tv [untitled] January 31, 2012 2:30pm-3:00pm EST
actually voted for. i think we have 600,000 requests for absentees out there. and a significant number of people have voted early or voted absentee, pretty significant return on their request. 61% of those who requested absentees turned absentee ballots. it will be interesting to see how that impacts the turnout numbers today. i did vote. i did work for governor romney in 2008 in florida. a very different campaign then. governor romney was not as well known as he is now after four years of being visible and campaigning for president. so the task in florida was very different four years ago. we needed to create an environment where people would be willing to listen and learn more about governor romney. we were very effective in getting early endorsements that i think it was significant for the romney campaign this time because they signed again people
like speaker allen benz from panama city, former house speaker very well respected in the republican party here, john thrasher, former state party chairman and now state senator from the jacksonville area. very involved on the part of mitt romney. now president of the american conservative union was very involved with the romney campaign, particularly in recruiting hispanic leadership. the task was to get the governor known here and to make people ameanable to listening more about him. one of the challenges in 2008 is that the resources again were not there. and it made it much more difficult to campaign in a state the size and expense of florida this time in 2012. i think the romney campaign has wisely planned to invest resources in florida. en that did so early. the romney campaign was actually running paid advertising in florida three to four weeks prior to the florida primary.
so before the south carolina contest, they were on the groundment they were running advertising. they were organizing. they have a topnotch team here led by a former aide to governor jeb bush. and they had all the pieces in place to run a successful effort, particularly when you're tested. i think they have been by gingrich. >> we have a comment on twitter. romney's been running since 2008. anyone who doesn't know him has been living under a rock. >> let's hear from port richy, florida. andy on our democrats line. hi, how are you? >> good, thanks. >> caller: you know, my grandfather cooked for 12 presidents of the united states. he was a chef at the white house. and he took my sister there one time. she was like 6 years old. and jacqueline kennedy came down in a bathrobe. she said she didn't want him to cook for the president. she wanted to do the cooking. now these are lovely people. but what we're dealing with now
in florida is people that are very dedicated, firemen, police men, and their cutting their salaries. i walked into a gas station the other day and i see a fireman working in a seven he leven because he can't afford to feed his family. and we're going to vote for people like you? you have to be crazy. and then you want to cut out medicare, social security. what are people going to have? >> well, i assume you're talking about republicans. i can't actually tell from your question. but why people would vote for republicans, i think what you're seeing everywhere not only in florida are tremendous challenges financially. we have not seen the job growth that president obama has brought us. we have not seen the responsible fiscal budgeting that the president promised. in the state of florida and i think in many states we actually have to balance our budget. we're required constitutionally to do that. and at the federal level, we are not. and so there are cuts occurring in states that have been very
difficult to make but we've had no choice. that said, i think in the state of florida, i can't speak to other states, our republican-led legislature and our republican governor have been very responsible in trying to prioritize our funding to public service providers, to firemen, policemen, critical needs industries. this year in particular we have seen a cut in years past in education spending. but governor scott has actually come out and ask for a billion dollars in new money for education. so what you have to do when we're in an economic down turn is prioritize resources. i think republicans have done a much better job of that than the president. and then democrats have been willing to do. i think there are a lot of reasons to look at new fiscal management in washington and that members a republican president regardless who have gets our nomination. >> our guest sally bradshaw is a member of the florida state board of education which oversea sees k-12 system of lower, middle and high schools and also community colleges. so it was k-14.
