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POLITICO Florida Playbook: Go BIG Media Names Big Hire Ahead of 2016

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Univision’s cozy Clinton ties; Curbelo eyes Cuban Adjustment Act; Jeb’s Iraq War problem; Rick Scott writes HHS for answers; Alan Grayson aka Florida man

By MARC CAPUTO

Read Originail Article In POLITICO Florida Playbook Here

5/13/15 7:21 AM EDT

By Marc Caputo (mcaputo@politico.com; @MarcACaputo)

GO BIG’S BIG GET – “Go BIG Media Names Big Hire Ahead of 2016” via press release: “Go BIG Media, a Washington, D.C. and Florida based digital media firm, announced the addition of a new partner, and President of Creative Strategies, Brent Barksdale. The new hire is a big get for the upstart firm ahead of 2016, ensuring Go BIG’s clients will have access to one of the most creative political minds in the country. Prior to leading Go Big Media’s creative team, Brent was Executive Vice President of Jamestown Associates and President of his own full-service political consulting firm he founded in 1997.”

It’s Wednesday, the midpoint of the week. But if you’re like a number of Jeb Bush backers, it might feel as if you’ve weathered a month of bad headlines since Monday, when the former Florida governor botched a response on the Iraq war. Meantime, Gov. Rick Scott continued his carrot-and-stick negotiations with the feds over hospital funding. The Legislature still has no broad agreement heading into the June 1 special lawmaking session to pass a balanced budget. And then there are the cozy ties between the Clintons and Univision, the Spanish-language network powerhouse with its major studios in Doral. Let’s start there:

FRIENDS WITH BROADCAST BENEFITS -- “Inside the Univision-Clinton network,” by POLITICO’s Hadas Gold and Marc Caputo: “When former President Bill Clinton took center stage at Univision’s upfront presentation for advertisers and the media on Tuesday, it marked more than just one of his many paid appearances. The relationship between the Clintons and Univision is deep — from owner Haim Saban’s unabashed support for Hillary Clinton’s election effort to a partnership between Univision and the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, to the network’s newscasts that have bashed Republicans and, most recently, praised Hillary’s new position on immigration — putting her squarely in line with the network’s stance on the issue. ...

“You have to go to Univision to get to Latino voters,” said Gabriela Domenzain, a liberal strategist who was a founding producer on Univision’s Sunday news show “Al Punto” and who ran Obama’s Hispanic media outreach in the 2012 election.

Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Miami: “When you have the ownership of a network aggressively backing a presidential candidate — combined with advocacy journalism on some issues — it threatens the journalistic integrity of a news organization.” http://politi.co/1JavCdy

CURBELO’S POSITIVE PRESS – For a good Univision feature on Curbelo, check out this report “Este Es Mi Trabajo” (“this is my job”) from Gloria Ordaz, one of the network’s best reporters, that features a day in the life of a freshman congressman who sleeps in his office (at night). http://bit.ly/1AVvozO

HOUSE IMMIGRATION PUSH – Curbelo’s one of a handful of Republicans still pushing for immigration reform. He hopes that the House Rules committee, perhaps at its meeting today, greenlights an effort to allow a vote on whether to amend Rep. Jeff Denham’s Enlist Act (http://1.usa.gov/1E4GB1f) onto the National Defense Authorization Act.

CUBA IMMIGRATION CHANGES? “Cuban refugees could be blocked from returning home,” by the South Florida Sun Sentinel’s Megan O’Matz and Sally Kestin: “The U.S. welcomes thousands of Cubans each year as presumed refugees fleeing political repression, no questions asked. Yet many exploit the special treatment they receive by shuttling back and forth to the island that is allegedly persecuting them. Now a Miami congressman wants to end that with legislation that would prevent new arrivals from freely traveling back to Cuba until they become U.S. citizens.

