Sunburn for 9/4: 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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Major Garrett reports President Obama’s team “conveys such a visceral sense of self-confidence that even protestations to the contrary take on air of comically profane absurdity.”

“They didn’t give people anything to grab on to, and they allowed us to define him before he could define himself, said David Axelrod. “And now they are playing catch-up. And now they are running bio ads. The summer is when candidates and races get defined. That’s why we made a strategic decision that it was better to muscle up in the summer. I can’t think of a presidential race determined by paid media after Labor Day.”

“That’s Axelrod’s understated way of saying… that he thinks the election is already over. In fact, campaign officials purposely approach the race as closer than they truly think it is. For more than two months, the campaign has been subtracting 2 points from internal polls that consistently show Obama ahead nationally and state by state.”

>>>Nate Silver notes his forecast model “has moved toward Mr. Obama over the past few days; it now gives him a 74.5% chance of winning the Electoral College, his highest figure to date.”


PP’s newest Florida poll, conducted completely after the Republican convention, finds no change in the Presidential race there. Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney 48-47, exactly as he did on our last poll of the state five weeks ago.

The Republican convention … appears to have been a wash. 33% of voters say it made them more likely to vote for Republicans, 33% said it made them less likely to vote for Republicans, and 34% said it didn’t make a difference to them either way.

Romney did see a slight bump in his favorability numbers. 49% of voters have a positive opinion of him to 47% with a negative one. That +2 spread is up a net 5 points from late July when his breakdown was 46/49.

>>>Obama continues to have his modest lead in Florida because he’s up 51-39 with independents, 63-33 with non-white voters, and 54-40 with voters under 45. Romney’s up 54-42 with whites and 53-44 with folks over 45 but he would need bigger margins with those groups to lead in the state overall.


The Reuters/Ipsos tracking poll shows President Obama regained a narrow lead over Mitt Romney despite the attention of the Republican National Convention, 44% to 43%.

Romney was ahead by one point on Friday and two points on Thursday.

“This wasn’t a lightning bolt convention,” said pollster Julia Clark. “Comparatively speaking, this was a more muted convention in general… So it doesn’t surprise me that (the bump in polls) wasn’t a great deal bigger.”

The Gallup tracking poll shows no bounce whatsoever.


A new Gallup poll finds just 38% rated Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention as excellent or good — the lowest rating since Bob Dole’s GOP acceptance speech in 1996 — while 16% rated it as poor or terrible.


Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will appear at a fundraiser in Sarasota this month, the Republican Party of Sarasota County said on Monday. Romney is set to appear Sept. 20. Tickets start at $2,500 per person. Location and other details are still being determined.

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OBAMA, PARTY OF ONE by Glenn Thrush and Jonathan Allen of POLITICO

“Back in 2010, when his advisers were scouting possible locations for the 2012 convention, they briefly considered blowing up the traditional format by holding four small, one-day affairs in battleground states – most likely in Charlotte, Columbus, Las Vegas and Denver … It was a telling, if symbolic gesture, underscoring Obama’s drive to maintain an innovative brand distinct from his own party’s traditions … Over the past four years, he has led his party through the political wars, including some they didn’t want to fight, while managing to forge only a handful of new relationships with Democrats outside his tight circle. …

“These days, Obama’s messaging is strikingly in tune with that of down-ballot Democrats. Yet there’s a nagging sense among some headed to Charlotte that Obama is an enthusiastic Democrat who remains oddly unenthusiastic about other Democrats. ‘I’ve been on Air Force One twice – with George W. Bush,’ said one Democratic lawmaker, representing the sentiment of a half-dozen prominent Democrats interviewed by POLITICO.”

