Frank Torres, Orlando Freelance Reporter

Archive for August, 2012|Monthly archive page

Orlando Sentinel: A disciplined clash of ideas from Webster, Demings

In Uncategorized on August 31, 2012 at 5:06 pm

It’s a privilege to do analysis for the Newspaper I’ve been reading since the 2nd grade. Here is a Demings vs. Webster Sentinel Article breaking down the race.

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

“What you have is two well-liked figures … squaring off in a district that — with the president on the ballot — really is going to be a close, tossup race going into November,” said Frank Torres, an Orlando political analyst and Republican strategist.

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

Demings and Webster are both well liked but only one will win in November

RNC Review Part III: Romney accepts, Marco impresses, Eastwood with the Good, the bad, and the ugly

In Uncategorized on August 31, 2012 at 4:30 pm

For a convention that stared down a tropical storm and was cut a day short, Republicans can fly away from Tampa feeling pretty good.

They can feel good knowing that on the final night the RNC, the past, present, and future of the GOP is strong and last night was a strong demonstration of that strength.

You had the Ronald Reagan videos, and retrospective by Newt Gingrich that illustrated past success in American government by exercising conservative values. You had the present with Mitt Romney stepping up and accepting the party’s nomination and reminding the American people that they deserve better, and shouldn’t settle. You also saw the bright future of the party with Florida Senator Marco Rubio shining on the national stage. Let’s break down the final night.

Jeb promotes education, pushes back at Obama:

It was former Florida Governor Jeb Bush at his best. Bush used his time to promote education, an issue that’s always been close to his heart, even years after he’s been out of office. He cited eye-opening education numbers, that not only showed American losing ground on India and China but, there were positive numbers as well that demonstrated improvements in speciific areas of the country. He also issued a stern warning to the President to lay off of his brother. “You were dealt a bad hand” Jeb said and, went on to add that he hopes the President still isn’t dwelling on that hand, after his first full term in office.

Clint Eastwood gives us the Good, The Bad, and The Ugly:

The GOOD: The 82 year old Oscar winner did exactly what he had to. He kept voters from changing the channel to College Football on Thursday night primetime. He hit the right cord with the older audience and there were viewers who found him charming.

The BAD: Bad, bad gimmick. The empty chair conversation hasn’t played well over the last 24 hrs. You can understand he was trying to be clever but the angle missed the mark.

The UGLY: He looked rough. Not spaghetti western rough, but with his hair going in six different directions and looking lost at times, maybe that Reagan hologram wouldn’t have been so bad after all.

Marco Rubio 2016 or 2020?:

Rubio was charged with bringing the energy level back up after Eastwood/Chair thing for Romney. The introduction couldn’t have gone better and now the rest of the country will be asking when will Rubio’s time will come. From his personal family history to testifying at how great a President Romney would be for the country, Rubio did it all. If Ryan should falter at anytime on the campaign trail, the Florida Senator will give some party members buyer’s remorse.

Romney does enough:

Don’t get me wrong. Romney gave a fine speech but, he didn’t blow the roof off the place. He finally presented the human side of the Republican nominee. Up until now, we’ve had bios, articles, features, and even his wife Ann (who spoke beautifully) tell Mitt’s story but it wasn’t until we heard it from Mitt himself that it really provided that personal touch that voters wanted.

He also went after independents and opened the door for Obama defectors. He questioned the enthusiasm of the President’s voter base and rolled out a strong general election message. “We deserve better” went from his lips to the front page of USA Today this morning. He earned some votes with that speech last night and gave the party enough to feel good about it’s chances moving forward.

Convention Awards:

Best Speech: Ann Romney. She filled that cold, emotionless vibe around the campaign by, telling a great story about her family on Tuesday night. She was strong, warm, sincere, and perfectly at home on primetime national television. We’re still talking about her days later.

Runner Up: Condoleezza Rice. Not one negative talking point, or jab at the other side. A dignified message that presented the best of what Republicans had to offer for the future of the country. Is it too late to start printing Rubio/Rice bumper stickers?

Best Speech No one saw: Jeb. You read about it a couple of paragraphs ago. It’s a shame it wasn’t feature nationally but, those familiar with the former Governor knows he probably liked it that way.

Worst Speech: Pam Bondi and Barney Rubble. Even a couple of days later, I still feel terrible for Florida’s AG. It’s a great thing she’s a regular on cable television, it will help put this speech behind us.

Best Joke: Paul Ryan’s Ipod joke about Mitt. Not only did it give us a glance of the kind of dynamic these two have together but, it was funny and now the country knows about Ryan’s love of classic rock. Ryan also gets best dressed honors. I’m totally going to rip off that look he sported during his speech.

So, that’s it guys. Next week we’ve got the DNC and this blog we’ll be breaking that down as well. So, have a great weekend and…

Well done RNC. Well done Tampa.

