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FLORIDA DEMOCRATIC PARTY NEWS CLIPS — FEBRUARY 3

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t's Friday…go ahead, take a shot:
Shot: The Hill: Rubio defends Romney’s ‘very poor’ remark
Chaser: Politico: Romney: I misspoke on 'very poor'

BREAKING, NEW JOBS NUMBERS: U.S. Adds 243k jobs in January exceeding expectations of about 150,000 jobs - and the unemployment rate dipped to 8.3 percent from 8.5 percent in December.

ICYMI: Daily Show mocks Gov. Rick Scott's drug testing policy. Watch here

2012 RACES

Voter turnout numbers point to GOP enthusiasm gap [Gannett] "In Florida, where Romney grabbed a commanding 46 percent of the vote this week, overall turnout was down significantly from four years ago. A county-by-county look at the Florida numbers shows that turnout was up from four years ago in counties where rival Newt Gingrich did well and down in counties where Romney dominated, according to Michael McDonald, a professor at George Mason University who runs the United States Elections Project to track election data."

Pre-destroying Romney [The Atlantic] "Even as he finds increasing success in the Republican primary, negative views of Romney have skyrocketed, particularly among independents, according to recent polls. An ABC News/Washington Post survey released last week, for example, found Romney viewed unfavorably by 49 percent of voters and favorably by just 31 percent. Among independents, just 23 percent viewed Romney favorably, compared with 51 percent who felt that way about President Obama."

Gingrich challenging Florida delegate count [Boston Globe] "Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, defeated in Florida by a wide margin, is challenging rules in the state that handed all 50 delegates to Mitt Romney."

Floridians have saved $142 million already because of Health Care Reform [SaintPeters Blog] "Over two hundred thousand Florida residents with Medicare saved $141,948,339 on their prescription drugs in 2011 thanks to the Affordable Care Act, according to data issued today by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Savings for people with Medicare will increase over time. According to a new report issued today from HHS, the average person with Medicare will save nearly $4,200 by 2021 because of the new law.

18th District in Play [Sunshine State News] "'If anything, it brings another seat into play for Democrats. We feel confident about the new 18th District," said Steve Schale, a Democratic strategist. Celeste Bush, chairwoman of the St. Lucie County Democratic Party, is also bullish. 'Allen West is beatable. The Treasure Coast [which constitutes a large chunk of CD 18] is laid back. We don't cotton well to his right-wing extremist rhetoric,' Bush said."

LEGISLATURE

ALEC alive and well in Florida Legislature [Miami Herald] The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a right-leaning, pro-business think tank that prides itself on producing model legislation for Republican state legislators across the country. ALEC's aggressive efforts have spawned a liberal watchdog group, www.alexexposed.org, which claims ALEC is a front for powerful corporate interests that seek to control legislative agendas.

Florida prison bill a big win for political contributors [Huffington Post] "The action by Florida’s legislature comes after years of sustained lobbying by corporations that operate private prisons, an industry that has been expanding aggressively by offering itself as a solution to state budget shortages. The industry has contributed more than $1.4 million to Florida's Republican Party in recent years and has spent millions lobbying key lawmakers in that state."

From the editorial pages:

Opponents of prison privatization should hold firm [Tampa Bay Times, Editorial] "Any idea too controversial to withstand the scrutiny of the full legislative process — particularly one that transfers public responsibility to for-profit businesses for questionable savings — is not one worth passing. Fasano's well-grounded opposition cost him his chairmanship but enhanced his reputation as a populist willing to stand up to leadership. Now Latvala, Dockery and their allies should remain firm."

Be wary of prison privatization scheme [Tribune, Editorial] "The bullying, rule-breaking attempt by the state Senate leadership to ramrod it through without regard for opponents' reasonable questions smells to high heaven."

Blame Tallahassee first for school cuts [Orlando Sentinel, Editorial] "State Rep. Jason Brodeur, elected to represent a swath of Seminole County. He introduced an amendment to the House's latest budget to bar the School Board from closing any more schools. This is the same lawmaker who voted last year to cut school funding by $1.3 billion. Who signed a no-tax pledge which, of course, creates more pressure for cuts in areas like education. And who declared on his campaign website, "The best decisions are made closest to the people and should be handled that way."