Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Obama's Cuban-American Vatican rep: a small thing, but maybe an important one
Tucked into the Huffpo story today about President Obama's new ambassador hires is this one:

The White House also announced it plans to nominate Miguel H. Diaz, an associate professor of theology at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University in Collegeville, Minn., for the top job at the Vatican.

A Roman Catholic theologian, the Cuban-American advised Barack Obama's presidential campaign. He also was among 26 Catholics who signed a statement supporting the nomination of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, a Catholic whose support for abortion rights was criticized by conservative Catholics.

Obama built up a small but solid base of Cuban-American support in Florida last year by announcing he'd ease travel restrictions to Havana, which helped him win this state; and the latest Bendixen poll suggests he enjoys a 67 percent approval rating among Cuban-Americans. Don't think the SoFla community won't notice that a Cuban-American has been picked to represent the U.S. in Rome.

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posted by JReid @ 12:14 AM  
Monday, August 04, 2008
McCain's Cuba libre
Could this be John McCain's first Florida whoopsie?
high-ranking campaign staffer for John McCain lobbied for years on behalf of a major corporation in favor of repealing economic sanctions against Cuba, a position that is directly at odds with McCain's position, according to lobbyist disclosure forms.

The staffer, John Green, who has held the key post of chief campaign liaison to members of Congress since early March, lobbied members of Congress extensively on behalf of French alcohol company Pernod Ricard, in their efforts to get sanctions weakened or repealed. In the process, according to the disclosure forms, he also did extensive work with members of Congress who favor repealing the Cuba embargo entirely, a position that is also strongly opposed by McCain.

... McCain has argued in favor of keeping all sanctions against Cuba in place until they undertake various democratic reforms. What's more, he has aggressively attacked Obama for not taking as hard a line on Cuba. Obama argues in favor of easing travel restrictions with the country, something McCain says would "send the worst possible signal" to Cuba's leaders by unilaterally dropping travel restrictions.

McCain's employment of a lobbyist who pushed for the lifting of Cuba sanctions could also prove to be a controversial issue in the critical swing state of Florida, where many in the large Cuban exile community favor a hard line against Cuba.

Much of Green's lobbying, which he did for a firm called Ogilvy Government Relations, has involved pushing for a proposed bill -- never passed -- that would repeal a 1998 U.S. law that disregards Cuban trademarks. Hard-liners on Cuba, McCain included, bitterly oppose repealing that law, because doing so would essentially recognize the legitimacy of Cuba's seizure of private property and businesses from way back when Fidel Castro first came to power. ...

Let's see if this one hits the streets in Miami...


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posted by JReid @ 3:01 PM  
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
The Misadventures of George W. McCain. This episode: El oso de pander en Miami
I wonder if he brought his many lobbyist friends with him...

John McCain is in Miami today, giving a speech right now that panders in the most blatant fashion to Cuban-Americans who remain obsessed with Fidel Castro. McCain went after Barack Obama for supposedly calling for unconditional meetings with Raul Castro, and he pledged to keep the embargo going if he becomes president. What's remarkable is how determined McCain appears to be to cleave to George W. Bush's hardline policies, and I suspect that his audience probably shares his age demographic. (Note to McCain, younger Cuban-Americans favor easing the embargo, particularly as regards remittances and family visitation.)

McCain did some chearleading for the failed free trade agreement with Colombia, which can't help him out with economically struggling middle class voters, who despise free trade. He did throw a bone to Hispanic voters who aren't Cuban, accusing the U.S. (and by implication, the Bush administration,) of "treating Latin America like a little brother, rather than an equal." As president, he would change that, I take it, while extending the kind of free trade that has driven America's industrial basin into a ditch.

And McCain has driven himself right into the middle of very complex Cuban-American politics in Miami, and in Florida, where the Cuban stranglehold on U.S. policy isn't exactly popular outside the Miami city limits. Meanwhile, where will South Florida's Democratic congresspeople be hiding today, since two of the most prominent, Kendrick Meek and Debbie Wasserman Shultz, have refused to campaign for the three Democrats who hope to replace the Cuba-fanatic trio of Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and the Diaz-Balart brothers, whose family grudge with the Castro brothers has helped to grind U.S. policy in the region to a halt. Do they ... the Dems, I mean ... endorse McCain on this one?


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posted by JReid @ 11:34 AM  
ReidBlog: The Obama Interview
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