Romney and Ryan will watch the DNC next week and then prepare for debates

Friday Morning Political Headlines: After RNC, Romney heads to Lakeland

In Uncategorized on August 31, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Just hours after he gave the speech of his life in Tampa last night, GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney heads down the interstate to Lakeland today, to meet with more of the country’s most important voters.

Last night left America with a lot to talk about. Clint Eastwood, Marco Rubio, Jeb, and Romney’s speech that ended the RNC and, gives us a few days rest before the President and his gang open shop in Charlotte for the Democratic National Convention.

They’ll be a full write up later today but these stories lead your Friday morning political headlines. Have a great Labor day weekend!

WESH 2: After RNC, Romney heads to Lakeland

WOFL Fox 35: (Video) FOX 35’s Mike Synan logs “A Day at the RNC”

Orlando Sentinel: America deserves better, Romney says, pledging jobs

WKMG Local 6: (Video) Jeb Bush, Rubio speak at RNC

WFTV 9 Eyewitness News: (Video) Romney officially accepts Republican nomination

CF News 13: Mitt Romney accepts GOP presidential nomination, focuses on adding jobs

Hours after giving the speech of his life, Romney is in Lakeland this morning

RNC Review Part II: Ryan, Rice and Martinez energize GOP audience in Tampa.

In Uncategorized on August 30, 2012 at 1:39 pm

If you didn’t know who Paul Ryan was before Wednesday night, you were in for an intense introduction.

The Vice-Presidential nominee and Wisconsin Congressman gave a rousing speech in front of an energized crowd last night in Tampa, by unleashing a calculated flurry of attacks at President Obama’s record. From the current economic crisis, to the lack of bi-partisanship, to the overall ability to lead, nothing was off of the table for Ryan.

“Without a change in leadership, why would the next four years be any different from the last four years?” Ryan said and just like he’s done many times before on capitol hill, he moved effortlessly from talking point to talking point. Medicare, Solyndra, the stimulus and as usual his delivery was first class.

He wasn’t on the attack all of the time. He joked about his taste of music compared to Mitt Romney’s (Rock to elevator music) and told the touching story of his single mother creating her business from nothing.

It was a good night for Paul Ryan and he accomplished what he had to do.

But, like Chris Christie, the featured speaker from the night before, he wasn’t the best of the night. That honor went to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who, delivered one of the best speeches of the convention by not going negative once. She spoke about the issues, and flexed her foreign policy smarts, then she switched gears and spoke about her childhood growing up in segregated Alabama, and her journey to Washington, there wasn’t an uninspired soul in the building.

Regardless of what happens in November, you’ll hear from Condoleezza rice again.

There was also the Governor of New Mexico Susana Martinez, who’s been criticized many times on this blog but, did a fine job driving the audience to the Paul Ryan speech on prime time national television. She didn’t change my mind on her Veep Potential but, a great night for her.

This next part hurts.

Who did Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi tick off, to get that weak placement with the Georgia AG. In a cramped speech with a partner that drew comparisons to Barney Rubble on Twitter, Bondi and Rubble trudged through an clumsy attack speech that should have been burned, reformed in a laboratory, and then burned again. My heart goes out to one of the rising political stars of Florida who, I’ve witnessed do better a dozen times. Here’s hoping better opportunities come forward for her.

Tonight, the RNC will close with Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and Mitt Romney. It’s going to be the platform the party jumps off, that will try to propel them to victory in November.

Ryan checked all of the boxes last night and still inspired the GOP faithful in Tampa

Thursday Morning Political Headlines: Jeb, Rubio, and Romney tonight at RNC

In Uncategorized on August 30, 2012 at 12:58 pm

A lot of great content for you today.

Last night had it’s share of highlights at the RNC in Tampa and there will be a full review shortly. The ceremony looks to close with a united Conservative front to move forward to election day.

Those charged with the task? A couple of hometown favorites and the party’s nominee.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush takes to the stage tonight. The man considered by many to be the one of the most sensible voices in the party, will try to focus and inspire what will be a capacity audience in the forum.

Then the rising star of the Republican party, Florida Senator Marco Rubio will introduce Mitt Romney and will aim to get the crowd fired up for the GOP nominee. It’s not going to be a difficult task. The gifted speaker might actually have to dial down his speech to give Romney some space to reach the enthusiasm ceiling.

It’s shaping out to be an exciting end to the festivities down the road.

That story and an interesting appointment made by State Attorney elect Jeff Ashton, lead your Thursday Morning Political Headlines.

WKMG Local 6: Double Play!

