Poll: Who won the third GOP debate?

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The third GOP debate of the presidential primary season is over, and we want to know: Who do you think was the winner?

Vote in our poll below.

You can also check out a recap of our live chat, or check out the results of our poll on the second GOP debate.

Four Floridians to watch in tonight’s GOP presidential debate

bush carson rubio trumpSure, the PostOnPolitics blog is Florida-centric.

But so is the 2016 Republican presidential race.

Three Florida residents and part-time Palm Beacher Donald Trump will command much of the attention in tonight’s third GOP debate from Colorado on CNBC.

You can check out our debate live chat here.

For those not watching the World Series tonight, here are some things to watch from Florida’s Republican contenders, in alphabetical order:

** Jeb Bush: The former Florida governor began the race as the establishment favorite, but has slipped in the polls — even plunging to single digits in his home state in one recent survey. Last week, the Bush campaign slashed staff and reduced salaries after weaker-than-expected fundraising. After two solid but not memorable debate performances and months of ridicule from Trump about being “low energy,” there’s pressure on Bush to reassure the GOP establishment and donor base by appearing strong and perhaps even “joyful.”

** Ben Carson: The West Palm Beach resident has risen steadily in the polls and even surpassed Trump in one survey this week. He’ll likely get more attention from Trump and more scrutiny from CNBC moderators tonight. Don’t be surprised if the other GOP candidates lay off, however, because Republican voters clearly like Carson. Tonight those Carson fans will get an extended chance to confirm or second-guess their feelings.

** Marco Rubio: Rubio has moved ahead of mentor Bush in most polls and is vying to become the clear leader in the GOP’s establishment primary to determine the leading alternative to political outsiders Trump and Carson. Rubio has generally avoided clashes with Trump, Bush and other rivals. But his Senate absenteeism has come under fire from Democrats and Republicans alike and will likely come up tonight.

** Donald Trump: He has defied the laws of political gravity for four months, so blog posts suggesting what he needs to do or what to expect from him should be taken with a 44-pound bag of salt.  Talking about his polling success has been a major part of Trump’s campaign so far, so it’ll be interesting to see how he interacts with Carson now that Carson has moved ahead of Trump in recent Iowa polls and is getting closer in national polls.

Cerabino: Who pays for billion-dollar bomber? Florida retirees

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By Frank Cerabino
Palm Beach Post columnist

The big economic news for Florida this week is that Northrop Grumman got awarded the contract for the Air Force’s new long range strike bomber.

Florida taxpayers have been paying corporate welfare, er … I mean, participating in economic partnerships … with Northrop Grumman in Melbourne in the hopes that the defense contractor would win the bomber project, and then be grateful enough to drop some of the golden crumbs on us.

So the news that Northrop Grumman beat out the team of Boeing and Lockheed Martin for a contract that’s expected to be about $55 billion was greeted as a kind of victory for Florida by lawmakers, who are already tallying the hypothetical 1,500 high-paying jobs coming to Florida’s Space Coast because of it.

And funding the program for a new bat-wing bomber to replace the B-2 stealth bomber was made more secure this week by a budget deal that would jettison the military’s mandatory spending cuts as part of the so-called sequester and raise the cap on military spending by $25 billion for each of the next two years.

So good news all around, right? Well, maybe not.

Not if you’re a Florida retiree. Your part in freeing up more military spending for the multi-billion-dollar bomber project is to accept some modest cuts in Medicare and Social Security. And you probably won’t be around when, and if, this new bomber ever gets airborne.

Just look at the bomber it’s replacing, the B-2 stealth bomber, which was built by Northrop Grumman in the mid-1980s for an advertised price of $441 million per plane. We were supposed to get 132 of the B-2s, but ended up with 21 of them, due in part, to cost overruns that quickly made the price tag of each plane $2 billion.

The B-2 was conceived as a nuclear-capable bomber able to evade radar detection and destroy targets well inside the borders of distant countries.

