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BOTH SIDES ARE WORRIED
Rick Klein: “Team Obama is nowhere near as confident about its map as public statements suggest, and the Romney surge isn’t as real (or relevant, given battleground-state polling) as Republicans are spinning. Yet it’s that map that governs still — national polls aside, the Romney surge hasn’t spilled into the battlegrounds (particularly Ohio) enough to upend the race in Romney’s favor, at least not yet.”
First Read: “Obama could still lose Ohio and get to 270 electoral votes, and the path is not a nutty path. He does it by winning Wisconsin (a state that hasn’t gone GOP since 84), Iowa (a state Gore carried), New Hampshire (a state Kerry carried), and Colorado. That gets him to 272. Sorta stunning that with all of our focus on FL-OH-VA that they all three could get rendered meaningless by the Rodney Dangerfield of the battleground: Colorado. And this is why, despite some national polls showing Romney either tied or slightly ahead, the narrative has never held that Obama is behind – due to all of his different paths to 270.”
THE LATEST TRACKING POLLS
Gallup: Romney 50%, Obama 47%; IBD/TIPP: Obama 47%, Romney 44%; RAND: Obama 49%, Romney 45%; Rasmussen: Romney 50%, Obama 46%; Public Policy Polling: Obama 48%, Romney 48%; UPI/CVoter: Obama 49%, Romney 47%
OBAMA TAPS CLINTON AGAIN FOR AD
Bill Clinton appears in another TV ad: “The stuff some folks are saying about President Obama sound kind of familiar. The same people said my ideas destroyed jobs–they called me every name in the book.”
“Some additional Bill Clinton events for Obama will be announced in the coming days, likely pairing him with other big names, a la his hugely successful Ohio appearance with Bruce Springsteen,” writes Mark Halperin.
OBAMA HOLDS AD EDGE DESPITE BEING OUTSPENT
President Obama and his allies “have aired more ads in battleground states this month than Mitt Romney and his supporters, despite being outspent by the Republican nominee and GOP groups,” the Washington Postreports. “Obama has a key advantage over Romney by raising the bulk of his money through his campaign committee, which qualifies for discounted ad rates under federal election laws. That can allow Obama to pay much less for the same ads compared with conservative super PACs and other outside groups, which don’t qualify for such rates.”
MUST-READ COLUMN – OBAMA HASN’T EARNED JEWISH VOTE by Steve Kurlander for the Sun-Sentinel
“The truth is that despite the accurate assertion by a number of his Democratic surrogates that there has been no let up in continued military and intelligence cooperation with Israel, his internationalist policies aimed at improving relations with Muslim and the rest of the world have changed the playing field in the Middle East to the existential detriment of Israel.”
OBAMA MAKES WHIRLWIND VISIT TO TAMPA TODAY
President Barack Obama is making an appearance in Ybor City this morning, part of a cross-country campaign marathon. Obama will appear at a rally at Ybor Centennial Park about 9 a.m. Thursday. Aattendees will be admitted starting at 7 a.m.
>>>A new report shows the Tampa market has risen to No. 3 in the nation in the volume of presidential political advertisements, up from No. 4 last month and now joined by Orlando in the top 5.
ROMNEY RALLYING THIS WEEKEND AT WILL WEATHERFORD’S ALMA MATER
Romney will make a return visit to the critical Tampa area this weekend, hosting a victory rally at Land O’ Lakes High School. Land O’ Lakes is familiar territory for Romney – he campaigned here two years ago on behalf of then-Senate nominee Marco Rubio. Now Rubio is returning the favor, co-hosting the victory rally in Republican-heavy Pasco County, which is home to incoming House Speaker Will Weatherford, a former football star at Land O’ Lakes High School. “We’ve been talking about them coming to Pasco for a long time,” Weatherford said. “And Land O’ Lakes? What could be better? Of course, I’m partial to my alma mater. I’m especially partial to the football field, having spent a whole lot of hours on it.”