>> that is how we talk about it. >> sally bradshaw is a former senior adviser to the former republican party and gop political strategist joining us from the sunshine state. let's go to floir where philip is on the republicans line. good morning, philip. >> caller: good morning. i have a comment and then a quick question. okay, my comment is i don't think that ron paul has gotten any type of positive news media on the national level whatsoever. i mean he is running. i've already voted early absentee ballot. i voted for ron paul. and my question, is i thought that florida moved up their primary last election. we lost half of our delegates. how long are they going to continue to take half of our delegates for moving the primary? >> that's a great question. i hope you're having good weather in braidenton. for people who have not yet voted so they can turn out. you know, it's interesting. we did move our primary up in the last cycle. we were penalized half of our
delegates were taken. but those were restored by senator mccain when he became the nominee. he encouraged the national committee to restore the delegates. so we did see a full delegation at the national convention four years ago. my hope would be that our nominee would do the same. and the fact is, florida is, as you know, a very diverse state. we are much more representative of the republican electorate and the larger general electorate as a whole than any of the earlier primary nominating contests. and while i respect the role that iowa and new hampshire and south carolina have long played in this process, i think tonight's results will send a much more definitive signal about where our party is in this contest. and the interest of republicans and beginning to take the race to president obama as opposed to leading it in a primary stage. so it would be nice for the republican national committee to begin to recognize that we are significant. we do have a role to play. in addition, we'll host the republican national convention this summer in tampa. and so there is a lot that
florida brings to the table. i'm with you. i think it's time for the national party to recognize that and for us to move beyond some of the pettiness that seems to go on at that level and taking away delegates or punishing us by sending us to a bad hotel during the convention. we'll see what happens. >> sally bradshaw, our last caller mentioned ron paul. donna on twitter says you mention santorum as playing a factor in the race day and how that might affect gingrich's votes. but donna asks what about paul? why doesn't anyone talk about him? and then sue writes in and says ron paul is the obvious choice in breaking away from the two-partien two two-party mentality. i'd like to hear more from all the candidates. >> that's interesting. ron paul himself has sort of taken himself out of the race in florida while he appeared at the debates, he's not actively campaigned here in the last ten days. and that's been a bit surprising. he's made a decision to go to
other states. there certainly are ron paul supporters in florida. and we do have an independent minded electorate. it tends to be a conservative one on the republican side. but certainly you can't predict what florida republicans are going to do. so a little surprised by his decision not to campaign as actively here. your callers and those who are writing in are right. this is a hugely expensive state in which to play and paul has not had the resources, perhaps, that some of the other candidates have. he may have made a calculated decision because of the cost of running television advertising here or radio advertising to save those resources for other contests. but he's the one who actually close not to campaign here lately. >> let's go to tallahassee and hear from danny. danny, turn down your tv and go ahead. >> caller: yes. my name is dan. and i appreciate you taking my call. i think, you know, with mitt romney, you know, when he turns around and makes all this money and then puts it overseas and
that's not -- our politicians aren't working for the middle class and the poor. you know, both parties need to get together and start looking for working together for the good of the country. and when it comes to social security, nobody mentions that the government has taken a trillion dollars from social security and never paid it back. that started with kennedy. i think it's time that politicians start working for the good of the country. >> yeah sh it's interesting when rick perry brought up social security, you'll remember earlier in the race and called it a ponzy scheme, there was a huge outcry from commentators about how you could possibly say. that but the fact is that there are huge problems with the social security system and in florida where in the republican electorate alone over half of our voters are 55 or older and
are either retired or moving towards retirement. that is a particularly significant issue. so far there have not been many, i think, who have come out with solutions that will work in that area or have been willing to confront it. with respect to bane capital that, has been an angle of attack against governor romney. i think you've seen that brought up over and over by newt gingrich and there have been concerns expressed about that. but in the republican party, i think voters tend to err on the side of wanting americans to be successful at whatever level to be able to go out and to do well, to work hard and reap the benefits of that. governor romney tried to make that case that he was successful. he played by the rules. he's paid more than 40% of his income either to taxes or charity. so, again, i think we'll have a real feel for how voters responded to those bane issues after the results come in tonight. >> joanne is in san diego, california. republican line. hi there.
