Sunburn for 8/21: A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

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

***On the eve of the Republican National Convention, several of Florida’s leading political and public affairs consultants will be hosting an invitation-only party in St. Peterburg. The “Full Lid Party” will be the go-to after party following the official welcome reception at Tropicana Field. Click here for more information and tickets.***

OBAMA ON PROSPECT OF FACING RUBIO: “HE MIGHT GET HIS ASS KICKED”

The first pages of the latest POLITICO e-book offer a glimpse of President Obama talking smack:

…Obama’s trash-talking competitiveness, a trait that has defined him since his days on the court as a basketball-obsessed teenager in Hawaii, was on display one night last February, when the president spotted a woman he knew was close to Sen. Marco Rubio in a Florida hotel lobby. “Is your boy going to go for [vice president]?” the president asked her. Maybe, she replied.

“Well,” he said, chuckling, according to a person who witnessed the encounter. “Tell your boy to watch it. He might get his ass kicked.”…

>>>Myself, Marc Caputo and Adam Smith, among others, have come to the conclusion that POTUS was speaking to operative Ana Navarro.

CONNIE MACK: AKIN’S RAPE COMMENT AS OFFENSIVE AS BIDEN’S CHAINS by Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times

Connie Mack joins a growing list of Republicans who have condemning Rep. Todd Akin’s rape comments, which may have ended Akin’s U.S. Senate campaign in Missouri.

But Mack adds that the remarks are as “just as outrageous and offensive” to those by Vice President Joe Biden, who last week before a crowd filled with African Americans said Republicans seeking to deregulate Wall Street would put people back in chains.

“Like Joe Biden’s comments last week, I find Todd Akin’s comments made Sunday to be just as outrageous and offensive,” Mack said. “Such insulting and offensive remarks from Joe Biden and Todd Akin have no place in our political discourse.”

RNC’S FIRST NIGHT THEME – ‘WE CAN DO BETTER’; RICK SCOTT TO SPEAK ON FIRST NIGHT

The Republican National Committee on Monday released the schedule for ther first day of the Republican National Convention. Among the list of speakers set to speak on is Sen. Ryan Paul (R-KY), Mike Huckebee, and Florida Governor Rick Scott– who is scheduled to speak at about 8 p.m. The final remarks of the night will be given by Ann Romney.

DONALD TRUMP WILL GET “SURPRISE” MONDAY ROLE AT RNC

Convention organizers won’t say what he’ll be doing in Tampa or if he’ll address the delegates there,” Manu Raju reports. “But they promise the controversial billionaire and prominent President Barack Obama provocateur will be part of their opening day schedule.

FLORIDA HAS HAD A MAKEOVER SINCE LAST CONVENTION IN ’72

When Republicans hold their national convention in Tampa next week, it will be on completely different political terrain than in 1972, when both the GOP and Democrats nominated their presidential candidates in Miami Beach. But one thing hasn’t changed over the past four decades: Florida remains the largest state never to have had a presidential or vice presidential nominee for a major party

ROMNEY VETOED FIRST SIX SET STAGE DESIGNS FOR CONVENTION

Earlier this summer, aides showed Romney six options for stage designs to let him pick,” Phil Rucker wrote in Saturday’s Washington Post. “But Romney, who after overseeing the Opening Ceremonies at the Salt Lake City Olympics fancies himself as having a trained eye for stagecraft, vetoed all six. He sent aides back to the drawing board before finally settling on a design he liked.

DEMS PLAN COUNTER-REVOLUTION TO RNC by Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times

Democrats have been pretty tight-lipped about their plans to bracket the Republican National Convention in Tampa, but they have an aggressive program in the works to get their message out from outside the Tampa Bay Times Forum and in battleground states across the country.

“The hub of activity will be coordinated out of a rapid response war room just a short walk from the Republican convention in downtown Tampa and will include leading campaign and party surrogates and middle class Americans from all walks of life who have been victimized by Romney Economics.  Among other top campaign surrogates, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz will play a central role in the pushback efforts including kicking activities off in the war room this weekend.”

THE RNC IS COMING TO TOWN!

>>>Convention stage will “blow people’s minds”

>>>Officials, media starting to arrive

>>>Online media will star at the conventions

>>>Protesters have to sleep sometime, but where?

