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Florida Democratic Party News Clips - September 17

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FLORIDA WELCOMES MICHELLE OBAMA  First lady’s speech at UF today a chance to boost campaign [Ocala Star Banner] "First lady Michelle Obama’s speech Monday at the University of Florida is more than a rally for her husband’s re-election. It’s also a way for the campaign to recruit volunteers and register voters."

First lady Michelle Obama is back in Florida [AP] "First lady Michelle Obama is back in Florida. Obama will make two campaign stops Monday. She will first address students at the University of Florida in Gainesville before holding a rally in Tallahassee."

The Question - Obama For America TV Ad [OFA] "The President's plan asks millionaires to pay a little more to help invest in a strong middle class, clean energy, and cut the deficit." 

New Video: Mitt Romney's Extreme Latino Makeover [OFA] "Mitt Romney knows a thing or two about makeovers -- but a new OFA video previews one of his most implausible makeovers yet: making his extreme policies seem appealing to Latino voters" 

Former secretary of state, in South Florida, criticizes Mitt Romney [Sun Sentinel] "Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright on Friday panned Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's response to the week's events in the Arab world as 'lame,' 'stunning,' and 'disturbing – very, very disturbing.'" 

Why Mitt Romney and the Republican Party don't have support from black Americans [Orlando Sentinel column] "Democratic close-ups displayed a diverse gumbo ladled from America's great melting pot. Republicans, meanwhile, dished up New England clam chowder."

Mitt Romney’s missed shot at President Barack Obama [Miami Herald] "President Barack Obama got a hug and a lift. Mitt Romney had a swing and a miss."

 

LOSER OF THE WEEK: CONNIE MACK IV Connie Mack IV: Loser of the Week [Tampa Bay Times] "Three Florida polls released in recent days showed Mack losing to Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson by anywhere from 7 to 16 percentage points."

 

SCOTT AND GOP SLAMMED ON SCHOOLS  Scott Sends Letters to High School Seniors, Teachers, and College Freshmen [AP] "Scott has battled low poll numbers since he came into office nearly two years ago, some of which has been blamed on his decision to back major budget cuts to education his first year. Scott earlier this year proposed restoring $1 billion in education funding, although the amount did not cover what was cut in 2011. Rod Smith, chairman of the Florida Democratic Party, noting the budget cuts, questioned Scott's commitment to education. 'Gov. Scott's empty rhetoric and closed-door listening tour does not erase his party's failure to support our education system,' Smith said." 

Plan for improving teaching founders [Tampa Bay Times editorial] "As Gov. Rick Scott launches a fresh campaign claiming to care as much about improving public education as Florida families do, he needs to offer more than lip service. He needs to commit to a long-term plan for finding the resources to honestly implement reforms already on the books."

In K12 Courses, 275 Students to a Single Teacher [FCIR] "Student-teacher ratios at K12, the nation’s largest online educator, are nearly twice as high as Florida’s state-run virtual school, according to internal company documents obtained by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting and StateImpact Florida."

 

ON THE CONGRESSIONAL FRONT — DEMINGS OUT WITH NEW ADS 

Val Demings Launches two new ads [Demings for Congress] Watch "Praised" Here. Watch "Watch-List" here

Fla. Rep. Buchanan Criticized for Habitat for Humanity Deal [Non Profit Quarterly] "As the Tampa Bay Times put it, “So many allegations and investigations have swirled around Buchanan in recent years it’s hard to keep up to speed.” Buchanan seems to step into murky situations regularly. Just as the DOJ investigation was shutting down, the Tampa Bay Times reported on Buchanan’s unusual business dealings with the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity." 

Facing South Florida: The Panel Discusses David Rivera [CBS Miami]"Miami Herald political reporter Marc Caputo and El Nuevo Herald Executive Editor Manny Garcia explain the on going criminal investigation of Congressman David Rivera. Rivera is being investigated by the FBI for allegedly interfering in August’s Democratic primary." 

 

ON THE STATE LEG FRONT: SCOTT PLAKON SUBSIDY SCANDAL, FL DEMS LAUNCH ADS   

 Heavily Subsidized Film Company Declares Bankruptcy in Embarrassment for Plakon [Media Trackers] "Digital Domain Media Group Inc. closed its taxpayer-subsidized film studio and filed for bankruptcy protection on Tuesday, just a few short months after State Rep. Scott Plakon (R-Longwood) told skeptical Tea Party leaders that the Florida film industry provides a sterling example of why government officials should hand over taxpayer dollars to politically connected companies…Despite Plakon’s assertions, Digital Domain abruptly laid off approximately 300 Florida workers and returned none of the $135 million in taxpayer subsidies"

Campaign Roundup: Ads, more ads and ballots [Florida Current] "The Florida Democratic Party also released ads for other Democrats this week. Dwight Dudley’s ad slams his House District 68 opponent, former Rep. Frank Farkas for votes to raise utility rates. Karen Castor Dentel, sister of U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, is dueling with Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, for the House District 30 seat. Her ad pushes her education bona fides and touts her experience as a teacher…The FDP also bought airtime for Orange County Commissioner Linda Stewart in her battle with former Rep. Bob Brooks, for House District 47,  the Orlando Sentinel reported."

 

OTHER NEWS WE THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Judge hands Senate victory to Clemens [Sun Sentinel] "Rep. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, is still the winner of August primary for Senate District 27." 

Lawmaker calls for audit of Citizens Insurance's new $350 million loan [Times/Herald] "In recent months, the state-run insurer has hiked rates, sidestepped the state Legislature, spent lavishly on executive perks and backed a risky multi-million dollar loan program pushed by an insurance lobbyist. As Citizens plows ahead with its massive overhaul, it is picking up a host of enemies along the way."

Buying jobs in dark is costly state policy [Tampa Tribune editorial] "A $20 million gift from the state to a film company was tucked into the 2009 state budget, according to some reports, by former Rep. Kevin Ambler of Tampa. It happened outside the state's normal review process. Late last year Ambler, who left the Legislature in 2010, took a paying job on the company's board, and his son appears to have gotten one of the hundreds of jobs the company promised to create, paying an average $64,233."  

Rick Scott Paid $5,000 To An Alleged Boletera For His 2010 Campaign [Miami New Times] "Now there's new evidence that Scott used boleteros in Dade. Records show the governor paid $5,000 to Emelina Llanes, a 74-year-old Hialeah resident identified as a boletera by former Hialeah Police Chief Rolando Bolaños and city firefighter Eric Johnson. Scott's campaign reports say the money was for "contract labor."" 

Results show lack of credibility in voter purge [Tampa Bay Times editorial] "The difference in those three numbers reflects how recklessly Gov. Rick Scott's administration went about purging the voter rolls and suppressing the vote of minorities and the poor. What initially appeared to be a flood of illegal voters has become a trickle at most."