It turned out to be a temperamental aircraft that couldn’t be left out in the rain, and each one required so much maintenance, 50 maintenance workers per plane, that at any given time more than half of the B-2s are grounded.

When they do fly, it costs $135,000 for every flight hour. And now it has come time to replace the under-used and over-priced B-2 with another stealth bomber also capable of bombing distant lands.

You’d think that our misadventures in the Middle East has made it abundantly clear that bombing people we don’t like in distant lands is a futile, and ultimately, harmful way to conduct foreign policy.

And we’re certainly not going to nuke China. (Who’s going to make our iPhone?)

The roll out of the new bomber sounds like a rerun of the B-2 sales pitch. We’re supposed to get 100 of the yet-to-be-named new bombers at a cost of $550 million per plane. But I wouldn’t count on it.

These defense contracts tend to start out as wishful thinking.

Take the F-35 fighter jet, a project that is $200 billion over budget and 15 years in the making. And yet, the jet it produced has been unable to outperform in mock dogfights the F-16 it is replacing, even with the F-35 pilots wearing high-tech $400,000 helmets.

The F-35’s got funded by spreading the subcontracting work to Florida and 45 other states. Legislators, more interested in creating jobs in their own districts, kept going along for the ride and demonstrating their fiscal conservatism in other areas.

Lockheed Martin hails the F-35 for creating 133,000 jobs both directly and indirectly, calling it “the single largest job generator in the Department of Defense program budget.”

But if you do the math, those 133,000 jobs for a $400 billion project comes out to about $3 million taxpayer dollars per job. That’s a tremendous opportunity cost for a glitchy new weapon that may not pan out.

And if we’ve got that kind of money to throw around, it makes it all the more obscene to consider squeezing Medicare recipients — half of whom live on $24,150 a year or less — or reducing Social Security benefits for the disabled.

Update: Ex-House Speaker Hastert pleads guilty to evading bank laws

FILE - In this June 9, 2015 file photo, former House Speaker Dennis Hastert departs the federal courthouse in Chicago. Hastert is accused in a grand jury indictment of agreeing to pay $3.5 million in hush money to keep someone silent about past misconduct against that person by the Illinois Republican. Before the May 28 indictment, Hastert was known primarily for rising from political obscurity in rural Illinois to second in the line of succession to the presidency. Hastert intends to change his plea to guilty in court Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Christian K. Lee, File)
FILE – In this June 9, 2015 file photo, former House Speaker Dennis Hastert departs the federal courthouse in Chicago.  (AP Photo/Christian K. Lee, File)

By MICHAEL TARM
The Associated Press

Dennis Hastert pleaded guilty Wednesday to evading banking laws in a hush-money scheme, averting a trial by agreeing to a deal with federal prosecutors that recommends the former House speaker serve no more than six months in prison.

Before accepting the plea, the 73-year-old Republican was warned by the judge that he could go beyond the deal’s recommendation and give Hastert up to five years behind bars when he is sentenced in February.

Because the plea has a sentencing range from no time to six months, Judge Thomas M. Durkin could also decide to put Hastert on probation or home confinement.

The hearing revealed no new details about why Hastert agreed to pay $3.5 million to an unidentified person. The indictment says the payments were meant to conceal past misconduct by Hastert against that person but does not explain the nature of the wrongdoing.

The Associated Press and other media, citing anonymous sources, have reported that the payments were meant to hide claims of sexual misconduct from decades ago.

At the half-hour hearing in U.S. District Court in Chicago, a subdued Hastert read from a brief written statement that — like his indictment — focused narrowly on how he technically broke banking laws.

By pleading guilty, Hastert avoids a trial that could have divulged the embarrassing secrets he presumably wanted to keep under wraps by paying hush money. Judges are also generally more likely to give lighter sentences to defendants who accept responsibility for their actions and spare the government the cost of a trial.

In exchange for the plea, prosecutors were expected to drop a charge stemming from lying to the FBI.