>> caller: hi. sally, since you're familiar with the romney strategy and their campaigners, my main concern, i'm a conservative, is to defeat president obama. and does anybody in the romney campaign have the ability to reach out to the tea party voters when this is over, to reach out to these vibrant young ron paul supporters? because we know that negative, you know, obama will spend like $800 million or so on negative campaign and that will drive down turnout. so we cannot take this for granted. >> absolutely. yeah. you know, i certainly hope so to your answer. obviously, i'm not working for the romney campaign right now. but there are a lot of bright people who are part of the romney effort. and i know that they understand the need to pull the party together and to begin to recruit
not only independents and democrats to win but some of the people in our party who have perhaps been disgruntled or not as happy with the romney candidacy. i have always been frustrated by the way the tea party has been labelled in the media. the tea party is representative of republicans just like you and i who believe the federal government has spent too much of our money. and then it's our money and not their money to spend. and they need to be more responsible. so we're on the divisions within our party have been created by the mainstream media and certainly governor romney understands and the team understands the need to pull our party together, to bring in supporters, congressman paul to bring in tea party activists to move forwardment we'll have to do it or we'll lose the general election. this is by no means going to be he'sy despite how vulnerable the president is with his own re-election numbers. we have -- there are fewer republicans than there are democrats. certainly in a state like florida, although the margin has gotten much closer. we're still outnumbered by about
500,000 registered voters, democrat to republican. so there is a lot of work to be done. i think that would be the romney campaign's argument if they win florida decisively that it's time to pull the party together. >> let's hear from ralph in chicago, independent call. good morning. >> caller: good morning. thank you, ladies. doesn't ron paul deserve more votes in florida as he is protecting the elderly from hyper inflation dilution of the dollar, disaster for public and private pensions and from exploiting health care costs by insuring cheaper and safer wholistic therapies from massage to marijuana and protecting the people of color from selective enforcement of drug laws. and protecting israel from its oil rich rivals by having it as biofuel with ten time the energy density per acre than corn, alcohol preventing further
balance of trade deficit and dollar dilution. >> wow that, was certainly a long list. perhaps you should work for his campaign. that was quite a litany of things. i have, again, been surprised that congressman paul elected not to campaign here over the last ten days. there are certainly republicans in florida who are advocates of congressman paul or at least components of his message on the deficit, on the federal reserve, areas of concerns with respect to the economy. there are a lot of republicans, even those who perhaps have not supported him who agree with his message. and so, again, i'm surprised that he has not campaigned here. that may impact his turnout. it may impact how many republicans he is actually able to get to go to the polls today to support him. but i think you will see support for congressman paul just not in the numbers necessary to win the primary here. >> sally bradshaw, let's look at an e-mail that came in. a new pugh poll released yesterday shows republicans and those leaning republican are more dissatisfied now with the gop field than they were a month
ago. do you feel that primary is damaging the candidates not just among republicans, but also potential independent voters? sally bradshaw, you mentioned a little while ago a guest we had on yesterday here in washington journal. head of the american conservative union, lives down there in florida. he has been quoted as saying that the fighting between the main rivals has to stop because it could be damaging. >> that's interesting you bring that up and that al brought that up. governor bush last week was quoted in an interview where he described what is going on in the republican primary as a stir killer firing squad. certainly that cannot be helpful to our eventual nominee or to our chances at taking back the white house. but i do think republican primaries have a purpose and a place. it really is to weed out issues of importance to voters. what are going to be the issues that the nominee focuses on in a general election and takes to
voters and tries to move independence with? so i think we'll see that start to taper off here some after florida. again, one of the advantages to having florida so early, january 31st, is to have a big state that is representative of the republican electorate at large send a signal. this is our nominee. this is the person we prefer to take on president obama. and, so, i believe you'll see that start to shift and change as we get into february and march a little bit. but certainly something of which we have to be concerned. we need a united party. we need a party that come together and gets behind one message and focussed ees on th things we can agree on, representative of a party that is very diverse and that showcased here in florida. about 10.5%, 11% of the voters on the republican side of the aisle are hispanic voters. i mentioned earlier there are tremendous number of retirees we have. we have a lot of active duty and retired military in this state. so you have jewish-republicans
