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Senate Majority PAC airs ad highlighting President Obama’s endorsement of Patrick Murphy

After several weeks of GOP flavored super PACS bashing Patrick Murphy have dominated local cable stations in Florida, a super PAC who supports the Jupiter Democrat in his race for Senate has a new ad on the air.

The ad comes courtesy of the Senate Majority PAC, which on Tuesday released a new ad today released that highlights President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden’s endorsement of Murphy, a two-term Congressman from Florida’s Treasure Coast who is competing for the Senate nomination against Congressman Alan Grayson. The ad notes that Murphy has a fought to strengthen Social Security and Medicare, protect a woman’s right to choose, and against Tea Party obstructionism in Washington.

Critics note that in fact Murphy said on several occasions after being elected to Congress in 2012 that “we’re going to have to look at some structural changes to some programs like Social Security and Medicare.” He has refrained from such comments as a Democratic candidate for Senate.

“Marco Rubio and his allies are not telling the truth about Patrick Murphy and we aren’t going to let their attacks go unanswered,” said Shripal Shah, spokesman for Senate Majority PAC.  “As President Obama and Vice President Biden noted in their endorsement, Patrick Murphy will stand up for Florida’s middle-class; he has fought to protect Social Security and Medicare and a woman’s right to choose, and will stand up against Tea Party obstructionism in Washington. He’s clearly the best choice for Florida.”

Obama and Biden’s endorsement of Murphy earlier this year demonstrated on how much the Democratic Party establishment backs Murphy, the 33-year-old Representative who is centrist in his political leanings and more temperate in tone than the combative Grayson.

Nevertheless, though there hasn’t been any recent polling done, the two  Democrats are considered to be evenly matched up some six weeks before state Democrats will choose their standard bearer for the November election.

Meanwhile, the Marco Rubio campaign is weighing in. The GOP incumbent is the likely candidate who will face either Grayson or Murphy this November.

“It’s no surprise that Harry Reid’s Super PAC would ride to the rescue for their preferred candidate after he was caught lying about his resume and trying to delay needed aid to Floridians for his own publicity, said Rubio campaign spokesman Michael Ahrens.

You can watch the ad here:

Eric Lynn goes up with first TV ad in HD 68 race

Pinellas County House District 68 Democrat Eric Lynn will begin airing a local 30-second television ad that will run through the primary election on August 30.

The ad begins with Lynn taking a stroll with his wife, kids and dog, and then places him in front of the Vinoy Hotel. A photo with President Barack Obama also makes an appearance. Lynn began working for then Senator Obama in 2006, and then went to work in his Defense Dept. after Obama became president in January of 2009. Lynn stepped down from the DOD in 2015.

Lynn is in a fiercely contested primary contest vs. St. Petersburg attorney Ben Diamond. The winner will face Republican J.B. Bensmihen in November.

Lynn certainly has the funds to air an ad all the way through early voting and until Election Day. New fundraising totals show that he has raised over $75,000 in his campaign account, and maintains more than $300,000 in his political committee, the Pinellas County Voters Fund.

Diamond has raised more than $159,000.

Here’s the ad:

Mitch Perry Report for 7.13.16 – Conservatism is still running strong, Jeb Bush insists

Jeb Bush says whatever you want to call Donald Trump, don’t call him a conservative.

“Conservatism is temporarily dead,” the former Florida Governor told Nicole Wallace on an MSNBC special that aired Monday night. “I mean, if you look at it, we have two candidates. Donald Trump is barely a Republican. He’s certainly not a conservative.”

Bush makes the point, however, that while that might not matter much in the presidential sweepstakes, conservatism is still powerful across the country.

“I mean, the– the conservative cause isn’t just about the, you know, a presidential race. It’s about core beliefs that, if implemented properly will lead people to a better life. And so I think outside of the hot presidential campaign, this message still resonates and it’s still important. It certainly resonates around the country.”

As has been well documented, Republicans have won a ton of elections since President Obama won office in 2008, with Democrats in control of the House and Senate. In the states, Republicans have won 900 legislative seats since ’08, and there more governors with an ‘R’ next to their name than a “D.”

