Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry follows.

Rubio's work ethic on the road continues to be scrutinized

"With a nationally focused campaign that leans on strong debate performances and television advertising, Marco Rubio isn’t going all out in any one of the early voting states."

That’s raised eyebrows among Republicans in states such as Iowa, where people are used to being lavished with attention in a presidential campaign.
"Rubio in Iowa as questions grow about early-state efforts."

"Florida's Top Gun Stories"

"Florida's Top Gun Stories of 2015."

"What's hot, crazy or shady about politics in the Sunshine State"

Marc Caputo: "RUBIO’s Cruz problem? – BUSH’s Cuban comment – CHELSEA CLINTON in St. Pete." "Florida Playbook."

The "Jeb Bush comeback" narrative is premature

Ed Kilgore: "You knew it was coming at some point before actual voters put paid to it."

But a "Jeb Bush comeback" narrative arrived ahead of schedule today with a Michael Brendan Dougherty column at The Week making the case that the former Florida governor is positioned to take a big leap from the political intensive care unit to the GOP presidential nomination.

Dougherty's case boils down to three points: First, Marco Rubio ain't exactly setting the world on fire as the presumed successor to Jeb as the Establishment Republican favorite. Second, Jeb's super-pac has an awful lot of money. And third, John McCain pulled off this sort of comeback in 2008.

Unfortunately for Jeb, all three arguments are shaky at best.

"The ‘Jeb Bush Comeback’ Narrative Arrives Ahead of Schedule."

You know Jeb knows he's losing when . . .

"Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush says he'd like to square off with real estate mogul Donald Trump in a one-on-one debate." "Jeb Bush Challenges Donald Trump To One-On-One Debate." See also "How to tell a candidate is losing."

More: "Ahead of Final Campaign Push, There's No Place Like Home for Jeb Bush."

The best Marco can do?

"In the final days of the year and the first days of the next one, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas will battle for voters in Iowa in the lead-up to the caucuses."

Last week, Mr. Cruz, who is surging in national polls but especially in recent surveys of Iowa, announced his “Cruzin’ to Caucus” bus trip from Jan. 4 through 9. Mr. Rubio, who has spent comparatively less time there, was scheduled to hold a three-day bus tour of his own, beginning Monday. But his campaign announced Monday that it had rescheduled the first leg of the tour.

Whether or not Mr. Rubio ends up in Iowa, the tour was an excuse to unveil an important endorsement — over the weekend, his campaign announced a special guest, Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, who has steered the Republican-led investigation into the 2012 terrorist attacks on a United States diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.

"Crucial Endorsement in His Pocket, Marco Rubio Hones His Pitch to Iowa."

Meanwhile, "Trump Rips Rubio-Backer Trey Gowdy: 'Failed Miserably on Benghazi'."

Koch brothers thank Tally legislators

"Americans for Prosperity-Florida sent notes to registered voters in six legislative districts thanking local lawmakers for supporting the conservative group's environmental and health care agenda in the upcoming 2016 session."

The flyers were sent to voters in districts represented by state Sen. Greg Evers and state Reps. Manny Diaz, Jr., Fred Costello, Heather Fitzenhagen, Cary Pigman and Chris Sprowls.
"Conservative group thanks legislators for support."