Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy has already declared victory over Tea Party star Rep. Allen West, R-Fla. West trails Murphy by 2,500 votes in the official count.
But West for Congress campaign manager Tim Edson on Wednesday announced: “This race is far from decided and there is no rush to declare an outcome. Ensuring a fair and accurate counting of all ballots is of the utmost importance. There are still tens of thousands of absentee ballots to be counted in Palm Beach County and potential provisional ballots across the district.”
According to the West campaign, late last night Congressman West maintained a district-wide lead of nearly 2000 votes until the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections “recounted” thousands of early ballots. Following that “recount” Congressman West trailed by 2,400 votes.
The campaign also complained of numerous irregularities at polls across St. Lucie County. The doors to polling places were locked when the polls closed, in violation of Florida law, preventing the public from witnessing the tallying.
“The St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections office clearly ignored proper rules and procedures, and the scene at the Supervisor’s office last night could only be described as complete chaos,” said a campaign press release. “Given the hostility and demonstrated incompetence of the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections, we believe it is critical that a full hand recount of the ballots take place in St. Lucie County. We will continue to fight to ensure every vote is counted properly and fairly, and accordingly will pursue all legal means necessary.”
On Friday, Oct. 26, The Sun-Sentinel, South Florida’s paper of record, formally endorsed Mitt Romney for President of the United States.
Because it really is the economy, stupid.
While the Sun Sentinel took a chance with Barack Obama in 2008, it is switching sides and endorsing Romney this time. After acknowledging the tough economic environment Obama inherited, the Sun Sentinel‘s editorial board doesn’t find a healthy plan for moving forward, and says that instead, “the president falls back on the tired talking point of increasing taxes for the wealthy.” While agreeing that everyone wants the tax code to be fair, the problem is in seeing “how raising taxes is going to kickstart jobs in the private sector.”
Most fundamentally, this south Florida paper believes that President Obama squandered the best opportunity anyone could have been presented with to clean up the mess. In its paper today:
The president had enormous opportunity when he took office, with Democrats controlling both houses of Congress. But he failed to focus on Job One: Jobs.
Instead, he tackled the nation’s health care system, something most people agree needs fixing. No one wants to see people with pre-existing conditions denied health coverage. Insurance costs are taking too big a bite out of family incomes. And employers want their work family to have access to health care beyond the emergency room.
But the way this president went about solving the problem — throwing the ball to Congress with little direction, refusing reasonable compromises, settling on a solution that satisfied few — left this nation bitterly divided and shook our confidence in his ability to solve tough problems.
In these uncertain times, we need a leader who will chart a clear course, sweat the details and get the job done right.
We believe Romney’s past performance is a predictor of his future behavior. He’s proven himself to be a successful businessman. He rescued the 2002 Winter Olympics from scandal and mismanagement. He worked with a Democrat-dominated legislature as governor of Massachusetts to close a $3 billion budget deficit — without borrowing and raising taxes.
So despite the some disagreements with some of Romney’s positions on social issues, “with our nation facing another fiscal cliff in January — when Congress again addresses the debt ceiling, tax hikes and spending cuts — social issues are not Job One.”
The Orlando Sentinal endorsed Governor Romney for president last week, and it too had endorsed Obama in 2008. The Tampa Tribune also endorsed Romney.
However, the Tampa Bay Times, which is the largest Florida daily, has repeated its 2008 endorsement of Barack Obama for president.
In dropping Obama for Romney, the Sun-Sentinel becomes the second largest Florida daily to give up on the president in 2012. Last week, the Orlando Sentinel also endorsed Romney, although it endorsed Bill Nelson, a Democrat, to remain as U.S. Senator. Similarly, The Tampa Tribune threw its support behind Romney, but supported Democrat Bill Nelson for the U.S. Senate seat.
Last Sunday, The Tampa Bay Times, the largest Florida daily, again endorsed Obama in 2012, just as it did in 2008. Its editorial states:
We wish the economic recovery was more vigorous, and we would like the president to present a sharper vision for a second term. But Obama has capably steered the nation through an incredibly difficult period at home and abroad, often with little help from Congress. The next four years will not be easy for whoever occupies the Oval Office, but Obama has been tested by harsh circumstance and proven himself worthy of a second term.