Let’s look at Florida for example, where Republicans have dominated in the Legislature for two decades now (I had to laugh at loud when Mr. Conventional Wisdom, Mark Halperin, in trying to explain why Donald Trump is now leading  Hillary Clinton in a new poll out this morning, said that Florida “has been trending red recently.” Say What??)

Bush says he now understands where the GOP primary electorate is at: they’re pissed off, essentially.

“I think the difference is people don’t believe anything anybody says anymore…in politics. I don’t know if they even heard what I said. That’s the point. They– they– they didn’t– they wanted their voice heard. They still do. They’re angry for legitimate reasons. They latched onto the big horse. All of which is logical to me in retrospect. In the midst of it, it wasn’t very logical. I mean,” he said.

Nearly five months after dropping out after finishing a disappointing fourth in South Carolina, Bush now says he’s not sure he could have done anything to change the outcome. “There is some weird solace in that I guess that I don’t have to think about it that much. … Looking back on it, I’m not sure what I could’ve done. Having a conservative record, offering conservative solutions, hopefully giving people a sense that I could’ve done the job wasn’t– wasn’t enough. And it may not have ever been enough– given the circumstances.”

Bush says he can’t vote for Trump, nor Hillary Clinton. What about the Libertarian ticket of former GOP governors Gary Johnson and William Weld? “Well, I don’t know, ” he said. “They don’t get a lot of airtime  yet.”

That ticket is getting in the high single-digits in some polls, though Johnson won’t be invited into the presidential debates until he hits 15% in the polls, which seems doubtful, but who knows?

In other news…

Elected officials, religious figures and law enforcement officers attended a press conference at City Hall in Tampa yesterday to discuss the tensions that exist between the police and the black community. No fewer than three of the public speakers all spoke about getting pulled over by local law enforcement recently.

Manatee County lawyer and activist C.J. Czaia is among the candidates vying to win the House District 70 seat being vacated this fall by Darryl Rouson.

And Brian Willis won an important endorsement in his bid to win the Hillsborough County Commission District 6 seat.

Mitch Perry Report for 7.11.16 — Donald Trump gets closer to naming his VP choice

We’re just a week out from the Republican National Convention, which means we’re just days away from learning who will be Donald Trump‘s vice presidential choice.

Of all the issues that make Americans fear a Trump presidency, the fact that he would have access to the nuclear codes is probably the most dominant concern, which is why it makes some sense if he were to nominate someone from the military.

Enter retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. The 57-year-old Flynn is a 33-year Army veteran who served as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2012 to 2014, but his tenure was reportedly cut short over clashes with top Obama administration officials. He’s been serving as an informal adviser to Trump during this campaign season.

Flynn went on ABC’s This Week with Martha Raddatz on Sunday, where he may have alienated some social conservatives with his stances on abortion and same-sex marriage.

”What people do in their private lives, these are not big issues that our country is dealing with that will cause our country to collapse,” Flynn told Raddatz. “I’m more concerned that our country could collapse because we are not dealing with education issues, immigration issues.”

Flynn says he grew up in a family that supported the Democratic Party, but he doesn’t recognize that party now.

On abortion, he said, “I think it’s a — I think for women — and these are difficult issues, but I think women have to be able to choose what they — you know, sort of the right of choice, but I think that that’s a difficult legal decision that — and I think that women are so important in that decision-making process.”

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich are reportedly also thick in the mix for Trump. Either way, we should know who his No. 2 is within the next few days.

In other news …

There was no time off for this reporter this week. Jennifer Granholm headlined the Pinellas County Democratic Executive Committee’s annual fundraising event on Saturday night in Clearwater.

Ed Narain went after Augie Ribeiro at an SD 19 candidates forum in South St. Pete, also on Saturday.

Before the weekend, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Police Chief Eric Ward addressed the traumatic week of violence between police and the public in Dallas, Baton Rouge and suburban St. Paul.

In response to Dallas, conservative Florida Republicans Neil Combee and Dennis Baxley say they’ll introduce a “Blue Lives Matter” proposal in the Legislature if they make it back to office this November.

