Rubio: I won’t “add credence to charges” that have done “permanent damage” to Kavanaugh

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio penned a lengthy missive expressing disgust for what Brett Kavanaugh called the “circus” surrounding the federal judge’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Florida’s other senator, Democrat Bill Nelson, was more to the point in a tweet this morning:

Without coming out and directly saying he’ll support Kavanaugh, nominated by President Donald Trump, Rubio said he “won’t vote against the nomination of someone who I am otherwise inclined to support and in the process add credence to charges which have already done permanent damage to his reputation, on the basis of allegations for which there is no independent corroboration and which are at odds with everything else we have heard about his character.”

But, like many observers who’ve been appalled by what’s gone on in Washington over the past few weeks — capped by yesterday’s testimony of Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford before the Senate Judiciary Committee — Rubio waxed on about what’s at stake for the nation:

“We have lost the capacity to view Judge Kavanaugh as a son, husband and father, whose parents, wife and young children have had to endure watching him labeled a deviant and even a rapist. Instead he is treated as a dispensable combatant whose right to be treated fairly must take a back seat to the role his nomination plays in a broader partisan and cultural war.

“I had hoped that as fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, we would treat both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh the way we would want our own daughters and sons, or husbands and wives, to be treated if they found themselves in a similar predicament. Instead, this has become a modern political equivalent of the Roman circus – where the crowd is entertained by the spectacle of watching human beings destroy one another or get devoured by wild animals.

“This entire ordeal is indicative of something that goes beyond the nomination before us. It has revealed how our culture has become increasingly sick and demented, unmoored from the values upon which this great nation was founded and which have allowed our society to flourish.”

Rubio also empathized with Ford:

“We have lost the capacity to view Dr. Ford as a fellow human being who clearly did not seek the attention she is receiving, and who clearly is dealing with deep pain and anguish. Instead she is treated as yet another actor in a political drama, whose feelings and desire for privacy must take a back seat to her utility as a weapon in a larger political fight.”

And the senator also warned recent events could represent a gloomy future for our nation:

“This will be recorded as a dark moment in the Senate’s history. I hope that from it we will all try to do better. For if we do not, we will all be condemned by future generations for tearing apart a great nation by abandoning the norms that allowed us to live as a free and diverse people.”

Read Rubio’s entire message here.

Throwback Wednesday: Connie Mack IV, Rick Scott and Bill Nelson

Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign trope about the length of time his opponent, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, has spent in office, with ads featuring such things as broken-down Pintos to illustrate what was going on when Nelson was first elected to the Senate nearly two decades ago.

But Scott’s camp had its throwback moment of sorts this week, with the release of a spot that accuses Nelson of having “voted to cut $716 billion from Medicare.”

It’s an abbreviated version of a charge hurled by former U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV in his losing race against Nelson six years ago.

But it isn’t true, according to Politifact, which repeatedly debunked the accusation made by Mack and other Republicans following the passage of President Barack Obama’s signature piece of legislation, the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.”

Four times during a debate in 2012, Mack accused Nelson of voting to cut $700 billion from Medicare to pay for Obamacare.

Here’s an excerpt from Politifact’s ruling, back in the day:

Medicare spending increases under Obamacare, but over 10 years, it rises more slowly that it would without the law. The money comes from reducing payments to insurance companies and hospitals.

Part of the savings go to reduce prescription drug payments for Medicare recipients, as well as to provide free preventive care.

Overall, the lower spending extends the solvency of Medicare by eight years.

We rate the statement Mostly False.

“It’s absurd to be leveling a charge that was used by Connie Mack IV to attack Bill Nelson six years ago,” Nelson spokesman Dan McLaughlin said Wednesday evening, pointing out that the allegation about voting to take money from Medicare was “repeatedly debunked” by Politifact.

The ad, entitled “Responsibility,” punches Nelson for a recent anti-Scott spot, launched by Majority Forward, that hits on Scott’s role in the Medicare fraud involving Columbia/HCA. The hospital company was fined $1.7 billion for Medicaid fraud, after Scott stepped down as CEO of the chain. Here’s Politifact breaking down the Scott/HCA allegations.

 

And here’s the ad, released by Majority Forward Tuesday,  that prompted the rebuttal:

Father of slain Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS student: “Alex should be at camp”

AlexAlex Schachter loved music.

The trombone player was a member of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School marching band, and yesterday was his 15th birthday.

But Alex will always remain a 14-year-old.

The budding musician was one of 14 teenagers and three faculty members shot dead on Feb. 14 at the Parkland school.

Alex’s father, Max, a member of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission, said that yesterday was a tough day for the Schachter family.

“Alex should be at camp,” Schachter said during a break at an MSD commission meeting Tuesday. “Instead, his sister read his poem to a tree dedicated in his honor and he’s in a box. In the ground. Next to his mother.”

Schachter said he’s fighting to improve school safety measures, protect students and hold people accountable for their actions surrounding the mass shooting.

Schachter posted a heartbreaking video on Twitter on Monday, saying “the sadness is unbearable.”