"’We are aware of abuses of the Cuban Adjustment Act and are looking to tighten it to assure that only those facing oppression in Cuba can take advantage,” Curbelo told the Sun Sentinel in a statement provided by his office. http://bit.ly/1RCfXai

SCENE IN CUBA -- “Dangers in economy run by Cuba’s revolutionary in a business suit,” by The Financial Times’ Paul Webster Hare: “Cuba is still a foreign land for international business. Features of the revolution endure to this day; rudimentary use of the internet is only the most visible. Statistics are produced by the state and there is no independent verification. Foreign exchange reserves are never published. Military-controlled companies retain almost all the hard currency Cuba earns. State employees — estimated at more than 70 per cent of working-age Cubans — receive an average of less than $30 a month in currency worthless anywhere else. ‘They pretend to pay us and we pretend to work’ is a joke almost as old as Havana’s Cadillac Eldorados.

“Foreign investors and embassies, forbidden by law to select their own employees, pay well above state rates, producing absurd results: at the British embassy, I had a PhD in microbiology working as a nightwatchman. Education matters little when you cannot pay your bills. Apathy is prevalent: I remember the Havana fun fair manager who closed for lunch with a queue of 50 customers; and the biotech marketing managers who visited the UK but returned with no leads.” http://on.ft.com/1F9GiaF

DEAR SYLVIA, IT’S RICK… Excerpts from a letter to HHS’ chief from Scott: “Medicaid expansion in Florida would not only be costly, it would force those who currently have private insurance on the federal exchange to lose the insurance they like and were told they could keep. Additionally, none of this $5 billion in state spending would guarantee positive long-term outcomes, because your agency has repeatedly stated that they will not approve work requirements for Medicaid/Obamacare expansion…To best guide the [Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding, established by Scott] ... I am requesting help from HHS to immediately answer the following questions about what your agency would approve at the federal level:

“*First, would HHS consider giving Florida a block grant of federal money to decide how to cover those who currently do not have government or private insurance?...

“*Second, outside of the Medicaid program entirely, would HHS be interested in a larger population of individuals being eligible for insurance plans offered on the 100-percent-federally-funded exchange, without assessing any new fees or administrative costs to the state?...

“* Third, will HHS support healthcare coverage initiatives that specifically protect the hundreds of thousands of Floridians between 100% and 138% of the federal poverty line from losing their current private health plans on the federal exchange with any future reforms?

READ THE FULL LETTER HERE: http://bit.ly/1AVSdUe

NO ‘GAME OF THRONES’ REFERENCE? “Scott compares administration to 'The Sopranos'” by Florida Today’s Ledyard King: “Scott, a Republican, visited Capitol Hill to enlist lawmakers’ help in restoring the Low Income Pool (LIP) program before it expires June 30. Without federal money for the 10-year-old program, the state faces a $1.3 billion shortfall in its fiscal 2016 budget if it wants to continue LIP on its own….

“This is The Sopranos,” the governor told reporters Tuesday. “It's no different from (President Barack Obama’s) executive orders where he thinks he can dictate things instead of going through Congress. He shouldn't be able to coerce the state into expanding Obamacare by holding money back from low-income families.” http://on.flatoday.com/1Hg3iH3

HEALTHCARE HEAT AT HOME -- “Promise-breaking pols at heart of Florida's health-care mess,” by The Orlando Sentinel’s Scott Maxwell: http://bit.ly/1cQPYfB

IRAQ WAR CASUALTY? “Will Iraq take down another Bush? Jeb muffs his first attempt to confront his brother’s Mideast legacy.” by POLITICO’s Eli Stokols: “Iraq is where George H. W. Bush refused to go all the way in the Gulf War. It was where George W. Bush got bogged down 12 years later.” http://politi.co/1Iwhr3r

--“Jeb Bush Backpedals Again,” by The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman: http://nyti.ms/1zZiTsc

JOHN ELLI$ BU$H -- “Jeb Bush’s $100M May: Inside the most ambitious presidential super PAC yet,” by POLITICO’s Alex Isenstadt: http://politi.co/1AJYIJC

ALL ABOUT ANA --  “Jeb Bush, Ana Navarro and the Question That May Have Been Misheard,” by The New York Times’ Jason Horowitz: “The media’s preferred expert on Jeb Bush’s inner thoughts tried to explain on Tuesday morning the likely Republican presidential candidate’s much discussed remarks to an interviewer that, even knowing what he knows now, he would have authorized the invasion of Iraq....How much of a confidante she is of Mr. Bush, however, is open to question. She never worked as a strategist on any of his campaigns, and she had to leave a job as Florida’s director of immigration policy when he was governor after it was discovered that she did not have a law license. Still, her connection to Mr. Bush has been decades in the making.” http://nyti.ms/1PhOMDf

