Political news

Gov. Scott to Address Delegates

Aug 27, 2012

He isn't speaking at the Republican National Convention, but Gov. Rick Scott will talk to delegates this morning about Isaac.

Scott plans to address delegates at Innisbrook Resort and Spa in Palm Harbor at 8:30 a.m., updating them on a tropical storm that won't pack quite the punch originally expected.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

Delegates were treated to a giant party - and protesters tried to rain on their political parade -  as the first activities began Sunday at the Republican National Convention.

Scenes From The Ron Paul Sun Dome Rally

Aug 26, 2012
John O'Connor / WUSF

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul wrapped up his third presidential bid at a rally Sunday.

Thousands filled the Sun Dome on the University of South Florida campus to listen to Paul speak for more than hour.

Paul told the faithful not to give up even though Republicans have tried to shut him out.

"We'll get into the tent, believe me," Paul said of joining the GOP 'big tent' philosophy, "because we'll become the tent.

"So this to me is exciting with the energy that we have," he said. "It seems to me that they would be begging and pleading for us to come into the party."

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

Despite a delay to the start of the Republican National Convention, Monday's major protest march in downtown Tampa is scheduled to go on.

Jared Hamil, spokesman for the Coalition to March on the RNC, says he hasn't heard of many cancellations among the expected 5,000 protesters, so they'll brave the storm.

"The weather is not working in our favor, but we will be wet, we will be angry, but we'll still be here," Hamil said during a Sunday press conference in Perry Harvey, Sr. Park, where Monday's events will start with a 10 a.m. rally.

RNC Releases New Schedule

Aug 26, 2012
David Goldman / Associated Press

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will address the Republican National Convention on Thursday, with other changes in a new schedule released this evening.

Organizers were considering extending the convention, delayed a day due to Tropical Storm Isaac, but the new schedule does not reflect that change.

Bobbie O'Brien

Members of Code Pink led the march in front of Tampa's historic Tampa Theatre past a long line of older people waiting for admittance into the Faith and Freedom rally.

The women dressed in hot pink outfits chanted "GOP hear our voice, it's our body, it's our choice."

The Code Pink protesters were followed by a larger, more vocally united march of dozens chanting "We are the 99 percent." They carried placards and posters. At the very front, several carried a banner that read:

"Mitt Romney: Come to Freeport, IL - Save SENSATA Jobs!"

Mitt Romney, 65, has spent the better part of a decade running for president. And as the son of a Michigan governor who headed a Detroit auto company, he's been in the public eye much longer.

Yet the former Massachusetts governor has remained an enigma to many voters, his political positions malleable, and much of his business and private life — including his Mormon religion — intentionally obscured.

Or simply declared off limits, like years of his tax returns.

Former Florida Republican Gov. Charlie Crist is endorsing Democratic president Barack Obama this fall, according to an op-ed in the Tampa Bay Times.

Crist said he is supporting Obama because of how he responded the the economy after taking office, including pushing for a federal stimulus bill to pay for infrastructure and schools. From the piece:

GOP Convention Start Delayed Until Tuesday

Aug 25, 2012

The Republican National Convention won't officially start until Tuesday, thanks to Tropical Storm Isaac.

Committee Chairman Reince Priebus announced this evening in a prepared statement that due to severe weather reports, the convention would convene on Monday then immediately recess until Tuesday.

"After consulting with Governor Scott, NOAA and local emergency management officials, we are optimistic that we will begin an exciting, robust convention that will nominate the Romney-Ryan ticket," Priebus said.

New Republic: Romney's Lost August

Aug 25, 2012

Nate Cohn is a staff writer at The New Republic.

Saddled with low favorability ratings and an unpopular party, the Romney campaign entered the month of August with one imperative: change the public's negative perception of their candidate. But rather than make progress in August, Boston forfeited the entire month — one third of the time prior to the election. That stunning act of political malpractice has raised the stakes of the upcoming GOP convention: Romney needs to make a good showing in Tampa, otherwise it may simply be too late for him to pull off a victory.

Is Charlotte Having More Fun?

Aug 25, 2012

Tampa is in the thick of plans for the Republican National Convention, but we thought it would be interesting to see what's happening in Charlotte as the city gears up for the Democratic convention.

Here's a look at recent stories.

You could almost switch the two cities in headlines, except only Tampa has a hurricane named Isaac to contend with -  at the moment.

The Tampa Bay Gospel, led by Marvin Winans Jr., is among the roster of special acts booked next week for the Republican National Convention.

The lineup features an array of musical talent, from Grammy winners 3 Doors Down to the Oak Ridge Boys to the operatic vocal ensemble, SEVEN.

Bobbie O'Brien

Tampa’s public buildings are being surrounded by tall steel fences. The statue of Lady Justice outside the Hillsborough County Courthouse is boarded up with ¾ inch plywood as is the memorial for fallen police officers in front of the Tampa Police headquarters.

It’s a sight that saddens Franklin Street vendor, Bruce Frechette, owner of the Hot Donut Company.

Biden Postpones Tampa Trip Over Weather Concerns

Aug 24, 2012
T.J. Kirkpatrick / Getty Images News

Vice President Joe Biden has scratched his trip to Tampa, the Associated Press is reporting.

Tuesday stops in St. Augustine and Orlando are still on for now.

Biden was scheduled to visit Tampa on Monday. From the story:

Rubio Keeps His Primetime Speaking Slot

Aug 24, 2012
Saul Loeb / AFP

Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio will still have a primetime speaking role at the Republican National Convention after organizers turned down his offer to give Ann Romney his spot.

Rubio is scheduled to introduce presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney Thursday.

Convention organizers wanted to move Ann Romney from Monday night, when national television networks do not plan to cover the event. Ann Romney has been rescheduled for Tuesday night.

