Florida Five: Obama panders to Fla. women, Country club cancels event in fear of Islam extremists

Five of today’s top Florida political stories at your fingertips:

Obama on the phone
Picture By Pete Souza/The White House

Obama dials Florida woman with Mother’s Day wishes – A Florida woman’s letter to the White House prompted a Mother’s Day greeting from President Barack Obama. Touched by Obama’s words in his State of the Union speech about his own mother, Patricia Church of Ormond Beach penned a note to the president. On Wednesday, while at her customer service job, she got a stunning call. “Hi,Patty? Hey, this is Barack Obama,” it began. “No way!” she replied. “Way!” the president responded. Read more

Country club under fire for canceling GOP event over ‘safety concerns’; ‘shameful cowardice’ – In the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Texas that left two jihadis dead, an event Gert Wilders keynoted, a South Florida country club is coming under fire on social media after canceling a GOP fundraiser event featuring the Dutch politician. Wilders, a harsh critic of Islam, had just finished speaking at the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest last Sunday in Garland, Texas, when two Muslim extremists were killed after opening fire on security outside the building. Read more

There’s a fierce battle brewing between political bloggers in a crucial 2016 swing state –In the beginning, there was Sayfie Review. For Floridians, the site started by Justin Sayfie in 2002 has long been the premier online destination for local political news. In fact, Sayfie’s brand has become so synonymous with Sunshine State political coverage that Twitter users regularly hashtag their discussions with his last name. In a 2009 interview with Esquire, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), a likely 2016 presidential candidate, described Sayfie Review as the only local outlet in his media diet. Read more

I-4 corridor Hispanics seen as road to political wins— There is former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, speaking fluent Spanish for Hispanic media and giving his Mexican-born wife, the formerly press-shy Columba, a key role at a major fundraiser. There is Florida Sen. Marco Rubio at an iconic Miami immigration center, lauding his Cuban parents. There is Texas Sen. Ted Cruz saying he has never seen a Hispanic panhandler. For 2016 presidential candidates both declared and undeclared, the courting of the Hispanic vote is underway. A look at a key census figure helps show why. Read more

Ideas emerge to bridge Florida’s legislative divide — Florida legislators may have ended their stalemate last week when they agreed to convene a three-week special session to resolve the budget crisis in June, but they didn’t agree on the hard part: how to resolve stark differences over health care. Some compromise ideas are emerging — from using $600 million intended for tax cuts to bail out hospitals that treat poor patients, to seeking a one-of-a-kind federal waiver, to drawing federal money without passing it through Medicaid. Read more

ICYMI: Meet Saturday Night Live’s Marco Rubio

For more Florida political news, visit BPR’s FLORIDA NEWS page

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