YETI spin doesn’t sit well with Marion Hammer

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We’re not bored with the NRA-YETI feud yet.

NRA Florida lobbyist Marion Hammer, a former president of the national gun-rights group, gave us a little more detail about the intensifying battle between hipster cooler company YETI and the National Rifle Association.

According to Hammer, YETI cut off its affiliation with the NRA Foundation in response to the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, which left 14 students and three staff members dead.

The massacre prompted demands for stricter gun laws and calls for companies to cut off their affiliation with the NRA.

Last month, YETI — whose coolers were coveted by NRA supporters at banquets and auctions — did that, sparking a social media backlash and a #BoycottYETI movement.

Here’s what Hammer told us this morning about the origin of the spat:

“YETI severed ties with the NRA and is now engaging in damage control after a backlash from many of its customers. In early March, YETI refused to place a previously negotiated order from NRA-ILA, citing ‘recent events’ as the reason – a clear reference to the tragedy in Parkland, Florida. YETI then delivered notice to the NRA Foundation that it was terminating a 7 year agreement and demanded that the NRA remove the YETI name and logo from all NRA digital assets, as well as refrain from using any YETI trademarks in future print material. While YETI is trying to spin the story otherwise, those are the facts.”

YETI fires back at NRA over sponsorship shoot-out. Hammer: Shame on you again!

YETI-COOLER-01-800x416With social media posts of folks shooting up their YETI mugs and coolers, or repurposing them for less sanitary activities, the Texas-based company responded yesterday to attacks from gun owners.

The flap started after YETI withdrew its discounting and sponsorship for the NRA Foundation, a non-profit that’s focused on youth and education programs, according to the gun-rights group.

YETI’s decision sparked an outcry from NRA supporters, who quickly launched a #BoycottYETI social media campaign.

But, yesterday, YETI released a statement saying the NRA’s statement issued on April 20 was “inaccurate.” And the company denies it targeted the NRA, saying it had eliminated “a group of outdated discounting programs” for the NRA and “number of other organizations.”

The company also took issue with the NRA’s accusation that YETI had abandoned its commitment to helping young people enjoy the great outdoors.

“Nothing is further from the truth. YETI was founded more than 10 years ago with a passion for the outdoors, and over the course of our history we have actively and enthusiastically supported hunters, anglers and the broader outdoor community. We have been devoted to and will continue to directly support causes tied to our passion for the outdoors, including by working with many organizations that promote conservation and management of wildlife resources and habitat restoration,” the company said.

Here’s the YETI statement, issued on Twitter yesterday:

A few weeks ago, YETI notified the NRA Foundation, as well as a number of other organizations, that we were eliminating a group of outdated discounting programs. When we notified the NRA Foundation and the other organizations of this change, YETI explained that we were offering them an alternative customization program broadly available to consumers and organizations, including the NRA Foundation. These facts directly contradict the inaccurate statement the NRA-ILA distributed on April 20.

Further, the NRA-ILA stated in that same public communication that “(YETI) has declined to continue helping America’s young people enjoy outdoor recreational activities.” Nothing is further from the truth. YETI was founded more than 10 years ago with a passion for the outdoors, and over the course of our history we have actively and enthusiastically supported hunters, anglers and the broader outdoor community. We have been devoted to and will continue to directly support causes tied to our passion for the outdoors, including by working with many organizations that promote conservation and management of wildlife resources and habitat restoration. From our website to our film footage and from our social media posts to our ambassadors, YETI has always prominently featured hunters pursuing their passions. Moreover, YETI is unwavering in our belief in and commitment to the Constitution of the United States and its Second Amendment.

YETI’s response only seemed to inflame the already red-hot NRA.

Marion Hammer, the NRA’s Florida lobbyist, blasted the Austin company for “calling us liars” in an alert issued this morning.

“Perhaps the people writing YETI’s damage control statements are not talking to the people who enforced YETI’s decisions and refused our orders. We had even offered the YETI Roadie in one of our sponsorship levels for 2018 – which we’ve had to cancel,” Hammer wrote. “We told you the truth.”

