Sunburn for 11/28 — 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 SUNBURN is brought to you in part by Tucker/Hall — a top-notch public affairs and public relations firm. Visit TuckerHall.com to read about their team, success stories and case studies.***

OBAMA HEADS BACK ONTO THE TRAIL

President Obama plans to try to ratchet up public pressure on Congress to accept his ideas for resolving the looming tax-and-spending crisis with a series of events at the White House and on the road this week.

First Read: “While Team Obama is beginning to increase its activity as we get closer to the fiscal cliff deadline at the end of the year — we learned yesterday that Obama chatted over the phone with House Speaker John Boehner on Saturday (along with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid) — the reality is that everyone is going to run in circles over the next couple of weeks. Why? Because Washington typically needs the pressure of a deadline to get things done. There’s more of a chance for getting a deal in mid to late December. That’s just the nature of how this process works. And by the way, it’s what the negotiators themselves know. All of them have privately expressed an interest to hit the fast forward button on the DVR and simply get to the end game.”

ROMNEY’S QUICK, QUIET FADE

Newsweek: “There he was, less than a month ago, browbeating Barack Obama and finally finding his fire. Then Election Day dawned, Ohio was declared, and Mitt Romney waved goodbye to his White House dreams with a shellshocked ‘Thanks, guys.’ And that was that. No ‘You won’t have Romney to kick around anymore’ tirade. No demands for a recount or talk of hanging chads. Sure, he tried to sling a little mud by claiming Obama had bought off Hispanics, but even GOPers called the comment ‘nuts.’ No–by and large, Romney’s fade has been quick and quiet. His last tweet was on Nov. 10. He’s not making the talk-show rounds. Paparazzi are having trouble finding him–and when they do, he’s in the middle of the most yawnworthy of tasks (pumping gas, taking the clan to Disneyland). Clearly the man’s not planning a big comeback.”

JEB MEETS WITH BUSH ALUMNI, CAMPAIGN OPERATIVES

Bush met with a group of his former staffers at a Washington, D.C. hotel, National Review reports.

Bush, a potential 2016 presidential contender, spent an hour in the hotel’s Cannon room, reminiscing and entertaining questions about his political future… Neil Newhouse, Mitt Romney’s campaign pollster, was at the meeting, as were several veteran Florida operatives.

BUSH TALKS EDUCATION IN DC, BUT POLITICS COME TO MIND via Beth Reinhard of National Journal

Bush showed off political skills and a mastery of policy at an education summit attended by 900 people. Scattered among the wonks were powerful political consultants and fundraisers, who will be waiting a long time for the answers they seek.

WILL JEB’S BUSINESS DEALINGS BE AN OBSTACLE TO A 2016 BID?

Joe Conason: “Jeb’s business dealings may well prove an insurmountable obstacle to a national candidacy, just as Romney’s business career became excess baggage for his presidential campaign. Known today only as another Bush brother, Jeb must be introduced to American voters. And among the first things they are likely to learn about him is the string of borderline business deals that built his original fortune in Florida real estate, which began three decades ago.”

OTHER 2016 NOTES

>>>Marc Ambinder gives five reasons why the conventional wisdom on Hillary Clinton might be wrong. “If I had to bet, I’d bet that she decides to run, if only because she will feel that destiny and circumstance have put her in the right place at the right time. She may feel that she owes it to young women and those who supported her to finish the marathon of American politics. But she might well decide that her legacy is secure, her popularity is intact, her financial prospects are bright, and her future lies with advocacy from the outside and grand-mothering.”

>>>A new Quinnipiac poll in New Jersey finds 95% of voters think Gov. Chris Christie (R) did an “excellent” or “good” job responding to Hurricane Sandy. Christie now holds a sky high 72% to 21% approval rating.

>>>Rick Santorum tells the Weekly Standard that he is “open” to another presidential bid in 2016.  “I think there’s a fight right now as to what the soul of the Republican party’s going to be and the conservative movement, and we have something to say about that. I think from our battle, we’re not going to leave the field.”

CONGRESSIONAL DEMS WANT FEDS TO REVIEW VOTING LAW by Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times

Six Democratic members of Congress from Florida want the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to hold a hearing on changes to state election laws enacted by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott last year.

In their letter, the members of Congress cite recent statements by former Gov. Charlie Crist (an ex-Republican who may run for governor as a Democrat) and former state Republican Party chairman Jim Greer (awaiting trial on felony charges) that the reason for the voting law changes was to “intentionally suppress Democratic turnout.” That assertion is based on a recent article in The Palm Beach Post, which also quoted a Republican campaign consultant, Wayne Bertsch, as saying that a surge in early voting turnout in 2008 “sent a chill down our spines.”