MISSOURI’S TODD AKIN NOT DROPPING OUT

Rep. Todd Akin said that despite some media reports, he is not leaving the Missouri U.S. Senate race,Politico reports. Said Akin: “I was told that there is a decision has to be made by 5 o’clock tomororw but I was calling you and letting you know that I’m announcing today that we’re (staying) in.”

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KURLANDER: CHOICE OF MODERATORS SHOWS NEED FOR UPGRADE OF PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE PROGRAMMING

The moderators for the upcoming presidential debates were revealed this week, and while the first female pick in 20 years was among them, there were no other surprises.

The line-up was otherwise what has come to be expected in these debates over the years: seasoned, archetype correspondents from the mainstream press.

Since the first presidential debate between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon took place on television in 1960, neither the format nor those asking the questions have changed much, if at all.

In a political age dominated by an instantaneous 24-7 news cycle, social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and powerful political blogs and websites – as well as a corresponding decrease in influence of mainstream newspapers and network and cable news programming – the relevancy and fairness of not only the moderators, but the debates themselves, comes into serious question.

NEW BOOK REVEALS HIGH-LEVEL DOUBTS ABOUT DEBBIE WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ AS DNC CHAIR

“Many of Obama’s advisers have quietly begun questioning whether they should have picked [Debbie] Wasserman Schultz, an outspoken Florida congresswoman, as his DNC chairwoman,” Glenn Thrush writes in “Obama’s Last Stand,” an e-book that went live at midnight, published in collaboration between POLITICO and Random House. “She has clashed with Chicago over her choice of staff and air-time on national TV shows – and they think she comes across as too partisan over the airwaves. Obama’s brain trust secretly commissioned pollster David Binder to conduct an internal focus study of the popularity of top Obama campaign surrogates. Number one was former press secretary Robert Gibbs, followed by [Stephanie] Cutter. Traveling press secretary Jen Psaki, who was added to a second study, was third. Axelrod, Plouffe and current White House press secretary Jay Carney were bunched in the middle. Wasserman Schultz ranked at the bottom.”

WILL WEATHERFORD CONTINUES TO TALK ONLINE EDUCATION

Incoming House Speaker Will Weatherford on Monday again plugged one of his top interests, exploring the possibility of a statewide online university to expand access to higher education. Students “are desiring and looking for flexibility in their education,” Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, said Monday on The Morning Show With Preston Scott on WFLA radio in Tallahassee via the News Service of Florida.

“Think about someone who doesn’t have the ability to pack up and move … they could still work and take care of their mom or do whatever it is they have to do,” said Weatherford, who has been floating the idea for more than a year. Many state universities already offer extensive online classes, but Weatherford said they’re expensive, and geared toward whatever programs are most popular, because they can make money for the university. Weatherford said a broader online system that provides an “accessible platform providing education to everyone who wants it,” is what he’s interested in. Weatherford is expected to become speaker in November.

PERSONNEL NOTE: CHRISTY DALE NAMED DEP. SECRETARY OFa DJJ; J. ALEX KELLY NAMED CHIEF OF STAFF

The Department of Juvenile Justice on Monday announced several top-level staff changes. Chief of Staff Christy Daly was appointed deputy secretary, to replace Robert Woody, who is retiring Aug. 31. “I am deeply grateful to Robert’s loyal service as deputy secretary since last year and wish him the best in his retirement,” said Juvenile Justice Secretary Wansley Walters. “Christy has been a vital member of the (top leadership team at DJJ) since her appointment as chief of staff in January 2011 and she has done much to promote our reform agenda with the Legislature and key stakeholders.” Daly has also worked as the agency’s legislative affairs director, among other roles at the department. From 2001 to 2007 she worked in various positions at the Florida Network of Youth and Family Services, where she led the statewide implementation of the renowned Safe Place program. Daly has a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Florida State University.

With Daly’s promotion J. Alex Kelly becomes chief of staff at DJJ. Kelly has been staff director of the House Redistricting Committee and before that was chief analyst for the House Select Policy Council on Strategic and Economic Planning. He’s also served as an analyst in the House Majority Office and legislative affairs director at the Florida Department of Corrections (2007-08) and Department of Elder Affairs (2005-07). He was also an aide to former state Sen. Anna Cowin, R-Leesburg, and former Rep. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach. Kelly received a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from York College of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Florida. He starts Sept. 10.