Here’s Hammer’s missive:

“If it wasn’t bad enough that YETI dropped The NRA Foundation as a client, now they’re calling us liars because we informed our members and friends of their actions.

The NRA Foundation has over 1,100 “Friends of NRA Committees” around the country. These committees host banquets and auctions that are attended by hundreds of thousands of guests each year.  These events raise funds to support charitable causes and programs.  The NRA Foundation supports the needs of  youth programs for education, safety and training, as well as law enforcement needs, shooting ranges and conservation programs.

For many years we have purchased coolers from YETI for our auctions. We have auctioned off many thousands of YETI coolers each year. YETI recently dropped The NRA Foundation as a client.  Not only would they not take our orders for more coolers, they forced us to cancel orders already in the system that they said they would not fill.

Three days after we notified you of YETI’s decision to drop The NRA Foundation, YETI issued their prepared statement in which they admit they dropped us but claim they simply eliminated the discount program and dropped other (unnamed) organizations as well.  That’s news to us.

Perhaps the people writing YETI’s damage control statements are not talking to the people who enforced YETI’s decisions and refused our orders. We had even offered the YETI Roadie in one of our sponsorship levels for 2018 – which we’ve had to cancel.

We told you the truth.

YETI’s attempts at damage control is to say our statement is not accurate.  Shame on you again YETI.  You know you made a mistake.  A big one. Now you must live with your mistake.

Graham grabs endorsement of progressive ‘trailblazer’ Tammy Duckworth

30789731_6102639375688_7819687006950129664_nWe don’t usually highlight endorsements, but this one caught our attention because, after all, the male-dominated U.S. Senate changed its rules to allow U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth to bring her new baby, Maile, onto the Senate floor. (She got her a jacket so the newborn could conform with Senate protocol.)

baby clothes

Plus Duckworth, a wounded war veteran and Purple Heart recipient, is a rock star among progressive Democrats, so her endorsement of former Congresswoman Gwen Graham, for what it’s worth, could be considered a coup in a heated Democratic gubernatorial primary. Especially if the Illinois senator campaigns for Graham in Florida.

Graham’s announcement of the endorsement carries on with an all-about-Trump theme (remember her first digital ad?), with both women bashing the president.

“No one is better equipped to defend Florida against Donald Trump and his harmful policies than Gwen Graham,” Duckworth said in the press release. “She will take on Trump to defend the Affordable Care Act and expand healthcare for Florida families. Gwen will protect Florida’s waters from Trump’s dangerous oil drilling plans. And she will put people — not special interests — first by passing an increased minimum wage.”

Graham, who last year nailed the endorsement of  New York U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and who served with Duckworth during Graham’s brief stint in Congress, called the Illinois senator “one of the toughest women I know” who “sets an incredible example for all Americans.”

“As governor, I will fight with her to take on Donald Trump and fight to expand healthcare, protect our environment, and defend Floridians from his bullyish attacks,” Graham said in the release.

The endorsement of the lefty Duckworth could give Graham — who’s been criticized by progressives for being too conservative — a nudge in a heated primary. Both Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who has has captured support from some progressives, and Orlando entrepreneur Chris King, bashed Graham for her congressional voting record during last week’s debate, which is certain to be an issue throughout the coming months in the match-up — also featuring former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine — to replace outgoing Gov. Rick Scott.

That’s probably why this morning’s announcement includes Duckworth bragging on Graham’s tenure in the House.

“Serving together in Congress, I saw Gwen fight for our shared progressive values. When Republicans tried to repeal Obamacare, Gwen voted to save it. She defended a woman’s right to choose and sponsored legislation to improve healthcare for mothers and babies. And after the devastating shooting at Pulse, Gwen took on Paul Ryan to demand a vote on common sense gun safety legislation,” she says in the release.

