After loss to Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton returns to South Florida to sell her book

Rain washes away the lettering on a Hillary Clinton sign in Broward County three days before Donald Trump washed away her “Blue Wall” of electoral votes to win the presidency.

Hillary Clinton is coming back to South Florida — and this time, the candidate who has twice parlayed presidential front-runner status into defeat says, “I’m letting my guard down.”

The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee is scheduled to stop in Fort Lauderdale on Oct. 3 to promote her forthcoming book What Happened. Clinton will appear at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets range from $50 to $375. A “VIP package” that includes premium seating, a photo with Clinton and a signed book appears to be sold out for the Fort Lauderdale event.

Hillary Clinton’s forthcoming book shouldn’t be confused with a ska-influenced 1981 English Beat album or a 2008 memoir by former George W. Bush press secretary Scott McClellan.

Clinton’s last Florida appearance during the 2016 campaign was a rain-shortened affair in Broward County the weekend before the election. Florida, which Barack Obama carried by 0.9 points in 2012, was won by Republican Donald Trump by 1.2 points in 2016 — one of several formerly blue states that went red and allowed Trump to win an Electoral College majority and the presidency.

Clinton’s book, scheduled for release Sept. 12, is being promoted as an unguarded account of the 2016 campaign.

“In the past, for reasons I try to explain, I’ve often felt I had to be careful in public, like I was up on a wire without a net. Now I’m letting my guard down,” Clinton says in an excerpt from the book’s introduction that is splashed prominently on the website promoting the book.

 

 

Democrats inject Donald Trump into two Florida races

Democrats are running TV ads in St. Petersburg and Miami linking Republicans to President Donald Trump.

Democrats who hoped nationally watched special congressional elections in Kansas, Montana and Georgia would deliver rebukes of President Donald Trump came away disappointed.

Now two races in Florida — a nonpartisan mayoral election in St. Petersburg and a special election for a state Senate seat in Miami — have revived Democratic hopes that Trump and his slumping approval ratings will be an albatross for Republican candidates.

In St. Petersburg, where polling shows former Mayor Rick Baker leading current Mayor Rick Kriseman, the Florida Democratic Party this week began airing TV spots that put Baker, who is a Republican, on an “extreme team” with Trump, Florida Gov. Rick Scott and former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. The same ads link Kriseman, a Democrat, to former President Barack Obama, former VP Joe Biden and U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg.

Seven mayoral candidates are on the Aug. 29 St. Petersburg ballot. If no candidate gets a majority, the top two finishers square off on Nov. 7.

Democrats are also playing the Trump card ahead of a Sept. 26 special election in Miami to fill the Senate District 40 seat of former Republican Sen. Frank Artiles, who resigned in April. The special election pits Democrat Annette Taddeo against Republican state Rep. Jose Felix “Pepi” Diaz, who was once a contestant on Trump’s The Apprentice.

Republican Artiles won the district by 10 points in November and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio edged Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy in the district, but Democrats have a slight registration edge and Democrat Hillary Clinton beat Trump there by 16 points.

Democrats launched an ad in English and Spanish this week that shows a selfie of Diaz and Trump and says the Republican “supports Trump’s every move.”

State Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Atlantis, in line to become Senate Democratic leader next year, says there are “a lot of other issues” besides Trump in District 40, but Diaz presents a special anti-Trump opportunity.

“If you were asking for the Democrats to draw up a candidate that had links to Trump you couldn’t do any better than someone who actually appeared as a contestant on The Apprentice. He was also an early Trump endorser. So Pepi Diaz is going to have to live with Trump’s anti-immigrant policies, his anti-health care policies, and those aren’t particularly popular in Miami,” Clemens said.

Deval Patrick for president in 2020? What he once said in West Palm Beach

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick during a 2014 visit to West Palm Beach to campaign for Charlie Crist’s bid for governor. (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

Former President Barack Obama is “nudging” former Masssachusetts Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick to run for president in 2020 against President Donald Trump, according to Politico.

Patrick was also the topic of some early 2016 presidential chatter. When he visited West Palm Beach in 2014 to campaign for Charlie Crist‘s gubernatorial bid, Patrick told The Palm Beach Post  that the White House talk “blows my mind. I’m just a kid from the south side of Chicago and people are speculating about such a thing. It’s extraordinary but it’s not what I’m planning on, thank you.”