(Video) Ryan speech energizes convention crowd

Jeff Ashton appoints Linda Drane Burdick as assistant state attorney

WESH 2: (Video) Paul Ryan speaks at RNC, says GOP will be ‘responsible’

Orlando Sentinel: Ryan rouses GOP convention by trashing Obama on economy

WFTV 9 Eyewitness News: (Video) Jeff Ashton names Linda Drane Burdick as pick for chief assistant state attorney

WOFL FOX 35: (Video) Fla. Sen. Rubio preps for Thursday night speech at RNC

CF News 13: (Video) Paul Ryan makes his case for Mitt Romney

Rubio will introduced Mitt Romney on one of the biggest political stages in the world

RNC Review Part 1: The Rise of Ann Romney, Christie Impresses

In Uncategorized on August 29, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Aside from addressing those terrible comments about stay at home moms not working from a couple of months, Mitt Romney’s wife Ann, has stayed fairly quiet on the campaign trail.

All of that changed last night.

Ann Romney energized the GOP faithful in Tampa last night, by doing exactly what she had to. Telling the story of her family that the country was waiting to hear. A story of love, overcoming challenges, and the man who wants to be President, her husband Mitt.

Romney spoke about meeting her husband of 43 years at a high school dance, and told the story of how both sides of the family came from modest beginnings. She mentioned the buzz of “story book marriages” and asked the national audience what kind of story book marriages included a basement apartment, and 5 screaming kids, what kind of story book marriages included overcoming MS and surviving cancer.

This was the real story the country was waiting to hear. The human Mitt Romney that didn’t speak of such things on the stump or in front of cameras.

After taking the crowd to a very personal part of her life, it was time build them back up. She started talking up her husband like only a loving wife could, not with numbers, or political bullet points, but with only a personal promise from the person that knows him the most.

“I promise you, no one will work harder”

By the time she ended her speech to a standing ovation, and her husband’s on the spot decision to join her on stage, the night was already a victory.

Your turn Big Guy.

How the heck was New Jersey Governor Chris Christie suppose to top that? Well, he wasn’t suppose to but, he did take the dialog of the evening to another place, and like the Romney before him, he succeeded.

In a speech that was political strategy gold, the straight talking guv, told the audience “how it was”. He illustrated the President’s divide and conquer strategy. Turning the Hispanic community against each other with the immigration debate, elders against each other with “mediscare” tactics, and finally the female vote with the war on women. The keynote speaker not only inspired but educated, exactly what he had to do.

“Real leaders don’t follow polls, real leaders CHANGE polls!”

Expect that line to be repeated over and over.

Overshadowed were great speeches by Texas’s Ted Cruz who demonstrated why he’s the big show in the lone star state, Rick Santorum who finally gave Romney the nod after a long, contentious primary, and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley who, spoke and attacked with precision that I haven’t seen from her before.

Tonight we get Condoleezza Rice, Tim Pawlenty, Pam Bondi, and Veep Nominee Paul Ryan. It’s going to be a tough night to follow, last night was huge for Republicans in Tampa.

Could Ann Romney be the top speech from this convention?

Wednesday Morning Political Headlines: Paul Ryan, Pam Bondi speak tonight at the RNC

In Uncategorized on August 29, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Last night set the speech bar pretty high in Tampa.

What started out as a slower night really kicked into high gear when the marquis speakers walked behind the podium. Former candidate and Senator Rick Santorum, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, and Texas Senate candidate Ted Cruz all crushed their speeches with great personal stories and energizing messages to get the crowd going and excited for the main speakers.

Those headliners, Ann Romney, and Chris Christie are both receiving high marks this morning for their speeches. More on that later today.

Today, the conversation turns a little more academic. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Former candidate and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty take the stage. Then you’ve got Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi taking the stage in what could be a national coming out party for her. All setting up Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Congressman who will be taking his place as the Vice-Presidential candidate in what is promising to be a rocking night in Tampa.

These stories lead your Tuesday morning political headlines.

WESH 2: Double Play!

(Video) Republican National Convention Live

Orange Co. considers measure to block sick pay initiative

Orlando Sentinel: Mitt Romney gains GOP nomination, but his wife steals the night

WOFL FOX 35: Republicans nominate Mitt Romney for president

WFTV 9 Eyewitness News: (Video) Republican convention is in full-throated roar

WKMG Local 6: Romney officially clinches GOP nomination

CF News 13: Bondi, Rice and Ryan headliners at RNC today

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi takes the stage tonight in Tampa on the 2nd night of the RNC

Local Leaders must solve Fairbanks Curve Problem Sooner than Later

In Uncategorized on August 28, 2012 at 3:42 pm

No doubt, you’ve driven through it before. It might have been on the return trip from Daytona Beach, or business out in Seminole county, perhaps you drive it everyday on your I4 commute from Deltona to Downtown Orlando or the attractions.

The Fairbanks Curve. The most frequent location of catastrophic car crashes in the metropolitan Orlando area.