WELCOME TO SUBURBAN MIAMI’S TRAFFIC HELL, JEBBIES -- “Jeb Bush leases Miami office for likely presidential campaign,” by The Miami Herald’s Patricia Mazzei and Nick Nehamas: “Bush’s political action committee, Right to Rise, recently leased space on two floors of the Flagler Corporate Center at 9250 W. Flagler St. in West Miami-Dade County. For now, they remain a campaign headquarters in need of a campaign, since Bush has yet to formalize his candidacy.” http://bit.ly/1zY1jF4

REDSTATE > IA STRAW POLL -- “Jeb Bush to skip Iowa Straw Poll,” by The Des Moines Register’s Jennifer Jacobs: “The likely Republican presidential candidate will instead attend a competing event, the RedState Gathering in Atlanta, the day of the Iowa event, GOP sources in Iowa told The Des Moines Register on Tuesday. A spokesman for Bush confirmed the report.” http://dmreg.co/1bO95pm

MARCO’S RIGHTWARD TILT – “Marco Rubio Shifts Rightward on Foreign Policy,” by Time’s Phil Elliott: “Moderate-sounding views go by the wayside as Rubio shifts rightward to curry favor with GOP base.” http://ti.me/1cPtAU5

MARCO’S ALMOST MOST-CONSERVATIVE -- American Conservative Union ratings: Ted Cruz edges Marco Rubio, Rand Paul,” by The Palm Beach Post’s George Bennett: http://pbpo.st/1e0Ek2b

MORE CONSERVATIVE THAN THOU -- “American Conservative Union rates DeSantis most conservative, Diaz-Balart least,” by The Tampa Bay Times’ Adam C. Smith: http://bit.ly/1zYj46U

WHY NOT FLORIDA? “Bob Menendez argues for trial to be in D.C.,” by POLITICO’s Seung Min Kim: “Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) is asking a judge to move his federal corruption trial out of New Jersey and into Washington, D.C., arguing that doing so would minimize disruption to his day job as senator and would also allow him to get a less-biased jury pool. The motion, filed Monday, outlines several reasons from Menendez’s legal team why they believe the trial should be in Washington: Most of the alleged incidents at issue did not occur in New Jersey, key witnesses and lawyers are located in the District, and Menendez spends most of his weekdays here when the Senate is in session.” http://politi.co/1PDP1Dk

NY CORRUPTION IN…. FL -- “Dean Skelos and a Senate closet full of skeletons: The corrupt and insular world of New York’s top Republicans,” by New York Daily News’ Wayne Barrett: “One other interesting tidbit from Funke’s State of the State response speech was his observation that New York had been ‘overtaken by Florida as the nation’s third most populous state,’ a stat he turned into a call to action. Funke is so new to the Senate he may not have realized how many of his own Republican colleagues had bought homes in Florida, especially in the 45-mile southwest corridor between Fort Myers and Naples, where they reportedly hang out in gated golf-course communities and do Senate business. Lobbyists have figured it out and bought homes there as well, including the three alluded to in the complaint against Skelos.

“It's just another crack of light into the Senate silo. The leaders at the top of the Senate organizational chart — Skelos, deputy majority leader Tom Libous, Finance chair John DeFrancisco, Majority Whip Michael Nozzolio, Banking Chair Hugh Farley and Corporations, Authorities and Commission chair Michael Ranzenhofer — have Florida homes. So does George Maziarz, the energy and telecommunications chair who did not seek re-election in 2014.” http://nydn.us/1H7idAA

GRAYSON IS FLORIDA MAN -- “Meet the Democrat who national Democrats really don’t want to run for Senate,” by the Washington Post’s Hunter Schwarz: “Know all of those strange stories that come out of Florida? One member of the Florida delegation does, because he’s often been the protagonist. And he just might run for Senate now ... The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has already chosen to endorse someone other than Grayson for the race, Rep. Patrick Murphy, but he isn't backing down … is campaign Web site’s URL is congressmanwithguts.com, and it liberally uses ALL CAPS, which gives you a sense of what a possible Grayson for Senate campaign would be like.” http://wapo.st/1AVsHhU

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