Sunburn for 10/23 — A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

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

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DEBATE NIGHT IN AMERICA

The third and final presidential debate was President Obama’s best moment in the campaign so far. He was prepared on every issue and knew Mitt Romney’s record of past statements just as well.

Obama succeeded because he conveyed his unique view of the world from the Oval Office. For undecided voters watching, all they probably heard was that he’s the commander-in-chief. And that’s what Team Obama wanted.

For the most part, Romney made an effort to look presidential by not attacking. He was exceedingly careful and desperately tried not to make a mistake. In fact, despite his rhetoric for the last two years, he now apparently agrees with most of the Obama administration’s foreign policy.

As a result, Romney’s biggest opponent was not the president, it was his own words. Obama did a brilliant job of bringing up past Romney statements — on Iraq, on the nation’s biggest adversary, on Afghanistan, on Osama bin Laden — to make him look unprepared for the presidency.

OTHER VIEWS

Matthew Dickinson is unsure how much Obama helped himself: It is clear that Romney’s goal tonight was to appear as a credible commander-in-chief. To do so, he sought to avoid coming across as too militaristic, and instead adopted a policy of “me tooism” by essentially coopting the President’s policy stances while avoiding staking out any detailed policies of his own. The President, in contrast, acted more as a challenger who knows he is in potential trouble. I think he probably scored more points, and had more memorable lines (horses and bayonets!) but the risk is that his tone, which bordered on sarcasm at time, might not have won over the undecided voters.

Will Wilkinson argues that there “were two debates tonight”: Officially, it was a foreign-policy debate, and I think Mr Obama won it, narrowly, neither ceding the incumbent’s natural advantage nor gaining any real ground. Mr Romney, I think, won the impromptu debate on the economy, narrowly, pressing the challengers’ advantage by reminding voters that they’ve suffered economically during Mr Obama’s tenure while striking an appealing hopeful note and again pitching himself as a guy who knows how to clean up a mess. Add it all up and I think we have a push. Both candidates seemed to behave as though Mr Romney had the momentum coming into the debate. If that’s so, I don’t think Mr Obama’s performance was quite strong enough to slow Mr Romney down.

PPP POLL: VOTERS IN SWING STATES GIVE DEBATE TO OBAMA

PPP’s post debate poll in the swing states, conducted on behalf of Americans United for Change, finds that Barack Obama was the big winner in tonight’s face off. 53% of those surveyed in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin think Obama was the winner to 42% who pick Romney.

Obama’s winning margin among critical independent voters was even larger than his overall win, with 55% of them picking him as the winner to 40% for Romney. The sense that Obama was the winner is pretty universal across different demographics groups- women (57/39), men (48/45), Hispanics (69/29), African Americans (87/13), whites (49/45), young voters (55/40), and seniors (53/43) all think Obama came out ahead tonight.

Maybe even more important than the sentiment on who won the debate is who folks in these swing states are planning to vote for now: 51% of them say they’re going to support Obama to 45% who stand with Romney.

DISSENT OF THE DAY – KRAUTHAMMER: ROMNEY SCORED ‘UNEQUIVOCAL’ WIN

Charles Krauthammer on Fox News, post-debate, weighs in: “I think it’s unequivocal — Romney won, and he didn’t just win tactically, but strategically. Strategically, all he needed to do was basically a draw, he needed to continue the momentum he’s had since the first debate, and this will continue it. Tactically, he simply had to get up there and show that he’s a competent man, and somebody you can trust as commander-in-chief.”

RICK SCOTT: ‘TONIGHT SEALED IT’ FOR ROMNEY

Statement from Gov. Scott: “Tonight’s debate sealed the deal for Mitt Romney.  A strong foreign policy is ineffective without a strong economy at home.   Mitt Romney has now made the case for both.  As I’ve said throughout the 2012 campaign, the candidate who spells out a compelling vision for fixing America’s economy will win not just Florida, but the White House and leadership of the free world.”

OBAMA’S PRE-DEBATE MEAL: JOE’S STONE CRAB via Marc Caputo of the Miami Herald

President Obama geared up for the third and final presidential debate in Boca Raton in true South Florida fashion — with a heaping plate of stone crabs and key lime pie from Joe’s Stone Crab.

Joe’s owner, Steve Sawitz, personally drove up four orders of the claws and pies from Miami Beach to Marine One while it was stationed in Palm Beach County. You can’t get close to Marine One unless the president wants you to. And like anyone not allergic to shellfish, it’s safe to say that the president ordered the stone crabs.