GREAT PHOTOS: ROMNEY FAMILY IN CENTRAL FLORIDA: View here.
RUBIO BACK ON ROAD FOR ROMNEY THURSDAY via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times
Rubio is scheduled to campaign Thursday in Wisconsin for Mitt Romney. On Saturday, he’ll hit three stops in Florida alongside the candidate: Pensacola. Kissimmee and Land O’Lakes.
BEAUTIFUL EMAIL OF THE DAY: “Pretty or plain, heavy or thin, gay or straight, rich or poor” from Maya Angelou for Barack Obama
FLASHBACK: Romney’s op-ed suggesting that America let the auto industry go bankrupt was the most-viewed New York Times story online yesterday.
NO MORE INTERVIEWS: The Romney campaign is not committing to granting any network interviews in the final two weeks of the campaign, Politico reports.
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RPOF’S LENNY CURRY GETS BOGUS CITIZENSHIP LETTER
Lenny Curry, head of the Republican Party of Florida, got one of the letters telling him to go to his local Supervisor of Elections and produce proof of citizenship. Read a copy of the letter here. Curry is totally outraged. These letters are going to “high propensity Republican voters” and maybe others too, he fumed in a release, and must be stopped. He called on the Florida Democratic Party to join him in his condemnation. “This type of activity is not only disgusting, it is criminal, and must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” he said in an RPOF release. “I call on Florida Democrats to join me in condemning this false letter writing campaign that appears to target likely voters in Florida, and help RPOF get the word out about this false campaign.” TWEET, TWEET: @SaintPetersblog: Would not put it past Republicans to send themselves bogus voter letters, just to stir up controversy. #YouKnowYoureThinkingTheSameThing
IS FLORIDA’S DELEGATION THE WACKIEST? via POLITICO
Consider the evidence: Tea Party favorite Rep. Allen West called Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz “vile” and questioned whether she is a real “lady.” Republican Rep. David Rivera is under investigation for funding a shadow opponent in the Democratic primary. GOP Rep. Vern Buchanan has been dealing with allegations about illegal campaign donations for years. Rep. Bill Posey introduced a so-called birther bill as soon as he got to Congress in 2009. And Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings is regularly reelected — even though as a federal judge, he was impeached by Congress for bribery and perjury.
FREEDOM WORKS TO HELP MACK
FreedomWorks, a conservative group aligned with the tea party, will be in Jacksonville on Friday and Saturday to support GOP Senate candidate Connie Mack.
POLITIFACTING BILL NELSON
Bill Nelson says Connie Mack’s Penny Plan would lead to massive cuts in defense, Medicare and Social Security.
COMMISSION FINDS PROBABLE CAUSE DAVID RIVERA VIOLATED ELECTIONS LAWS via The Associated Press
Accusations against the Miami Republican include receiving income from Southwest Florida Enterprises Inc., a company involved with Flagler Dog Track in Miami, that he knew or should have known was given to influence his vote or official action and using campaign funds for non-campaign expenses.
He also is alleged to have had a $1 million business contract with Southwest Florida Enterprises that would create a frequent conflict between his private interests and public duties. Rivera signed the 2006 contract to manage a successful campaign to expand gambling in Miami-Dade County.
The commission also found probable cause for six alleged financial disclosure violations and that he misused his position to request state reimbursement for travel and failed to report a debt.
HOUSE MAJORITY PAC SWOOPS IN WITH $275K AD BUY FOR AL LAWSON IN CD 2 via Morning Score
The pro-Democratic group is going on air against GOP Rep. Steve Southerland as part of a $275,000 buy. From the script: “It’s about values. Steve Southerland wants to dismantle the Department of Education. It would mean dangerous cuts in education funding and more expensive student loans. Steve Southerland voted to end guaranteed Medicare benefits and make seniors pay thousands more so millionaires can get another huge tax cut. Cuts to education, cuts to Medicare, tax breaks for millionaires. Those are Steve Southerland’s values. Are they yours?” Watch the ad here.