And outspoken conservative talk-show host Joe Walsh has somehow become an issue in the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser’s race, after his incendiary tweet about President Obama after the Dallas shootings.

Bob Henriquez wants Todd Jones to renounce Joe Walsh endorsement in Hillsborough Property appraiser race

Inexplicably, controversial conservative talk-show host and former Illinois GOP Congressman Joe Walsh has become an issue in the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser’s race.

Walsh lit up a firestorm on social media Thursday night when he tweeted after five Dallas police officers were killed during a Black Lives Matter protest that, “This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out black lives matter punks. Real America is coming after you” (the tweet has since been deleted).

Walsh also sent out subsequent tweets, once of which read, “You did this Obama. You did this liberals. You did this #BLM.”

Walsh was in Tampa a few months ago, where he endorsed Todd Jones, the Republican challenging Bob Henriquez in the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser’s race in November. Now Henriquez is calling on Jones to repudiate Walsh’s comments and reject that endorsement.

“I’ve always gone by the axiom my mother told me: tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are,” Henriquez said Friday afternoon. While acknowledging that candidates cannot be responsible for everything their supporters say or do, Henriquez says that a basic Google search should have been good enough for Jones to understand how controversial Walsh has been with some of his remarks since first getting elected in the big Tea Party explosion of 2010.

Walsh’s time in Congress was limited to a single term after his district was altered in 2012. He ended up losing that year to Democrat Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq War veteran who lost both her legs in a helicopter crash. During that campaign, he accused her of talking too much about her military service, and ultimately lost to her by 10 percentage points.

Walsh now hosts a talk-show in Chicago that is syndicated by Salem Media.

“I don’t know anybody who would want to be associated with him,” Henriquez says, adding that Jones has run as a “purple candidate” who says the job should be above politics.

Jones said he had no problem repudiating the tweet by Walsh, calling it “an undisciplined emotional reaction to a truly tragic incident.”

Unlike Henriquez, who served in the Florida Legislature for eight years, Jones is a political novice. A lifelong property appraiser, he’s running for office for the first time, and has said on the campaign trail that the position should be about who has the best qualifications for the job.

Saying that he’s “green to politics,” Jones said he’d have to “think about that a little bit” when asked if he would disavow the Walsh endorsement, which he said he was flattered to receive after the two met at an event at the University of Tampa. Jones said he had never met Walsh before that event, and hasn’t spoken to him since.

Jones initially spoke to this reporter while he was driving. A few minutes after our initial conversation, he blasted Henriquez for politicizing the events out of Dallas.

“Shame on Bob for exploiting such a tragedy for political gain,” he said. “I’m sorry, the congressman’s comments are obviously reprehensible and inappropriate and don’t help the situation, but Bob ’s motivation is pretty clear and I think it’s sad.”

Mitch Perry Report for 7.8.16 – America in crisis

The world awoke to the news this morning that five police officers in Dallas were killed at a police protest last night, with another six wounded. It’s the worst attack on law enforcement officers since 9/11. As I write this morning, CBS News reports that there were three and maybe four snipers involved. There’s been no other information reported on them at this point.

Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown said the officers were shot by two snipers in “elevated positions” near the protests and said the department believes the attackers coordinated the ambush. “How would you know to post up there?” he said, referring to the elevated position the snipers were in.

“We have yet to determine whether or not there was some complicity with the planning of this, but we will be pursuing that.”

In Warsaw, Poland, President Barack Obama called the shootings a “vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement.”

The incident comes after the two shooting deaths of black men in suburban St. Paul and Baton Rouge earlier this week by the police, and has led many in the black community saying they are sick and tired of such incidents continuing to occur in this country.

The Washington Post reports this morning that the number of fatal shootings by officers has increased from 465 in the first six months of last year to 491 for the same period this year. They also report that this year has also seen more officers shot and killed in the line of duty and more officers prosecuted for questionable shootings.

One of the things that seems to be a consensus is that there needs to be more training of the police. The Post reports that while police chiefs around the nation have embraced such reforms, with 18,000 police departments in the country, many with their own training academies and unions, “making it impossible for them to move in lockstep.”

