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12 posts from April 5, 2012

April 05, 2012

"Jewbags" flap exposes rift in Barack Obama-Debbie Wasserman Schultz World


Underlying the story of a Democratic National Committee Jewish liaison in hot water for an over-the-top Facebook joke about Jews and money is a growing tension between the Obama re-elect and the Democratic National Committee Chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

The liaison, Dani Gilbert, was hired after months of heated objections from top Obama campaign officials in Chicago and from Wasseran Schultz's own staff at the Democratic National Committee, three well-placed Democratic sources told BuzzFeed. The campaign already has a more senior a full-time Jewish liaison, Ira Forman, who had been the longtime executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Coalition. And Wasserman Schultz's staff was concerned about bringing in Gilbert, a staffer in Wasserman Schultz's personal office who is the daughter of a Boca Raton wealth manager, Mark Gilbert, who is a top-tier bundler for Obama, and a major donor to the president, the Democratic Party, and to Wasserman Schultz's own campaigns.

The staffers in Washington and Chicago, the sources said, viewed Wasserman Schultz's insistence, over a period of months, on the hire as a matter of the chairwoman putting her own politics and fundraising ahead of the interests of the re-election campaign on one of the most delicate areas of politics and policy, Obama's relationship with the Jewish community. They also worried that the daughter of a powerful donor could be a difficult fit in what was theoretically a junior role.

Full story here


RPOF: Santorum-McCalister aide holds "delusional fantasy" about Republican rules

Here's the memo released by Rick Santorum's delegate director John Yob (who also happens to be a senior strategist on the Mike McCalister U.S. Senate campaign in Florida):

To:                          Mike Biundo
From:                    John Yob
Date:                     April 5, 2012
Re:                         Delegate Math
The Media’s Delegate Math is Wrong

Continue reading "RPOF: Santorum-McCalister aide holds "delusional fantasy" about Republican rules " »

Group urges Miami Beach commissioner running to replace Richard Steinberg to resign early

Miami Beach Commissioner Jonah Wolfson should resign from his post months earlier than necessary in order to run for state House, a civic group of prominent citywide leaders has urged.

Due to Florida’s resign-to-run law, Wolfson must submit a written resignation date by late May in order to run to win the vacant House District 106 seat. But the effective date can be as late as the day he would take state office if victorious, which would be in November.

Miami Beach United, however, have passed a resolution urging Wolfson to resign in time for Miami Beach Commissioners to call for a special election on the Nov. 6 statewide ballot and allow voters to elect his replacement until the city’s 2013 general election.

The resolution announced Wednesday said that deadline is May 25, but city attorney Jose Smith said Wolfson could keep his seat until the city’s July 18 commission meeting and the city would still be able to set an election.

Wolfson, a Democrat, currently has no opposition for the District 106 seat, which was vacated by disgraced former state Rep. Richard Steinberg, who resigned after he admitted to sending a married, female federal prosecutor stalker-like text messages. But Wolfson would likely keep a higher profile and have an easier time fundraising should he keep his city commission seat until November. More from David Smiley here.

Bondi sends new Senate map to state Supreme Court

Attorney General Pam Bondi on Thursday sent the Senate's revised map of state Senate districts to the Florida Supreme Court, starting the clock on the high court's review of the new plan. The revised map was adopted by the Legislature last week, after the court ruled that the original Senate map unconstitutionally was drawn to favor incumbents or political parties. 

A spokeswoman for Bondi said the petition was filed six days before the April 11 deadline imposed under the state Constitution. "We filed the petition immediately after we received from the Legislature the backup materials mandated by the Court's March 13 order," spokeswoman Jennifer Meale said. "We are confident that the court will conduct a thorough and careful review of the revised Senate redistricting plan."

The court review will take place under a relatively compressed timetable. The start of the week-long candidate qualifying period is June 4.

In a separate filing, Bondi's office has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to approve the new map. Florida is one of the states in which any changes to voting procedures must be pre-approved by the federal government, a process known as pre-clearance. 

-- Steve Bousquet 

Hidden video: Connie Mack criticizes Ryan Plan while pitching Penny Plan

When Congressman Connie said Paul Ryan's budget was a "joke" last week, it was his strongest criticism yet of his fellow Republican's proposal. But it wasn't the only criticism. The liberal group American Bridge obtained/shot hidden video of Mack last week at a tea party meeting where he pitched his penny plan and hip-checked the Ryan plan.

