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Florida Democratic Party News Clips — March 22

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THE GOP REDISTRICTING SIDESHOW: "THE BEST HOPE VOTERS MAY HAVE FOR FAIR SENATE DISTRICTS IS FOR THE SUPREME COURT TO REJECT THE MAP A SECOND TIME"

In numbering districts, it's silliness all over the map [Tampa Bay Times Editorial] "The farcical scene does not bode well for today's second attempt by the full Senate to approve districts that will meet new constitutional standards approved by the voters. The rivalries and self-interests that stained the regular legislative session were on full display in the Senate Reapportionment Committee…The best hope voters may have for fair Senate districts is for the Supreme Court to reject the map a second time and draw its own."

Senate gambles with lottery-style drawing to settle map disputes [Miami Herald] "Florida senators evoked comparisons to Vanna White and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as it held a lottery to randomly determine which districts get two- or four-year terms. In a scene reminiscent of a Lotto telecast, senators watched as the secretary of the Senate used green and white bingo balls, brass tumbling machines and a large map to conduct the drawing. Their goal was to remove any doubt that the district numbers selected for the next decade would not favor incumbents. But not everyone agreed with the approach."

A day in the Florida Senate: ‘Casting lots,’ Vanna White, ‘appendages,’ ‘nipples’ and Lotto balls [Orlando Sentinel] “ Drawing comparisons to a game-show or the way Roman soldiers divvyed out the garments of Jesus, Florida senators crafting new political districts Wednesday turned to a raffle-like ‘lottery’ – with brass cages of white and green-colored balls – to randomly settle who would get longer terms in office. After two days of debate laced with discussions about odd-shaped district ‘appendages’ and ‘nipples,’ the Senate Reapportionment Committee voted 21-6 to advance a new Senate map to the floor.”

GOP Redistricting: "Surreal," "Unusual," "Arduous Process," "Moral Conflicts" [News Service of Florida] "Racial and even moral conflicts entered the already-contentious redistricting process today as a key Senate committee sent a proposed map to the floor despite Hispanic and conservative Christian disagreements with some elements of the plan."

Political redistricting isn't a crapshoot, but in Tallahassee, it's a bingo game [Palm Beach Post] "'Bizarre is the word,' said Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, when the work was finished."

Senate Redistricting Depends on the Luck of the Draw [Sunshine State News] "The Senate’s first and only attempt to fix its redistricting map may come down to how balls were randomly drawn from a pair of cages on Wednesday."


RPOF AD BACKFIRES

How RPOF's Rick Scott-jobs ads help boost Barack Obama and refute Mitt Romney [Miami Herald] "Assuming the RPOF ad runs and Scott gets a measure of credit, voters are likely also to believe that the economy is getting better in 2012. But Scott isn't on the ballot then. Obama is. And he'll take credit for the improvement."

New Gov. Rick Scott TV ad uses phony headlines [WTSP] "Some folks are saying Florida Gov. Rick Scott is promoting himself with phony information in a new TV campaign ad…And they are questionable. In a thorough report done in January, the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting found no evidence Governor Scott's policies are responsible for any of the new jobs created in Florida last year

ROMNEY'S SKETCHY CAMPAIGN Etch-A-Sketch gaffe could erase erases good news of Jeb's endorsement of Mitt Romney [Miami Herald] "The good news was in danger of being erased by what’s known as the Etch-A-Sketch gaffe. As Bush’s endorsement rattled about Twitter and the blogosphere, Romney advisor Eric Fehrnstrom flubbed a question on CNN when he was asked if the campaign plans to retool its message in the general election"


ON THE CONGRESSIONAL FRONT: HILARIOUS NEW VIDEO, "WEBSTER HAS GONE FISHIN,'" BIRTHER STORIES CONTINUE, SOUTHERLAND IN TROUBLE (AND SO IS RIVERA)

ONE OF THE BEST OPENING LINES OF ANY STORY ON STEARNS: Stearns: Birth certificate questions won't impact Solyndra probe [Politico] "Rep. Cliff Stearns insists his doubts about the legitimacy of President Barack Obama's birth certificate and allegations he bribed a Republican primary challenger won't hinder his ability to lead investigations into the administration on Solyndra, health care and other hot-button issues."

Cantor Defends Rep. Stearns Despite Birtherism: ‘He Has My Full Confidence’ [Think Progress] "House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) rushed to defend his colleague, Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), today after the latter admitted recently that he is a birther."

FL-02 definitely in play [Sunshine State News] "Southerland could face somewhat stiffer headwinds this year, as his 2nd Congressional District has been redrawn to include all of Tallahassee, and therefore more Democratic voters."

VIDEO: Rivera denies knowledge of investigation into his finance [Florida Independent] "During a recent interview on Univision’s Al Punto, Florida Congressman David Rivera, R-Miami, denies having any knowledge of the state or federal investigations focused on his personal and campaign finances"

SEE ALSO: Rivera Lies on Univision [FlaDems] "David Rivera, the embattled congressman who's seat is a top pick-up opportunity for Democrats, was caught lying about the federal and state investigations into his financial records during a recent testy interview with Univision."


OTHER NEWS WE THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW

University fees: tuition by another name? [Tampa Bay Times] "Sparking a lively debate Wednesday at a budget committee meeting of the Florida Board of Governors were a handful of universities' requests to charge new student fees."

Medicaid bill deserves Gov. Rick Scott's veto [Florida Times Union editorial] "In the waning hours of its regular session, the Legislature approved what is aptly called a 'backdoor tax hike,' which Gov. Rick Scott should veto."

Wrong Way Rubio targets Florida's Jr. senator [Miami Herald] "Progress Florida and Florida Watch Action today launched WrongWayRubio.com, to highlight what they call Rubio's extreme positions, numerous ethical lapses, and the 'wrongway' he’s trying to lead our nation"

Justice Department opposes another Florida voting provision [AP] "It previously had informed the court it would be opposing a reduction in the number of early voting days and new restrictions on voter registration drives. The newly challenged provision requires voters to cast provisional ballots if they change their addresses from another county at the polls on Election Day."