>>>Bertsch issued a statement on Tuesday saying his quote was taken out of context.

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SCOTT’S 10K COLLEGE DEGREE SLAMMED

Tampa Bay Times: “CHEAP Gimmicks are no way to improve Florida’s higher education system and better prepare students for the work force. That is exactly what Gov. Rick Scott proposed Monday… But slashing prices to deliver cheap college degrees when what’s really needed is more public investment in colleges and universities is the wrong approach…Scott says he is doing this for cash-strapped families so their children can afford the college degrees they need to get good jobs. But he made no mention that as governor he has signed into law deep spending cuts for higher education that have forced the sorts of tuition increases he now opposes…Even with recent tuition increases, Florida colleges and universities are underpriced and underfunded. If Scott wants to reduce tuition for Florida families and provide the quality higher education they should expect, the state needs to find more money to invest. The governor wants to run the state like a business. Successful businesses don’t slash prices to move cheap products to a few customers and fail to invest in quality. This is a publicity stunt that has not taken off in Texas, and Floridians are likely to be just as skeptical.”

Tampa Tribune‘s Joe Henderson: “On the other side of the aisle, Gov. Rick Scott and his friends in the Florida Legislature have proven adept at answering this challenge with political sleight-of-hand. Phase 1: Use a meat cleaver on public school and university budgets. Phase 2: Spend lots of money to open the new Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland. Phase 3: Do a photo op with some smiling teachers and/or school kids. The governor’s announcement Monday fits right into the current landscape. He challenged the higher ed system to create bachelor’s degrees that students could earn for $10,000…Yes, college is too expensive and student debt is a social and economic time bomb. The problem requires serious people seeking serious solutions. It won’t be solved with gimmicks. The governor’s proposal is a gimmick.”

BLOG POST OF THE DAY – SO PREDICTABLE, SO TIRESOME: DEMOCRATS DISDAIN FOR RICK SCOTT’S EDUCATION PLAN by Nancy Smith of Sunshine State News

“What if the media put away the clubs for a minute and considered that maybe the governor simply saw a problem and found a possible solution in Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s affordable education plan. What if they just looked at higher education in Florida and could see what I see — a bureaucratic, unaffordable, debt-loaded, one-size-fits-all monstrosity that, frankly, is unacceptable.”

LEGISLATIVE LEADERS BACK LENNY CURRY FOR SECOND TERM AS RPOF CHAIR

The incoming leaders of the Florida Legislature — Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford — endorsed Republican Party of Florida Chairman Lenny Curry in his bid for reelection. Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford will be encouraging their appointees to the executive committee to join them in their support of Chairman Curry.

“Over the last 15 months, as Chairman, Lenny has proven that he is a true conservative leader with a level head and a strong heart. He has united ourParty through common sense and openness,” said Senate President Don Gaetz. “With Lenny at the helm of our Party, RPOF will be on the right path for success.”

“Looking forward, I cannot imagine a stronger leader for our Party than Lenny Curry. He is a young, energetic conservative who truly believes in the Republican message and has devoted full-time to advocate for our cause and our candidates all across the state,” said Speaker Will Weatherford. “I thank Chairman Curry for his service to our Party thus far, and have confidence in his vision for the future.”

***SUNBURN is brought to you in part by Bascom Communications & Consulting, LLC, a top-notch public affairs, political communications and public relations firm.  Visit www.bascomllc.com to read about their growing team, success stories and case studies.***

GRADING SENATE PREZ DON GAETZ’ LEADERSHIP ASSIGNMENTS

No one can say they’re surprised by Gaetz’ leadership picks, but that doesn’t make them any less interesting. Here’s how Gaetz’ picks grade:

Benacquisto – Has long been the protected “little sister” in the Senate and was/is always well insulated. Further, with Jim Rimes, a staunch Gaetz/RPoF partisan, as her Staff Director, she will be in safe hands and will take direction well.  B-

Negron – Who else in the Senate has the wherewithal to handle appropriations? He did a fine job as Approps Chair under Speaker Allan Bense in the House and, as he is quick to tell you, possesses all the tools to repeat his excellent performance in the House.  A+

Latvala – Latvala’s knowledge and leadership are key to this selection, which serves an example of the promises Gaetz hinted at during his speech last week.  However, leading this committee doesn’t give Latvala as much access as he would like to the moneyed industries.  B 

Lee – Few in the Senate possess his knoweldge of the process, while commanding respect from both majority and minority Senators.  A

Thrasher– Is anyone surprised by this selection? He is Gaetz’ right-hand man and it’s only appropriate to put Thrasher in such a demanding and high priority leadership post. A

DORWORTH GOES TO WORK FOR BALLARD…

…WHILE EISNAUGLE GOES TO WORK FOR RUMBERGER, KIRK AND CALDWELL via Aaron DeSlatte of the Orlando Sentinel

The former Orlando Republican  has started a new job with the Orlando branch of Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell.

