Traditional GOP blocs question Bush in Fla.

By Geraldine Sealey
Published October 4, 2004 1:32PM (EDT)

Two newspaper articles, two historically-reliable Republican voting blocs Bush is having trouble with in Florida:

From the Los Angeles Times:

"On Sunday night, a surprising new ethnic thread wove itself into Florida's ever-complicated political fabric: the frustrated Arab American. Business owners, physicians, lawyers and others -- furious over the Bush administration's post-Sept. 11 policies that many believe unfairly target Muslims and Arab Americans in the government's quest to root out terrorists -- huddled in a hotel ballroom across the street from Disney World to demonstrate how much they wanted a change in the White House. The meeting, intended to be a bipartisan affair sponsored by the Washington-based Arab American Institute, turned into a cheering session for Democratic nominee Sen. John F. Kerry -- illustrating a dramatic shift in a traditionally Republican group 'I thought Bush was another Ronald Reagan on a small scale for what he believed in,' said Ashley Ansara, president of a clinical research company in Orlando. 'I found out he's no Reagan. Not even close.' He said this would be the first presidential election since he moved to the U.S. in 1973 that he wouldn't be voting Republican."

And from the Sun-Sentinel, the state of the Cuban-American vote:

"Although President Bush is expected to win the majority of South Florida's Cuban-American vote, many Cuban-Americans have increasingly criticized his administration. That could be a problem for Bush, who by some estimates won about 80 percent of the Cuban vote in 2000. Any erosion of that support could be significant, since the 2000 presidential election was decided by just 537 votes."

"The turning point for Pezon, who met his wife about three years ago in Cuba and married her last year, was the recent policy that restricts Cuban-Americans to one family visit every three years. Before the change, Cubans could go once a year without a Treasury license, and each year Pezon received permission for additional visits. Because he thinks the Bush administration's policy is too harsh, Pezon is pinning his hopes on Kerry's promises to allow 'principled travel' to the island. 'If your mom is in Cuba and she's dying of some illness, you can't go,' Pezon said. 'Suppose your wife was having a child, you can't go. Life's not black and white, but the law now is like that.'"

Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at

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