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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Huckabee enlists a persuasive backer
By ADAM C. SMITH, Times Political Editor
Published November 26, 2007
Skip Campbell has his eye on a return to the Florida Senate, and it's a seat held by a tough Republican.
Watch out, bad guys of Tampa Bay. Chuck Norris the actor and martial arts pro who is said to have two speeds, walk and kill - is planning to come to St. Petersburg this week to lend his support to Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee at the CNN/YouTube debate.
Former Arkansas Gov. Huckabee, taping a Political Connections interview that airs today on Bay News 9 at 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., told us to expect to see Norris, the inspiration of an infinite number of tough guy jokes, in the postdebate spin room.
It's been said that there is no theory of evolution, just a list of creatures Chuck Norris allows to live. Buzz put the burning question to Huckabee: Who's tougher, Norris or Hillary Clinton? "I was in Chuck's gym down at his home. He's pretty tough," Huckabee offered. "But, you know, just in a punching fight? Hillary would be pretty tough."
It'll be a cold day in January when ...
Another thing to be thankful for this holiday weekend: We finally know the presidential election schedule for January, now that New Hampshire's secretary of state has set its primary date and legal challenges have concluded in Michigan.
Jan. 3: Iowa Democratic and Republican caucuses.
Jan. 5: Wyoming GOP caucuses, which have received little attention from the candidates or media.
Jan. 8: New Hampshire primaries.
Jan. 15: Michigan primaries, where most of the Democrats won't even be on the ballot.
Jan. 19: Nevadacaucuses and South Carolina Republican primary.
Jan. 26: South Carolina Democratic primary.
Jan. 29: Florida Democratic and Republican primaries.
Buckhorn throws his support to Clinton
Former Tampa City Council member Bob Buckhorn, a savvy political strategist, fundraiser and former backer of Sen. Evan Bayh for president, is embracing Hillary Clinton. On Dec. 4 he's helping host a $250-per-person Clinton fundraiser at the home of Pat Frank. The headliner is Clinton campaign chairman and former Democratic national chairman Terry McAuliffe.
1,200 pay to voteat GOP rally
As goes Vinoy Park so goes the nation? More than 1,200 people have plunked down $20 to attend the "Have your say in Tampa Bay" straw poll and debate watch rally Wednesday in St. Petersburg. Organized by area GOP officials, the event will feature barbecue, a giant screen to watch the debate, and a chance for Tampa Bay Republicans to cast a vote that, while officially meaningless, could help signal the leanings of Republicans in Florida's biggest battleground region.
"No presidential campaign has gone and bought a block of tickets yet, but a couple of them are talking about it," said Neil Brickfield, an organizer.
He said the presidential hopefuls have been invited to address the crowd and buy $150 booths.
We don't count, except to candidates
The Democratic National Committee has stripped Florida of all its delegates to the nominating convention, so Democrats won't get any delegates out of the state's Jan. 29 primary, and Florida Republicans are slated to have half of their delegates stripped away.
Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani have said that if nominated they would restore the full Florida GOP delegation. Mike Huckabee declined: "I'm just trying to get the nomination at this point. Getting in a fight with the party and all its people is probably the last thing I need to do at this point."
Ex-state senatormay run again
Former Democratic state Sen. Walter "Skip" Campbell of Broward County, who lost last year's attorney general race to Bill McCollum, confirmed the Buzz that he's looking at returning to the Florida Senate by challenging Republican Jeff Atwater of North Palm Beach. Taking on the presumptive Senate president successor to Ken Pruitt would be no cakewalk.
"I can assure you some polling has been done that indicates it would be a very competitive race," said Campbell, who grew up in that district and owns a home there.
He won 53 percent of the district's vote during the attorney general's race. And fellow Democrat Alex Sink won 65 percent there in the race for state chief financial officer.
Rounding up those absentee ballots
One of the biggest priorities for Florida Democrats? Ramping up absentee ballot efforts. State Democratic chairwoman Karen Thurman emphasized the point in an e-mail after Democrats last week lost a state House special election in heavily Republican southwest Florida: "We absolutely must improve our absentee/vote-by-mail outreach. It is time-consuming work to convince people to vote by mail, but the payoff will be huge if we get serious about this as Democrats. The Republicans have hit a ceiling. We have room to grow," Thurman wrote.
Times political editor Adam C. Smith contributed to this week's Buzz.