Sunburn for 6/10 – A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

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A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.

Today’s Rise and Shine Fact-iversary is brought to you by Sachs Media Group, the state’s dominant public affairs PR firm: Today is “Iced Tea Day.” Celebrate with a glass of Fresh from Florida Minted Citrus Tea.



>>>Chapter 1, “2008: Team of Rivals,” p. 12-13: “Bill’s cell phone rang. When he answered he heard the voice of the President-elect, who told him he wanted to talk to both of us. Bill explained that we were in the middle of a nature preserve and needed to call back when we got home. … When we got back to our house … [t]he President-elect picked [Bill’s] brain about possible members of the economic team … Then he told Bill that he was looking forward to getting together with me sometime soon. I assumed he wanted to talk about working closely together on his legislative package in the Senate.

“But I was curious, so I called a few members of my Senate staff to see what they thought, including my spokesman, Philippe Reines. Philippe is passionate, loyal, and shrewd. He usually knows what Washington’s movers and shakers are thinking even before they do. … Philippe had told me two days earlier about rumors that I would be named everything from Secretary of Defense to Postmaster General, but he had confidently predicted, ‘He’s going to offer you Secretary of State.’ … I thought, not for the first time, that Philippe was delusional. … When I called Philippe on Sunday, he informed me that the media had started its cycle of speculation.”

>>>Chapter 10, “Europe: Ties That Bind” (p. 206): “Probably our greatest asset in turning the tide of European public opinion was ‘the Obama effect.’ … [E]xpectations ran so high that managing them and channeling all that positive energy into lasting progress became an early challenge. … I once asked an official from southern Europe how things were going in her country. She started her answer by saying, ‘Since the Crusades …’ That’s how deep memories ran in many parts of Europe and indeed around the world, as if the 20th and 21st centuries were just so much topsoil.”

>>>Epilogue (p. 595-6): “I wrote this book over the course of 2013 and early 2014, mostly from a cozy, sun-drenched third-floor study in our home in Chappaqua, New York. There’s a thick carpet and a comfortable chair, and I can look out through the windows into the treetops. I finally had time to read, catch up on sleep, go on long walks with my husband and our dogs, see more of my family, and think about the future. In early 2014, Bill and I got some wonderful news that we’d been eagerly waiting to hear: we were going to be grandparents. …

“Now, more than ever, the future is very much on my mind. Over the past year, as I’ve traveled around our country once again, the one question I’m asked more than any other is: Will I run for President in 2016? [SPOILER ALERT!] The answer is, I haven’t decided yet. … Having run for President before, I understand exactly how challenging it is on every front – not only on candidate but on their families as well.

“And having lost in 2008, I know that nothing is guaranteed, nothing can be taken for granted. … Ultimately, what happens in 2016 should be about what kind of future Americans want for themselves and their children – and grandchildren. I hope we choose inclusive politics and a common purpose to unleash the creativity, potential, and opportunity that makes America exceptional.”

>>>Two chapter titles hint at possible elements of a future Clinton agenda: Chapter 24, “21st-Century Statecraft: Digital Diplomacy in a Networked World,” and Chapter 25, “Human Rights: Unfinished Business.”

KEY PASSAGES via Maggie Haberman of POLITICO

“The Iraq War vote: Clinton writes that she was ‘wrong’ to vote to authorize the war – she has said as much in the past, but the book offers her most definitive statement on the matter. ‘… I should have stated my regret sooner and in the plainest, most direct language possible… I held out against using the word mistake. It wasn’t because of political expediency. …in our culture, saying you made a mistake is often taken as weakness when in fact it can be a sign of strength and growth for people and nations.’ …

“Mending fences with Obama : … According to the book they aired grievances, including Clinton’s letting Obama know that ‘the preposterous charge of racism against Bill was particularly painful. Barack made clear that neither he nor his team believed that accusation. … As to the sexism that surfaced during the campaign, I knew that it arose from cultural and psychological attitudes about women’s roles in society, but that didn’t make it any easier for me and my supporters.’ The accusations of racism have long rankled the Clintons and their allies, and it’s not without risk that Hillary Clinton raises that in the book. The raw feelings that emerged after the bloody primary have mostly passed, but it’s a reminder of just how antagonistic the Obama-Clinton relationship once was – and how far it has come. …

“Huma Abedin: Clinton writes about her anger at congressional Republicans accusing her longtime close aide, Huma Abedin, of being an agent of the Muslim Brotherhood. ‘Privately I was furious at the attacks on Huma by several ignorant House members. So I was grateful to Senator John McCain, who had gotten to know her over the years, when he went to the floor of the Senate and made his own disdain clear’ …

