Frank Torres, Orlando Freelance Reporter

Archive for January, 2011|Monthly archive page

Your State of the Union Recap

In Uncategorized on January 26, 2011 at 4:35 pm

It was a solid speech that had a lot for both sides to like but, the question is if the President is really serious about pursuing the goals pointed out in last night’s State of the Union address.

– Fixing healthcare (although not starting over)

– A spending freeze.

– Increasing energy indepenence.

– Improving and making American education more competitive.

– Bringing our soldiers home.

It all sounds great and it was nice seeing our lawmakers playing nice and sitting together but one analyst said it best last night on one of the national telecasts “It’s not if we sit together tonight, but if we stand together tomorrow”, that’s a fine thought but we all know better.

I think we all know that the President’s re-election campaign basically started last night. This pledge of bi-partisanship and riding this wave of leadership momentum following a national tragedy was absolutely necessary if he is serious about getting elected. He did that last night. The competitors were watching last night, oh yes they were and if he can’t deliver, your Gingrich’s, Romey’s, and Palin’s will let the voters know. It was a moderate speech catered to the moderate voters that determine Presidential elections.

Ok, now some random thoughts from last night’s State of the Union Address:

“In Fantasy world President Obama would pull a Mark Sanchez on one of these Lawmakers” Video Here

Obama shakes Hilary Clinton’s hand “Hey are you coming after me again?

Hey Shinseki! Where is my check! – Me to the television last night while VA Secretary Eric Shinseki was onscreen.

John Boehner almost pulled the President over the podium trying to establish dominance on that handshake.

Standing ovation for Gabrielle Giffords, there is a buzz on the net that she is watching the speech.

“Hey its Stuart Smalley”- After I spotted Minnesota Senator Al Franken in the audience.

Senator Al Franken will always be Stuart Smalley to me.

“Hey John McCain and John Kerry are sitting together” How do they not talk about losing Presidential races.

“That pat down joke was pretty funny, a lot funnier than actually receiving one I suppose”

“Fame is not a function of PR?! I suppose. Fame is the result of PR!”

Tweet of the night by the ESPN’s Adam Schefter “The Lions haven’t won a science fair either” in response to President Obama’s “We should be cheering science fair winners, not just Superbowl winners’ Comment.

It does make more sense to cheer science fair winners, instead of these Lions

“I can’t access my medical records with the click of a mouse, Mr. President”- in response to the President touting VA records.

Joe Lieberman is not clapping for the Veterans.

10:09- John Boehner starts crying…again, and all was right with the world.

The Republican Response: You guys know how I felt about Paul Ryan giving this speech instead of Marco Rubio. I mentioned it, in yesterday’s post. Ryan actually did a pretty fine job. He hit all of his talking points well and his position on the budget committee gave him the cred that voters would be looking for after an “economic heavy” SOTU. I thought the speech could have ended stronger. He was here one second and gone the next.

Michelle Bachmann’s Tea Party Response: Bachmann’s response wasn’t as brutal as I thought it would be. She led off with the statement that she wasn’t competing with the Republican response and did something I’ve been suggesting the Tea Party has had to do for months.

She responded with numbers and facts, not just anger.

There was some number stretching and the time lines might have been off a bit, but I think there was a lot more substance than most expected. This is the lady that the Tea Party needs to look to for leadership, not Sarah Palin.

Selling books and celebrity impersonations shouldn’t decide leadership, pushing ideas and policy should.

Just next time Michelle darling, look at the right camera! This is what people are talking about this morning, not what you had to say.

In conclusion it was a very long night. This speech paired with tornadoes gave Central Floridians a lot to keep up with. I’ll see you tomorrow.

Your State of the Union Address Preview

In Uncategorized on January 25, 2011 at 5:31 pm

This is shaping up to be quite the State of the Union Address…

As the country continues to heal from a national tragedy, it appears that both political parties are prepared to listen and that there might actually be a precious and rare couple of minutes where the political defense instincts for both parties will be down, before they leap forward to offer a rebuttal and start attacking each other again.

