmancy soiree and then forcing the hosts to sit at the kiddie table with the addled uncle from the attic…When the ascots of the Republican Party gather in Tampa this summer for their presidential nominating coronation, Florida's delegation will be relegated to the political desert equivalent of where Moses lost his sandals."

Hendry Dems To Pick Convention Delegates [SW Florida Online] "On Saturday, May 5, Hendry County Democrats will vote on delegates to attend the 2012 Florida Democratic Convention to be held in Tampa June 1 - 3."