“Obama also later defended Abedin, Clinton notes, writing: ‘The president of the United States and one of our nation’s most renowned war heroes make quite a one-two punch. It was a real testament to Huma’s character.’ Abedin has worked for Clinton for many years, and now is her chief of staff as she transitions to whatever comes next. The fact that she included the vitriol aimed at Abedin underscores personal loyalty but also reminds Clinton’s backers of some of the partisan attacks she and her team face. …

“Obama relationship, cont’d.: ‘Before one of our meetings in Prague, on that same April trip, he pulled me aside and said, “Hillary, I need to talk to you.” He put his arm around me and walked me over toward a window. … [H]e whispered in my ear, ‘You’ve got something in your teeth.'” …

“‘Cone of confidentiality’ : Clinton writes early in the book that there were some disagreements among Obama’s so-called “Team of Rivals.’ Some she would address in the later chapters, she writes, but ‘others will remain private to honor the cone of confidentiality that should exist between a president and his secretary of State, especially while he is still in office.’ … She writes about how she was overruled on issues like whether to arm moderate Syrian rebels, without getting into great detail of the debate; she does not say whether she has discussed ever Snowden, whom she has publicly blasted, with Obama; and she says little about her relationship with Vice President Joe Biden beyond how positive it was.”


She already has two best-sellers under her belt. She has 100 percent name recognition, prohibitive political support in the polls – and more money than most ordinary people could ever dream of. So why does Hillary Clinton need another book? … [T]he rollout of ‘Hard Choices,’ which officially begins [tomorrow], presents a perfect way to gather priceless retail consumer data that can later be put to political use. ‘She’ll have a very, very robust not just book website, but an entire digital strategy,’ said Robert Gibbs, who eight years ago helped then-Sen. Barack Obama organize the book tour that morphed into his presidential campaign.

“They’ll use all these events she goes to to acquire information that can later be purchased by some political entity – whether it’s her campaign, or a super-PAC, or both. These will be people who’ll be exhibiting a relatively fresh desire to see and hear more of Hillary. We always figured if someone was going to buy a book, we’d made about half the sale, in a political sense, if someone was going to stand on line and wait to get an autograph. Knowing who’s in that line, and where they live and how to cultivate them – my guess is they’ll do a lot of that.’ …

[Gibbs continued:] ‘She’s been a little out of practice because she was secretary of State … in just letting people hear her economic vision for middle-class America. This will be the first time for people who haven’t been at one of her paid speeches have heard her make this kind of argument since she was a surrogate in late 2008.’

Clinton’s public relations machine – what … Kevin Madden calls ‘the Clinton-industrial news complex’ – is pulling out all the stops. Television interviews with Diane Sawyer, Robin Roberts, Jane Pauley and even Greta Van Susteren and Bret Baier in the alien corn of Fox News … and stops in every major media market, from a Costco in Arlington … to Chicago, Austin and San Francisco. …

But even if the book is a guaranteed best-seller (the initial printing of one million copies has already sold out to retailers), some in Clinton’s circle nevertheless confess a certain anxiety about sales, if only because the book’s commercial performance will inevitably be viewed as yet another straw poll of Clinton’s political prospects.

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Florida will be represented this month at the annual Faith & Freedom Coalition gathering in Washington.

The schedule shows Sen. Rubio as one of the featured speakers, on June 19, sandwiched between Sens. Mike Lee and Ted Cruz. Allen West will also speak that day.

Rep. Jolly will participate in a Capitol Hill reception, joining Sen. Mitch McConnell and others. On June 20, Rep. Southerland will get a speaking slot.


Rep. Jeff Miller says that it is “foolish” to believe humans can cause climate change.

MSNBC host Richard Lui had asked Miller if he thought messaging against man-made climate change would be detrimental to Republicans’ 2014 and 2016 election prospects. Lui cited a poll of Florida voters who said that on the issue of climate change they trusted scientists over Sen. Marco Rubio who does not believe human activity contributes to global warming, by a margin of 56 to 33 percent.

“Well, I think anybody would answer a poll and say that they believe the scientists, but you have to understand that it is not settled science,” Miller said. “The issue of climate change has been happening for a long time, and for us to be able to think that we, as matter of fact, can change what’s going on right now to any substantive measure is really kind of foolish in my opinion.”

Miller argued that the climate has been changing for centuries and that scientists, whether they believe human activity contributes to climate change or not, acknowledge that the issue is not settled.

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ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Gov. Scott will attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the new USAA facility at 9527 Delaney Creek Blvd. in Tampa, as part of their expansion that will create up to 1,200 new jobs in Hillsborough County. 2 p.m.

GOV. SCOTT SIGNS IN-STATE TUITION BILL via John Kennedy of the Palm Beach Post

Scott signed into law a measure that grants in-state tuition to children of undocumented immigrants, a move the governor and many fellow Republicans had condemned for years but which became a priority this election season.