Which is why it is so, important for the President to get it right tonight. Technically, he is already running for re-election.

Unity, Greatness, and Growth were previewed as the theme for tonight’s speech. It sounds good, I mean who wouldn’t be behind those things for the benefit of the greatest country in the world.

Unity- For Republicans and Democrats to work together and get America out of this recession. To put aside partisan rhetoric and work on policy that will move things forward and create a better future for our children.

Greatness- Because, we’re the shining light of freedom and prosperity for the rest of the world and we have to keep it that way. America….Mom, apple pie, riding the bull. We lead the way.

Let's see China stay on for 8 seconds.

Growth- To well grow…by putting new projects in place that will require…taxes? Spending? Hold the phone!….no, no. In tackling the one subject that could damage this delicate alliance, the President has mentioned that he wants to re-allocate funds, and not increase spending or raise taxes. I would hope that he handles this issue with the utmost care.

Paul Ryan, not Marco Rubio delivering Republican response: Well, this is a political blog in Florida.  I can’t say I’m happy about this decision, Ryan is a good choice but not a great one. Rubio is coming off of one of the biggest success stories from last year’s election, he’s was just on the cover of Time magazine a couple of weeks back and he carries Florida…not Wisconsin. If not Rubio, then how about another rising star that could potentially be a major player in 2012? Instead we get Ryan and let’s hope he doesn’t blow it.

I’m also pretty sure that being from Wisconsin, he’s a Packers fan and don’t even get me started on that.

The Packers beat the Bears last weekend, but they did it against our 3rd string guy..

Michelle Bachmann will also be airing a Tea Party response and let’s hope that she will not take this opportunity to criticize these efforts at bi-partisanship.

Florida lawmakers sitting together:

In a demonstration of unity, there will be Republicans and Democrats sitting together during the SOTU. This means there won’t be the typical one side up, one side down…reaction to key talking points. It’s a great idea here are some of the pairings from Florida’s lawmakers.

Senators Marco Rubio (R) and Bill Nelson (D)- These two have already been talking about collaboration for the benefit of Floridians.

Congressman Tom Rooney (R) and Ted Deutch- from Tequesta and Boca respectively.

Congresswomen Fredrica Wilson (D) and Sandy Adams (R)- Good to see my representative,.. well representin’

Congresswoman Debbie Wassermann-Schultz (D) and Congressman Dan Webster (R) – First Alan Grayson and now Wassermann-Schultz? Webster has an understanding and tolerance that many politicians can’t begin to comprehend.

I applaud all of these lawmakers (Yes, even you Wassermann-Schultz). I sincerely hope that this is the beginning and not a “One Night Only Show”. Let’s come together and do some good for this country

I’ll be back tomorrow with a wrap-up

Rick Scott’s Twitter Town Hall Experience

In Uncategorized on January 21, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Happy Friday everyone! I know you guys can’t wait for the clock to strike 5 o’clock (2:30 for some of you guys that work downtown) so, you can hit happy hour or head home for time with the family.

Last night, Florida Governor Rick Scott held a Twitter town hall meeting.  For those that don’t know what Twitter is, it’s a micro-blog site that could best be described as Facebook after about 6 Red Bulls. There isn’t as much depth or info on a user as Facebook but you can still deliver updates and links to funny videos, stories, and pictures. Information comes at you at about 10 times the speed of Facebook, almost like a group chat.

It’s also one the most powerful social media tools out there.

Governor Scott walked on fairly new ground yesterday holding a town hall meeting to answer questions from Floridians and I gotta tell you, I wasn’t that impressed.

We had Rick Scott impostors, soft questions, insults, and slow responses. I could best compare it to Governor Scott walking on to center court at the Amway Center and having thousands, shout questions at him at one time.

On top of that we only had 30 minutes which is too short, when your fielding question on this platform.

Rick Scott re-wrote the rulebook for running for office in Florida, and once again we had to pull information from him, on his terms and conditions. In an in-evasive environment, while he chose the questions he wanted to answer.