The Miami Herald also endorsed Barack Obama for president.
Eighteen-year-old University of Florida student Christian Aguilar went missing on September 20. His frantic parents, Carlos and Claudia Aguilar, came to the college campus in Gainesville to search for their son. They held daily press conferences and begged for help. They handed out flyers. They organized vigils. Hundreds of law enforcement professionals, as well as volunteers from every background, were prompted to join in the effort.
The prognosis seemed grim. Another boy, Pedro Bravo, who had known Aguilar from high school in Miami, disclosed some very disturbing information. Bravo confessed to having had a fight with Aguilar. He said he beat his friend unconscious and dumped him out of his car.
Hopes for finding Aguilar dimmed as the weeks went by. The area Bravo had shown authorities yielded no sign of the missing young man. Police found blood in Bravo’s car and backpack. They found a receipt for the purchase of a shovel and duct tape. As time passed, the parents who originally had hoped to find their son now sadly realized that he probably had died.
It was quite possible that Aguilar’s body would never be found. There would be no burial, no accounting, no chance of any type of closure. The thought was excruciating.
Last week Christian Aguilar’s body was found in a private hunting club more than an hour away from the vicinity of the search. Identification was confirmed by dental records. Carlos called the find a “miracle.” He said the discovery would “give honor” to his son. Carlos and Claudia Aguilar could now bury their child and hopefully find some comfort and solace in this horrific tragedy.
There is something very poignant about the societal norm of burial and the marking of a gravesite. A human being who lived on this earth deserves to be interred with a certain dignity. Those who remain behind benefit from having a place to mourn and mark the final resting place of a departed loved one.
One of the most heartrending aspects of the Shoah is the fact that the mass graves and ashes of the crematoria have disallowed this basic human need. The Nazis tossed out the slaughtered victims as garbage. It was their final dehumanizing action.
Jewish tradition deals with the importance of burial in the Tanach. The cave of Machpeilah, purchased to bury our matriarch Sarah and the grave purchased to bury our matriarch Rachel are important parts of our history. The final act of chesed Hashem performed in the Torah was the burial of Moses. The lessons, of course, are for all time.
The Aguilar family will be able to bury their son and know where he lies. They will be able to visit his grave, grieve and process the tragedy. The survivors of the six million were deprived of this opportunity. This is a reason why the Jewish world is dedicated to building Holocaust museums and shrines.
A video in support of President Obama produced by the sister of comedian Sarah Silverman will begin airing in Florida.
The video by Rabbi Susan Silverman, a Reform rabbi who lives in Jerusalem, posted last week on Facebook shows Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak in an interview and Israelis throughout the country praising Obama’s support for Israel’s security.
A 30-second version is scheduled to run in Florida television markets on Monday during the foreign policy debate between Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Susan Silverman, who lives in Israel with her husband, Arava Power CEO Yosef Abramowitz, and their five children, became involved in making the video after asking her famous sister to make a video about Israelis’ support for Obama.
Sarah Silverman made “The Great Schlep” video in support of Obama four years ago to convince her grandparents and other grandparents to vote for Obama. Earlier this year she made a video asking casino mogul Sheldon Adelson to switch his support to Obama.
The video comes on the heels of an Op-Ed published in the Jewish Press in which Rabbi Yaakov Rosenblatt criticizes Sarah Silverman for being “crude” and “vulgar.” He suggested that she channel her energy into marrying and having children. The Silvermans’ father, Donald, responded with a vulgar statement of his own.
Classic Story received from friend of the blog, AS.
Rabbi Meir Soloveichik opened his Shabbos Shuva drasha as follows:
I flew to Tampa, Florida a few weeks ago for the Republican National Convention. When I arrived, I was escorted into a large room where all the Convention speakers of the day gathered along with Congressman, Senators, Governors and other politicians.
A woman approached me, stared at me, and then asked “Who are you??”
I responded politely, “I am Meir Soloveichik.”.
“Are you from Florida,” she asked.
