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Florida Leaders Evoke Reagan to Energize P5 Delegates

September 23, 2011 - 6:00pm

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam evoked memories of Ronald Reagan on Saturday as he and other state leaders energized Republican Party delegates for the days Presidency 5 straw poll and toward the 2012 elections.

After the next election it will be morning again in America and the restoration will begin anew, Putnam said at the Orange County Convention Center.

The phrase "Morning in America" was part of Reagans 1984 re-election campaign, and on Saturday Putnam also called up Reagans ideology of small and localized government.

In these dark times is an opportunity for what we talk about and what we believe in, Putnam added, that the government that is closest to the people is most responsive to the people and makes Washington less and less relevant with all its destruction.

Florida Sen. President Mike Haridopolos also drew upon the 40thpresident of the United States to inspire the audience.

As we move forward, let's pick that presidential candidate who will lift us up, who will inspire us again like Ronald Reagan did for so many of us, and say 'yes' to the American dream once again," Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos told the delegates from throughout Florida. I truly believe that Americas best days are still ahead.

Throughout the three-day event, which included a straw poll of candidates for the GOP nomination to challenge Democrat Bill Nelson for the U.S. Senate next year, elected officials and presidential candidates have made repeated references to another of Reagans favorite phrases: a shining city on a hill.

GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, a businessman participating in the Fox News/Google debate Thursday, said, Ronald Reagan was the one who said that we are a shining city on a hill. We've slid down the side of that hill. Americans want somebody who is going to lead them back to the top of that hill. That's how we turn this country around."

Reagan used the phrase drawn from Puritan John Winthrops 1630 sermon that cautioned the actions of those in the New World community of Massachusetts Bay would be watched by the world to highlight American exceptionalism.

Presidential candidates also on the straw ballot --former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum -- also drew upon Reagans words and philosophies during the debate.

Meanwhile, a life-sized cardboard cutout of Reagan has been on display throughout the three-day conference so attendees can pose for photos with the partys revered late president.

In addition to reflection on Reagan, speakers Saturday morning -- including Attorney GeneralPam Bondi, House Speaker Dean Cannon and Florida's Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater -- also focused on the need to replace President Barack Obama and what they called failed Democratic policies.

Haridopolos, during his comments, also turned into a positive the Democratic Partys attempt to create a negative about the GOPs federally elected lawmakers. Democrats havelabeled the GOP as the party of no forbeing united in opposition to many highly publicized Democratic federal efforts during the past three years.

Im glad our friends who went to Washington as Republicans became 'the party of no,' Haridopolos said. No new taxes, no expansion of Obamacare and no radical left-wing agenda.

Reach Jim Turner at or at (850) 727-0859.

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