It was a cool thing to try but I think Governor Scott will realize what a lot of PR Pros already know.  Social Media is meant to augment mainstream media, not replace it. Your not reaching nearly as many voters (only 6% of adults, use Twitter) and we still aren’t hearing answers to the questions we have.

On a separate note, The Mighty Bears from Chicago will face their hated Rivals the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship on Sunday and if they win, I’m going to be football crazy during the two weeks leading up to the Superbowl.

Bear Down!


Go Bears!

The Real Reasons behind the vote to Repeal Health Care and Grading Parents.

In Uncategorized on January 20, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Flying towards the weekend and the Bears vs. Packers (GO Bears!). There is some important business to discuss and let’s not waste anymore time.

The House Votes to Repeal Healthcare: In what was mostly political theater, the vote to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care plan passed yesterday in the House of Representatives.

The vote passed 245 to 189 mostly along party lines and now heads to the Senate where Senate Leader Majority Leader Harry Reid will have to walk around it everyday, like a giant paper elephant. There will be pressure and attempts to bring it to a vote, but it’s probably not going to happen. Some people might wonder why even bother. I’ll tell you why.

It’s another talking point for 2012.

This was an opportunity for recently elected members of the house to keep a campaign promise to the voters of their districts and at the same time give another chance to House Democrats that might have squeaked by last November, a chance to regain some votes from right of the center. Three of them took the opportunity and the rest will have to answer to the voters if things don’t get better. I wonder how many defeated Democrats, if they had to do it all over would have voted “no” the first time.

Grading parents is a terrible idea: State Rep Kelli Stargel wants to grade parents and it’s a horrible idea that will hurt teachers more than parents. Sure, teachers may think that this gets them off the hook, after all it’s a team effort right?  To make sure students are successful in school, but this isn’t the endgame in the this very clever political and public relations power play.

Everyone is sensitive about criticism but some of the parents I know can fly right off the handle if you start telling them, what kind of job they’re doing raising their kids. They can go on the instant conversational defensive at the slightest hint you think they’re a bad parent.

Just wait until you give them a grade for it.

This will hurt the already virtually  non-existent parent/teacher relationship in Florida. Teachers will lose any support they had left in opposing teacher-merit pay and this time there won’t be a Senate seeking Governor to bail them out.

This is how the game is played, let’s just hope are teachers are politically educated enough themselves to see where this is going.

Teachers would do well to pass on grading parents

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer to run for Re-election in 2012

In Uncategorized on January 19, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Yesterday, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer announced that he would be seeking re-election in 2012.

Why not? It’s a great gig and Orlando is an exceptional city, I can’t see anyone turning down the opportunity lead it.

I don’t mention Buddy Dyer a lot on this blog and if I do it’s mostly because he is an important endorsement touted by other candidates or the city has done something silly, like not anchor it’s Christmas tree properly, but as far as hard policy, I just don’t have much to write about him. That is not to say that there are still a lot of problems with Orlando.

I jog around Orlando all of the time and drive through it on my commute and the one thing that immediately sticks out is the homeless problem and despite the efforts of dedicated volunteers it has not improved. I’m sure you’ve seen them, begging for change underneath I-4 and cocooned on benches around Lake Eola. The city hasn’t done enough to fix the problem and get these people back on their feet. The small scar on the face of the “City Beautiful”.

$500,000 to promote the finest sports arena in America? That’s what the city did under Buddy Dyer’s leadership. I’m sure you’ve heard about this on the evening news. We have to make better decisions on how we spend our money and that financial blunder fell on Mayor Dyer. The Amway center is one of the very few projects that work on a “if you build it, they will come” basis.

We still don’t do enough to support law enforcement in this city. We keep trimming programs that protect citizens and I fully understand that hard economic times force these cuts. However, our officers are facing criminals that are more violent and reckless than ever and we need to give them all of the resources possible to keep our citizens and themselves safe, while performing their very dangerous duties.

There you have it. 3 big holes in the Dyer administration and they didn’t require much time to identify them.