WHO KILLED THE HOPE? by Ryan Grim and Sam Stein of the Huffington Post

“Obama could have learned something from LBJ. … Obama promised to change the way Washington works and he rode a wave of global support into the White House. His first two years in office have repeatedly been compared to the New Deal under Franklin Roosevelt and the Great Society under Johnson, with historic achievements on health care, Wall Street reform … But Obama’s first term has also left many of his supporters wondering whether those accomplishments could have been bigger in size, scope and impact. … Now, … Obama is suffering from an engagement gap … no longer regarded by the majority of voters as a constructive reformer. …

“Obama has come to resemble the creature of Washington he campaigned against. Whereas FDR and LBJ marshaled the American people as weapons in legislative combat, BHO came to Washington and tried to play the game like an old hand. … [I]f Obama was forced to play the inside game out of necessity, the president’s progressive critics note that he never really tried to see if trying the outside game could work. …

“According to Democratic officials close to the situation, the administration decided not to enlist its massive email list to fight for the public option – a government agency to provide insurance coverage – because they worried that the measure would inevitably be traded away, disappointing those who fought for it.”

QUOTE OF THE DAY: One thing about being president or running for president — if you’re easily offended, you should probably choose another profession.” — President Obama, in an interview with USA Today, commenting on Clint Eastwood’s criticisms in his speech at the GOP convention. He added: “I am a huge Clint Eastwood fan.”


[T]he entire Convention will be livestreamed on and through the Democratic National Convention Committee Mobile App … The entire program will be streamed in Spanish simultaneously. Millions of Americans will also be participating in more than 4,000 watch parties organized already in neighborhoods across the country. Some of these watch parties will be highlighted as part of Thursday night’s programming. … ‘We are revolutionizing the way political conventions are done by making Charlotte 2012 more open, accessible and relevant to the American people,’ [Obama for America] Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter said. …

On Thursday, … the programming will also feature a web-only convention special starting at 8 p.m. ET Hosted by actor Kal Penn, the Live from Charlotte programming will include interviews with campaign officials and special guests, including Marc Anthony, Elizabeth Banks, Aisha Tyler, Olivia Wilde, Fran Drescher, Zach Braff, and Alexis Bledel. Later that evening, after President Obama’s address, there will be a post-speech program featuring political analysis from political leaders.


Newark Mayor Cory Booker … is among the speakers who’ll address Florida delegates. … Wednesday’s breakfast speakers are SEIU Florida 1199 President Monica Russo, former Democratic legislator and 2010 CFO candidate Loranne Ausley and pollster David Beattie. … On Thursday, the lineup is Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who heads the Democratic Governors Association, and NARAL Pro-Choice America President Nancy Keenan.

FOLLOW delegate Shannon Love at the DNC. Her first dispatch for SaintPetersBlog is here.


Obviously, President Obama and Vice President Biden will accept the Democratic nominations for President and Vice President at Bank of America Stadium on Thursday, but one of the big questions for Florida political aficionados is, ‘When will Charlie speak?’ Charlie being former Governor Charlie Crist.

Well, according to a preliminary schedule, Crist will be speaking on the penultimate day of Thursday.

Thursday’s program begins at 4 p.m. and will include performances by James Taylor, Foo Fighters, Mary J. Blige and Earth, Wind and Fire, as well as speeches by Crist, Caroline Kennedy, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Sen. John Kerry, and actress Eva Longoria.

TWEET OF THE DAY: @TheRickWilson: @BarackObama welcomes Former GOP Gov @charliecristfl to #DNC2012 #forward #p2 #pfla #sayfie #tcot


As he tries to rally Republican voters, embattled Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin is bringing up Charlie Crist’s unsuccessful run for the Senate in 2010.

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports that Akin is saying on social media that “party bosses” tried to push Marco Rubio out of the Florida Senate race to clear the way for Crist to win. Akin is likening that situation to party leaders trying to get him to leave the Missouri Senate race after he made controversial comments about rape and abortion.

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The clock is ticking for more than 1,200 elected officials and government employees who have not yet filed their financial disclosure reports for 2011.

Though the deadline to file the reports was July 1, late-filers have until Tuesday to submit their paperwork before fines start accruing, according to Integrity Florida, a watchdog group.