It looks harmless enough. You’ve just past the Lee rd. exit, probably catching glances of the Ferraris or Mini Coopers being sold to the right side of Interstate 4. Then, there is a slight incline your vehicle takes, and a deceptively sharp turn to make for the speed that’s allowed. It catches tourists and truckers off guard and since it’s the main break away from traffic in the Maitland and Altamonte Springs areas drivers are speeding to make up time. After the curve the interstate drops sharply again before it straightens out just before the approach to Princeton and Colonial.

You can’t take the Fairbanks Curve safely while going 70+ MPH in a clumsy and large vehicle, you definitely can’t take it if you’re a trucker in a semi or a tourist in a top-heavy SUV that hasn’t seen it before.

Our most recent reminder was the jack-knifed tractor trailer that blocked all lanes on I4 yesterday while commuters had to deal with feeder bands from Tropical Storm Issac. Semis are the worst. When they jack-knife, they block all 3 lanes and nothing is getting through for at least an hour.

An hour of blocked traffic during rush hour? On I4? Oh, yeah. We do it at least once a month because of the Fairbanks Curve.

Local leaders have to find a solution and it can’t wait.

No, it’s not an easy task. We’re talking about I4 here. You get enough moaning and groaning when work is being done at 3am on a Sunday morning. It’s the only way some Central Floridians know how to get around. You can’t exactly tear it down and start over.

The current solutions haven’t worked. A big sign? Reflectors on the walls? That’s not going to work. In fact the only real solutions are costly ones. A stationed police officer? Multiple fully lit, video signs? Toll Roads? A speed bump?

Silly solutions but the current conditions can’t continue. Not unless we want more accidents, and the risk of more fatal crashes.

It’s up to local leaders to find solutions to these problems. That’s what their elected for. Yes, there has been whispers of constructions to begin next year but precautions must be taken now. These crashes are occurring on a monthly basis. Everyone agrees that the problem is there.

They just have to do something about it.

This has become a monthly event on Interstate 4

Tuesday Morning Political Headlines: Ann Romney, Chris Christie Kick-Off RNC

In Uncategorized on August 28, 2012 at 1:26 pm

The Republican National Convention kicks off tonight with keynote speaker, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie taking the stage along with Ann Romney.

Officially, this is the second day of the RNC but organizers postponed the festivities yesterday to accommodate delegate travel and allow officials time to ensure all safety preparations were made with Tropical Storm Issac out in the gulf of Mexico, and heading towards Louisiana. Florida Governor Rick Scott, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal will be skipping the convention altogether.

Also speaking this evening will be former Romney rival Rick Santorum and House Speaker John Boehner.

This story leads your Tuesday Morning Political Headlines.

WFTV 9 Eyewitness News: Republicans ready to roll, but Isaac clouds tone

WESH 2: RNC gets under way today in Tampa

Orlando Sentinel: Long-Grayson contest is an apparent mismatch

WOFL Fox 35: Obama declares emergency in Louisiana

WKMG Local 6: (CNN) Trump urges GOP to be ‘mean as hell’

CF News 13: Late-night parties brings out VIPs at the RNC

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will be one of the big names speaking this evening

Monday Morning Political Headlines: RNC Kicks Off Tomorrow, Crist to speak at DNC

In Uncategorized on August 27, 2012 at 1:17 pm

As Issac blows by us and we trudge through the standing water on I4, we set our sights on the next two weeks and the conventions that will set the stage for November.

The RNC which was originally set to start today will be postponed one day for safety concerns stemming from the Tropical Storm Issac. Looking at the conditions here in Orlando and imagining how much worse they must be in Tampa, it appears to have been the right call. So, it will be a 3 day event, and speeches will be shortened, feelings will be hurt, but at the end of the week, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will still receive the Republican nomination.

Next week in Charlotte, the Democrats will rally their base. While, the speaker list isn’t as impressive as those speaking in Tampa, there is some strategy involved. President Obama will receive his party’s re-election nod in the swing state of North Carolina, and Democrats will try to make this election about “The War on Women” by lining up as many female speakers behind the podium as possible. One familiar face in Charlotte next week? Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist who endorsed President Obama yesterday.

Those two stories lead your Monday Morning Political Headlines.

WKMG Local 6: (Video) RNC reschedules, shuffles events due to Isaac

Orlando Sentinel: Dust-up in Tampa as ex-GOP governor backs Obama

WFTV 9 Eyewitness News: Jorge Estevez RNC Video Blog: More rain hits Tampa prior to RNC

WESH 2: Charlie Crist endorses Obama, will speak at DNC

WOFL Fox 35: RNC chairman: Obama has not kept promises

CF News 13: RNC kicks off with party at Tropicana Field

The Romney-Ryan Campaign will be looking for momentum after this weeks RNC