We’ll see, obviously its very early and we don’t know who else is going to run. I would hope that any future opponents would have effective solutions to the problems I’ve listed, as well as some other ideas to not only keep Orlando great, but to make it better.

Orlando is good, but it can be better..

A New Attitude in Washington? We’ll see…

In Uncategorized on January 17, 2011 at 4:23 pm

It’s good to be back. I’ve had the chance to work on some really great projects over the last couple of days and finally have some time to put together a post.

Well last week brought up an emotional memorial service for the victims of the tragic shootings in Tuscon, Sarah Palin’s communications team setting her up for failure and a promise for a new start in Washington. I’ll hit up each of these topics in order.

President Obama’s Tuscon Memorial Speech:I thought it was terrific. The President has never had a problem holding a room, he’s a great speaker. I think the key issue involved with the critics of his speech was the cheers from the crowd at a memorial. Yeah, it was odd, but events like those take on the personality of the crowd and the energy they give out. Obama could have selected a more somber message, but the country needed strength from it’s leader, and that’s what they got.

The crowd reaction was uncomfortable, but the President's speech was on point

Palin’s people let her down:The public often has to be reminded that politicians and celebrities seldom write their own stuff. They depend on communication and public relations professionals to write speeches for them. Rule #1 when writing speeches and statements if you don’t know what something means, then don’t use it!Wow! what a goof. Now, a lot of my colleagues were buzzing on the web that the speech was indeed the right call. If she wants to be President, then she needs to act like one. The Video addressing the cross-hairs on Representative Gabrielle Gifford’s districts was necessary. We all know those cross-hairs had nothing to do with the violence of a mentally deranged killer. That being said, what a clumsy and ridiculous error by Sarah Palin’s team.

Sarah Palin needs to fire her team, hire a new team and the first order of business by her new team is a press release on how she fired the old team.

Palin's team let her down on what could have been an effective message

A word of caution to all of you public speakers. A combination of sharp and violent words are often very potent to keeping your audience interested, just make sure you Google that combination first.

A New Attitude in Washington: The terrible shooting in Tuscon has some, on both sides of the aisle promising a new era of communicating in Washington.

That and a Chicago Cubs World Series Championship. (they haven’t won one in 103 years)

This is very encouraging, but with debates and votes over repealing health care, it doesn’t inspire much confidence. Some of the members of Congress are just hard-wired to dislike the opposite of party. They can’t control their negative attitudes towards their political opposites anymore than they can control breathing or swallowing.

I’m one of the biggest fans of bi-partisanship, I find that our country is at it’s strongest when we put people first and I want to believe our lawmakers, I really do. We are going to have to do more to make it permanent, then just sit together during the State of the Union address.

Don’t just tell us, show us….

Have a great week guys…

On Break….

In Uncategorized on January 11, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Business is on hold in Washington (security matters aside) due to the tragedy in Arizona. Pop culture references and jokes are hardly in order. I’m going to take the rest of the week off and work on some major projects both political and non-political that will be “Game Changers” in the public relations field here in Central Florida. Please continue to pray for the victims of the Arizona tragedy and I’ll see you back here next week.

I'll see you here next week...

My Thoughts and Prayers to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and to all of the victims and families of the Tuscon Tragedy.

In Uncategorized on January 10, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Due to the tragic events in Tuscon, Arizona this past weekend. I would ask that all of you take a moment to pray from Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, as well as for the other victims and their families.

This was an attack on all Americans. Republicans, Democrats, Independents and others. We must come together during these hard times and set political rhetoric aside. The dangerous side effect from these unspeakable attacks are often divisive and tend to provoke finger pointing and blame. These are poor attempts to make our country weaker.

I know we’re better than that.

So, I ask that you take the time that you would normally use to read this blog and just say a short prayer for everyone in Tuscon. One of the most inspiring qualities of the American people, is our ability to rise up after tragedy. This country is so much stronger and resilient than the cowardly forces that move against us and time and time again, we defeat that evil and stand taller after every battle. I know this occasion won’t be any different.

