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FDP News Clips -- May 8, 2012

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LAST NIGHT: EMPTY CHAIR CONNIE MISSES THREE MORE VOTES — see here, here and here

Not the first timeConnie Mack skips out on big votes, hits trail instead [Politico]; Mack, campaigning in South Florida, misses big vote [Tampa Bay Times]; Missed votes could be issue for Connie Mack as U.S. Senate campaign heats up [Tampa Bay Times]; Mack has missed dozens of votes due to political activity [Tallahassee Democrat] 

The California Congressman? [Times/Herald] "Seeking a new angle against Connie Mack, U.S. Senate candidate George LeMieux is trying to amplify questions about where Mack spends his time outside Washington. Mack's wife, Rep. Mary Bono Mack is from California, but he says he's rarely there. LeMieux says he should prove it with travel records."

New LeMieux video asks where Connie Mack really lives [Crowley Report] "Mack insists he spends most of his spare time in Florida. In fact, Mack told BizPacReview.com that he was in California last year "maybe 11 days."His rival for the GOP senate nomination, George LeMieux, has a new video that suggests that Mack is lying. LeMieux, who is in a fierce struggle to win the nomination, has so far been largely ignored by Mack."

Does Bill McCollum’s endorsement mean anything anymore? [Political Hurricane] "This also begs the question…are only the political lightweights going to endorse Mack? While the major players might support him as the nominee, will they stay quiet before then? The fact that Mack is going to have a 'major announcement'  today doesn’t say much when it is associate with the name Bill McCollum."

OFA LAUNCHES NEW SPANISH LANGUAGE ADS Obama’s campaign releases new Spanish-language ads featuring Central Florida volunteer focusing on health care, family  [Orlando Sentinel]  "The Florida ad hits several fronts in Obama’s campaign to win Hispanic voters here. It focuses on family, it hints at economic issues (noting that some families have lost everything when they got sick and could not afford insurance) and it centers on Central Florida, showing an Orlando activist visiting a Kissimmee family."

COLLEGE DEMS PUSH RUBIO  Florida College Democrats push Rubio for student loan relief [Orlando Sentinel] "Groups of student members of Florida College Democrats turned at at the offices of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Miami, here in Orlando and in other Florida cities today seeking help with student loan interest rates."

Rubio: "I'm not a Rob Portman in terms of experience around this place" [The Hill] "It's a hint that Rubio sees Portman as a strong, fellow challenger for the spot, and might even be a slight dig at his establishment ties." 

ON THE CONGRESSIONAL FRONT — "UGLY" GOP PRIMARY, ALLEN WEST DROPS A HITLER REFERENCE

Redistricting leads to ugly GOP vs. GOP races [AP] "'I'm not embarrassed about anything I've done' the 69-year-old Mica said firmly. He should be, suggests a rival, first-term Republican Rep. Sandy Adams, a former deputy sheriff and state lawmaker whose tea party-juiced campaign propelled her to Washington in 2010. A proud member of the hard-charging, 87-member GOP freshmen class, Adams argues that the big-time spending of longtime lawmakers like Mica contributed to the nation's skyrocketing debt and this year's estimated $1.2 trillion budget deficit."

Republicans Expect Ugly Florida Primary [Roll Call] "It’s a race that will pit the establishment against the tea party, seniority against grass roots, the old culture of earmarking against the one of new fiscal austerity, and a Member with significant resources against one with a lot less. 'It’s going to get ugly, man,' one top Tallahassee Republican said with a sigh. 'They’re going to kick the tar out of each other.'” 

Rep. Allen West: Obama’s meeting with Karzai a ‘Chamberlain, Hitler moment’ [Raw Story] "Rep. Allen West, a tea party Republican from Florida, on Monday compared the draw down of U.S. troops in Afghanistan to the appeasement of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, according to Right Wing Watch."

Millionaires keep getting breaks at nation's expense [Palm Beach Post guest column] "The Ryan tax plan is extreme, regressive, widens the era of inequality, and would increase the deficit"

THE EDUCATION GOVERNOR? HARDLY

Chopping higher education [Tampa Tribune Editorial] "One investment has consistently proved its ability to create jobs, build wealth and generate new enterprises: higher education. Yet Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leaders are allowing the state university system to languish, cutting higher education by more than 25 percent since 2008, though the universities have gained more than 20,000 students during that time. State leaders slashed $300 million this year, even as they created a new university, Florida Polytechnic, a half-baked venture that will be a drain on scarce dollars. This is no way to revive the state's economy."

Budget cuts could kill UF journalism, music libraries [Gainesville Sun] "The University of Florida might close its journalism and music libraries as a result of budget cuts."

At USF Poly's last commencement, Dockery laments poor leadership [Tampa Bay Times] "At Monday's ceremony, Dockery, a Lakeland Republican, praised students who joined her to fight against the split — even in the face, she said, of 'what can only be described as a textbook example of the antithesis of leadership.'"

OTHER NEWS WE THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW 

Florida Cabinet trip to the Keys doesn’t come cheap [Times/Herald] "These Florida field trips aren't cheap, especially when home is the out-of-the-way Tallahassee, where flights are often expensive and inconvenient. That's especially true when it's destination middle-of-nowhere, population 8,000…But for him and his aides to attend alongside Attorney General Pam Bondi, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and their staffs, the cost to taxpayers is at least $5,180."

Aww Rick Scott to reporters: You're mean to my chief of staff [News Service of Florida] "The governor says, 'You guys are mean to poor Steve MacNamara. He’s out there working his tail off and you guys write these mean things about him.'”

Will the Silver Springs become all dried up? [Ocala Editorial Column] "Over the course of those eight decades, the average flow has measured 727 cubic feet per second (cfs). The highest measurement was in 1960, at 1,130 cfs. The lowest was, well, last month…They say numbers don't lie. Let's hope the St. Johns River Water Management District board takes time to seek a little truth."