Florida getting love

It seems like just yesterday that Florida was being shunned by the national Democratic Party like someone with real bad hygiene problems.

No candidates. No political advertising. No delegates. Definitely no love.

Now, just months later, we have received a group hug from politicians everywhere, and whatever inferiority complex the state might have developed should quickly go away, with the realization that Florida is again being wooed on the national scene.

For proof, look no further than the recently-restored delegation's front row seats at the Democratic National Convention. Then look further.

U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Delray Beach, had a national spot at the convention podium Wednesday night, talking about Israel and the Middle East. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, was picked by the Barack Obama campaign to help with the party's daily webcast from the convention, and gave a seconding speech for Obama. Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Miami, introduced Bill Clinton.

There's more. Miami Mayor Manny Diaz had a podium spot, speaking about urban concerns.

And Florida won't be forgotten when the Republicans, who benefited mightily from the Democrats' ridiculous snub, meet starting tonight. On Thursday night, prior to John McCain's acceptance speech, Sen. Mel Martinez is scheduled to speak. And you know Gov. Charlie Crist is only a phone call away from McCain.

It's no secret why Florida is so popular. We are the biggest of the swing states, and, according to the latest polls, Florida's 27 electoral votes are pretty much up for grabs.

The bitter delegate battle dramatically highlighted the need for reform in the primary process. But for now, Florida matters big time, and the candidates are going to have to listen to our concerns as they court us in the next couple of months.

BOTTOM LINE: State's value re-affirmed.

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