Ex-state House Speaker Marco Rubio (R) voted for “a controversial SunRail commuter rail project” while in the state House and published a book of policy ideas “touting investments in rail, highways and transit as huge job creators.” But now he won’t give a “clear answer” on whether lawmakers should approve a billion-dollar package of rail projects.
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Rubio, on 12/7: “Back then it made sense from an economic perspective. Now we’re living in a much different time, so it’s a new cost-benefit analysis. Everything is done in the context of the moments in which you’re living.”
Gov. Charlie Crist (R) spokesperson Andrea Saul: “While Marco Rubio hedges his bets on SunRail, Gov. Crist and the Florida Legislature are focused on creating much-needed jobs in Central Florida. Florida deserves leaders who will fight to create jobs for Floridians, not those who will turn their backs during these challenging economic times.”
The SunRail debate is “particularly dicey” for Rubio because coming out firmly against the project would making him a flip-flopper and would “antagonize a host of business groups,” but supporting the project would put him on the same side as Crist (Smith, St. Petersburg Times, 12/8).
Rubio: “Here’s the difference between now and the time we voted a few years ago — we’re in the midst of the worst economic times in the history of Florida” (March, Tampa Tribune, 12/8).
You’ve Been Con-Served
Crist “continued to try to demonstrate” 12/7 how Rubio “isn’t as conservative as he would like” primary voters “to believe.”
Rubio spokesperson Alex Burgos, in a release 12/5: “Were it not for Marco Rubio, Charlie Crist would likely have succeeded in imposing an oppressive cap-and-trade scheme in Florida that would have deepened Florida’s economic crisis. As President Obama pursues the same type of job-killing, business-crippling cap-and-trade policies that Charlie Crist tried to impose, Marco Rubio offers Floridians reassurance that he’s the only candidate in this race with a proven record of standing up to this agenda.”
Crist’s camp called the Rubio release “hypocritical” in its own release 12/7. Saul “pointed to interviews and speeches by Rubio’s from the time before the Senate campaign in which the state House Speaker seemed to take a different approach to cap and trade.”
Saul: “Not only did [Rubio] vote for the energy bill he attacks us on, he personally gave a speech and conducted interviews in favor of capping emissions — this is hypocrisy at its best and, yet another, case of Marco Rubio’s rhetoric not matching the reality of his record” (McArdle, CQ, 12/7).
Meanwhile, ex-state Sen. John Grant (R), on Crist: “We used to say the greatest threat to our security was not somebody lobbying a grenade from the gallery but getting between Charlie and a TV camera” (Smith, “The Buzz,” St. Petersburg Times, 12/7).
And Crist “thinks” Gators quarterback Tim Tebow “could be the answer to the Jacksonville Jaguars attendance problems” (AP, 12/7).
Just Like The ‘85 Bears? Ah, Now We Understand
Ex-Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre (D) announced today he opposes Pres. Obama’s proposed increase in troops in Afghanistan. Ferre: “It is my judgment this plan for escalation and withdrawal is not worth one more drop of America blood or $1 of taxpayers’ money because it is doomed to failure based on history and experience. While I feel badly that I cannot support my President, if I were a U.S. Senator today, I would vote against the funding of President Obama’s plan to increase American involvement in Afghanistan.”
More Ferre: “The Afghanistan-Taliban warriors are like the 1985 Chicago Bears — they cannot be defeated at home. Ask the Russians” (release, 12/8).
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In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."
"The House voted Thursday to reauthorize the Department of Homeland Security. The bipartisan measure passed easily by a vote of 386-41, with nine Republicans and 32 Democrats voting in opposition. If the bill makes it through the Senate, it would be the first-ever reauthorization of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) since it was created in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks." Among the provisions it contains is a mandate that the Senate confirm the Secret Service director. It also boosts funding for the Urban Area Security Initiative by $195 million per year.
In remarks scheduled to be delivered today at the American Federation of Teachers' summer conference, President Randi Weingarten "likens U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to a climate-change denier" and "says the Trump administration's school choice plans are secretly intended to starve funding from public schools. She calls taxpayer-funded private school vouchers, tuition tax credits and the like 'only slightly more polite cousins of segregation.'" The pro-voucher Center for Education Reform said teachers should "consider inviting Weingarten’s resignation."
"President Trump has confidence in Attorney General Jeff Sessions, despite his criticism of the Justice Department head's decision to recuse himself from the Russia probe, the White House said Thursday. 'Clearly he has confidence in him or he would not be the attorney general,' spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters at an off-camera briefing."
"The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the Trump administration for records on an executive order President Trump reportedly planned to release targeting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Thursday, ACLU claimed the departments of Health and Human Services, Justice, Labor, and Treasury violated the Freedom of Information Act by failing to release the records it requested on the reported draft order."