Here’s the full announcement:

On the heels of releasing her first digital ad slamming President Donald Trump, Gwen Graham is announcing support from U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth, a progressive trailblazer leading the charge against Trump in Congress.

“No one is better equipped to defend Florida against Donald Trump and his harmful policies than Gwen Graham,” Duckworth said. “She will take on Trump to defend the Affordable Care Act and expand healthcare for Florida families. Gwen will protect Florida’s waters from Trump’s dangerous oil drilling plans. And she will put people — not special interests — first by passing an increased minimum wage.”

“Serving together in Congress, I saw Gwen fight for our shared progressive values. When Republicans tried to repeal Obamacare, Gwen voted to save it. She defended a woman’s right to choose and sponsored legislation to improve healthcare for mothers and babies. And after the devastating shooting at Pulse, Gwen took on Paul Ryan to demand a vote on common sense gun safety legislation”

Duckworth, a Purple Heart recipient, and Graham served together in Congress. Together, they fought for progressive values, to defend women and to support our country’s veterans.

“Senator Duckworth is one of the toughest women I know. She sets an incredible example for all Americans, and I am honored to have her endorsement,” Graham said. “As governor, I will fight with her to take on Donald Trump and fight to expand healthcare, protect our environment, and defend Floridians from his bullyish attacks.”

Yum! White House dishes up menu for Trump administration’s first state dinner

unnamed(8)We’ll bypass some of the other details about President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump’s first state dinner, but we’ll share the menu for political junkies who are also foodies.

The first course will include goat cheese gateau and buttermilk biscuit crumbles.

For the main course, rack of spring lamb and Carolina gold rice jambalaya, “which will be cooked in a New Orleans tradition and scented with the trinity of Cajun cooking—celery, peppers, and onions, and spiced with herbs from the South Lawn,” according to a press release from the White House. For dessert, a nectarine tart.

The Trumps are hosting President Emmanuel Macron and Mrs. Brigitte Macron of France for the administration’s first state visit.

Sadly, details about the guest list and Melania Trump’s gown won’t be released until just before the dinner begins, according to a release.

But what the first couples will be sampling tomorrow night:

State Dinner

The color scheme is cream and gold and the china settings consist of the Clinton china for the baseplate, along with both Bush (43) and Clinton china for the dinner service.  The First Lady chose the Bush china with the green color palette to complement the spring green and white flowers that will be featured in the State Dining Room.  Mrs. Trump has also selected pieces from the extensive Vermeil collection as well as American Silver from the White House Collection—from Tiffany & Co. and S. Kirk & Sons—to add to the décor in the State Dining Room.

Entertainment

Washington National Opera from the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts

 Floral Arrangements

The Cross Hall will feature over 1,200 branches of cherry blossom, all grown in the United States.

 The State Dining Room will feature more than 2,500 stems of white sweet peas and nearly 1,000 stems of white lilac—both California and Dutch grown mixed. 

 The parlors will feature a variety of mixed garden flowers.  The Stephanotis vines, which will also be featured in the parlors, are from California.

 Menu

The menu will be a showcase of the best of America’s cuisines and traditions, with nuances of French influences prepared by the renowned White House Executive Chef, Christeta Comerford (a full menu can be found at the bottom of the release).

 The first course celebrates the wondrous first harvest of spring, using greens from the White House kitchen garden.

The main course will  be a Rack of Spring Lamb and Carolina Gold Rice Jambalaya, which will be cooked in a New Orleans tradition and scented with the trinity of Cajun cooking—celery, peppers, and onions, and spiced with herbs from the South Lawn. 

Dessert will be a Nectarine Tart infused with White House honey and accented by crème fraîche ice cream.

 Wines

The wines were selected to complement the menu and embody the historic friendship between the United States and France, which dates back to the American Revolution.

 The Domaine Serene Chardonnay “Evenstad Reserve” 2015 is the product of American and French collaboration—a combination of French plants from Dijon that thrive in the volcanic Oregon soil and colder temperatures.  The wine was aged in 40 percent French oak barrels for more than 12 months.

The Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir “Laurène” 2014—This wine uses the motto “French soul–Oregon soil.” The grapes at Domaine Drouhin are harvested and sorted by hand and fermented in French Oak barrels.

 Schramsberg Demi-Sec “Crémant” has been served in the White House for official and ceremonial events many times over the years.  The subtle sweetness and creamy effervescence of the 2014 vintage is the perfect accompaniment for a nectarine tart. 

Full Menu:

First Course:

Goat Cheese Gateau

Tomato Jam

Buttermilk Biscuit Crumbles

Young Variegated Lettuces 

Main Course:

Rack of Spring Lamb

Burnt Cipollini Soubise

Carolina Gold Rice Jambalaya 

Dessert:

Nectarine Tart

Crème Fraîche Ice Cream

Adam “Florida First” Putnam launches first campaign ad

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is releasing his first ad as the GOP primary battle to replace Gov. Rick Scott heats up.

The one-minute ad — an expensive buy, compared to the typical 30-second spot — started airing this week, according to a press release from Putnam’s campaign.

“For me, it’s always been Florida first,” Putnam, a fifth-generation Floridian whose family made a fortune in the cattle and citrus industry.

The week-long buy — on broadcast, cable and satellite — totaled about $630,000, according to advertising monitoring companies, and will run just about everywhere in Florida except the Miami market.

The ad features Putnam praying with his family, working on his ranch and appearing at a rally when he announced his bid for governor.

Putnam’s facing off against Congressman Ron DeSantis, a conservative darling who’s got the love of President Donald Trump and who appears to have taken a second job working for Fox News, where the Palm Coast Republican is making nearly daily appearances.

In the ad, Putnam takes a swipe at “liberal elites,” and talks about his “faith, responsibility, perseverance and hard work.”

“Today, those values are missing. Even looked down on by liberal elites. I’ve spent my life fighting back. And as your Governor, I won’t back down,” he says. “Together, we will put Florida First and make Florida the launch pad for the American Dream.”

House Speaker Richard Corcoran is reportedly mulling whether to enter the race.

NRA supporters hot and bothered over YETI coolers

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The picture sums up what National Rifle Association supporters think of YETI, the maker of spendy coolers that we’re pretty certain weren’t designed for the repurpose captured above.

It’s all part of the #BoycottYETI movement launched over the Texas-based company said it no longer wanted to be a vendor for the NRA Foundation.

The high-dollar coolers were a huge hit at NRA Foundation banquets and auctions throughout the country, according to an alert sent out by NRA Florida lobbyist Marion Hammer, a onetime president of the national gun-rights group.

The foundation events “raise money to support youth programs and education programs nationwide,” Hammer wrote in the alert.

“The youth of America who benefit from these programs are the future hunters, hikers, fishermen/women, bikers, campers, wildlife photographers, mountain climbers, sportsmen/women and conservationists who will protect our natural resources and recreational lands,” according to Hammer.

Here are a few more samples of the reaction to YETI’s decision:

 

Gillum releases digital ad, “Opportunity”

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, a Democrat running for governor, released a five-figure digital ad, “Opportunity,” according to Gillum’s campaign.

“Were it not for a good public education, caring and loving parents, a grandmother who prayed for me and quite frankly people who believed in me enough to say that I could, I wouldn’t be the person that I am today,” Gillum says in the 30-second spot. “And I plan to work as hard as I can every day, if given the opportunity, to make sure that every child has that same opportunity.”

Gillum’s facing off against former Congresswoman Gwen Graham, Orlando entrepreneur Chris King and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, who’s dumped upwards of $6 million on television ads thus far.

This from a press release issued by Gillum’s campaign spokesman, Geoff Burgan:

“Andrew is the only candidate in this race who truly understands what everyday Floridians need: a strong public education, a good-paying job, and a state that values its everyday people over its well-heeled and well-connected. “Opportunity” showcases Andrew’s compelling personal story and highlights the areas that a Governor Gillum will pursue.”