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Florida Democratic Party News Clips - August 13, 2013

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PANAMA CITY NEWS JOURNAL TO RICK SCOTT: "IF OUR SCHOOLS ARE BROKEN, IT CAN'T BE WORKING"

What's not working [Panama City News Journal] "The future is a battle for Macintosh jobs, not McDonald’s jobs. And in that fight, our schools matter. Thus, what has happened over the last few weeks in Florida’s education system opposes Gov. Scott’s re-election slogan that here in Florida, 'it’s working.' Our schools faced a massive increase in failures. School grades were arbitrarily changed to forge passing marks. Tony Bennett, the education commissioner and master of that forgery, resigned in light of exposure of a politically motivated grade-changing scandal at his previous post in Indiana. The Department of Education sits crumbling and leaderless. Fake as many Fs to look like Bs as you want; Bennett was a harbinger of a failing public school system...We hope that Gov. Scott does get it and that he has a sense of how crucial this moment is. He should seek out a substantive, politically independent leader to replace the disgraced Bennett. Because as far as Florida’s economy goes, if our school’s are broken, it can’t be working."

 

RICK SCOTT UNABLE TO TAKE THE HEAT OF TOUGH QUESTIONS

Rick Scott's media strategy [Tampa Bay Times] "Bloomberg's Tolu Olorunnipa senses a trend with how Gov. Rick Scott responds to unwelcome questions from reporters. From Tolu's Twitter stream earlier today: 'Asked about his friendship with Maroño, Gov. Scott didn't directly respond.' '... or attacking his potential opponents, Scott has side-stepped the questions'...Rick Scott Rushed Away By Staff After 'Stand Your Ground' Question...'Scott has stayed on message, sidestepping questions about the politics of purging voters before his re-election' bid...Does Gov. Scott support special $52 million deal for his donor? He won't say...Scott declined two opportunities to speak publicly on the matter Tuesday, saying he had not read the AP report...Florida Governor Rick Scott dodges question on vetting of Jennifer Carroll."

 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: GOP LEGISLATORS SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO DEPRIVE CERTAIN FLORIDIANS COVERAGE

Denying health coverage isn't progress [Tampa Bay Times] "By refusing to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, Florida's Republican-controlled Legislature left a million poor residents without health care coverage and turned away billions in federal money. Senate President Don Gaetz sent a list of questions to the Obama administration this summer that ask for more flexibility and has not received a response. The administration should answer with a resounding 'no,' because states should not be given a loophole that allows them to deprive some needy residents of coverage. The reason the state rejected an estimated $51 billion in federal money from Medicaid expansion over 10 years was because House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, does not want to cover working poor adults."

 

"IT'S MORE THAN A LITTLY HYPOCRITICAL TO UNDERCUT HEALTH CARE REFORM AT EVERY TURN AND THEN COMPLAIN IT ISN'T WORKING"

Health care politics vs. reality [Tampa Bay Times] "First the Republican-controlled House voted for the 40th time to repeal the Affordable Care Act in whole or part. Then as members departed for their August recess, Republicans were handed instructions for an 'Obamacare media tour,' a negative campaign playbook to follow in their home districts. Yet the truth is the law is already succeeding at improving health care coverage for millions of Americans, and the coming online insurance exchanges will save consumers money in many states. The situation is less certain in Florida, where consumers are paying the price for Republican attempts in Tallahassee to sabotage the law at every turn...Florida's Republican leaders claim to be standing with the people on health insurance, but they have abandoned to the federal government the job of protecting the state's consumers from being gouged. It's more than a little hypocritical to undercut health care reform at every turn and then complain it isn't working as well as expected."

 

GAINESVILLE SUN: CONSERVATIVES' POLITICAL THEATER PUTS HEALTH OF YOUNG PEOPLE AT RISK

Political tantrum [Gainesville Sun] "Opponents of the Affordable Care Act lost the legislative battle over the law, the Supreme Court fight over its constitutionality and the last presidential race. So now they're having the political equivalent of a temper tantrum. Some Republican lawmakers, including Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, are threatening a government shutdown in an effort to defund the health care law, known as Obamacare. Conservative groups are urging young adults to not buy insurance from new online exchanges that open Oct. 1 for enrollment. FreedomWorks is calling on young adults to burn their Obamacare draft cards — or since there is no such thing, fake draft cards created by the conservative advocacy group. A group official told the Washington Post that the effort is meant to 'make it socially acceptable to skip the exchange and pay the fine.' It's galling that the group would play games with the health of young people to make a political point."

 

FALLOUT FROM BENNETT'S RESIGNATION CONTINUES TO DOG JEB BUSH

Education scandals cast cloud over Jeb Bush’s presidential prospects [Miami Herald] "Nobody felt the sting of former state Education Commissioner Tony Bennett’s resignation quite like Jeb Bush. Bush played a key role in recruiting Bennett from Indiana and was among his most ardent supporters — even after Bennett became entangled in an alleged grade-fixing flap. When Bennett stepped down on Aug. 1, it was the latest in a string of setbacks for Bush, who has spent the last five years pushing an ambitious education reform agenda across the country. Earlier this summer, Bush’s signature model of grading schools on an A-to-F scale came under attack in Florida. Then came a crushing wave of criticism from tea party groups, which oppose the new national standards Bush is promoting. The political fallout could be significant."

Jeb Bush’s education legacy loses luster [Politico] "Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has built his political career on a relentless drive to improve public schools – or, as he likes to put it, to help all children achieve their 'God-given potential.' But in a startling turnabout, an education record that has looked to be an unvarnished plus for Bush may now be a liability. Long viewed as a potential contender in the 2016 presidential race, Bush has taken considerable heat from activists on the right in recent months for his support of the Common Core, academic standards that have been promoted by the Obama administration and adopted by 45 states and D.C. Several of his potential rivals for a GOP nomination, among them Senators Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, have outflanked him by coming out against the Common Core, which many tea-party activists see as a heavy-handed federal intrusion into local control of education."

  

PRESIDENT OBAMA SPEAKS TO DISABLED VETERANDS IN ORLANDO

In Orlando, President Barack Obama pledges to care for veterans new and old [Tampa Bay Times] "A dozen wartime years are winding down, but the job of caring for veterans new and old is only just beginning, President Barack Obama told thousands of veterans in Orlando on Saturday. 'So long as I'm the United States' president, I will make it my mission to make sure that America is right there beside you every step of the way,' Obama told the Disabled American Veterans National Convention. 'This time of war may be coming to an end, but the job of caring for veterans goes on, and our work caring for our newest veterans has only just begun.'"