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Poll: Bush still popular as he leaves

Published December 21, 2006


Gov. Jeb Bush leaves office next month with most Floridians thinking he has done a good job and that Charlie Crist will be as good or better, a poll shows.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents to a Dec. 12-18 survey of voters by Quinnipiac University (Conn.) Polling Institute rated Bush as a great or good governor.

Peter Brown, assistant poll director, said that's pretty remarkable. Bush's eight years in office have been marked by several controversies: the increased importance given standardized tests in public schools; the 2000 presidential recount; skyrocketing property insurance rates and taxes; and his intervention in the Terri Schiavo right-to-die case.

"He's still very popular ... after making a lot of decisions, many of which have made significant groups in this state unhappy," Brown said.

Fifty-three percent of those polled thought Crist will be as good as his fellow Republican in the governor's office - better, in fact, said 21 percent.

"Wow," Crist said when told that Wednesday. "It's a tough act to follow, to say the least."


Continue Cuban trade embargo, officials say

With Fidel Castro's health waning, Gov. Jeb Bush, Gov.-elect Charlie Crist and other federal and state officials reaffirmed their support of the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba in hopes it will lead to the communist government's downfall after he dies.

"The hour is upon us, and the time is now," Republican Sen. Mel Martinez told supporters of the U.S.-Cuba Democracy political action committee at the group's annual luncheon Wednesday. Martinez was born in Cuba, but his family sent him to Florida four decades ago when he was 15.

Visiting Florida after forming a presidential exploratory committee, Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., also voiced support for the embargo. "Trading with Castro is not the way to bring about democratic change in Cuba," he said.

Critics of the embargo, imposed by the Kennedy administration in 1963, say it hasn't worked because Castro remains in power, and hurts average Cubans more than Castro.


City official sentenced to prison for bribery

An Orlando city commissioner suspended since March was sentenced Wednesday to 31/2 years in prison for bribery.

A jury found Ernest Page, 64, guilty in September of bribery and receiving unlawful compensation for an official action. Prosecutors said he threatened to use his authority to kill a condo conversion project unless developers included his own community development group in the deal.


Remains of officer found after 37 years

The remains of an Army captain missing nearly 37 years have been found in South Vietnam, his family in Titusville learned.

A helicopter carrying Capt. Herbert Charles Crosby and two other servicemen went down in bad weather in January 1970. Their remains were identified through DNA testing, the Defense Department reported.


[Last modified December 21, 2006, 00:05:32]

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