When the judge asked Hastert to describe his wrongdoing in his own words, he read his statement, telling the court that he had been withdrawing cash $50,000 at a time. After banking officials questioned him, he said, he began taking out less than $10,000 to avoid reporting requirements.

Speaking in a halting voice and losing his place in the text at one point, he described why he lied to officials: “I didn’t want them to know how I intended to spend the money.”

Hastert did not say why he required so much cash or why he sought to skirt reporting requirements. As Hastert finished, the judge immediately asked: “Did you know that what you were doing was wrong?”

He responded, “Yes, sir.”

Since the plea deal offers a wide punishment range, February’s sentencing hearing could feature arguments from prosecutors on why Hastert should spend some time behind bars and from the defense about why he should be spared prison.

Asked by the judge if the government would call any witnesses at the sentencing, lead prosecutor Steven Block left open that possibility, saying, “We don’t know if we will be calling witnesses. We will decide that at a later date.”

Prosecutors could theoretically call the unnamed person Hastert was allegedly paying, a prospect that could make public the conduct Hastert sought to conceal.

The sentencing range is below what many legal experts thought Hastert could get. Many thought prosecutors would press for six months to two years in prison.

The change-of-plea hearing was the longtime GOP leader’s first court appearance since his arraignment in June, when he pleaded not guilty in the same courtroom in Chicago.

A May 28 indictment accused Hastert of handing as much as $100,000 in cash at a time to someone referred to only as “Individual A” to ensure past misconduct by Hastert against the person never became public.

The plea helped seal the downfall of a man who rose from obscurity in rural Illinois to the nation’s third-highest political office.

Hastert was speaker for eight years — longer than any other Republican. He also parlayed his connections into a lucrative lobbying career after leaving Congress in 2007. That career is almost certainly over.

As a convicted felon, “no congressman will want to meet with him about anything. His influence and power will be gone,” said Dick Simpson, a co-author of “Corrupt Illinois: Patronage, Cronyism, and Criminality.”

Known as a savvy deal maker in Congress, Hastert and his attorneys negotiated the plea deal in recent weeks, avoiding a trial that could have divulged embarrassing secrets dating back to his days as a high-school wrestling coach.

Hastert allegedly made 15 withdrawals of $50,000 from 2010 to 2012. It’s what he allegedly did later in 2012 that would make his actions criminal. After learning withdrawals over $10,000 are flagged, he supposedly began taking out smaller increments, eventually withdrawing $952,000 from 2012 to 2014.

The withdrawals stopped after FBI agents questioned Hastert on Dec. 8, 2014, according to the indictment.

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Associated Press Writer Eric Tucker in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.

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Follow Michael Tarm on Twitter at http://twitter.com/mtarm .

Photos: Nine Donald Trump fans who are going all-in

Billionaire businessman-turned-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has seen a surge in popularity since announcing his run for the White House.

One thing you can say for him: His supporters are devoted. And thanks to the photographers following Trump along the campaign trail, we’re able to get a look at how his fans have come up with unique ways to show their love.

Here are nine fans who are all-in for The Donald:

1) This cowboy

RICHMOND, VA - OCTOBER 14: Reb Worsham of Benson, NC, wait near the head of the line of people waiting to get into a rally with Republican presidential candidate and front-runner Donald Trump at the Richmond International Raceway October 14, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. A New York real estate mogul and reality television star, Trump is now in a statistical tie with retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson in a Fox News survey of likely Republican voters released Tuesday. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Reb Worsham of Benson, North Carolina, waited near the head of the line of people to get into a rally with Trump at the Richmond International Raceway on Oct. 14, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

2) This excited woman who declared, “I am Hispanic and I vote for Mr. Trump!”

