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FDP News Clips -- May 9, 2012

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THE GOP'S HISPANIC PROBLEM ON DISPLAY GOP fumbles Hispanic outreach [Miami Herald] "They were supposed to be introducing the team whose savvy grassroots work would sway the nation’s 12 million Hispanic voters to the Republican Party in six battleground states, including Florida. Instead, the Republican National Committee demonstrated Tuesday just how far behind it is in persuading Latino voters to pick former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney over President Barack Obama. When asked what they’d tell voters about Romney’s tough immigration talk, Bettina Inclan, the RNC National Hispanic outreach director, replied: He is 'still deciding what his position on immigration is.' Oops."

Republicans' appeal to Florida's Hispanic voters off to bumpy start [Tampa Bay Times] "Republicans called a meeting Tuesday to show off their Hispanic voter outreach, pledging an aggressive effort in Florida and other key states that will focus on the economy. They showed off, instead, how much work the GOP and Mitt Romney have to do."

The GOP’s Latino problem – from the mouth of the GOP  [Orlando Sentinel] "No one has made the case about the GOP’s current problems on this front in more starker terms than Steve Schmidt, a former spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee and senior strategist for John McCain’s presidential campaign. This is what Schmidt said on MSNBC last month: 'If you look at the Republican Party as a whole … If we had a deliberate strategy to antagonize every Latino voter in this country, it’s not possible that we could have done a better job.'"

AND ROMNEY DOES'T JUST HAVE A HISPANIC PROBLEM…Enthusiasm For Romney Runs Low In Fla. Panhandle [NPR] "But in the primary, Romney struggled in the Panhandle of the Sunshine State — a bastion of conservative voters. And it might take more convincing for them to really get behind the former Massachusetts governor."

RUBIO SIDES WITH TEA PARTY OVER STUDENTS Nelson, Rubio split on student loan rates [Tampa Tribune] "Florida Democratic Party spokeswoman Brannon Jordan said Rubio 'has again put the interests of the Tea Party ahead of Florida’s families,' and state College Dems President Tim Mason said he was 'appalled that Senator Rubio would stand in the way of keeping student loan rates low.'"

Rubio Votes To Block Student Loan Interest Rate Extension [Beach Peanuts] "As far as Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio are concerned, if you weren't born with a silver spoon in your mouth, or found a way to get someone else like, say the Republican Party, to pay your bills for you, well too bad for you."

MACK'S MISTAKES CONTINUE Ooops. Connie Mack mistakenly misspends tax money on penny-plan pitch to save tax money [Miami Herald] "Taxpayer-funded mailers highlighting Rep. Connie Mack's "penny plan" -- a proposal he's also pitching as a Senate candidate -- are landing in mailboxes outside the congressman's district, an apparent violation of House rules."

From the twitters, via @LearyReports:  More reports of Connie Mack's far-flung taxpayer-funded mailer. Lutz and Miami Beach residents got them as well. 

VERN BUCHANAN (BACK) UNDER FIRE Congressman Vern Buchanan under fire [WTSP] "Although the wealthy Republican dodged a bullet on charges he violated federal election laws, regardless of what the Ethics Committee decides, Buchanan faces other severe legal problems. 'We're talking about thousands of fraudulent transactions, thousands," said consumer advocate Duane Overholt.'" WATCH THE VIDEO HERE.

EDUCATION UNDER ASSAULT EVERY DAY UNDER THE "EDUCATION GOVERNOR"

UM medical school to lay off up to 800 [Miami Herald] "State budget cuts, less research money, lower compensation from insurers and cutbacks in payments by Jackson Health System made the changes necessary, Shalala said during a meeting at the Miami Herald."

Add more cooks [Gainesville Sun Editorial] "Between slashing state university funding by $300 million, creating an expensive, unnecessary new university and denying UF and Florida State the means to make up for crippling budget cuts by raising tuition, Gov. Rick Scott wants to make sure that universities "don't waste any dollars.""

MeanwhileGov. Rick Scott’s top advisor arranged $5 million no-bid contract in Senate [Times/Herald] "When the Florida Senate was looking for someone to put its budget data online, it set aside $5.5 million and turned to the business partner of a close friend of the Senate’s chief of staff at the time, Steve MacNamara."

OTHER NEWS WE THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Mitt Romney denounced 'abortive pill' coverage, but will raise money in Miami with its maker [Think Progress] "The Romney campaign will be doing a major fundraising blitz across Florida, including an event 'at the Star Island manse of pharmaceutical magnate Phil and Pat Frost where dinner costs $50,000.' Who is Dr. Phil Frost? He is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Teva Pharmaceuticals, a major manufacturer of contraceptives. Its North American website prominently advertises several forms of contraception, including Plan B One Step, which Romney previously denounced as an 'abortive pill.

Legislators suppressed vote without evidence of fraud. [Orlando Sentinel Guest Column] "Florida is the voter-suppression capital of the United States…Government has the responsibility to make the exercise of that right as easy as possible, consistent with good election management. At the least, officials should encourage more voters, not make it more difficult for voters to register and cast their ballots." 

Robert L. Knight: Florida's ‘perfect storm' water crisis [Gainesville Sun] "The fact is our springs are not just being stressed by an historic drought. The groundwater aquifer that feeds these springs is being pumped at the highest rate in recorded history. And to add 'insult to injury' these springs are being exposed to the highest groundwater nitrate nitrogen contamination ever observed."