POINTLESS ENDORSEMENT OF THE DAY: Sen. Bill Nelson backs fellow Democrat Keith Fitzgerald.
FITCH: LOCALS CAN ABSORB AMENDMENT 4 CUTS via the News Service of Florida
Fitch Rating agency said Wednesday that passage of Amendment 4 would not reduce local governments’ credit worthiness but will pose challenges to cities and counties that rely on property taxes to keep the lights on. The New York-based company, one of three major U.S. rating agencies, said that revenue lost due to the proposed constitutional amendment would not by itself prompt the agency to lower its credit rating, which determines how much it costs local governments to borrow money.
“When taken in the context of local governments’ entire revenue structure, the potential slower growth or even declines in property taxes from Amendment Four will be relatively manageable,” Fitch said in its review. “The Florida Revenue Estimating Conference projects that statewide taxable values will begin a period of expansion next fiscal year, and Fitch believes the major impact of Amendment Four will be to temper but not derail that growth,” the agency concluded.
A REALLY, REALLY LONG MAILER IN SUPPORT OF AMENDMENT 4. View the mailer here.
‘NO ON 6’ LAUNCHES THIRD AD AGAINST ABORTION-RELATED AMENDMENT via Dara Kam of the Palm Beach Post
The “No on 6″ political committee, funded largely by Planned Parenthood organizations from around the country, launched a third television ad in Florida urging voters to reject a proposed constitutional amendment dealing with abortion.
The latest ad, called “I’ve Seen First Hand,” features a doctor warning that Amendment 6 would bar insurance companies from covering abortions in pregnancies that could threaten a woman’s health. Watch here.
STUDY: JUSTICES NOT ACTIVIST, BUT IDEOLOGY FAIR GAME
Three Supreme Court justices facing retention elections in November don’t appear to be “activist” judges, but Florida voters should feel free to remove the trio from office over ideological differences, a law professor who studied the issue for a conservative legal group said Wednesday. Elizabeth Foley, a law professor at Florida International University, said she examined nine controversial cases on behalf of the Washington, D.C.-based Federalist Society. She found no reason to believe that Justices R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince were “unprincipled” in reaching their decision, though Foley said she might disagree with some. Opponents have argued that the three are judicial activists that voters should reject. “I think you’re going to have a hard time making that label stick,” Foley said.
FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION ENDORSES AARON BEAN IN SENATE DISTRICT 4
“The Florida Retail Federation is pleased to support your candidacy for the Florida State Senate, District 4,” wrote Rick McAllister, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation, in a letter of support for Bean. “We believe that you will prove to be a strong voice for the retail business community in your district, and for the state.”
SD 14 CANDIDATE WILL MCBRIDE: REPUBLICAN GROUPS ARE ABANDONING ME by Jason Garcia of the Orlando Sentinel
Republican Party of Florida is largely ignoring McBride … opting instead to plow money into Senate District 34 (Broward and Palm Beach counties), Senate District 25 (Palm Beach County) and Senate District 8 (Volusia, Marion and Lake counties).
And a number of traditionally Republican interest groups — such as the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Federation for Children, which supports school-choice — are helping McBride’s opponent, Democratic state Rep. Darren Soto of Orlando, who now has to be seen as the heavy favorite to win in a district where Democrats have a 2-to-1 registration advantage.
Making matters especially bitter, McBride says he was encouraged to run by some prominent Republicans and Republican-leaning interest groups who persuaded him to spend $205,000 of his own money as a “down payment” that would spur much more money from outside contributors.
“I had a lot of commitments from other groups who encouraged me to do this,” McBride said, though he declined to identify them. “They’ve done some things,” he added of RPOF. “Not to the degree I was hoping.”
DIRECTION OF FLA. SENATE AT STAKE IN BOGDANOFF VS. SACHS RACE by Brandon Larrabee of the News Service of Florida
Democrats still see something at stake in District 34.