One of the legislative reforms that has come out of the police shootings in 2014 was the increase in body cameras for officers. However, the footage in Baton Rouge and suburban St. Paul from cellphones this week shows that the number of instances of deadly force haven’t been reduced at all.

In other news…

Today is the deadline for two media organizations in Florida who say they’re waiting on Patrick Murphy on whether or not they will hold a senate primary debate before voters go to the polls at the end of next month.

Murphy, incidentally, raised more than $2 million in the past 3 three months in his bid for the senate.

Marco Rubio joined nine other GOP senators early yesterday in calling for Sec. of State John Kerry to deny Hillary Clinton and her top aides access to national security information, following Jim Comey’s statement on Tuesday that she was “reckless” in handling classified material.

The Tampa Bay Times investigative editor, Chris Davis, has earned a promotion as the man now leading the investigative team at USA Today.

Avis Harrison becomes the sixth candidate (and first woman) to enter the Tampa City Council election to succeed Lisa Montelione.

Tim Canova has raised more than $2.25 million in his insurgent campaign against DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

House District 61 Democratic candidates in Tampa discuss their financial disclosure forms.

Mitch Perry Report for 7.5.16 – Bernie Sanders says the DNC’s platform still needs work

The Democratic Party platform’s most recent draft was published Friday, and is ready for your reading enjoyment, before it’s reviewed and ultimately approved this coming weekend in Orlando.

With Bernie Sanders‘ only leverage these days to exert as much of his influence as possible on this hallowed document, it is instructive to learn the Bernster thinks it’s a good start but needs more work, according to a piece he wrote on the Philadelphia Inquirer’s website Sunday.

On the issue of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Democrats have a bit of a problem. That’s because their leader, Barack Obama, is 100 percent behind it, as are a number of Democrats.

Hillary Clinton used to be one of those Democrats, but no longer, undoubtedly pushed to oppose something she formerly called a “model” agreement by Sanders. Donald Trump rails against it daily as well, but the language in the platform says only there are “a diversity of views in the party.”

Sanders doesn’t understand that, since both he and Hillary oppose it. “If both Clinton and I agree that the TPP should not get to the floor of Congress this year, it’s hard to understand why an amendment saying so would not be overwhelmingly passed,” he writes, forgetting about Obama’s stance on the issue.

On the minimum wage, the DNC says they do support calls for raising it to $15, but support what Governors [Jerry] Brown in California and [Andrew] Cuomo in New York have proposed — doing it incrementally, year-by-year.

On Social Security, the platform calls for taxing “some of the income of people above $250,000.”

Regarding Wall Street, the platform says “we acknowledged that there is room within our party for a diversity of views on a broader financial transaction tax.”

On campaign finance, the platform calls for reversing not only 2010’s Citizens United decision, but also the 1976 Buckley v. Valeo decision, which equated speech with money.

Bernie’s thoughts on the rest?

“We need to have very clear language that raises the minimum wage to $15 an hour, ensures that the promised pensions of millions of Americans will not be cut, establishes a tax on carbon, and creates a ban on fracking,” he writes. Currently, there is no ban on fracking, nor anything at all about a carbon tax.

Sanders says amendments on those items will be introduced in Orlando, so stay tuned.

In other news …

Well, the only thing we’ve reported on since last week was the fact that Tampa City Councilman Frank Reddick has endorsed Betty Reed in Senate District 19 race, which may move some votes Ms. Reed’s way.

Justice Dept. adopts USF professor’s training program that hopes to reduce law enforcement bias

The U.S. Department of Justice announced this week that it will now train all of its law enforcement agents and prosecutors to recognize and address implicit bias as part of its regular training curricula, using a program developed by USF Associate Professor of Criminology, Lorie Fridell.

The demand for such programs has spread in the wake of a series of shootings of unarmed black men by white police officers in recent years.