“No,” I said, “I am from NY”.
She looked puzzled and confused, which I found confusing, since I figured most people knew there were a lot of Jews who lived in NY. Anyway, she smiled and walked away. She then approached me again just a few moments later with her husband.
She said to me, “Meir Soloveichik — I’d like to introduce you to my husband, Congressman Walker.”
The Congressman and I shook hands.
Then the woman asked, “Can you please tell me what city in NY you are the Mayor (Meir) of??”‘
(After the KJ Congregation roared with laughter, Rabbi Soloveichik continued as follows…)
‘And that, Ladies and Gentleman, was the first time in my life that a person was more impressed with my first name than my last name!!!’
No doubt, it’s hard for people to give up their lifelong attachments and identity. But there are moments in history when a turning point arrives, and those with eyes to see and ears to hear recognize it. Many Jews have made political liberalism their religion and personal identity and the Democrat Party their unexamined home and comfort zone. But everything changed early September.
Rarely do modern-day political conventions startle. The Democratic National Convention, however, was earthshaking and a warning to Jews to wake up. Democrat delegates decided to stick it to Israel. We no longer care, they roared, if Israel remains a Jewish state; flood her heartland with millions of so-called Palestinians whose goal is to make the state Islamic. We will not condemn Hamas for targeting Jewish population centers with rockets. Jerusalem is not Israel’s indivisible capital but should be divided, like Berlin was. Such was the undeniable sentiment of the delegates at the Convention.
After objections from outside the Convention, the chairman reinstated support for Jerusalem. But he was resoundingly booed. The world saw how those boos far outweighed the yeas. My fellow Jews, the boos were for you; those boos were for Israel, a successful Israel that sticks in the craw of a leftist, socialist mindset that sees Israel not as the beacon of freedom and accomplishment she is, but as something outside the leftist ideological orbit. Sure, they will take your contributions and your votes, but they don’t want your Israel, and they expect you to forgo distinctly Jewish needs on the altar of leftism. We saw not liberalism, but hardcore leftism, and we saw a home where the welcome mat is quite conditional and worn out.
The prophet Daniel saw the writing on the wall. All too often throughout our history, we Jews, and especially heads of major Jewish organizations, have failed to see the writing on the wall. We are afraid to see that which is a game-changer, and so we deny events we wish were not happening. After all, who wants to change the comfort zone?
It was a convention, like the last four years of the Obama administration, reveling in class warfare. Class warfare, like Occupy Wall Street and other scapegoating calls, has never been good for the Jews. We are often the scapegoat of those envious. Knowing this, Ahmadinejad scheduled a meeting with Occupy, a movement endorsed last year by many bigwigs in the Democratic Party and even President Obama himself. Jihadists and much of Islam want to delegitimize the concept of a Jewish state by tarnishing Jews as “those rich capitalists” unworthy of a state among the community of nations.
Too often, we Jews have been beguiled into believing that Jews in positions of power have our interests at heart. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is but the latest who would have us think she is “doing what is good for the Jews” when, in fact, she is doing and will continue to do what is good for Debbie and her power base. Similarly, the heads of the major Jewish organizations have been conspicuously silent — a silence that would not prevail if a Republican were doing the things to Israel Obama is doing.
Job openings are way down; 50% of college graduates, our children, can’t find jobs; and Mr. Obama will continue to weaken national security and thus the safety of our families…and continue to make it more difficult for Israel to survive. For many, all this is secondary and expendable for their more important agenda of abortion on demand and gay marriage. How frivolous; how irresponsible!
We can determine what truly is important to a person when he is forced to choose between two values. Since when is it a Jewish value to condemn Israel to misery just so one can be assured of abortion at any time, under any circumstance? Most of your grandparents would have chosen Israel over abortion and gay marriage. As our sages tell us: “The wages of immorality are further immorality.”