CHARLIE CRIST, RICK SCOTT UP FRONT AT DEBATE

Florida’s current governor and the man who once held the job — and might want it back — provided a little additional political theater to Monday’s third presidential debate.

As organizers introduced first lady Michelle Obama in an auditorium on the campus of Lynn University, television viewers saw former Gov. Charlie Crist standing a row behind her, clapping and smiling.

When organizers introudced Ann Romney, viewers caught a glimpse of Gov. Rick Scott shaking the hand of the former first lady of Massachusetts.

PAULIE SHORE WAS IN THE SPIN ROOM by Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post 

he most unexpected stop to the pre-debate spin room so far was Hollywood funnyman Pauly Shore. Shore, who is pitching his Showtime special ‘Pauly-tics,’ said that Mitt Romney is the funnier of the presidential candidates.

“He doesn’t know that he’s funny and those are the people that are always the funniest,” Shore said.

TWEET, TWEET: @TroyKinsey: During our spin room talk, Pauly Shore, unprompted by me, said he’d like to be mayor of a “small Southern town…like Tallahassee.”

TWEETS OF THE NIGHT

@attackerman: 5 Romney agreements with Obama on foreign policy now, with the drones question.

@DavidGrann: Obama accuses Romney of lying. Does Secret Service have eyes on Tagg?

@fivethirtyeight: Average of CNN, CBS & @Google_Surveys post-debate polls: 1st: Romney +29; VP: Biden +6; 2nd: Obama +10; 3rd: Obama +16

@JeffreyGoldberg: No event in the history of Boca Raton has started later than this debate.

@Politifact: Obama as president has never visited Israel: True. ow.ly/eGscK

***Today’s SUNBURN is also sponsored by Corcoran & Johnston Government Relations. With more than 45 years of combined legislative and regulatory knowledge and experience, Corcoran & Johnston’s ability to navigate through the processes and politics of government and deliver for their clients is unmatched.***

IT’S 14 DAYS TO ELECTION DAY!

RACE DEADLOCKED

Obama and Romney headED into the final debate still deadlocked among likely voters nationally: 49% side with the Democratic president, 48% with the Republican challenger, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

OBAMA’S GRAND BET

Ryan Lizza: “In recent years, as the electorate has become more polarized, campaign tacticians have become more focussed on getting their own voters to the polls than on persuading others to change their allegiance. This year, the Obama campaign has a two-part strategy. First, they made what the campaign manager Jim Messina calls a ‘grand bet,’ spending heavily on a summer airwave blitz, with ads designed to soften up Mitt Romney in the eyes of voters; second, they have created a volunteer army on the ground to carry victory home.”

DEMOCRATS FACE ‘FIGHT OF OUR LIVES’ TO WIN FLORIDA via POLITICO

Florida Republicans are feeling increasingly optimistic that Mitt Romney will carry the biggest of swing-state prizes, and for good reason — he’s narrowly leading in most every poll here and President Barack Obama is under 50 percent in the same surveys.

The rising confidence on the right is owed to three major factors: The GOP rank and file, demoralized four years ago, are brimming with enthusiasm; independents appear to be moving away from Obama and the Florida economy, while improving, is still worse off than the country at large.

… It would be something more than an understatement to say that GOP voters are more enthused now than they were four years ago. Romney’s rallies are growing in size as the election grows closer — a stark contrast to 2008, when McCain drew an embarrassing 1,000 people to an Election Day rally in Tampa that was set up for many thousands more.

TWEET OF THE DAY: @TerryMoran: As the NBC/WSJ poll shows, this has become a “change election,” not a “choice election.” Voters want change. Obama says “stay the course.”

CHECK OUT: This very cool, interactive map via Google that details national ad spending.

***Only two finance reports for legislative candidates remain until the general election. The G3 totals due tonight include everything raised/spent from September 29 – October 12, 2012. If you’re not getting On 3 Public Relations’ comprehensive finance reports for your clients and contacts, turn in your politico card at the door on the way out.  www.On3PR.com. ***

MACK TOUTS ENDORSEMENT FROM REPORTER HE CLAIMED HAD A VENDETTA AGAINST HIM via Julie Sobel of Hotline

The Republican’s campaign sent out an email touting the fact that Smith had named Mack “Winner of the week” in Florida politics due to his debate performance against Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson. The email pulls this quote from the piece: “The underdog U.S. Senate candidate looked confident, aggressive, and not the least bit intimidated to debate incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson at their one and only televised matchup.”

But the campaign does not include a link to the story, and a quick look reveals why: Smith also named Mack “Loser of the week,” calling him “shameless about hurling false statements and accusations.”