Eisnaugle gave up his seat when he was drawn into the same House district as fellow Republican Steve Precourt last spring. Incoming House Speaker Will Weatherford made it clear he was supporting Precourt to serve a final two-year term that seat, and Eisnaugle decided to sit out the election (Eisnaugle and Precourt are also close friends).

Many expect Eisnaugle, an early 30’s lawyer with a young family,  to run again for the Legislature when Precourt is termed out in 2014.

NEW LOBBYING REGISTRATIONS

David Christian: Florida Chamber of Commerce

Gus Corbella, Greenberg Traurig: AlliedBarton Security Services

Jim DeBeaugrine, RFJ Governmental Consultants, Special Olympics of Florida

Nicole Fried, Colodny Fass Talenfeld Karlinsky Abate & Webb: OneCIS Insurance Company

Chris Hansen, GrayRobinson: Restaurant Depot

Meghan Hoza, The P5 Group, Jupiter Medical Center

Fred Karlinsky, Colodny Fass Talenfeld Karlinsky Abate & Webb: OneCIS Insurance Company

Nick Iarossi, Capital City Consulting: Florida Society of Ophthalmology

Ron LaFace, Capital City Consulting: Florida Society of Ophthalmology

Laura Lenhart: Florida Chamber of Commerce

Trevor Mask, Colodny Fass Talenfeld Karlinsky Abate & Webb: OneCIS Insurance Company

Rhett O’Doski, Advantage Consulting Team: Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales

Ryder Rudd, Advantage Consulting Team: Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales

Chris Schoonover, Capital City Consulting, Florida Society of Ophthalmology

Meredith Snowden, Colodny Fass Talenfeld Karlinsky Abate & Webb: OneCIS Insurance Company

Sean Stafford, Advantage Consulting Team: Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales

Tim Stanfield, Colodny Fass Talenfeld Karlinsky Abate & Webb: OneCIS Insurance Company

Robert Stuart, GrayRobinson: Restaurant Depot

Katherine Webb, Colodny Fass Talenfeld Karlinsky Abate & Webb: OneCIS Insurance Company

Karen Zeiler, Executive Office of the Governor

***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.***

A BETTER IDEA FOR FLORIDA’S NEW LICENSE PLATE

Florida PR firm Kevin Cate Communications and Florida design firm squarefactor teamed up today to donate a new license plate design to the State of Florida after backlash against the four current options being presented by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The new design (check it out here) is consistent with the current theme preferred by state agency personnel, law enforcement, tax collectors, and affiliated associations.

JOHN MICA OUT AS HOUSE TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE CHAIR

Florida’s John Mica, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has dropped his bid to chair the committee in the 113th Congress in the face of term limits and has endorsed Rep. Bill Shuster, according to a Monday letter obtained by POLITICO.

In the letter to House Speaker John Boehner, Mica says that Shuster has held two subcommittee leadership posts and “has both the experience and ability to assume this important position for our Conference.” Mica also wrote that it was a “great privilege and honor” to chair the committee for the past two years.

ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN TO STEP DOWN AS FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE CHAIR via the Miami Herald

Top Republicans in Congress on Tuesday recommended a new chairman for the Foreign Affairs Committee, a position to be vacated by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen due to GOP term limits in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Ros-Lehtinen, a Miami Republican, served two years as chairwoman of the powerful committee, and four years as the ranking GOP member — the maximum six years party rules allow members to remain in committee leadership positions.

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HO HO HO: Chris Carmody, Fred Leonhardt, Jason Searl and Robert Stuart are hosting a holiday party tonight at the University Club of Orlando. The hosts have each selected a charity — Boy Scouts of America, IDignity Orlando, Christian Service Center of Central Florida, Heart to Heart, Community Care Organization — which they hope to enrich this Holiday season.

TWEET OF THE DAY: @kristymcampbell: Al Lawson debt retirement email officially most depressing email of this cycle. Please, DCCC, just give him 41,000.

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.