“Signing this historic legislation today will keep tuition low, and allow all students who grew up in Florida to have the same access to affordable higher education,” he added. “With this legislation, higher education became more affordable and more accessible to all Floridians.”

Party leaders had blocked earlier attempts to approve similar measures for more than a decade. But with polls showing Scott doing poorly among Hispanic voters, a critical voting bloc in this fall’s governor’s race, the in-state tuition bill became cast as a Republican reach-out to Hispanic voters.

It was approved the final day of session.

The legislation also eliminates a provision in state law which allowed Florida’s 12 public universities to hike tuition by as much as 15 percent annually, a provision enacted when Crist, served as … governor.


Gov. Scott called on developers of a private railroad project to take more steps in response to questions and concerns of residents living who may be affected by All Aboard Florida, the first passenger train service on Florida’s east coast in five decades.

Scott wrote to project president Mike Reininger on the same day that the Times/Herald published a story detailing the intense level of resistance including formal opposition by Martin and Indian River counties.

All Aboard Florida plans to run 32 trains daily beginning in late 2016 between Miami and Orlando, with stops in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. His office has received a flurry of critical mail from constituents about the venture. Scott’s press office put this headline on the news release about the letter: “The Voices of Our Communities Must be Heard.”

Scott said he has asked state transportation secretary Ananth Prasad to meet with community leaders and legislators about the project “and ensure their voices are heard” by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the lead agency on the project and the agency that All Aboard Florida has asked for a $1.5 billion federal loan. He also asked that All Aboard Florida extend the public comment period on the project from 75 to 90 days to give residents “more opportunity to have their specific concerns addressed.”

Scott’s letter is a formal acknowledgement of the high level of concern among residents in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast counties of Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River. The governor last week indicated that he wanted the train venture to be “successful,” but he emphasized that the company should listen closely to residents’ concerns.


During the 2010 race for governor, Democrats made an issue out of the fact that in Scott’s previous career as the CEO of Columbia/HCA, the hospital company was fined a record $1.7 billion for Medicare and Medicaid fraud.

But with an extremely competitive contest later this year between Scott and (presumably) Charlie Crist that polls show to be a virtual tie, why not revive the issue again, and maybe catch some registered voters who don’t recall that storyline?

Calling it “our first salvo into reminding people who Rick Scott really is,” Florida Democratic Party Executive Director Scott Arceneaux held a brief conference call to introduce a new ad called “75 Times” — referring to the number of times Scott pleaded the 5th Amendment in a deposition regarding the case.

Arceneaux said that during his three years plus as governor, Scott has steered “millions” of taxpayer dollars to wealthy campaign contributors. When asked to specify, he mentioned Heritage Property and Casualty Insurance, which donated over $100,000 to the Republican Party of Florida and Scott’s re-election campaign, and soon after signed a contract with Citizens Insurance that could net the company $52 million.

So far the Crist campaign has been frugal with its financial resources, which are considerably less than Team Scott’s, and refraining from airing any television ads to this point.

You could call that prudent, since at worst most polls have the race as a tie. But you could also say that the $12 million that Scott has poured into TV advertising in 2014 has brought him back from what had been around a 6 or 7-point deficit into a legitimate toss-up.


Greer says former Senate President Dean Cannon, former Speaker Mike Haridopolos, and Thrasher, Greer’s successor, worked to get Greer to fabricate a lie to get Greer indicted.

And the book says not only did the highest level of the state Republican Party lie, but they conspired with attorney general Bill McCollum to fix Greer’s wagon.

The book says Greer was indicted for something Crist gave him permission to do: Form a fund company called Victory Strategies.

It says in a deposition, Crist lied, when he said he did not give permission to Greer to start Victory Strategies. Greer says in the book it is not true and the papers in the book prove that.

And while Crist is damaged in the book, so is Thrasher who is branded not only as a liar, but as a dishonorable politician.

Thrasher now is being touted as the president of FSU and that doesn’t still well with Golenbock.

“My son is a graduate of Florida State University and it would dishonor my son to make this guy the president of FSU,” says author Peter Golenbock.

Despite the publisher saying it would wait until Greer gets out of prison next month, the book was released Monday. Greer is now on work release and there is concern it could hurt him.

STATE MANUFACTURING JOBS ON THE RISE via Marcia Heroux Pounds of the South Florida SunSentinel

More people are finding manufacturing jobs in South Florida, sometimes because of a company’s rising global sales.

Bolton Medical, a stent-maker in Sunrise, received FDA approval in 2012 of its thoracic stent used for minimally invasive treatment of aneurysms and ulcers.

The FDA approval “opened up a lot more countries that were interested in purchasing the product,” said Donna Bean, human resources manager. That and other successes have led to Bolton hiring 64 new employees in the past 1 1/2 years at its manufacturing operation in Sunrise.