Here's the statement from Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades:

'Seedy' Tampa Makes Headlines

Aug 24, 2012

"Tampa: America's Hottest Mess"-- yep, that's a real headline from In his scathing piece, author Will Doig writes:

"The GOP convention's host city is a disaster, and a perfect reflection of where Tea Party politics will lead cities. Tampa is a hot urban mess, equal parts Reagan '80s and Paul Ryan 2010s"

News from other outlets isn't much better. A sampling of headlines reads:

Dalia Colon / WUSF

Political conventions are more than just pomp and circumstances, says Tampa Bay Times political editor Adam Smith.

He stopped by WUSF's booth at the Tampa Convention Center to talk all things RNC with Carson Cooper during Florida Matters: The Convention Today.

Some Latinos in Tampa Agree with Republican Ideals

Aug 24, 2012

The I-4 corridor is the main hub of swing voters in Florida. It also has a strong Hispanic presence - a majority of whom tend to support Democrats.

But some Latinos from Tampa are on board with the Republican agenda.

One of those Latinos is Ed Gonzalez. He's a pediatric dentist in Tampa with Italian and Spanish roots. It's a fairly common combination in a city where many people are descendants of immigrant cigar makers who came here in the late 1800's.

Tropical Storm Isaac: RNC Visitors Can Be Accommodated

Aug 24, 2012
Scott Finn / WUSF

While forecasts put Tropical Storm Isaac currently moving into the Gulf west of the Tampa Bay Area, emergency officials are ready for the worst.

Experts at the Hillsborough County Emergency Operations Center said even if Isaac became a Category 5 hurricane, there are enough storm shelters for everyone including visitors here for the Republican National Convention..

“That additional 50,000 people would not impact and we would be able to shelter them in public shelters if that were to become necessary,” said Holly Wade, spokeswoman for the Hillsborough County EOC.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

They call themselves the Coalition to March on the RNC. They plan a parade of thousands Monday beginning at Perry Harvey Park, a sliver of green on the outskirts of downtown. Their parade will end up at the public viewing area within earshot of the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

They plan a peaceful parade to demand petitioning the government for help in getting good jobs, affordable healthcare and education and equality.

Scott Finn / WUSF

When Mitt Romney comes to Tampa for the Republican National Convention, he’ll be speaking to a local audience that’s been inundated – not just with rain, but with an unprecedented number of political ads.

According to the Washington Post, more money has been spent on political ads in Tampa Bay than any other media market except for Charlotte – host of the Democratic National Convention.

Ask your average American about Florida, and you'll hear something like this: It's hot, it has Disney World, and lots of old people live there.

And since the weather and Mickey Mouse don't make good attack ads, both presidential campaigns are trying to scare the bejeezus out of Florida's senior population over Medicare.

Republican National Convention 2012: Latest News

Aug 23, 2012

Check here for updates on the latest from the 2012 Republican National Convention -- all the links, tweets, stories and videos live from Tampa.

And you can add your voice to the conversation -- just send us an e-mail or leave a comment. What's your take on the convention? What stories do you want us to cover?

Isaac Takes Aim at Tampa

Aug 22, 2012

Check out the five-day forecast for Tropical Storm Isaac.

It could veer harmlessly into the Atlantic, or march through the middle of the Gulf...but most computer models have the storm hitting Tampa, possibly as a Category One hurricane.

We've been through this before, when Tampa was the bulls-eye for Hurricane Charlie...until the storm made a last-minute turn (sorry, Port Charlotte.)

Alex Cook

Food Not Bombs, the charitable activist organization whose mission is to provide food for those who need it around the world, kicked off it's 2012 World Gathering on Monday.  Keith McHenry, the co-founder of Food Not Bombs, said he chose Tampa not just because the Republican National Convention is in town, but also because of Florida's strict anti-homeless laws.

John O'Connor / WUSF

Ken Jones is a Tampa native and attorney for a local financial firm.

He's also tasked with leading the group that's hosting the biggest event to hit Tampa since the Super Bowl in 2009.

This is the fifth convention Jones has worked on.

He sat down with WUSF for Florida Matters. Here's five things we learned from the interview.

With the presidential nominating conventions right around the corner, NPR is continuing our already extensive multimedia coverage of the 2012 election.

In addition to live special broadcasts from the Republican National Convention (August 27-30) and the Democratic National Convention (September 4-6), our Election 2012 team is trekking down to Tampa, FL, and Charlotte, NC, to offer in-depth news, interviews and analysis across all newsmagazines and online. For local stations and broadcast times, visit

Organizers of next week's Republican National Convention may be experiencing a case of tropical depression.

While it's too early to make landfall predictions, a tropical depression in the Atlantic could intensify into a hurricane and may rain on convention organizers best laid plans.

Tropical depression 9 is headed towards the Caribbean and is expected to soon become a Tropical Storm. Meteorologist Diane Kacmarik at Bay News 9 says conditions look favorable for the storm to eventually become a hurricane.

Let the Tampa bashing begin.

"Tampa is a hot urban mess, equal parts Reagan ’80s and Paul Ryan 2010s," writes Will Doig of

Doig paints the Tampa Bay region as perhaps the least-pleasant, most poorly-designed metro area in America. He dings the area for rejecting a tax increase for light rail, for its sprawl and its lack of green space.

It is "a disaster" and a cautionary tale -- elect Romney/Ryan and the rest of America will become just as hellish:

A federal court has rejected part of Florida's new election law that would have restricted the number of early voting days across the state. The court said the new law cannot take effect in five counties where the African-American vote could be key in November.

The ruling — which was announced late Thursday — is a win for voting rights groups, who say the new law was meant to suppress minority voters in Florida in the Nov. 6 presidential election.