***A message from Associated Industries of Florida and the Florida Section of the American Water Works Association: Florida is facing a water crisis. Join leaders from across the state at the 2012 Florida Water Forum to discuss the most pressing issues affecting Florida’s water future, Thursday, Sep. 6, at the Renaissance SeaWorld in Orlando. Register and learn more at www.flawaterforum.com***
CHARLIE CRIST ENDORSES BARACK OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT by Marc Caputo of the Miami Herald
Former Gov. Charlie Crist, elected as a Republican but now an independent, used a Tampa Bay Times op-ed to endorse President Obama:
“Pundits looking to reduce something as big as a statewide election to a single photograph have blamed the result of my 2010 campaign for U.S. Senate on my greeting of President Obama. I didn’t stand with our president because of what it could mean politically; I did it because uniting to recover from the worst financial crisis of our lifetimes was more important than party affiliation. I stood with our nation’s leader because it was right for my state.”
“President Obama has a strong record of doing what is best for America and Florida, and he built it by spending more time worrying about what his decisions would mean for the people than for his political fortunes. That’s what makes him the right leader for our times, and that’s why I’m proud to stand with him today.”
CRIST’S MOVE DRAWS VIRULENT REACTION FROM THE RIGHT
@BrechtHeuchan: Decisions are only courageous when you have something to loose by making the choice.
@MattGaetz: Charlie Crist endorses Obama….geeze…what that guy won’t do for a man-hug… #sayfie
RPOF’S Lenny Curry: “Today we have seen a repugnant display from a self-centered, career politician.”
Senator Jack Latvala: “Once again Charlie Crist has proven that, to him, no friend or philosophy is as important as the next political office. On behalf of my constituents in Tampa Bay, I resent his attempt to steal the spotlight from our convention and the many men and women who made this day possible.”
Sunshine State News’ Nancy Smith: “Realistically, how much weight do you think an endorsement by Mr. Insincerity will have on the president’s chances in Florida? Maybe very little. But rest assured, Charlie wrote what he wrote hoping to kiss up to the Democrats; above all, hoping to find a pony for himself in all that caca.”
TWEET OF THE DAY: @WillWeatherford: Is anyone surprised?
AP: PREZ RACE DOWN TO SEVEN STATES – CO, FL, IA, OH, NV, NH and VA
The AP says the presidential race is coming down to seven states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Nevada, New Hampshire and Virginia, which offer a combined 85 electoral votes.
“The analysis, which also took into account the strength of a candidate’s on-the-ground organization and travel schedules, found that if the election were held today, Obama would have 19 states and the District of Columbia, offering 247 votes, solidly in his column or leaning his way, while Republican Romney would have 24 states with 206 votes.”
THE RACE SHOULDN’T BE THIS CLOSE
Charlie Cook: “Whether one looks at polling measurements of whether voters think the country is headed in the right direction, at consumer confidence, or at key economic measurements such as growth in gross domestic product, deviations in the unemployment rate, or the change in real personal disposable income, it is puzzling, to say the least, why polls show President Obama and Mitt Romney running neck and neck. Incumbents generally don’t get reelected with numbers like we are seeing today.”
ROMNEY’S ‘BIG 10’ STRATEGY by George Will
Conventions are the seventh-inning stretch of presidential politics … Republicans gathering in Tampa face an unusual election in which they do not have a substantial advantage concerning the most presidential subject, foreign policy. … The eclipse of foreign policy underscores the rationality of Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan. … One peculiarity of this political season’s first seven innings was the selection of a fundamentally non-ideological presidential candidate by a Republican Party that, under the beneficent influence of the tea party, has never been more ideological or more ideologically homogenous. The Ryan selection ameliorates this incongruity.
The incongruity, however, explains why Romney may be able to win with a Big Ten strategy. Until last year, when Nebraska joined this athletic conference, it extended from State College, Pa., to Iowa City, Iowa. Romney enters the final innings competitive in those two states, as well as in Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin, which means he is poised to correct a Republican problem: The party has been too dependent on the South, understood as the 11 states of the Confederacy, plus Oklahoma and Kentucky.
WHAT IF ROMNEY DOESN’T GET A CONVENTION BOUNCE?
The next two weeks as pivotal. [T]here is no guarantee that Romney will jump into the lead following the Republican National Convention. On the other hand, even a 1-point boost for Romney nationally would bring this race to near parity. A small bounce would also suggest the electorate is not static and will shift allegiances under the right circumstances.