Bolton Medical and other Florida manufacturers reported a 1 percent increase in jobs over the year in March, according to the 2014 Florida Manufacturers Register, an industrial directory published by Manufacturers’ News. In the tri-county area of South Florida, which has been recovering at a more rapid pace the rest of the state, the increase is 1.6 percent.

The rise also is seen in employment numbers from the state. Florida reported an increase of 7,600 manufacturing jobs, up 2.4 percent, from April 2013.

South Florida has manufacturing operations in aircraft and aerospace parts, marine, medical devices, electronics, metals and industrial supplies, diabetic testing equipment, pharmaceuticals and supplements, kitchen cabinets, lighting and many other products.

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State GOP leaders will hold a Tallahassee fundraiser in support of state Sen. Jeff Brandes on Tuesday, June 17.

The event begins 4:30 p.m. at the Governor’s Club, 202 S. Adams St. in Tallahassee.

Among those attending, include Florida Cabinet members CFO Jeff Atwater, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, Senate President Don Gaetz, President Designate Andy Gardiner, Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto and Sens. Jack Latvala, Tom Lee, Joe Negron and John Thrasher.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Rick Porter at


Ormond Beach Democrat Noel Bickford has opened a campaign account to run in House District 25, which is being vacated by Rep. Dave Hood, a Daytona Beach Shores Republican who is running for a circuit-judge seat. Bickford joins former state Rep. Fred Costello in seeking to succeed Hood in the Volusia County district.


Oviedo Republican Kathryn Townsend filed paperwork Monday to challenge incumbent Rep. Jason Brodeurin House District 28, according to the state Division of Elections website. Brodeur had raised nearly $180,000 through May as he seeks a third term in the Seminole County district. Also running in House District 28 is Oviedo Libertarian Franklin Perez.


Every two years, as hundreds of political candidates file their qualifying paperwork with the appropriate governing body, there is at least one case of someone missing the ballot because they failed to dot all of the i’s and cross all of the t’s.

In 2010, the Florida Division of Elections did not let qualify a candidate because his check was one penny short of the required amount. In 2012, congressional candidate Nina Hayden failed to qualify because the signature of the notary who helped her complete her qualifying documents was missing from her paperwork.

This year’s bogeyman, or in this case, bogeywoman, is attorney Catherine Real. La Gaceta’s Patrick Manteiga reports that Real was prepared to run against incumbent Circuit Judge Catherine Catlin.

Real was traveling the week of qualifying and left the job of filing her qualifying paperwork to her staff. They were running late in the process and it would be close in getting the paperwork to Tallahassee on time. To qualify for a judicial race, final paperwork and the qualifying fee of $5,803.20, had to be paid on or before noon, Friday, May 2, in room 316 of the R.A. Gray Building in Tallahassee.

Real’s staff hired a courier service to deliver the important papers and the service arrived just before noon — but at the wrong building!

By the time the mistake was discovered and the courier found the right office, it was a few minutes past noon and too late for Real to run for judge.

So this summer, as Judge Catlin is able to enjoy her weekends and nights, she should thank a confused courier. If not for the mistake, her free time would be occupied by campaigning.

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The lobbying team at Johnson & Blanton may be small, but it certainly packs a punch. Bringing in a total of $2.6 million in legislative fees for 2013, the Tallahassee-based lobbying firm ranks No. 5 on Sunshine State News’ list of Top Lobbyists in the Sunshine State.

Founded almost two decades ago in 1995, Johnson & Blanton’s four-person shop has risen to the top of the lobbying game.

Before he jumped into the lobbying game in 1999, Travis Blanton established his roots in Florida politics. He worked at the Republican Party of Florida, where he was a chief fundraiser for the party’s Senate campaigns. He also managed staff at the Agency for Health Care Administration in Washington, D.C., while Gov. Jeb Bush was governor.

Jon Johnson always knew he wanted to be involved in politics — as a high schooler, he had high hopes of running for the U.S. Senate before his ambitions changed course and he realized he was more interested in policymaking. Those ambitions ultimately led him to the Republican Party of Florida, where he was a prominent fundraiser and campaign consultant.

Johnson also worked as the director of government relations for the Florida Medical Association — an experience which proved profitable as many of the firm’s clients are from the medical/health care industry, including three of the firm’s top clients — Florida Hospital, Florida Hospital Association and Baycare Health System.


Not only does Tsamoutales Strategies call Florida home to a bustling lobbying practice, but the firm’s clout extends beyond the Sunshine State to Arkansas, Wyoming and many other locations across the country and the world. The two-member lobbyist team raked in $2.6 million in legislative fees during 2013, ranking the firm No. 4 on Sunshine State News’ list of Top Lobbyists in Florida.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY belatedly to Rep. Erik Fresen.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.