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Florida Democratic Party News Clips — February 22, 2013

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ONE THING DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS CAN AGREE ON: NOBODY LIKES RICK SCOTT 

Rick Scott's New Ideology? 'Getting Re-Elected,' Some Say [Tampa Bay Times] "The controversial former health care executive launched his political career on fighting the Affordable Care Act, only to jump on board Wednesday and call for a dramatic expansion of Medicaid in Florida. Likewise he promised to crack down on illegal immigrants on the campaign trail, but has done nothing in office. Candidate Scott vowed to shrink state government, and indeed his first budget unveiled at a tea party gathering included dramatic cuts to education. Today? He wants to give every teacher a raise and boasts of how much money he spends on schools. ‘I can tell you what his ideology is: getting re-elected,’ scoffed John Long, chairman of the Tea Party of Florida."

“Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, remains skeptical of the Medicaid expansion, and said that former Gov. Jeb Bush advised against the expansion during a recent private meeting with lawmakers. ‘When I first heard he (Scott) was considering it, I was surprised," Weatherford said.’

Florida Governor Outrages Conservatives With Call To Expand Medicaid [Raw Story] "Florida governor Rick Scott, one of the sharpest critics of President Obama’s healthcare law, announced late Wednesday that he wanted the state to participate in an optional portion of the law after all…'I am terribly disappointed in [Scott's] decision to expand Medicaid in Florida,' Erick Erickson of the conservative blog Red State wrote. 'As one of the chief opponents of Obamacare and, before it, Hillarycare.'"

Adam Putnam On Rick Scott: Expanding Medicaid For 3 Years 'Naive' [Miami Herald] "Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam openly bashed Gov. Rick Scott's call to expand Medicaid under the federal health care law, first at a Thursday appearance at the Florida Retail Federation and again in an interview. 'It is naive at best to think that you would enroll 1 million people in three years and then decide to walk away from the program,' he said in an interview, referring to Scott's proposal to undo the expansion if the federal government withdraws money or if the Legislature chooses not to renew it.

Rick Scott Accepts Reality [New York Times] 

Florida Gov. Rick Scott Reverses Stance On Medicaid. Win For White House? [Christian Science Monitor] 

Fla. Gov. Turnabout On Health Care Angers Allies [AP] 
Republicans Stunned, Democrats Happy With Scott's Medicaid Decision [The Florida Current] 

Obama Admin. Encouraged By Health Law Progress [AP] 

 

…AND THE HITS KEEP COMING FOR SCOTT

Scott Spins Subpar Economic Data Into 'Reason To Brag' [Miami Herald] "Gov. Rick Scott continued to tout a drop in Florida’s unemployment rate Thursday, despite objective data from economists that say the reduction is nothing to celebrate. We covered this dissonance yesterday, and last month, so check out the full fact-check here.  Specifically, Scott grabbed two data points that actually indicate an underperforming economy, and used them to boost his record. 

Time For Enterprise Florida To Answer Some Questions [Tampa Tribune Op-Ed] "In a stunning admission from Enterprise Florida's chief operating officer in front of a legislative committee in Tallahassee, the organization is unable to assure that the money it receives from Florida taxpayers is being used to hire Floridians…The taxpayers of Florida deserve better than the secrecy and lack of accountability exhibited by Enterprise Florida."

Scott’s Poly University Faces Scrutiny Over $25 Million Request [Lakeland Ledger] "The State University System Board of Governors wants a detailed accounting of why Florida Polytechnic University's leaders intend to ask for an additional $25 million to set up the school. Dean Colson, chair of the Board of Governors, mentioned during a Thursday meeting that he wrote to Florida Polytechnic Chairman Rob Gidel to ask that he attend next month's BOG meeting."

 

FL DEMS BLAST FL GOP CONGRESSMEN ON SEQUESTER

Palm Beach County Dem Congressmen Urge Support For Obama’s ‘Balanced’ Fix For Deficit [Palm Beach Post] “The Florida Democratic Party organized a conference call Thursday to blast the cuts and to accuse three Republicans in Florida’s delegation — Reps. Steve Southerland, Daniel Webster and Bill Young — of blocking a deal because they want to preserve “tax breaks for millionaires and corporations.'"

 

FL DEMS PUSH GOP ON ELECTIONS REFROM PROPOSALS

House Gives Dems Minimum Number of Early Voting Hours [Tampa Bay Times] "A House committee gave Democrats a victory in the hard-fought effort to find a fix to the long lines at the polls that embarrassed the state during the last election. The House Appropriations Committee unanimously passed a bill to extend early voting hours, provide voters with more polling places for early voting and give elections officials more flexibility in setting the early voting sites. The measure, which restores 14 days of early voting and imposes a maximum of 168 hours, restores many of the changes made in 2011."

 

RIVERA SUSPECT FACES FEDERAL CHARGES

Suspect In David Rivera Campaign-finance Scandal To Be Charged Friday With Federal Crimes [Miami Herald] "A former candidate under FBI investigation with former U.S. Rep David Rivera is scheduled to be charged Friday with federal crimes over his campaign finances, sources tell The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald. The charges against Justin Lamar Sternad stem from an investigation by The Herald, which first found discrepancies in his congressional campaign finance reports last August. The FBI then began investigating Sternad, whose reports could have concealed as much as $100,000 in services and mailers, some of which attacked a Democratic rival of Rivera, who is a Republican."

 

WEATHERFORD TAKING SCOTT’S PLACE IN THE TEA PARTY

Weatherford Picked As ‘Rising Elected Leader’ To Address CPAC [Orlando Sentinel] "House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, is one of a nine 'rising elected leaders' who have been invited to address CPAC, the mega-gathering of Republican conservatives hosted by the American Conservative Union. 'We are thrilled to welcome these young elected leaders to the CPAC stage, as they represent the bright future of the conservative movement,' said ACU Chairman Al Cardenas, a former chairman of the Republican Party of Florida."