Patrick didn’t run in 2016. During his 2014 visit, he warned Democrats against giving Hillary Clinton a free ride to the party’s nomination in 2016.

Patrick called Clinton “fantastic” but added: “The problem with inevitability is it’s sometimes interpreted as entitlement and I think that voters want competition and they want their candidates to have to work for it.”

If he’s at all serious about 2020, expect Patrick to spend time in crucial Florida next year to campaign for Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson‘s re-election bid and/or for whoever wins the Democratic nomination for governor.

Conservative guerilla videographer James O’Keefe heading to Palm Beach County

Guerilla videographer James O’Keefe will headline the Palm Beach County GOP’s annual Lobsterfest next month.

Conservative activist James O’Keefe — whose Project Veritas Action has released controversial undercover videos targeting CNN, the Hillary Clinton campaign and the liberal group ACORN — will keynote the Palm Beach County Republican Party’s annual Lobsterfest dinner next month.

U.S. Reps. Brian Mast and Ron DeSantis are also scheduled to appear at Lobsterfest.

The dinner is slated for Aug. 17 at the Polo Club of Boca Raton, with tickets selling  for $145 a plate or $250 for a VIP reception. The event will also feature U.S. Reps. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, and  Ron DeSantis, R-Ponte Vedra Beach. Freshman Mast is the only Republican in Palm Beach County’s U.S. House delegation. DeSantis is a potential 2018 candidate for governor or attorney general.

O’Keefe burst onto the political scene in 2009 when he and a Florida International University student posed as a pimp and prostitute and recorded hidden-camera footage in which they visited offices of the liberal Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now and appeared to get advice from ACORN employees on setting up a brothel and evading taxes.

Last fall, O’Keefe’s Project Veritas recorded videos in West Palm Beach in which Clinton campaign staffers appeared to make light of sexual assault and condone the destruction of voter registration forms submitted by Republicans.

O’Keefe’s critics accuse him of selectively and deceptively editing videos and note he was sentenced in 2010 to three years’ probation, 100 hours of community service and a $1,500 fine for the misdemeanor charge of entering a federal building under false pretenses.

Conservative blogger Javier Manjarres considers challenging Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch

Javier Manjarres, managing editor of The Shark Tank website.

Fort Lauderdale-based conservative blogger Javier Manjarres says he’s exploring a run for the Democrat-leaning seat of U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton.

U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, speaking to Florida delegates at the 2016 Democratic Naitonal Convention. (Krristina Webb / The Palm Beach Post)

Manjarres is well-connected in the conservative world — the announcement of his exploration on his Shark Tank website was accompanied by testimonials from Republican Florida U.S. Reps. Ron DeSantis, Matt Gaetz and Mario Diaz-Balart. But Deutch’s Palm Beach-Broward District 22 voted 57 percent for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in 2016.

“It was clear that after the historic 2016 elections, Americans rejected the agenda and policies of the outgoing Obama Administration that they believe were threatening the American way of life,” Manjarres said in a statement on his website.

“Even with Republicans in control of congress, it is of the utmost importance that Republicans continue to win the public’s trust and reform all aspects of the federal government. It is time for all  pouting members of the U.S. House of Representatives, who have been comporting themselves like petulant obstructionist children, put the American people first before political ideology or party, and remember that they are 1 of 435 individuals tasked to serve all Americans, regardless of the race, color, sexual persuasions, or political party affiliation.”

District 22 includes Boca Raton and Highland Beach in Palm Beach County coastal Broward County from Fort Lauderdale north.

 

Biden to Florida Dems: Key voters ‘don’t think we understand them’

Former Vice President Joe Biden poses for a picture before speaking to Florida Democrats on Saturday night in Hollywood.

HOLLYWOOD — Former Vice President Joe Biden says Democrats can rebound from their stinging November loss to Donald Trump if they start talking to “frightened” voters and the middle class again and treat opponents with “dignity.”

Biden, who hasn’t ruled out a 2020 run for president, delivered  50-minute speech to 1,300 Democratic activists on Saturday night at the Florida Democratic Party’s annual Leadership Blue fundraising dinner at the Diplomat Beach Resort. It was vintage Biden — shouting at times, stage-whispering at others, digressing into Senate cloakroom tales from the 1970s and invoking his childhood home of Scranton, Pa., and his father’s advice.

