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2 posts from February 17, 2013

February 17, 2013

Marco Rubio's a punch line now, but joke could be on Democrats in 2016

It’s official: Marco Rubio is a national punch line.

After the Florida senator’s weird decision to interrupt his Tuesday rebuttal of the president’s State of the Union speech by taking a swig from a bottle of water, he was quickly mocked on The Daily Show, Colbert Report, Tonight Show with Jay Leno and the Late Show with David Letterman.

Four days later, Saturday Night Live worked him over.

But none of it means Rubio’s a joke.

His recovery from the gaffe has been serious business, a clear-eyed example of protecting a political brand as Rubio eyes a White House bid in four years.

Rubio quickly joined the chorus of mockers Tuesday night by poking fun at himself on Twitter. He posted a picture of the Poland Spring water bottle he grabbed. He then fund-raised off it.

The coverage and mockery perversely benefitted Rubio in another respect: It drew attention away from a speech that, in the eyes of liberals, deserved to be torn apart for misrepresenting the president’s record as well as Rubio’s.

“Don’t worry, Sen. Rubio, nobody noticed — that you gave a speech,” comedian Stephen Colbert joked Wednesday after devoting more than 40 percent of his almost half-hour show to Rubio’s water break.

More here

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/02/17/3240147/marc-caputo-a-swig-of-water-isnt.html#storylink=cpy

Party loophole in campaign finance bill comes under fire from former party leader

The man who blew the whistle on former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer is now crying foul on House Speaker Will Weatherford’s self-described campaign finance reform.

“It’s the same old money laundering and money hiding approach that’s been in place as long as I can remember in Florida politics,’’ said Allan Cox, former vice chairman of the Republican Party and the man who exposed Greer’s secret strategy to steal party funds.

Cox said he hoped Greer’s case would serve as a catalyst to end the tradition of legislators using party funds to skirt state law and live lavish lifestyles. Greer on Monday pleaded guilty to theft and money laundering charges for setting up a consulting firm and steering party money to his personal account.

A bill moving through the House attempts to crack down on political slush funds known as Committees of Continuous Existence, which legislators use to cut themselves checks and get around a 10-year-old law that bars legislators from accepting meals, travel and entertainment from lobbyists. The proposal bans the committees and imposes new disclosure rules on spending done by political committees and candidates. The legislation is a priority for Weatherford.

Absent from the bill, however, are any rules that would require the state’s two dominant political parties to disclose details of how they spend millions of dollars in contributions. Cox believes that will encourage legislative leaders to continue to use their party to finance dinners, travel and entertainment — and escape public scrutiny.

“If we really want to have sunshine for campaign finance reform, we should eliminate the massive loophole that allows the speaker [of the House] and president [of the Senate] to raise funds on behalf of the party, park them at the party and then dictate to the party how and where they will be spent,’’ Cox said. “This is the delicate issue that has been skirted for years and years and years and years.” More here.