“These 1,240 late filers (as of August 29) will begin facing fines of $25 per late day (up to a $1,500 cap) if they fail to send their required financial disclosure forms to the Florida Commission on Ethics with a postmark on or before September 4, 2012,” said Dan Krassner, director of Integrity Florida, in a statement.


Senate District 27 Democratic candidate Mack Bernard on Friday filed suit in circuit court to force Palm Beach County election officials to count 48 discarded absentee and provisional ballots as he attempts to reverse his 17-vote primary loss to challenger Jeff Clemens, reports Michael Peltier of the News Service of Florida.

“The right to vote is perhaps the most fundamental liberty enjoyed by citizens in a democratic society,” the lawsuit contends. “When election officials improperly and thus illegally discard ballots without following the law or the previously approved consistent standards they have set in the past, they have the result of disenfranchising the electorate.”

The lawsuit, filed in Leon County Circuit Court, claims more than 40 absentee ballots were improperly rejected by officials who said the signatures on the forms didn’t match. In addition, eight provisional ballots were rejected without informing the voters of that fact.

SKY’S THE LIMIT FOR WILL WEATHERFORD by Tom Jackson of the Tampa Tribune

The GOP’s grandest quadrennial show had come to Weatherford’s backyard, and of all the coming-out parties unfolding around us, as the rising speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and the youngest speaker in any state house in the United States, Weatherford’s may have been the coming-outiest.

At 32, the quick-thinking, hard-studying, razor-cut former college linebacker (who looks like he still could provide quality downs in run situations) and prolific dad (daughter No. 3 arrives mid-October) from Wesley Chapel frames the definition of “rising star.”

Rising star? Amend that. Emceeing Monday’s Florida-South Carolina delegates breakfast, Florida Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam, himself a onetime wunderkind, introduced Weatherford as “a superstar in Florida politics.”

“I don’t know Will’s future,” says Randy Maggard, chairman of the Republican Party of Pasco County. “I don’t know if he even knows what he plans to do next. But he’d be a good, strong candidate for something, whatever it is. It’s up to him.”


Little more than two months before the November election, Deltona Democrat Dennis Mulder has dropped out the race for an open seat in House District 27, reports the News Service of Florida. Mulder posted a Facebook message that said he made the “reluctant” decision because of medical issues involving his son. “I can no longer in good conscience be absent from his life at such an important time, neither can I ask Heather (Mulder’s wife) to saddle these added stresses alone,” the post said. Mulder was slated to run against Deltona Republican David Santiago in November in the newly redrawn Volusia County district. Rep. Dorothy Hukill, a Port Orange Republican who is running for the Senate, has represented much of the area during the past eight years. Volusia County Democratic Chairman Phil Giorno told the Orlando Sentinel that it appears the local party executive committee will name a replacement for Mulder, though details were still being sorted out.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Rep. Evan Jenne.

MEDIA NOTE: Lakeland Ledger’s editorial board will no longer be making candidate recommendations. Halifax CEO Michael Redding has called for all of the 34 Halifax newspapers, including The LedgerThe Daytona Beach News-JournalThe Gainesville SunThe Ocala Star-Banner and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, to end candidate recommendations or endorsements in an Aug. 16 memo. “Endorsing and recommending candidates has the potential to create the idea we are not able to fairly cover political races,” Redding said. “Right or wrong, it is the perception.”

ROMNEY IS REALLY GOOD LOOKING: A Harvard political scientist says Mitt Romney scores in the 99th percentile of politicians in terms of facial attractiveness. The only winning candidates who have tested better than him are Russ Feingold and John Thune. More on the Monkey Cage blog.

VISUALIZING the most tweeted about moments of the RNC.

WORSE THAN BOB DOLE? A new Gallup poll finds just 38% rated Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention as excellent or good — the lowest rating since Bob Dole’s GOP acceptance speech in 1996 — while 16% rated it as poor or terrible.

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