Editor’s Note – It’s officially an ’emergency’ now! The White House has dispatched a ‘Rescue Team’ to the Florida Gulf Coast.
Are they coming to Florida to rescue the residents of the region who’ve been devastated economically by this crisis? Perhaps, to rescue the wildlife that has been decimated by this environmental disaster?
Uhhh…no. The ‘team’ is coming to Florida to rescue Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election hopes.
Now that the impact of the Gulf Oil Spill is beginning to show up in the polls, this administration is quick to act. Too bad that they couldn’t have been this decisive from day one. Any further questions on what’s most important to this administration?
White House Sends 2012 Rescue Team To Florida
By Carole E. Lee
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The White House has quietly launched an effort to confront the political backlash along the Gulf Coast over its handling of the BP oil spill — giving special attention to Florida, the only state in the region President Barack Obama won in 2008 and one he will need again when he runs for reelection in 2012.
The White House dispatched political and communications aides to the Gulf Coast states on July 12, with Alabama and Mississippi receiving one each, sources familiar with the effort said. Some aides went to Louisiana, while Florida received four.
That battleground state will be a heavy lift. In interviews conducted along the coast, Florida Democrats accused the administration of largely ignoring their calls and letters and complained of a White House that’s out of touch.
Alex Sink, Florida’s chief financial officer and the state’s presumptive Democratic gubernatorial nominee, even characterized Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to the state as “a screw-up,” saying she was “embarrassed” by his speech.
It’s the type of criticism the White House wants to avoid. The administration aides in Florida function similarly to a campaign. They do rapid response and media coordination, and they report back to senior aides in the West Wing in nearly real time about what they’re hearing on the ground.
The effort came about after the White House grew concerned over political damage from not having a permanent presence in the Gulf Coast states.
The political stakes are clear. Obama’s approval rating in Florida is around 40 percent. His numbers in red states that he picked up during the election, such as Virginia and North Carolina, make his 2008 campaign’s 50-state strategy look increasingly implausible for 2012, elevating the importance of Florida.
Dan Gelber, a state senator from Miami and Democratic candidate for attorney general, described the oil spill as a “cancer” that will linger into 2012. “The impact of this is not going away,” he said.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0710/40184.html
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