President Obama has time to meet with Muslim Brotherhood Morsi of Egypt, who has declared his intention to get rid Israel, but Mr. Obama has no time to meet with Israel’s Netanyahu, whose country is under imminent nuclear threat from Iran. Israel’s concern about a possible nuclear Holocaust is, for Mr. Obama, dismissed as mere noise, while his delegates at the U.N. on Sept. 24 are ordered to sit and listen to the vile noise of the Holocaust-denier and Iranian Jew-hater-in-chief. It is clear that Mr. Obama’s underlying sympathy is with the Muslim Brotherhood and its spread and influence around the world. He is coaxing us to accept Islamic attitudes and norms. This speaks volumes — to those willing to see the facts as they truly are.
In a new presidential campaign television advertisement which starts airing today, September 20, in parts of southern Florida, there’s only one person on screen and that one man isn’t running for president of the United States. In fact, that one man is not even an American, although he is well-known to most people in the heavily-Jewish communities of Southern Florida – it’s Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Secure America Now is the organization behind the thirty second ad which shows Netanyahu talking about what many consider to be the over-arching foreign policy issue of our time – the potential nuclear weaponization of Iran. SAN describes itself as a bipartisan foundation focused on national security issues, particularly in the Middle East.
As ominous music plays in the background, the Israeli Prime Minister stands at a podium, saying “as Iran gets closer and closer to having nuclear bombs, the world tells Israel to wait, there’s still time. I say, wait for what? Wait until when?” Netanyahu made that statement, according to the Associated Press, last week, on September 11.
While President Obama’s campaign focuses on the fact that more aid to Israel has been provided by the United States under President Obama than ever before, those who understand how the federal government works know that under the US Constitution funding decisions are made almost exclusively by congress. But the one thing over which the president has virtually exclusive control – and certainly the most important responsibility of the executive branch – is foreign policy.
And with respect to foreign policy there is a stark contrast between the two presidential candidates. The importance of a leader’s position on how to deal with a turbulent Middle East was brought into sharp focus over the last few days with anti-American demonstrations taking place in dozens of countries throughout the world, particularly in the Middle East.
The Israeli Prime Minister has been publicly pushing President Obama to set “red lines” beyond which if Iran moves, a military response will then be appropriate in the eyes of the leader of the United States. President Obama has refused to publicly articulate any such explicit position, preferring to continue engaging in diplomacy and enforcing certain sanctions.
This particular impasse is being touted by the pro-Romney advocates as an indication of weakness on the part of President Obama, and as Netanyahu’s militaristic posturing by Obama supporters.
The SAN ad video fades out and concludes with the following text: “The world needs America’s strengths, not apologies,” and directs viewers to SAN’s website, www.secureamericanow.com.
Coinciding with the release of the “Wait for What?” ad campaign, SAN released the results of polls it commissioned which show that in two key swing states, Florida and Ohio, a large majority of voters believe that if allowed to develop nuclear weapons, Iran would use them to arm terrorist groups to attack the United States. Also, “results in Florida and Ohio reveal that clear – and in Florida, overwhelming – majorities support a strong foreign policy in the Middle East, and a robust national defense. Further, they remain uneasy about the current state of national security and the direction of the country’s foreign policy strategy.”
The SAN polls were conducted by Caddell Associates, a long-time Democratic polling group, and McLaughlin and Associates, a firm that typically works for Republicans.
According to those polls, large majorities in both battleground states, but with greater strength in Florida, believe that a strike by Israel on Iranian nuclear facilities would either benefit everyone in the world, or at least the US and Israel. Overwhelming majorities are convinced that neither sanctions nor diplomacy will convince Iran to abandon its nuclear program, the same polls show.
Not much is known about the players behind Secure America Now because contributions to it are not tax-deductible, which means that the names of its donors do not have to be made public. According to the press release on these polls, however, Jeri Thompson, former political consultant and the wife of former US Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN), is an SAN advisory board member.
According to Thompson, the just-released polls reveal that a big factor driving the foreign policy focus is women between the age of 30 and 55. She said that the “so-called ‘Security Moms’ have not gone away since 9/11 and must be accounted for in the current foreign-policy debate and in this election.”
According to a Republican source quoted by the news site Politico.com, $1 million will be spent on this ad campaign. The ad is scheduled to be shown in Miami, West Palm Beach and Ft. Myers, Florida.