Mack’s campaign has waged something of a vendetta against Smith during the race. In July, Mack campaign manager Jeff Cohen wrote a letter to the editor of the Tampa Bay Times after failing to get their endorsement, saying, “Adam Smith and your newspaper have been waging a tireless campaign against conservatives and Republicans. You always have and apparently you always will. It’s evident in every political story you write.”

POINTLESS ENDORSEMENT OF THE DAY: Alex Sink backs Al Lawson for Congress, as if Tea Partier Steve Southerland was under consideration. And how bold of Sink to endorse Lawson two months after the primary and two weeks before the election.

JUST AS USELESS: Republican Todd Long was endorsed by former Gov. Jeb Bush in CD 9. He’s running against Democrat Alan Grayson.

PATRICK MURPHY, DOWN IN POLLS, GOES AFTER ‘EXTREME’ ALLEN WEST IN NEW TV AD by Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times

It’s one of the country’s nastiest and most expensive congressional campaigns, and Patrick Murphy and Democrats add fuel today with these new ads attacking Rep. Allen West. Watch here.

A Public Policy Polling survey last week showed West leading the race by 9 points.

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TWEET, TWEET: @RepDanaYoung: Driving north to campaign for Rep. Perry w/HUGE group of folks. Rep. Victory 2012!

KAREN CASTOR DENTEL: “IT FEELS LIKE I’M RUNNING AGAINST CHRIS DORWORTH” by Aaron DeSlatte of the Orlando Sentinel

Castor Dentel says she has been turned down repeatedly by potential donors who say they have been instructed by Dorworth not to give any money to her campaign. Those donors, she says, have told her they fear retaliation from Dorworth and House Republican leadership if they write Castor Dentel a check.

“It feels like I’m running against Chris Dorworth,” said Castor Dentel, who has raised about $158,000 so far — less than half of the $366,000 that Plakon has raised.

Dorworth didn’t exactly deny her claim.

“Scott Plakon is one of my best friends in the world, a treasured colleague and in many ways the conscience of the House  Republican caucus. His re-election is as important to me as my own,” said Dorworth.

TWEET, TWEET: @SaintPetersBlog: Karen Castor Dentel & Scott Maxwell should get together & compare notes on what it’s like to go up against the Dorworth juggernaut.

RACE FOR HD 49 (MARCO PENA VS. JOE SAUNDERS) GETS NASTIER

First, the Republican Party of Florida launched a new television ad attacking Democrat Joe Saunders as “Special Interest Joe,” accusing the University of Central Florida alum of moving of moving to House District 49, which includes UCF, simply to run for office. The Florida Democratic Party is hitting back accusing Republican challenger Marco Pena of being a conservative “Tea Partier” who is too extreme for the district’s Democratic-leaning voters. Watch here.

FUNDRAISING NOTES via the News Service of Florida

>>>HOUSE DISTRICT 34: If former lawmaker Nancy Argenziano has any chance of knocking off Rep. Jimmie Smith, R-Inverness, she will have to do it with the grass roots.

Smith collected $32,160 during the recent period and reported an overall total of $222,622. Argenziano, a former Republican House and Senate member running as an independent, raised $7,030 between Sept. 29 and Oct. 12 and had an overall total of $27,858.

The newly filed reports show the business community lining up with Smith, who got contributions from groups and businesses such as Associated Industries of Florida, Humana, Inc., and Duke Energy Corp. Argenziano, meanwhile, got money from groups such as the Florida Nurses Association and the Fraternal Order of Police.

>>>HOUSE DISTRICT 47: Former Republican Rep. Bob Brooks and former Orange County Commissioner Linda Stewart both can tout their political resumes as they campaign in the Orlando area. But Brooks has a major fund-raising lead, collecting $37,260 during the most-recent period and reporting an overall total of $268,043. A physician and former secretary of the state Department of Health, his recent contributions included money from the hospital industry and health insurers. Stewart collected $9,163 between Sept. 29 and Oct. 12, bringing her overall total to $70,954. Among her donors were labor unions and the Florida National Organization for Women.

>>>HOUSE DISTRICT 89: More than two decades after serving as House speaker, Boca Raton Democrat Tom Gustafson decided this summer to try to return to the Legislature after another candidate dropped out of the District 89 race.

But Gustafson will have to overcome a financial disadvantage if he is going to beat Rep. Bill Hager, R-Boca Raton, in November. Gustafson collected $14,045 between Sept. 29 and Oct. 12 and reported an overall total of $62,613.

