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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"The Senate standstill over a stopgap spending bill appeared headed toward a resolution on Friday night. Senators who were holding up the measure said votes are expected later in the evening. West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin had raised objections to the continuing resolution because it did not include a full year's extension of retired coal miners' health benefits," but Manchin "said he and other coal state Democrats agreed with Senate Democratic leaders during a caucus meeting Thursday that they would not block the continuing resolution, but rather use the shutdown threat as a way to highlight the health care and pension needs of the miners."
Donald Trump transition team announced Friday afternoon that top supporter Rudy Giuliani has taken himself out of the running to be in Trump's cabinet, though CNN previously reported that it was Trump who informed the former New York City mayor that he would not be receiving a slot. While the field had seemingly been narrowed last week, it appears to be wide open once again, with ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson the current favorite.
The House has completed it's business for 2016 by passing a spending bill which will keep the government funded through April 28. The final vote tally was 326-96. The bill's standing in the Senate is a bit tenuous at the moment, as a trio of Democratic Senators have pledged to block the bill unless coal miners get a permanent extension on retirement and health benefits. The government runs out of money on Friday night.
The Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act today, sending the $618 billion measure to President Obama. The president vetoed the defense authorization bill a year ago, but both houses could override his disapproval this time around.