if southeast florida that are very active. you have a very diverse electorate here. i think after florida you'll start to see the tone change. >> sally bradshaw, you were mentioning the geography of florida. we had through "the washington post" breaks it down politically by region. it looks at which kanld dates have been barnstorming where. if they've been present in different regions. and why it matters. it talks about how mitt romney is looking at the mccain terrain. he's ahead in every region with the race closest in the conservative north. and it shows that he's been spending a lot of time in areas like ft. lauderdale, tampa. and then newt gingrich is going after the conservative central and north of the state. they mention that rick santorum, and this is something you brought up, it's a large state with ten very expensive media markets. it's been an uphill battle for rick santorum. but on monday with polls putting him in third or worse, the former senator from pennsylvania decided to cut his losses and refocus energy on upcoming
caucus states. then looking at ron paul, he skipped florida, as you mentioned, to focus on maine and other states. but for the two gentlemen focusing there, tell us more about where they're putting their efforts and why it matters. >> it's interesting. despite florida's diversity, we do have very conservative electorate among republican voters. so you do see a significant number of republican considering themselves social conservatives or strong fiscal conservatives, strong republicans and this will be a true republican primary in that sense. there are really four critical regions of the state running statewide or in a presidential in florida. the first and the one you hear the most often talked about in national press is the all famous now i-4 corridor. that is really the area around interstate 4 from hillsboro or tampa county and tampa in the west, hillsboro county to orange county on the east coast which is the orlando area, all the way over to the space coast.
approximately 50% of the vote in the primary usually comes from the i-4 corridor. and those are not just the three or four or five counties touched by the interstate. but surrounding counties that are impacted and feed into the interstate. seminole north of orange county, so you'll see a significant concentration of the vote coming from that area of the state. and both of the two main contenders have spent a tremendous amount of time and resources in the i-4 corridor. another area that is very important is sort of the southwest and southeast area of the state, the treasure coast on the east coast, st. martin, st. lucy counties, stewart area and the southwest coast which is sort of congressman county territory. that is sarasota and lee county, ft. myers, collier county, naples. 17% of the vote comes from that area of the state. on the southwest coast, that is an area that mitt romney have
very well in in 2008. he carried two areas of the state. that area of the2008. that area in jackson will have which is a very important region and is typically a component of the i-4 corridor and they make up about 57% of the vote. you have the panhandle that is pensacola over to panama city, not as far east as i'm located in now in tallahassee where there few republican votes. the panhandle tends to have a lot of military retirees. john mccain did very well in the panhandle and trained in pensacola at the naval air station and had a significant turn out among military retirees in' 08. the romney campaign had to focus on the panhandle. that's about 8% or 9% of the republican vote. then you have dade county and miami-dade and broward county.
a tremendous number of voters in a primary and a general election. that is where the bulk of the hispanic voters are. that was carried 3-1 by john mccain over romney in 2008. you have seen the romney campaign invest the resources in going after the hispanic vote and the vote in dade and broward county. four critical regions in the republican primary. 16 counties make up about 70% of the vote here. you see resources targeted towards the areas. >> sally bradshaw is a gop political strategist. we have been looking at a graphic weighing out the geography of florida. let's go to pennsylvania where marie is on the democrats line. >> i would like to make two comments and ask a question. the first comment is social security is not a ponzi scheme. i'm so sick of republicans
saying that. i was a lifelong republican until the second term of bush and i switched. second of all, my question for her would be does she think that the republican field right now will be alienating the hispanic vote in the general election with the nonsupport of the dream act? >> that's a good question, but first to your point about a ponzi scheme. that's an issue that rick perry raised and to the previous caller who raised the issue because of the amount of money taken into the social security account to pay for priorities in the budget, that is the point about the ponzi scheme that social security should be used for social security and that's not been the case. two, the point about hispanic voters is the issue for concern. they gave an interview recently to john king where the issue was raised and given other
interviews. hispanics are the swing vote in a general election and there was no question that the hispanic community have concerns about some of the rhetoric that has been used by republicans on the issue of immigration. hispanics are not monolithic voters. republicans in the state of florida are concerned about the economy and jobs and economic opportunity. that's what you have seen candidates talk about here with respect to the hispanic vote. no question that as republicans we have to do better and do a better job of taking our message to latinos and hispanics nationally and tone down the rhetoric. the immigration is an issue. border security is an issue. we have to do a better job communicating on legal immigration and how to deal with the larger immigration problem in a way that does not alienate our nominee from hispanics. that will be a challenge for whoever is the nominee. i agree on the republican side.