***Are you tired of getting your ASSETS TAXED OFF? Amendment 4 can help. Join the movement at TaxYourAssetsOff.com or check us out on FacebookTwitter and YouTube.***

JEB BUSH ON CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM

“I am for complete transparency within 24 hours for all groups, committees, organizations, campaigns, PACs, etc.” — The former governor on campaign finance reform, as quoted by Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel.

SURVEY: ECO’s, CCE’s ARE BAD!

By an almost 9-to-1 margin, respondents to a LobbyTools poll say such campaign spending committees do more harm than good.

DOCS IN THE HOUSE

The Florida Medical Association quietly scored several major hits this primary season, topping it off with two physician-candidates’ wins in hotly contested races—Rep. Ron “Doc” Renuart, D.O., and HD 55 primary winner Cary Pigman, M.D.   The FMA PAC raised over $1.6 million for the primary season, strongly positioning the FMA for the general election cycle.  With close ties to incoming Senate President Don Gaetz, the FMA also had a hand in the competitive primary victories of Aaron Bean, Tom Lee, John Legg, and Kelli Stargel.  Friends of Medicine, indeed.

STAT OF THE DAY: 38% OF FEDERAL AND STATE ELECTIONS HAVE ALREADY BEEN DECIDED

On 3 Public Relations’ analysis of the August 14 primary shows 11 races were decided in the primary.  Those candidates, who are not facing any general election opposition, are elected. There are 21 additional candidates facing only write-in opposition on the November 6 general election ballot.  These candidates, combined with the 40 incumbents who did not receive any filed opposition during the June qualifying period, result in a total of 72 candidates all but guaranteed election to office. In summary, about 38 percent of Florida’s 187 federal and state district contests have already been decided

VAL DEMINGS, DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE IN CD 10, LAUNCHES FIRST TV AD

Former Orlando police chief Val Demings, one of the top Democratic recruits, is going up today with her first TV ad in her race against Republican incumbent Dan Webster. “My mother wore a maid’s uniform so I could go to college and train to wear a police uniform,” she says. “And after 27 years, I earned the uniform of Chief. When they call you chief, the hard decisions come to you. It wasn’t easy to cut our budget and cut violent crime at the same time. But when you put politics aside…you can get things done. That’s why I’m running for Congress…Let’s get it done.” Watch here.

HARD DOLLAR FUNDRAISER HOSTED BY WEATHERFORD, DORWORTH AND CORCORAN SCHEDULED FOR SEPT. 13

Benefiting Reps. Larry Ahern, Bill Hager, Shawn Harrison, Ed Hooper, George Moraitis, Keith Perry, Ray Pilon, Scott Plakon, Pat Rooney, Jimmie T. Smith, John Tobia and candidates Halsey Beshears, Bob Brooks, Alex Diaz de la Portilla, Frank Farkas, Travis Hutson, Marco Pena, Kathleen Peters, Holly Raschein, David Santiago and Ross Spano. … Thursday, September 13, 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. at The Governors Club, Main Dining Room.

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CAN’T STOP READING: The new e-book from Glenn Thrush and Evan Thomas out today: Obama’s Last Stand — The lack of infighting during Barack Obama’s historic run for the White House in 2008 is long gone.

FORGET FANTASY FOOTBALL, HOW ABOUT FANTASY POLITICS? f real-life politics isn’t entertaining enough for you, as of Tuesday, you’ll have new outlet on Facebook with “For The People: Fantasy Politics,” brought to you by gaming startup Rocket Surgeon Entertainment. Players adopt avatars and live out professional lives as members of the House. They take meetings with lobbyists, debate proposed amendments with colleagues in committee, negotiate positions before moving proposed bills, and they can also crowdsource legislation. Eventually, they’ll also be able to campaign for re-election or run for the Senate or the presidency.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY belatedly to Florida Power & Light’s Mark Bubriski and activist extraordinaire (and dachshund lover) Janell Hendren. Celebrating today: the SEIU’s Caitlin Fishman

MEDIA NOTE: Carol Marbin Miller, a Miami Herald staff writer, was awarded the 2012 Eugene S. Pulliam First Amendment Award for her strategic use of public records to expose neglect in the state’s social services.

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.