Political news

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Feel like you’re barraged with political ads every time you turn on the TV? That’s because you are.

According to this map in the Washington Post, Tampa is No. 1 in the amount of money the presidential candidates and groups supporting them have spent on television campaign ads this year.

So far, they've spent more than $13 million in the Tampa Bay media market. The only other markets that come close are Charlotte, N.C., and Orlando.

Courtesy of Reuters

Ordinarily, you'd have to go way out to the west and north to South Dakota to see the iconic monument, Mount Rushmore. 

But this weekend, you just have to travel south on Interstate 95 to West Palm Beach to see the shining, orange faces of the U.S. Presidents, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

Why orange?  Because the homage you will witness in West Palm Beach is made out of cheese.

Professor says Florida's Voter Purge List is Flawed

Jul 3, 2012
Joe Skipper / Reuters

Most Florida counties are not complying with the state’s plan to remove possible non-citizens from the voter rolls. One political researcher at the University of Florida says the state is working from a flawed list.

Daniel Smith has testified in front of Congress about Florida’s voting laws. He runs a popular blog about election laws and practices. He says election supervisors are justified in defying the state.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott spent the weekend expressing his opposition to President Obama's Affordable Care Act.  He appeared on Fox News, CNN and CNBC.  He announced he will not expand Medicaid in the state or allow open health insurance "exchanges."

But PolitiFact Florida says Scott needs to recheck his facts:

Scott: Medicaid expansion will cost the State $1.9 billion a year.

PolitiFact Ruling: False

New polls show that President Obama's shift in deportation policy appears to have had the intended effect of boosting his support among Latino voters, many of whom have been adrift since 2008 and uninterested in the presidential election.

University of South Florida

With Election Day still four months away, the anger and elation felt in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Care Act may die down slightly by November. But if the economy is issue-1 on people's minds when they go to the polls, USF Political Science Professor Dr. Susan MacManus says healthcare reform will likely be issue-1a.

"Clearly the economy and jobs is still going to be preeminent," she said. "But what this ruling does do is to now interweave healthcare as a cost item and a job creation item into the debate. So in that way, it sort of joined the two issues."

Even in Washington, a city where hyperbole rules, it still seems difficult to overstate how big a win the Supreme Court's decision on President Obama's signature piece of domestic legislation is for the man in the Oval Office.

The Affordable Care Act is so identified with him, after all, that its opponents quickly dubbed it "Obamacare," a term supporters at first eschewed but later came to embrace.

Florida is a perennial battleground state in presidential elections. And within Florida, the area around Orlando is a battlefield where the terrain has changed radically.

It used to be a tossup. But four years ago, Barack Obama won in Orlando — or technically in Orange County — with 59 percent of the vote, a margin of almost 80,000 votes.

What happened in Orlando?

There were several things: The Democrats registered a lot of black voters. Obama ran well among independents. But the biggest difference was the number of new arrivals to the area.

In the land of legislative freshmen, sophomores can be kings.

That's a dynamic that will play out around much of the country after the fall elections. Come January, about half the nation's roughly 7,400 legislators will be totally new on the job or have only two years' experience, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Thousands lined up around the gymnasium at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa to see President Obama speak.

This was his second Florida stop of the day. The first was in Orlando this morning.

Those attending stood in line for hours in the heat. Perhaps surprisingly, there weren't too many complaints.

It was perhaps the highlight of his Tampa speech -- President Obama slammed GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney for being an "outsourcing pioneer."

Here's what Obama said:

We can reform our tax code in a way that’s fair and responsible, which by the way means, let’s stop giving tax breaks to businesses that ship jobs and factories overseas.

Let’s reward companies that create jobs in manufacturing right here in the United States of America.

Mr. Romney disagrees with this.


Here are some excerpts from President Obama's prepared remarks at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, via the White House:

We’re going to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion.  I have a detailed plan that will cut spending we can’t afford, strengthen programs like Medicare for the long haul, and reform our tax code in a way that’s fair and responsible. 

My plan will stop giving tax breaks to businesses that ship jobs and factories overseas, and start rewarding companies that create jobs and manufacturing right here in the United States of America. 

Hispanic Voters Are More Diverse in Florida

Jun 21, 2012

In Florida, 13 percent of eligible voters are Hispanic. But not all Hispanics vote the same way.

This week, both Mitt Romney and President Obama are giving dueling speeches to Latino elected officials meeting in Orlando.

It's a sign of just how important the Hispanic vote is in swing states like Florida. But USF political science professor Susan MacManus says Hispanic voters in Florida are a diverse group.

A group called the 60 Plus Association is running an ad in Florida claiming Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson was the "deciding vote" for the health care law.

It turns out that group is using TV ads to call the votes of senators from a number of states the "deciding vote" on the health care law.

That's what PolitiFact Florida found out when they checked out the Florida ad.

Former U.S. Senator George LeMieux is throwing in the towel, he announced on his You Tube channel today.

It's not a complete surprise. He's been trailing badly in the polls since Rep. Connie Mack IV got into the race.

But in another way, it's a little unexpected, because LeMieux went after Mack with a series of controversial ads that painted him as an irresponsible playboy.

Romney on Rubio: He IS Being Vetted for V.P.

Jun 20, 2012

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Tuesday that his campaign is "thoroughly vetting" Marco Rubio as it searches for a running mate despite reports that the Florida senator is not being considered.

ABC News and The Washington Post cited unnamed advisers in reporting that Rubio, R-Fla., wasn't on the short list for the No. 2 spot on the GOP ticket.


Republicans dominate the Florida Senate -- so much so, that many run unopposed.

But this year, more Democrats are challenging Republicans. The reason is a little-known loophole in campaign finance law.

State senate candidates typically raise hundreds of thousands of dollars.   And when they run unopposed, they can give that money to the state party to use on more competitive races.

But political consultant Peter Schorsch says Democrats have found a way to keep that money out of GOP coffers.

Free tickets to see President Obama at the Dale Mabry Campus of Hillsborough Community College are available for pickup today.

Tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis at these locations:

Steve Newborn / WUSF

When the attention of the political world turns to Tampa in August for the Republican National Convention, groups like Occupy Tampa say they'll be ready. They've been active for nearly a year, and are planning non-violent protests around the city.

On a recent Saturday night, about 20 people gathered in a circle to plan for the protests. They're at a postage-stamp sized park that's been the site for Occupy Tampa for many months now.

The sun has finally gone down after a blistering hot day. A young man starts to speak:

More than 15,000 protesters are expected to flood the city of Tampa in August for the Republican National Convention.

We asked three Tampa-area activists what they stand for and what they hope to accomplish: