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The Buzz: Florida politics 2004

GOP's holiday tidings fill filmmaker's inbox

By Times staff writers
Published December 19, 2004

THE SEASON FOR GLOATING: If you're a Republican wondering how to send holiday tidings to liberal filmmaker Michael Moore, a Miami Beach Web site, might be for you. Thousands of people already have visited to attach personal messages to an e-mail to Moore depicting a joyously dancing holiday elephant.

"We're shocked at the sheer volume of requests, but we've got our elves working on it day and night. It sure seems Michael Moore will have a bit of mail this holiday season," said Michael Caputo, a Republican consultant and co-founder of the site.

OSAMA BIN POINSETTIA: An attempt to spread a little holiday cheer earlier this week ended with a stern rebuke from state Capitol police.

On Tuesday, representatives from University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Services were scheduled to address the state Senate's Agriculture committee. They brought committee members eight brilliant red poinsettias. But post-9/11 security rules forbid outsiders from bringing objects inside, including flowers.

Police eventually relented, but Sen. Rod Smith, D-Alachua, had a little fun at their expense. "They're terrorist poinsettias," he joked. "I expect to see protesters here later today because of this. Free the Poinsettia Eight!"

THE PREDATORS PAC: You might remember during the presidential campaign when Republicans accused Florida Democrats of registering sexual predators to vote.

The party cited an investigation into sexual predators who registered to vote from the Florida Civil Commitment Center for sexual predators in Arcadia.

Turns out, this wasn't a novel Kerry campaign strategy.

Several sexual predators held in a treatment program under the Jimmy Ryce Act registered on their own after forming a political action committee. Some of them got registration forms from David Scheid, the resident behavioral investigator at the facility, who was also running for De Soto County sheriff.

Scheid, a Democrat, said he didn't know the patients were not allowed to vote. They filled out the forms on their own and mailed them in, he said. An assistant turned in some forms to the De Soto Supervisor of Elections office.

"The Democratic Party was not involved," said Scheid.

By the way, he lost his bid for sheriff.

UNCLE BOB: At the Washington Post they call U.S. Sen. Bob Graham "Uncle Bob," says veteran columnist David Broder.

During an appearance at the Capital Tiger Bay Club in Tallahassee last week, Broder was asked about Graham's lack of appeal to national voters after years of popularity in Florida.

Broder noted the "conflict of interest" he might have since he works at a paper owned by the retiring Democratic senator's family, but said Graham never put himself forward enough to gain Washington's respect.

Times staff writers Adam Smith, Lucy Morgan, Carrie Johnson and David Karp contributed to the Buzz.

[Last modified December 19, 2004, 00:15:16]

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