Biden gave a plug for Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson’s 2018 re-election bid and also gave a shout-out to state Rep. Joseph Abruzzo, D-Boynton Beach.

He didn’t mention Trump by name, but noted that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton got 3 million more votes nationwide than “the other guy.” Trump won more electoral votes by edging Clinton in Florida and other states that President Barack Obama had carried before.

“There’s that slice of  people we had — Barack  and I had, Democrats have always  had– that don’t think we understand them. It’s not a lot, but it’s the difference in the election. We need to let them know we understand their fears, concerns. And that we have some real answers,” Biden said.

“We have to make it clear what we stand for. We have to refocus our attention on how to unite America and the values for which we stand,” said Biden.

“We can’t get bogged down — I hope don’t offend anybody here — in this phony debate going on in the Democratic Party. The Hobson’s choice we have been given is do we become less progressive and focus on working folk, or forget about working folk and become more progressive. There is no need to choose. They are not inconsistent.”

Biden offered a harsh analysis of the way Trump won in 2016.

“This past election cycle that we just went through churned up some of the ugliest realities that persist in our country. Civilized discourse and real debate gave way to the coarsest rhetoric, stroking some of the darkest emotions in this nation,” Biden said.

“I thought we had passed the days when it was acceptable for  a politician to bestow legitimacy on hate speech and fringe ideologies,” said Biden. But, he said, “Notwithstanding the base appeal that was made, there are a lot of people out there who are both afraid and were susceptible to this negative appeal.”

But Biden said Democrats need to treat the voters they lost with respect.

“We have to treat the opposition with more dignity,” Biden said.

He predicted things will turn around for Democrats.

“I assure you, that the state of the nation we are in today will not be sustained by the American people…We are better than this,” Biden said.

“We have to pick our heads up and start thinking big again,” he said. “The nation is waiting for the Democratic Party to reassert itself.”

 

 

 

 

Boca Raton mayor weighs GOP bid in district where Clinton beat Trump

Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie with Gov. Rick Scott in 2016. (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie appears close to launching a 2018 Republican campaign for the coastal District 4 seat of term-limited Palm Beach County Commissioner Steven Abrams.

“I am considering it and I will be making my decision shortly,” Haynie told PostOnPolitics. She later said “shortly” means within the next 30 to 60 days.

Palm Beach County Commission District 4 includes southern coastal communities and all of Boca Raton.

Abrams is one of only two Republicans on the seven-member commission.

District 4 is 35 percent Republican and 34.4 percent Democrat. Democrat Hillary Clinton carried the district with 49.9 percent of the vote to 46.2 percent for Republican Donald Trump last November.

In 2014, Democrat Charlie Crist beat Republican Gov. Rick Scott in District 4 by a 50.2-to-45.7 percent margin.

But in a county race, Haynie’s Boca connection could be more important than partisan factors.

She has held nonpartisan office for 15 of the last 17 years in Boca Raton, which makes up 44 percent of the electorate in County Commission District 4. Abrams was also a Boca Raton mayor before being appointed to the commission in 2009, then winning elections in 2010 and 2014.

The open seat in a midterm election year — when the party out of the White House typically makes gains — should draw some Democratic interest.

Democrat Andy Thomson, an attorney who lost a March bid for Boca Raton city council, is one potential candidate for the county commission seat. But Thomson says he’s also looking at another council bid in Boca.

“We’re working on it,” Democratic Club of Boca-Delray board member Mark Alan Siegel said of his party’s efforts to recruit a commission candidate.

Donald Trump responds to Kathy Griffin — and ‘covfefe’

The typo that sparked a social media sensation.

President Donald Trump told Twitter followers this morning that celebrity Trump-hater Kathy Griffin “should be ashamed of herself” for appearing in a gruesome video with what appeared to be Trump’s severed head.

Part-time Palm Beach resident Trump also poked fun at the overnight Twitter sensation caused by his mysterious “covfefe” tweet.

Shortly after midnight, Trump tweeted “Despite the constant negative covfefe” — and then left the Twitterverse hanging.

