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Blustery Clinton Pulls Out the Stops in Florida

Clinton placed her fight for the state's delegates in the context of the 2000 recount, the civil-rights movement, and the disputed election in Zimbabwe, and suggested she may go all the way to the convention.

Florida Says No to Revote, Michigan Confused

With the news yesterday that Florida is putting the kibosh on a Democratic-primary revote, the state has solidified its reputation as the place where votes go to die. A statement from Florida's Democratic chairwoman, Karen Thurman, read, "We researched every potential alternative process — from caucuses to county conventions to mail-in elections — but no plan could come anywhere close to being viable in Florida." Meanwhile, Michigan Democrats are also trying to make some kind of revote possible, but the logistics are complicated and the candidates themselves are dubious. Hillary Clinton would like to seat the delegates from the original vote even though Barack Obama wasn't even on the ballot. And Obama doesn't need the risk of losing Michigan while actually on the ballot or the few extra delegates he could gain from winning. Pundits — dissect!

Why the Sean Bell Trial Hasn't Exploded (Yet)

Sharpton
Andrea Peyser needs Al Sharpton's help. The Post columnist has been doing her sneering best to try to pump some racial tension into the trial of three cops accused of murdering Sean Bell. Lately, though, Peyser sounds more frustrated than incendiary: "This was supposed to be a case about racist cops shooting a black man for no good reason," she recently complained. Where is Reverend Sharpton to make an inflammatory stand when you need him? Disney World, that's where!

Facing the Facts on Florida and Michigan

Clinton and Obama

It's been one thing after another in the Democratic primaries, from hand-wringing over superdelegates to confusion over the Texas "primacaucus" process. Another headache is now moving to the forefront: With the race so tight, what to do about Florida and Michigan, whose delegates the DNC refused to seat after the states were warned not to schedule their primaries so early? Yesterday, DNC chair Howard Dean laid out two ideas: The states can submit a plan for a new selection process or they can wait until the summer and ask the party's Convention Credentials Committee to resolve the dispute. And so the wrangling begins in earnest.

Should Superdelegates Follow the ‘Will of the People’? Or, Uh, Not?

Superdelegates
Whether you think superdelegates are as useless as a third nipple or a great way to get the party elite more involved in the nomination process, you have to at least admit they’ve made for very interesting political discussion. And despite a certain candidate’s momentum, said superdelegates are going to have to help decide this thing. Obama says the superdelegates should follow the “will of the people” (a phrase that will be used seven times in this post) by supporting whoever has more pledged delegates; Clinton maintains that the superdelegates should do whatever they think is best. Both positions, of course, reflect where each camp expects to stand after the last primary votes are tallied on June 7, in Puerto Rico. But like a lot of things in this race, the debate over superdelegates isn’t quite so simple. Plus, a bonus round: Should the regular Florida and Michigan delegates be seated?

The Beast Is Slain: Heilemann on Giuliani’s Precipitous Collapse

This past Sunday afternoon, Rudy Giuliani, his presidential bid squarely on the line, his political future hanging by a thread, rolled up in his campaign bus outside Paisano’s Gourmet Pizza in Port Saint Lucie, Florida. Hizzoner had been quoted in that morning’s USA Today saying, “The rumors of my demise are premature” — a statement that called its veracity into question by its very utterance. Now, Giuliani stood before a crowd that might have just barely broken into triple digits (if you were rounding up) and delivered what had become of his stump speech. He talked about fighting Islamic terrorism, cutting taxes, and keeping Hillary Clinton from taking control of health care. Across a stream behind the restaurant, a bunch of Ron Paul supporters began chanting, “Rudy is a cross-dresser!” Giuliani was unfazed. “We have to have goals, bold goals, big goals,” he proclaimed. He mentioned that a woman up front had named her cat after him. “It’s better-looking than me,” Rudy said. “That’s one good-looking cat.” Then Giuliani brought his talk to a merciful conclusion — eight minutes and nine seconds after it commenced.

The Republican Debate Made Mildly Interesting!

Republican debate
Last night’s Republican debate at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton was about as feisty as knitting lessons at the community center. It was as if the candidates, who mostly avoided attacks, were tired from the heat. Many observers handed Romney the victory for his smooth answers on the economy; McCain also did well. But Giuliani and Huckabee, while they didn’t do poorly, didn’t do much to break out of their second-tier positions in Florida. For those who missed it, we sifted the platitudes for the stuff that really matters.

Which Republican Will Instantly Restore America’s Furious Economic Might?

MCain
Tonight’s Republican debate in Florida could tip voters one way or another in what is basically a four-way race (though the latest polls show McCain and Romney, about even, putting distance between themselves and Giuliani and Huckabee, also about even). With recession looming, everyone wants to know who's going to perform a miracle on the economy once in office. The pundits, for their part, have humbly offered up their opinions on the candidates with the best fiscal credentials.