It comes after the DOJ was criticized for not developing its own policies to combat bias after recommending local police do so after the riots in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014. The department actually held a two-day training with St. Louis area police on implicit racial bias and fair and impartial policing as it continued its civil rights probe into the killing of unarmed black teen Michael Brown by a white Ferguson, Missouri police officer and the department’s broader investigation of the Ferguson police department (Fridell conducted a seminar with the Tampa Police Dept. in 2014).

“Our officers are more effective and our communities are more secure when law enforcement has the tools and training they need to address today’s public safety challenges,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced in a statement on Monday. “At the Department of Justice, we are committed to ensuring that our own personnel are well trained in the core principles and best practices of community policing.  Today’s announcement is an important step in our ongoing efforts to promote fairness, eliminate bias and build the stronger, safer, more just society that all Americans deserve.”

In the next month, more than 23,000 FBI, DEA, ATF and U.S. Marshals Service agents will begin receiving the Implicit Bias Training Program, as will the approximately 5,800 attorneys working in the 94 U.S. Attorneys Offices around the country.

“The science-based training program is designed to help people understand how implicit biases can impact their lives and work,” says Fridell, adding that social science has shown that we all have biases. “It also helps participants make these discoveries in a blame-free environment, one that recognizes that even the most well-intentioned officers and agents can experience unconscious biases.”

A faculty member in the USF College of Community and Behavioral Sciences, Fridell says that stereotypes associated with different groups of people can influence the interactions and decisions of those in law enforcement as they carry out their responsibilities.  And she says these stereotypes may be based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, socio-economic status, or other factors.

“I have had officers tell me that this training has ‘opened their eyes’ and ‘made them think’,” says Fridell. “It is something they say now is in the back of their minds every day.”

In the DOJ statement, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates says that the dept. has a responsibility to do everything possible to ensure that the criminal justice system is fair and impartial. “Given that the research is clear that most people experience some degree of unconscious bias, and that the effects of that bias can be countered by acknowledging its existence and utilizing response strategies, it is essential that we provide implicit bias training to all of our prosecutors and law enforcement agents,” she said.

Fridley is the former Director of Research at the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), and the author of several books on law enforcement, including 2001’s “Racially Biased Policing: A Principled Response.”

Martin Dyckman: With ‘colossal liar’ Donald Trump, nightmares could become reality

Donald Trump has audacious proposals to wall off Mexico and bar Muslim immigrants, but he hasn’t said how he would stop people from sneaking around the barriers or overstaying visas.

How might he manage that? Let’s surmise one way.

He could be planning to implant every lawful resident with an identification chip like those the veterinarian offers to your dog or cat. The process is relatively painless and doesn’t cost much.

Newborns and legitimate visitors would be first. Others would have their turn in order to renew their drivers’ licenses, receive a tax refund, or show up to vote. Strategically placed surveillance devices would detect people without chips to be held for questioning.

“We have no choice,” he would say.

Stop. Roll back. This is fiction. I have absolutely no evidence that anything of the sort has occurred even to Trump. Identity chips have been the fantasy only of some folks on the far right who enjoy suspecting that their own government is out to get them.

They’re probably huge Trump fans. They’re susceptible to believing anything bad about their country’s leadership, and that’s what he trades on.

They’d better be careful, though. With Trump, one of their nightmares could become reality.

As Trump himself would say, who knows?

Stop. Roll back. I say again, this is fiction.

But it’s no more false, fanciful or outrageous than the paranoid fables that Trump persistently passes off as casually as you or I might say, “How’s it going today?”

After the slaughter at Orlando, Trump had the gall to imply that President Obama was somehow responsible.

Proof?

“There’s something going on,” Trump said.

That’s not proof.

He prepared for his campaign by flogging the birther nonsense even after all but a few certifiable lunatics had accepted the redundant evidence of Barack Obama’s native-born citizenship.

He has been digging into his party’s dry-as-dust Benghazi well by charging that Hillary Clinton was asleep rather than answering the phone when the American consulate was under attack. That’s a takeoff on her campaign question, “Who do you want in the White House when the phone rings at 3 a.m.?”