Hager, who has been raising money since early 2011, collected $21,150 during the most-recent period, bringing his total to $213,915. The Republican received money from groups such as optometrists and the Florida Hospital Association, while Gustafson received help from groups such as unions representing teachers and health-care workers.

>>>HOUSE DISTRICT 120: With House Minority Leader Ron Saunders, D-Key West, running unsuccessfully for the Senate this year, Republicans see a chance to pick up a Keys-based seat. GOP candidate Holly Merrill Raschein has dominated fund-raising, collecting $44,020 between Sept. 29 and Oct. 12 and reporting an overall total of $189,956. She received money recently from a wide range of businesses and groups, such as AT&T, Bank of America and U.S. Sugar Corp. Democrat Ian Whitney, meanwhile, raised $9,385 during the recent period, bringing his total to $48,595. His contributors included teachers unions.

CAMPAIGN PROFILES

>>>Miami Herald on Jose Javier Rodriguez vs. Alex Diaz de la Portilla.

>>>Mia Jones runs for re-election in House District 14.

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RICK SCOTT TO MAKE EDUCATION PROPOSALS THIS WEEK

Scott plans to roll out several education proposals later this week that will include opposition to any new cuts in spending on schools to an effort to expand access to charter schools. The Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times reported Monday that it obtained a draft copy of the proposal, which Scott plans to make public on Thursday at a an education conference in Fort Myers.

Scott has already said he will urge lawmakers not to cut spending, and plans to move more forcefully away from certain types of standardized testing, a move the state has already begun. Possibly the most controversial plan Scott intends to pursue involves making it easier for students to go to charter schools rather than traditional public schools. Among his proposals will be to remove enrollment caps on charter schools, the Herald/Times reported.

CABINET MEETING TODAY

The Governor and Cabinet meet 9 a.m. until conclusion of agenda at the Capitol. The agenda can be found here.

MEDICALLY NEEDY PROGRAM

The Medical Care Advisory Committee of the Agency for Health Care Administration holds the second of two meetings to solicit verbal and w ritten comments from all interested stakeholders as AHCA seeks federal waiver authority to enroll Medically Needy recipients into their choice of managed care plans and to change the program. This meeting will be held 1 to 3 p.m. at the Agency for Health Care Administration.

NEW FL. CHAMBER SURVEY SHOWS CONTINUED ECONOMIC UNCERTAINTY

For the second consecutive quarter, economic uncertainty and access to capital continue to rank as major obstacles preventing small business growth, according to fourth quarter results from the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Index Survey. While a steady 31 percent of respondents plan to hire employees during the next six months, those hiring plans will stop if Congress does not extend 2001-2003 tax certainty preventing an economic cliff dive.

“Small businesses are the pulse of Florida’s economy. They create four out of five new jobs in Florida, therefore it’s vital that we routinely monitor the health of this important job creator,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “While economic uncertainty and access to much needed capital remain priority concerns among small businesses, a larger concern is looming as more small businesses feel they are worse off today than six months ago and many may halt their future hiring plans if Congress doesn’t prevent the federal government from going over the fiscal cliff.”

According to the survey, 35 percent of small businesses believe their business is worse off today than six months ago – up from 25 percent in June. Further, 17 percent of small businesses will stop their current hiring plans, and even worse, 39 percent are unsure of their hiring plans if Congress does not act to extend the 2001 and 2003 tax certainty by the end of the year.

ROB SCHENCK TAPPED FOR RULES CHAIR IN FLORIDA HOUSE; CHRIS DORWORTH IS MAJORITY LEADER via David Royse of the News Service of Florida

Spring Hill Republican Rep. Rob Schenck will be chairman of the Rules Committee in the coming legislative session, assuming he wins re-election as expected, House Speaker Will Weatherford announced Monday.

Schenck was chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee the last two years, and also was co-chair of the chamber’s Redistricting Subcommittee that redrew House boundaries.

Weatherford also announced that Rep. Marti Coley will serve as speaker pro-tempore and Rep. Chris Dorworth will be House majority leader starting in November. Dorworth is in line to become speaker after Weatherford’s two year term.

TWEET, TWEET: @ElJoeC: I’m sure @scott_maxwell is happy for @ChrisDorworth today being the nice guy he is. I bet he’s ahead of us and sent some flowers

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HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY to one of the best and brainiest in Florida politics, Tony Carvajal.

MAKE YOUR OWN ELECTORAL COLLEGE MAP: Real Clear Politics allows readers to create their own presidential, Senate and House maps and share it with their friends.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, 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.