Rudy Giuliani Braves the Delegate Dance of Doom

Rudy Giuliani
Today the Times plays the delegate game with Rudy Giuliani. “If he carries Florida, he carries New York,” historian and sometime Giuliani adviser Fred Siegel told the paper. That logic has a victory in Florida giving the former mayor the additional 183 delegates from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut (though it blatantly disregards how this race has proven that one primary can have little or no influence on the next). That would give Giuliani 15 percent of the delegates he needs (not counting Florida's 57). It's a boost that would not be insignificant, but the paper also reports that even Giuliani's staunch supporters in the Northeast are worried, and that McCain is edging ahead in New Jersey. (And, hilariously, the Associated Press has taken to calling his Florida campaign a "Hail Mary.") But as more and more news outlets are revving up their Giuliani Campaign Deathwatches, it's almost as if they, too, forget the lessons we've learned. Sure, all looks bad for him right now, but it did for McCain in late 2007, and it did for Hillary just before New Hampshire. No one can predict what's going to happen, not even those goddamned delegates. Even at Home, Backers Worry About Giuliani [NYT] Earlier: In 2008 Primary Race, Delegates Take the Lead, Heilemann on Michigan's Republican Goat Rodeo: Is Rudy a Mad Genius After All?

Tinz and Olivia Hate Each Other More Than They Hate Genocide

Tinsley Mortimer and Olivia Palermo hate each other so much they couldn't jointly host a benefit for Darfur. John Mayer took Mandy Moore to lunch (at La Esquina) and Cameron Diaz to dinner (at Indochine) on the same day. New School president Bob Kerrey, a former governor and senator from Nebraska, might move back to run Chuck Hagel's senate seat. Ivanka Trump instituted a "no midriff, no bikini bottom" rule for her October Stuff magazine cover. Former Jets QB Joe Namath is now a grandfather, though his daughter is only 16. Billy Joel thinks his Hamptons benefit concert was overpriced — and not that good. A Mr. Chow is opening in Vegas. Giants safety Will Demps is done with groupies. A Maxim writer thinks Sanjaya and Adrian Grenier are doppelgängers.

Monkey Loose at La Guardia!

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Breaking! There's a monkey on the loose in La Guardia Airport! We repeat, monkey on the loose! The Times' City Room blog reports that the primate disembarked from Spirit Airlines flight 180 from "the Miami–Ft. Lauderdale area." It's running amok in the main terminal, but we suspect they'll catch it quickly: Based on its point of origin, we have to assume it's traveling down the moving walkway about ten miles per hour under the limit, and with its left blinker on. UPDATE: The Times was a bit monkey-happy on this one. There was a contraband primate on a flight, apparently, but it was never on the loose. Nonetheless, please continue to enjoy the above picture. A Monkey on the Loose at Laguardia [City Room/NYT]

Eliot Spitzer Has Reached Acceptance

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• The Albany County D.A., P. David Soares, announced yesterday that he will review Cuomo's findings regarding use of state police by the governor's office. Spitzer, sounding more Zen by the minute: "I welcome it, I accept it." [amNY]

New Conservative Worry: Save George Washington High!

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How lovely it must be for conservatives today; how triumphantly they must have achieved all their goals. How else to explain the existence of the recent "Civic Report" we stumbled across on the Manhattan Institute's Website, in which that bastion of urbane conservatism exposes a horrifying trend: Apparently there’s been a precipitous decline in the naming of public schools in the U.S. after presidents and other notables. Egad!

On Bloomberg, Florida, and the Incessant Demand for Useless Photo Ops

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Something about a tragedy, no matter how private, reduces us all to children clamoring for consolation and closure. Consider the bizarre criticism raining down on Mayor Bloomberg today, for failing to drop his obligations and stay in New York in the wake of yesterday's Bronx fire. Instead, Bloomberg flew to Florida, as previously scheduled. "I don't know what can be more important in Miami," said Assemblyman Ruben Diaz — and, as it turned out, nothing was: Questions about the fire hounded the mayor at every turn there. Today's Post, in its typically loaded lede, cites "critics" wondering "whether he's fulfilling his role as the city's leader."

Orlando Boosters, PETA Protesters All Disappoint Us

So how was the big Florida–in–Times Square event the Orlando tourism people planned for this morning? And how was the big how-dare-you-bring-tropical-animals- to-this-frigid-climate protest PETA promised? As it turned out, really, really disappointing. On all counts.

PETA to Protest Florida Vacations

How do you say "It's on!" in Animal Kingdom–speak? As New York reported in this week's magazine, animal-rights activists were considering a protest of the Orlando, Florida, tourism bureau's plans to stage a "mini-Orlando" in Times Square tomorrow morning. Why? The stunt is set to include penguins, flamingos, and live gator-wrestling, and PETA doesn't think too highly of moving tropical animals to frigid New York — let alone wrestling them. Now it seems the activists weren't kidding: We've received a press release promising a protest at 8:30 a.m. Maybe they'll even catch Anna Wintour on her way into work!
Tim Murphy