No shift would portend very bad news for Romney. The explanatory power of polls jumps considerably after the conventions. If Obama still leads by 1.5 points once the convention dust has settled, it’s difficult for me to envisage how Obama will lose. Conventions are typically the one campaign event that can have big effect on the state of the race.
CONVENTIONS DO MATTER by Adam Smith via Florida Matters
“It’s conventional wisdom to say that they don’t matter, that there’s nothing surprising that happens and that this is really just a big, long commercial. But they do matter. Last time, both Obama and McCain had astronomical ratings on television. There are a lot of Americans that this is the time they start to focus on the presidential race. And even if it’s a scripted event, isn’t that good for Democracy for people to watch each party put their best foot forward and give their basic message for why they’re better for the country?”
WHERE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE MEDIA OUTLETS ARE SHOWING OFF DURING THE RNC by Eric Deggans
Bloomberg – The financial news company will take over the space above Jackson’s Bistro at 601 S. Harbor Blvd., transforming it into Bloomberg Link, a tracked-out headquarters for its online, TV, print and terminal news operation including a virtual fish tank and open floor plans.
CNN — The cable newschannel will occupy the first floor of the South Regional Garage in Tampa, installing its CNN Grill, complete with food, alcohol and lots of on camera opportunities for big names in politics right across from the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Fox News — Its space is on the other side of the Tampa Bay Times Forum, inside the 60,000-square-foot Tampa Bay History Center, outfitted for broadcasts on the cable channel and to allow some affiliates, such as WTVT-Ch. 13, to participate.
Huffington Post – The liberal-focused website will offer yoga classes, massages, mini facials, sleep consultations and healthy food to delegates and credentialed media at its Oasis lounge area inside Aja Channelside, the nightclub inside Towers at Channelside, every morning of the RNC
MSNBC — Channelside is the base of operations for MSNBC, which will air its morning shows, Way Too Early with Willie Geist and Morning Joe, from the Howl at the Moon piano bar inside the entertainment complex; Chris Matthews’ Hardball is scheduled to broadcast from the courtyard, but Tropical Storm Isaac may have something to say about that.
TWEET, TWEET: @chucktodd: Just had Taco Bus for lunch. Big win. We need Taco Bus style offerings in DC area.
***On 3 Public Relations welcomes delegates, alternates, their guests, media and volunteers to the 2012 Republican National Convention. “Every four year gathering brings its own unique opportunity to hear from rising stars and political veterans while conneting with like-minded activists across the country,” said On3PR’s Christina Johnson, a former RNC staffer, volunteer, alternate delegate and consultant to five GOP conventions. “To be part of an historic process to officially nominate Mitt Romney as our candidate to serve as the 45th President of the United States here in my homestate is incredible.”***
LISTING OF RNC-RELATED EVENTS & PARTIES
Former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, Sen. John Barrasso (Wyo.), and Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll speak. 12 p.m., InterContinental Hotel Tampa, Bayshore Ballroom, 4860 W. Kennedy Blvd.
Health-care industry officials will take part in a panel titled, “Health Care: The Way Forward.” Monday, 1 p.m., InterContinental Hotel Tampa, Bayshore Ballroom, 4860 W. Kennedy Blvd.
Florida U.S. Rep. Rich Nugent is among the panelists who will discuss overcoming barriers to job creation. 2 p.m., InterContinental Hotel, BayShore Ballroom, 4860 W Kennedy Blvd.
American Conservative Union Chairman Al Cardenas, NRA President David Keene and Frontiers of Freedom President George Landrith host an event honoring Grover Norquist. 4 p.m., Liberty Plaza, 180 S. Morgan St., Tampa.
Former Secretary of State Condolezza Rice, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and Incoming Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford attend the State Government Leadership Foundation and SunPAC’s Education Reform Event. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has also been invited, as has Miami-Dade schools superintendent Alberto Carvalho. Monday, 8:30 p.m., The Cuban Club, 2010 14 Ave.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I don’t think about it. I’m not motivated by it. It takes an incredible amount of discipline and ambition. I’m not there yet in my life.” – Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, in a Meet the Press interview, on whether he’ll run for president in the future.
ALLEN WEST ACCEPTS DEBATE INVITATION
Congressman Allen West accepted an invitation from the Northern Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce and Palm Beach State College to debate Democrat nominee Patrick Murphy.
“Our nation faces enormous challenges and voters are looking for serious solutions. The voters of Palm Beach County deserve an opportunity to cast an educated ballot and the opportunity to witness substantive debates that get beyond talking points and scripted speeches,” said Congressman West. “I welcome this opportunity to compare my ideas and solutions to my opponent’s lack thereof.”
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the master of them all, Roger Stone.