Because after all, its the American way…

God Bless..

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

Dan Webster in the House, Boehner says Hawaii’s word is good enough for him and Jeb in 2016?

In Uncategorized on January 7, 2011 at 4:41 pm

A few odds and ends for Friday, lets get started..

Dan Webster in the house!Wut, Wut…..yeah, he would never say that. It was a proud moment for his supporters, when Congressman Webster presided over the House of Representatives on Thursday night. It’s true that the afternoon drive isn’t prime real estate in Washington, but hey, the guy has been there for less than a week. Good for him.

I'll give 100 dollars to the first Rep that Hi-Fives Dan Webster - My tweet from Thursday

“The state of Hawaii has said that President Obama was born there. That’s good enough for me” Speaker John Boehner: This was in response to a birther heckler’s outburst during the reading of the constitution. Seriously, guys let’s move on. I thought Boehner handled that question well, when NBC’s Brian Williams brought it up during an interview. There is too much to be done and when a key leader from the opposition let’s it by, then it shouldn’t be an issue.

Jeb in 2016?: Not in 2012….but maybe 2016? Never say Never, the former Governor of Florida said. Would eight be enough, for another Bush to run? I’ve said in the past, that if Jeb wants to run, the powers that be, will rally around him and he’ll run. 2012 might already be too crowded with Republicans that can’t wait to jump on a vulnerable incumbent. If the President get’s re-elected, the timing would be right for Jeb in 2016 (He’d be 63). I’m sure this won’t be the last time we here this.

Calm down guys, I'm just a guest here...

Have a great weekend guys.

The 112th Congress is sworn in and The Robert Gibbs resignation Sideshow:

In Uncategorized on January 6, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Washington D.C was rocking and rolling yesterday with the 112th Congress going to work with a Republican led House of Representatives and Speaker of the House. Not to be outdone, there was an extra newsworthy event, as the most coveted public relations job in the world was abandoned.

“God Bless you Speaker Boehner” John Boehner is the new Speaker of the House”: Outgoing speaker Nancy Pelosi’s final statement was a reminder that while our people in Washington often bicker like children at the playground, we are all on the same team. Boehner accepted the gavel and acknowledged that everything in the house is “on loan from the American people”. He then began to tear up….again. My man Boehner, just can’t seem to stop crying! Still, he has a plan and while reading the constitution today is more PR than anything (if your serving in Washington and don’t know it, then send me an E-mail. I would love to know how you pulled that off) he is promising to cut the house budget, have a mandatory references to the constitution with all legislation and yes, start over with health care. If you’re Republican this is music to your ears, if your a Democrat well, I feel for you, but get to the polls next time.

I’m also very exited about Senator Rubio, and Representatives Adams and Webster taking office yesterday. Congresswoman Adams is a great fit for her district and Congressman Webster’s ability to work peacefully with members of both parties bodes well for the 8th district. I also expect a fast start for Senator Rubio, this is only the beginning of what is going to be a great career in our nation’s capitol.

in other news….

Robert Gibbs offers counter-programming by resigning as White House Press Secretary: Do you want to know what is the most coveted Public Relations job in the world is? It’s White House Press Secretary. It’s like being a Quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys or starring in a movie with Al Pacino. It’s like being in the studio recording with Jay-Z. It’s pretty much it, in the field of Public Relations and so what do you do?

You abandon it, to upstage political rivals.

Now Robert Gibbs is not a rap star or Tony Romo ( I know it’s hard to believe) but he resigned yesterday as White House Press Secretary to take another position as a political adviser to President Obama. He is resigning to spend more time with his family (ah, the Urban Meyer method). As a colleague, I would like to wish him luck and may someone who really recognizes what that opportunity is, take his place.

Gibb’s brightest moment was when he had to “regulate” during a visit to India when security officials wouldn’t let a group of American journalist into a press conference with President Obama and India’s Prime Minister.

No, he's not Jay-Z or Tony Romo but until yesterday he had the hottest job in Public Relations

See you guys tomorrow