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Florida Democratic Party News Clips — February 27

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Flying over Mitt Romney at the Daytona 500: "Mitt Romney: Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" [Politico]. Asked if he follows NASCAR while at the race: 'Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans… 'But I have some friends who are NASCAR team owners." [AP]

FDP Chairman Rod Smith in Naples: Republicans Debate, Obama Wins [Naples Daily News] "'I think the president has benefited greatly from the performance of the Republicans in their debates,' Smith said before the gala. 'If we had any extra money tonight, I would like to spend it on additional Republican presidential debates. Every time they debate, he (Obama) wins.'"

**Introducing Jessica Ehrlich for Congress** Democrats think Jessica Ehrlich could pose strong challenge to U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young [Tampa Bay Times] "'It’s time for Washington to stop its petty arguing and get down to the serious business of creating jobs, investing in our future, and improving the lives of all Americans,' Ehrlich, 38, said in a statement. “'I have worked with both Democrats and Republicans in Washington, and I know what’s possible when our representatives put the good of the American people before partisanship.'"

CONNIE MACK STORY ROLLS INTO WEEK 3

Winner of the week: Bill Nelson [Tampa Bay Times] "George LeMieux's campaign is calling Connie Mack the Charlie Sheen of Florida politics due to his history of bar brawls. Mack's campaign calls LeMieux an offensive embarrassment. Looks like an especially nasty Republican U.S. Senate primary is just beginning, while incumbent Democrat Nelson enjoys the show and keeps filling his campaign account."

LeMieux releases new web video: "Two and a Half Macks" [SaintPetersBlog] Watch the video here.

Sorry, Charlies! George LeMieux and Connie Mack Spar Over Crist and Sheen [Sunshine State News] "Sen. George LeMieux continued to hammer his GOP rival and looked to play a little political judo over former Gov. Charlie Crist."

SPEAKING OF REPUBLICANS BEHAVING BADLY…

Buchanan’s widening problems getting more national attention [Herald Tribune] "The FEC has fined three of Buchanan’s former car dealership businesses for organizing illegal campaign donations to support Buchanan’s past campaigns for Congress. The FEC investigated Buchanan directly for 10 months, but ultimately voted not to pursue charges against the Congressman himself or his campaign. The House Ethics Committee is examining Buchanan’s financial disclosure reports after they became aware that Buchanan had business holdings he previously did not report to Congress as is required by law.And the U.S. Justice Department is reviewing an undisclosed matter. The New York Times, citing unnamed sources, reported that a federal grand jury is hearing evidence in Tampa related to Buchanan, but offered no further details about what exactly the subject matter is."

Norman signs admission of guilt for not reporting $500,000 loan [Tampa Tribune] “State Sen. Jim Norman has signed a consent order with the Florida Commission on Ethics admitting he violated the law when he did not disclose a $500,000 loan from a political supporter to his wife.'

LEGISLATURE/GOVERNOR/CABINET

Gov. Rick Scott drops Florida's membership in governors group [Miami Herald] "Scott will be in Washington, though. He and his wife, Ann Scott, will fly in Sunday for what many governors and their spouses consider the highlight of the annual weekend in Washington: a black tie dinner hosted by the president and first lady at the White House."

Bondi's needless contraception crusade [Tampa Bay Times editorial] Attorney General Pam Bondi is dragging Florida into an unnecessary moral crusade. By signing on to a multistate federal lawsuit challenging the contraception coverage requirement in the health care reform law, Bondi is choosing the most narrow thinking in the Catholic Church over the rights of Florida women.

Short sighted approach to excellence [Miami Herald editorial] "Legislators need to do more homework before tackling the latest legislative version of a special tuition increase narrowly tailored to apply to the University of Florida and Florida State University."

Haridopolos learns the hard way about running the state Senate [Miami Herald]  “Haridopolos and Senate leaders attempted to push several controversial conservative issues in the past year only to have the Senate hit the ideological reset button and vote them down.”

What to read on redistricting: Court to decide: Did Florida GOP stack deck in redrawing political lines [Palm Beach Post] "Registered Republican voters form the majority in more than half the proposed districts, though Democrats statewide outnumber Republicans by almost 500,000 registered voters.This is reason enough for justices to declare the maps unconstitutional, Democratic lawyers charge in the hundreds of pages of legal briefs filed in the case."