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 08: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump invites Myriam Witcher 35 on the stage during a campaign rally at the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino on October 8, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images)
Trump invited Myriam Witcher, 35, on the stage during a campaign rally at the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino on Oct. 8, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. She made headlines with her declaration of support for Trump. (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images)

3. This woman who went cheek-to-cheek for a selfie

DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 14: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets supporters during a campaign rally at the American Airlines Center on September 14, 2015 in Dallas, Texas. More than 20,000 tickets had been distributed for the event. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
A Trump supporter snaps a selfie with the candidate during a campaign rally at the American Airlines Center on Sept. 14, 2015 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

4. This man who went old-school with a Trump boardgame

RICHMOND, VA - OCTOBER 14: Supporters, including a man with a Trump board game, wait for presidential candidate and Republican front-runner Donald Trump at a campaign rally at the Richmond International Raceway October 14, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. A New York real estate mogul and reality television star, Trump is now in a statistical tie with retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson in a Fox News survey of likely Republican voters released Tuesday. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
A man with a Trump board game waits for Trump at a campaign rally at the Richmond International Raceway on Oct. 14, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

5. This youngster whose stealth selfie game is on point

EDISON, NJ - AUGUST 30: Golf fans takes a "selfie" with presidential candidate Donald Trump during the final round of The Barclays at Plainfield Country Club on August 30, 2015 in Edison, New Jersey. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
A young fan takes a selfie with Trump during the final round of The Barclays at Plainfield Country Club on Aug. 30, 2015 in Edison, New Jersey. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

6. This woman who is overjoyed to have Trump meet her baby

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets supporters after his rally at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on August 21, 2015 in Mobile, Alabama. The Trump campaign moved tonight's rally to a larger stadium to accommodate demand. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)
Trump greets a supporter and her baby after his rally at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on Aug. 21, 2015 in Mobile, Alabama. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)

7. This man who brought some soul to one Trump event

Donald Trump supporter Dale Raines plays soprano saxophone at the Trump National Doral Miami resort, as supporters wait for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Friday, Oct. 23, 2015 in Doral, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Donald Trump supporter Dale Raines plays soprano saxophone at the Trump National Doral Miami resort, as supporters wait for Republican presidential candidate Trump on Oct. 23, 2015 in Doral. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

8. This young man who was overcome at a Trump rally

Supporters cheer for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a campaign rally in Tyngsborough, Mass., Friday, Oct. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Supporters cheer for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a campaign rally in Tyngsborough, Massachusetts, on Oct. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

9. This woman who would stop at nothing to reach Trump

RICHMOND, VA - OCTOBER 14: Supporters strain to touch presidential candidate and Republican front-runner Donald Trump during a campaign rally at the Richmond International Raceway October 14, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. A New York real estate mogul and reality television star, Trump is now in a statistical tie with retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson in a Fox News survey of likely Republican voters released Tuesday. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
A supporter strains to touch Trump during a campaign rally at the Richmond International Raceway Oct. 14, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

More Donald Trump coverage

Could Trump’s experience in Palm Beach be a sign of things to come in race for White House?
• Can Trump win GOP? Florida elite say no but doubt creeping in
Photos: Donald Trump through the years
Trump rouses sleeping giant in Hispanic business community
Trump can’t dump lawsuit over Jupiter golf club

We made this gif to help explain Senate redistricting proposals

The Florida Legislature is in a special session right now to redraw maps for the state’s Senate districts.

But what does that mean to you?

Last week, Post reporter John Kennedy broke down the four Senate districts in Palm Beach County and how they could be affected by the proposals. (See links below.)

We made this gif to show the current South Florida Senate districts, and the six proposals now being considered by lawmakers:

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As you can see, Palm Beach County would go from having four Senate districts to three under all six proposals.

You can review PDFs of the full state proposals here.

Check out John Kennedy’s special session preview here and blog posts:

• For Abruzzo’s Senate seat, redistricting may mean, go west
• Redistricting may anchor nomadic Sachs deeper in Palm Beach County
• Redrawing Senate districts unlikely to disrupt Palm Beach County’s central seat
• When lawmakers redraw Senate districts, Negron might exit Palm Beach County