I've occasionally lamented here how Polk County, with it's nearly half a million residents and important location in the centre of the I-4 Corridor midway between Tampa and Orlando, is often overlooked in favour of our larger neighbours While coverage from the Tampa/St. Petersburg media has improved in the past couple of years, often the only times you hear of anything considered newsworthy here is when something tragic happens.
The presidential campaign has truly come to Polk County now...at least one of them.
President Bush will be paying his second visit of the campaign season to Polk on Saturday. He visited a citrus grove near Lake Wales while viewing hurricane damage after Jeanne in August. And last week Vice President Cheney made a brief stopover at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport while on a swing through Florida. The time and place is still not determined due to security, as standard operating procedure for this campaign required tickets obtained through the local Republican campaign offices for entry.
--- Sinclair Broadcast Group is feeling the pressure! They are now backing off their intent to broadcast the entire anti-Kerry documentary "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal" in prime time on their 63 stations nationwide, saying now they will air portions of the film along with footage from other documentaries as part of a program entitled "A POW Story: Politics, Pressure, and the Media" anchored by Baltimore Sinclair news anchor Jeff Barnd. Regardless, the broadcast promises to be another smear job on Kerry less than two weeks before the election, pushing Sinclair's conservative agenda and is simply another way they can use the public airwaves to help the Bush/Cheney campaign. The press release from Sinclair's CEO shows clearly that the pressure has been felt.
--- And the dirty tricks continue: Students at the University of Central Florida and two community colleges are claiming a middle aged couple approached them to fill out a form with personal information under the guise of an abortion rights petition. Seems they were contacted by the Supervisor of Elections office noting that their party affiliation had been changed from Democrat to Republican. The Orlando Sentinel looks at several cases of possible/probable fraud statewide.
Time to be on the phones all day, and most of the evening: Collecting past due telephone charges for my paying work, then phone banking for the Florida Democratic Party and Kerry/Edwards this evening to encourage early voting!