Our friend Mel Martinez is at it again. Take this news clipping that came out today in the St. Pete Times in Florida. In it, they talk about how Martinez has a pivotal vote in the CAFTA debate. The White House is leaning on him heavily to vote in favor of their trade agreement. However, U.S. Sugar (a major contributor of his 04 Senate campaign) is pushing him to vote against the bill. Their logic: Expected job loss for Florida sugar growers thanks to CAFTA is not a good thing.
Anyways, here's the little vignette that they won't tell you in the paper. A few weeks ago, El Senador, U.S. Sugar reps, and administration officials were at the White House trying to iron out their differences on the agreement. As you can expect, several hours of debate ensued and tempers got hot. Eventually, Martinez apparently stood up from the conference room table, signalled his two thumbs up and smiled while asking "So... we have a deal?"
Of course, everyone in the room was confused by the gesture and generally responded "No, we still have several issues to work out."
Martinez persisted, "Right... So, we have a deal." This time, extending his two thumbs up and smiling even wider.
The entire room, all still seated, sat silent and shook their heads no. Someone mentioned, "Senator, what are you talking about?"
Martinez smiled and exclaimed "Great!" and then walked out of the room with a few of his papers on CAFTA in hand. Some people followed him out of the room and realized that he was headed towards the oval office. This is where it gets interesting.
Appearently, someone witnessed Martinez asking the main receptionist for a moment with the President. However it worked out, the President walked out of the Oval with some understanding of what was going on.
Martinez, while handing some of his documents to Bush, exclaimed "Great to see you Mr. President. I'm happy to announce that we have a deal! Our issues with sugar are resolved and we are ready to support the agreement."
The President, who must have been briefed by someone who was in the room, responded "Martinez, what the f**k are you talking about? We have no deal. There are still issues to work on. You're ruining this whole f**king thing. You need to just shut the hell up. I'm going to ram this thing through Congress with or without Sugar. You need to just be quiet and shut the hell up!" He then slammed the papers on the desk outside his office and walked back into the Oval.
I haven't heard what happened next, but does it really matter? I know what you're saying... B.S. right? Well, believe me or not, but the source is pretty damn credible. They especially emphasize that Bush used the fowl language when ripping into Martinez. Obviously, it's not looking so optimistic for the President now if he has to depend on Martinez's vote on the trade agreement. But I thought the story was worth mentioning.