If Democrats can hold their 12 current seats in the 40-member chamber and Rep. Darren Soto can win his bid for a district in central Florida drawn to favor Latinos, then a win in the coastal district running from Boynton Beach to Fort Lauderdale would deprive the GOP of a two-thirds supermajority.
And that would potentially give the minority party more of a say in efforts by the GOP to alter the rules of the chamber or attempts to override any vetoes by Gov. Rick Scott.
“It’s No. 14,” said Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Boca Raton, in an interview last week at her campaign headquarters in Palm Beach County.
Sachs said it would be “dangerous with a capital ‘d'” to allow the majority party to hold onto authority she suggested would be almost unfettered if Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, wins the seat.
HERE’S WHERE SH*T STANDS IN FIVE HOUSE DISTRICTS: Read here.
MORE QUESTIONS FOR CHRIS DORWORTH via Jason Garcia of The Orlando Sentinel
Last January, amid a bitter divorce dispute with his estranged wife, Chris Dorworth told the court that he was worth negative $3 million.
Less than six months later, when the Lake Mary Republican qualified to run for re-election, he filed a state financial disclosure form that said his net worth was negative $56,000.
The discrepancy — more than $2.9 million — is in large part the result of Dorworth using different accounting methods. The effect was to make him appear in far better financial health for voters than for divorce court.
NEW CASTOR DENTEL AD ACCUSES PLAKON OF ‘DISTORTING’ AND ‘HIDING’
After the Republican Party of Florida launched a tough new ad seizing on ethics and election complaints against Karen Castor Dentel — complaints based on a Republican Party public-records request and filed by a contributor to Rep. Scott Plakon, — the Democrat is hitting back in the increasingly vitriolic race for House District 30.
A new TV spot, paid for by Castor Dentel’s campaign, accuses Plakon of engaging in “outrageous negative attacks.”
“Maybe distorting the facts and hiding his extreme record is how he plans to get re-elected,” Castor Dentel says into the camera. “My plan is to continue to fight for our children.”
ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER BRUTAL MAILER FROM FRANK FARKAS IN DISTRICT 68: View the mailer here.
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FLORIDA POWER & LIGHT PROFITS UP
Florida Power & Light Co. had third-quarter net income of $392 million, or 93 cents a share, topping its performance of $347 million, or 83 cents a share, during the same period last year, according to a financial filing released Wednesday.
FPL cited several projects that will upgrade or add new power plants. “The main driver of FPL’s growth was continued investment in the business, including investments in new, more efficient power generation,” the filing said. “The company expects these investments will produce significant customer benefits in the form of lower fuel costs, enhanced reliability and cleaner air.”
JAMES MADISON INSTITUTE DEBATE The James Madison Institute is hosting a debate on the role of government in economic growth and job creation led by Michael Grunwald, senior national correspondent for TIME Magazine, and Matt Kibbe, president and CEO of FreedomWorks. This event is free and will begin at 7 p.m. at the Rose & Alfred Miniaci Performing Arts Center at Nova Southeastern University. Following the debate, both speakers will be available for a book signing of their most recent releases; Grunwald, “The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era;” Kibbe, New York Times bestseller “Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto.”
BOOK I WON’T BE READING: Ginger White tells Daily Download that she plans to prove that she had a 13-year affair with Herman Cain in a new book which could prompt the former presidential candidate “to be a little more honest with his wife, because the details that I share, only she would know.”
CHECK OUT: The new 9-billion pixel image of the central Milky Way captured by the European Southern Observatory’s Paranal Observatory in Chile.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to OFA’s Eric Conrad and one of Tampa’s favorite sons, Mike Griffin.
THE MEME PRESIDENT: Ryan Teague Beckwith has an exhaustive history of the memes of the Obama presidency, including the hope poster, Superman, the teleprompter, Spock, the Joker, the Jedi knight and “not bad.”