"The Ryan budget, that doesn't balance for 20-24 years. We can't afford to wait that long. We need to get serious about balancing the budget," Mack says in the video (about 4:50 in).

"My plan is the only plan that's in the Congress that would balance the budget within a 10-year window," he said, noting it's supported by senators Marco Rubio and Rand Paul.


RNC: Obama using flimsy pretenses to raise campaign money on public's dime

From a Republican National Committe press release:

Good Afternoon – On March 10th, President Obama decided he was headed to South Florida to raise money for his campaign. Almost a month later, on April 5th, the President decided to add an official speech so that taxpayers could foot the bill for his campaign swing. Oh, by the way, they’re still not sure what the format of the event will be…priorities people…priorities…

Continue reading "RNC: Obama using flimsy pretenses to raise campaign money on public's dime" »

Connie Mack launches pro-pipeline (anti-Nelson) petition. Will voters buy it?

With a gas pump doubling as a campaign prop, Senate candidate Connie Mack launched a petition drive Thursday at a gas station to call for the building of the politically charged Keystone XL pipeline.

Mack, a Republican Congressman from Fort Myers, said the high cost of fuel at the Mobil gas station on Coral Way was, essentially, the fault of the president and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson for opposing the pipeline.

“These are two lockstep liberals who apparently don’t believe in our energy supply her in the United States,” Mack, brandishing his petition, said. “They don’t believe lower gas prices are important.”

But the only man who signed the petition, gas station owner Michael Mendez, didn’t sound so sure about what the pipeline would do or how much Obama or Nelson were to blame for the costs of oil, which Mendez said was a global issue.

“These gas prices, to me, it doesn’t matter who’s in office,” Mendez said. “Gas prices always go up throughout the year. And then it’s going to come down. And then everyone’s not going to say anything for a little while.”

Still, Mendez said, the petition is “better than doing nothing.”

Continue reading "Connie Mack launches pro-pipeline (anti-Nelson) petition. Will voters buy it?" »

Judge gives 'Little Madoff' Gaston E. Cantens five years in prison for ponzi scheme

Before he became known as “Miami’s little Madoff,” Gaston E. Cantens was a respected real estate businessman and alumnus of West Miami-Dade’s elite Belén Jesuit Preparatory School. He was, as U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams put it Wednesday, “the embodiment of the American success story.”

The judge’s words came moments before she sentenced the 73-year-old convicted Ponzi schemer to five years in prison — the maximum possible under a plea deal Cantens reached with prosecutors earlier this year.

That sentence was a far cry from what Cantens had sought. Saying his ailing wife, Teresita, 75, needs him by her side, Cantens had requested a “lengthy term of home confinement.”

Williams, in making her decision, noted the couple has two adult sons, both of whom are “gainfully employed” and therefore capable of caring for their mother. One of those sons, Gaston I. Cantens, is a former prosecutor and onetime influential member of the Florida House of Representatives. He was not implicated in the scheme. Story here.

Obama to speak Tuesday at FAU in Boca Raton

President Barack Obama will be in South Florida on Tuesday, raising money at several fundraisers, including one at the Westin Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood and another at trial lawyer Jeremy Alters' Golden Beach home.

The White House says he'll also have an event Tuesday at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. Details to come on the exact format of the event, but it's slated to focus on the economy.

Dockery wants Scott to visit USF Poly before making decision on split bill

We told you about the hundreds of people lobbying Gov. Rick Scott on the bill to split USF Poly off into the state's 12th university -- with two-thirds against it. Add to that list Republican Sen. Paula Dockery, a longtime critic of the split idea whose district includes the Lakeland campus. 

Dockery sent a letter to Scott's office this week asking him to visit the campus USF Poly currently shares with Polk State College before making a decision on whether it's ready to split. Dockery has pointed to the branch campus's 1,300 students -- the majority of which are not enrolled in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) that the new university is supposed to specialize in -- as evidence that the school isn't ready for independence.

"These students and faculty members are the ones who will be directly affected," Dockery wrote. "They, like the overwhelming majority of constituents who have contacted my office, are hoping you veto this legislation, and move more cautiously toward independence.

Continue reading "Dockery wants Scott to visit USF Poly before making decision on split bill" »