The trouble with Trump’s attempt to exploit Benghazi in that regard is that while the assault took place at nighttime in Libya, it was full daylight in the United States. The secretary of state was not napping. After verifying that she was in her Washington office, PolitiFact rated Trump’s claim “false.”

Pressed repeatedly on the insinuation, Trump finally admitted on NBC News that it might not be true.

“It happened all during the day and was going on for a long period of time — it was going on for a long period of time and she was asleep at the wheel, whether she was sleeping or not, who knows if she was sleeping?” he said.

Who knows?

If such speculative claptrap is legitimate politicking, here are a few other possibilities:

Is Trump insane?

Who knows?

Does he maintain a secret harem somewhere?

Who knows?

Does he have a fortune stashed in Russian banks, and is that why he’s refusing to divulge his income tax returns?

Who knows?

Trump continues to remind us that the Republican Party is about to nominate, for the most important office in the world, someone who doesn’t care even in the slightest whether there’s any truth to what he says.

He is a deliberate liar who’s as eager to deceive everyone in the same way he took advantage of people expecting to learn something useful from the so-called Trump University. The lesson that most learned was to not be swindled again.

And when Trump accuses Clinton of being the most corrupt presidential candidate ever, she must know what it’s like to be called ugly by a frog. Trump should look in the mirror.

He is as corrupt, if not more so, than any individual who has ever run for any office in the United States.

To tell lies and willfully repeat them after they have been exposed is a profound form of corruption.

To lure hard-working Americans into seminars on the premise that they will learn to be rich and then stiff them for ever-costlier upgrades they can’t afford is a profound form of corruption.

To habitually take corporations into bankruptcy, enriching oneself while leaving creditors and investors with little or nothing, is corruption. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, once can be the failure of good intentions. But at the old saying goes, “Fool me once, your fault. Fool me twice, my fault.”

The presidency of the United States — the leadership of the free world — is not on the order of a gambling casino or a golf course. We don’t dare be fooled even once.

Especially not by so colossal a liar as Donald Trump.

___

Martin Dyckman is a retired associate editor of the newspaper now known as the Tampa Bay Times. He lives in suburban Asheville, North Carolina.

Charlie Crist endorsed by President Obama in CD 13 contest

President Obama endorsed Charlie Crist in his race for Congress in Florida’s 13th District.

“Governor Charlie Crist has always put people above politics – and we need more of that in Washington,” said Obama on a statement issued on Monday. “As Governor, in the face of partisan attacks, he had the courage to save jobs and lead his state into economic recovery. He had the wisdom to recognize that climate change is real and act to fight it. And he had the decency to expand, not restrict, our right to vote. I know he’ll bring the people’s voice to Congress, and I’ve got his back.”

Crist’s literal embrace of Obama when the president traveled to Lee County back in the spring of 2009 became one of the most famous hugs in recent political times, as Republicans used it against the former Governor when he unsuccessfully for Senate back in 2010, losing out to Marco Rubio.

“I’m humbled and honored that President Obama, one of the greatest leaders in our nation’s history, has my back,” said Crist. “Outside of the voters of Pinellas County, no endorsement means more to me. He’s done so much for our beautiful Florida  – guiding us out of the recession, and working for greater equality, opportunity, and prosperity. He’s a great friend.”

While the endorsement is a nice pickup for Crist, it’s not unexpected now he is running unopposed in the Democratic primary on Aug. 30.

Another move that Florida Republican criticized Crist for when he was governor was when he extended early voting hours in 2008 when Democrats, especially African-Americans, turned out in unprecedented numbers for President Obama, many of them waiting hours in line to cast a vote.

After he ran as an independent in 2010 and left the Republican Party, Crist was invited to give a speech touting Obama’s record at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte in 2012. A few months later at a visit to the White House, he officially announced that he had become a Democrat.

Crist is now engaged in what could be an intense battle for the CD 13 seat in Florida, with GOP incumbent David Jolly reentering the race last Friday. Two private polls that were made public on Monday show that the race is extremely competitive.

A Public Policy Polling survey has Crist up by three points, while a survey done by McLaughlin & Associates has Jolly up by 12 percentage points over Crist.

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