The tweet was later deleted.

This morning, shortly after 6 a.m., Trump tweeted: “Who can figure out the true meaning of ‘covfefe’??? Enjoy!”

Later in the morning, Trump took aim at Griffin, who has apologized for the severed-head video.

“Kathy Griffin should be ashamed of herself. My children, especially my 11 year old son, Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!”

Griffin’s video drew bipartisan condemnation. Chelsea Clinton was among the critics.

“This is vile and wrong. It is never funny to joke about killing a president,” the daughter of Trump’s 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton tweeted Tuesday.

2020 watch: Florida Democrats book Joe Biden for June fundraiser

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who passed up a 2016 run for president, has been drawing 2020 speculation by appearing in New Hampshire and, now, Florida.

Crank up the 2020 speculation: Former Vice President Joe Biden will be the keynote speaker for the Florida Democratic Party’s biggest annual fundraising dinner in June, the party announced this morning.

 

“Guys, I’m not running,” Biden declared over the weekend — a present-tense formulation that was made in New Hampshire, the first-in-the-nation primary state.

 

Biden, who’ll be nearly 78 on election day of 2020, flirted with a 2016 run for president but opted against it in 2015. In hindsight, Biden might have done a better job of connecting with working-class Rust Belt voters than Hillary Clinton, who lost the previously blue states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin to Donald Trump.

 

Trump has already opened a 2020 campaign and is airing new TV ads today.

 

Biden will speak at the Florida Democratic Party’s “Leadership Blue” gala — formerly the Jefferson-Jackson dinner — at the Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood on June 17.

 

“We are thrilled to announce the former Vice President as our keynote speaker. Joe Biden has spent his life in public service and has fought tirelessly for the Democratic belief that all Americans deserve an equal shot in our economy, not just those at the top. We are excited to welcome him back to Florida for our Leadership Blue Gala,” said Florida Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Bittel.

 

 

 

 

Trump border wall update: Mexico will pay ‘eventually…in some form,’ cost ‘$10 billion or less’

In case you weren’t checking your Twitter feed over the weekend, President Donald Trump reiterated his signature 2016 campaign pledge to build a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico — but he told the Associated Press he hasn’t decided whether he’ll insist on funding for the wall this week in a spending bill to keep the government open.

Along with “Lock her up!” chants about Hillary Clinton, “Build a wall!” was one of the most popular chants at Trump rallies in 2016.

Donald Trump at an October rally at the South Florida Fairgrounds.

Trump often followed those up by asking “Who’s going to pay for the wall?”

“Mex-i-co!” the crowds would reply.

Late in the campaign — including during this exclusive October interview with The Palm Beach Post — Trump began suggesting that the U.S. might pay for the wall first and then get reimbursed by Mexico.

“They’ll either pay directly or indirectly. That’s the same thing,” Trump told The Palm Beach Post.

That stance, not exactly conducive to a rally chant, was reiterated by the president in a Sunday morning tweet.

“Eventually, but at a later date so we can get started early, Mexico will be paying, in some form, for the badly needed border wall,” Trump tweeted.

Trump also addressed the wall and its costs in the interview with the Associated Press.

The AP’s Julie Pace asked the president: “If you get a bill on your desk that does not include funding for the wall, will you sign it?”

Said Trump: “I don’t know yet. People want the border wall. My base definitely wants the border wall, my base really wants it — you’ve been to many of the rallies. OK, the thing they want more than anything is the wall.”

Trump also said a wall won’t cost as much as some estimate.

“Oh I’m seeing numbers — $24 billion, I think I’ll do it for $10 billion or less. That’s not a lot of money relative to what we’re talking about,” Trump told the AP.

Later, he added: “My base understands the wall is going to get built, whether I have it funded here or if I get it funded shortly thereafter, that wall’s getting built, OK? One hundred percent. One hundred percent it’s getting built. And it’s also getting built for much less money — I hope you get this — than these people are estimating. The opponents are talking $25 billion for the wall. It’s not going to cost anywhere near that…I think $10 billion or less. And if I do a super-duper, higher, better, better security, everything else, maybe it goes a little bit more. But it’s not going to be anywhere near (those) kind of numbers. And they’re using those numbers; they’re using the high numbers to make it sound impalatable (sic). “