>> let's look at a tweet from press secretary for newt gingrich. just cost $5 million raised for january of 2012. they will show about $10 million raised in the last quarter of 2011. >> that's interesting. certainly as a result of south carolina, the gingrich campaign will raise more money and between the campaign and the super pac that is supporting gingrich, they have been able to use the resources. again the question is, is it too late for the primary. when you have a state that is so paid media prison and not earned media driven, you have to have all the resources in all the markets where there voters. i will give you an example in iowa and new hampshire earned media where candidates show up and generate attention on speeches they have given and a local news outlet and reports on the television station where it shows up in a local paper, those
are important in the early iowa caucus and the earlier primaries. in florida, newt gingrich had over 6,000 people attend a rally in napeles last week. i can promise you that outside of that media area, no one in pensacola knew that. no one invil jacksovill jackson that. resources matter and the question is has gingrich been able to devote enough resources to the state to have an impact on his numbers? >> let's hear from paul who joins us from gree bay wisconsin, an independent caller. good morning. >> caller: good morning, how are you in. >> go ahead. >> caller: the first thing is i have been watching all of the debates very closely. mitt romney and newt gingrich have not spelled out the details of their economic plans.
that really concerns me. rick santorum has and he has a very good plan. he is the only one i would back. i don't know how you can vote without knowing what their plans are. >> go ahead, i'm sorry. >> caller: go ahead. >> i think they all have detailed economic plans. santorum has been very vocal about his plan and so have the others. what happened in florida and particularly in the two debates if you watched them, we had two candidates where their roles were reversed. mitt romney won new hampshire and newt won south carolina. florida became what those of us thought it would be and should be. that's a tie breaker in the contest. when that happens, candidates tend to stray a little bit away from the positive talking points. to talk a little bit more about
what's wrong with the opponent. that's what we have seen in the last two debates. a lot of time spent by the two front-runners attacking each other. i thought rick santorum had his best debate at the last debate in jackson ville and what he believed, but the difference in his platform and the other candidates. again in a state like florida, resources matter and he has just not had them in a level that would put him into the top two candidates. >> let's hear from ed in annapolis. independent caller. welcome. >> caller: thank you. you guys do a great service. i was a third generation republican. looking at the class of people that you have running for the office, the highest office in the country, no way i could vote for any of them.
two people have no -- romney had an account in switzerland and one reason to have an account there. same thing goes for the cayman islands. same thing. you want to hide something. >> sounds like your dog agrees. >> caller: newt gingrich in the year by his own colleagues was booted and then we have religious crazies. i'm sorry. unless you have someone who believes in science, i can't vote for any of them. >> i think we won't mark you down as undecided. it's clear you are not going to vote republican this year. >> let me ask you about some of the major political players in florida. jeb bush has not weighed in and not said he is supporting someone. we have heard from senator marco rubio and a couple of others. weigh in for us on how significant the endorsements or
lack of endorsements are. >> that's an interesting question. neither senator rubio or bush have chosen to endorse. my sense is that they feel strongly that floridians should be able to make their own decision without the influence of endorsements at that level. in 2008, our then current governor, charlie crist chose to endorse at the last minute. that helped senator mccain. he was popular before he switched parties and was defeat bide rubio for the seasonate seat. it did anger and alienate a lot of republicans, the last minute endorsement. they respect the process and the voters and feel it should play out. they feel like the candidates have to earn this. endorsements at that level perhaps send the wrong signal from the perspective. they need to work hard and earn the votes. i don't think that precludes either fromnd