“Alex should be here to watch his brother go off to college,” he said. “He should be here to watch his sister Morgan, in her play. He should be here to be with his family and to be with his friends. He should not be buried next to his mother at 14-years-old.”

 — By Nathalie Sczublewski

Dueling Dems go after Trump, cigar-toting Republicans in latest ads

Democrats Gwen Graham and Jeff Greene launched new TV ads this week, as time runs out before voters start casting ballots in the Aug. 28 primary.

Greene, the Palm Beach billionaire who lives next door to President Donald Trump, takes aim at his neighbor in one of two ads totaling a $2.7 million weeklong buy, according to Greene’s camp.

Or rather, Trump is the one taking aim in the ads — with his golf club.

The spot features the president swinging away on the golf course, and complains that “Florida taxpayers are paying for it — literally ” every time Trump visits the Sunshine State. The presidential drop-ins cost millions in overtime and road closures, according to the ad, in which Greene pledges “to put a stop to that, day one” if elected governor.

A second Greene ad’s more upbeat, and stars the candidate, his wife and his three young sons — Malcolm, Brandon and Cameron — he says are the reason he’s in the race to succeed outgoing Gov. Rick Scott.

Greene is a late entry into the crowded Democratic field, but he’s pledged to spend what it takes to move into the govenror’s mansion.

In her latest ad, Graham — who ousted former U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland in 2014 and served a term in Congress before deciding to seek re-election after her North Florida district was redrawn — continued what appears to be a general-election strategy by going after Republicans.

“It has been really bad for Florida that, for twenty years, the Republican Party has been in total control. It’s these high-paid lobbyists that are in charge in Tallahassee,” Graham says while black-and-white images of GOP legislators posing with cigars on the floor of the state House flash on the screen.

Graham and Greene are facing off in the primary against Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and Orlando entrepreneur Chris King.

 

Speaker-D Oliva backs DeSantis over Putnam

desantis-familyThe day of the first debate between Congressman Ron DeSantis and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, Trump darling DeSantis snagged a major endorsement from state Rep. José Oliva, a Miami Republican who’s soon to be one of the three most powerful men in the Capitol.

DeSantis, a Palm Coast Republican who’s also nailed the support of the president, is trailing Putnam, who’s viewed as the “establishment” candidate as he’s racked up a ton of endorsements, in fundraising in the polls.

But the backing of Oliva, who’s family emigrated to the U.S. from Cuba, is a coup for DeSantis, an immigration hardliner running for governor in a state with a significant Hispanic voting bloc considered crucial for a November victory.

“Ron’s commitment to this country and the values that made it great are second to none,” Oliva, who lives in Hialeah, said in a press release that praises DeSantis’ military service.

Jose-Oliva-head-shot-croppedDeSantis is a Yale grad who got his law degree from Harvard, and served in Iraq alongside a Navy SEAL team. .

DeSantis “always puts America first,” Oliva said in the release.

“He’s a tax cutter, budget hawk, education reformer, and the rarest of elected officials in Washington, a demonstrated conservative,” Oliva gushed. “Florida has consistently shown what conservative governance can do for our schools, economy, job creation and quality of life. We must continue that legacy of conservative leadership and we can trust Ron Desantis to do that.”

Watch it: DeSantis and “the big man himself”

Days after snagging the endorsement of “the big man himself,” U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis launched his first campaign ad in his bid to capture the GOP nomination for governor.

DeSantis is trailing state Ag Commish Adam Putnam in the polls and in fundraising, but could have a priceless asset in the GOP primary: President Donald Trump.

The ad is “part of a $12 million ad buy between now and Election Day,” according to a release issued by DeSantis’ campaign.

Apart from the glowing praise from the president (called “the big man himself” in the 30-second spot) of DeSantis as a “brilliant leader” and a “warrior,” the ad highlights DeSantis’ resume as an Iraq war vet and JAG officer who “dealt with terrorists in Guantanamo,” is “100 percent pro-life” and who is “leading the charge against illegal immigration.”

Oh, and DeSantis also has “the guts to fight establishment politicians in both parties to drain the swamp,” according to the ad.

 

It’s official: Trump hearts DeSantis

U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis has been boasting for a while now that he’s got the endorsement of President Donald Trump in the primary battle with Florida Ag Commish Adam Putnam to replace Gov. Rick Scott.

But Friday morning, the president made it official, with a tweet to his gazillions of followers.

DeSantis’ campaign quickly issued a press release announcing the endorsement, which could be priceless in Florida’s heated GOP primary.

“We’re proud to have the full support of President Trump,” DeSantis’ campaign spokesman David Vasquez said in the release. “As a top conservative leader in Florida, taxpayer superhero and an Iraq veteran, Ron DeSantis will make a Great Governor of Florida.” 

Trump’s tweet on the heels of a Fox News poll that found DeSantis trailing Putnam by 17 points among likely Republican primary voters.

The poll also found that immigration was the top issue for Florida Republicans, followed by health care, the economy, guns, the opioid crisis, taxes, environmental issues and abortion.