Politics & Government

Obama's man in Florida covering a lot of ground

Don't let Steve Schale fool you, just because he looks like the kid who won the spelling bee, in wire-rimmed glasses and rumpled khakis. Or because Tallahassee is the biggest city he's ever lived in. Or because he lists Eagle Scout on his resume.

Recently tapped to lead Democrat Barack Obama's presidential campaign in Florida, Schale may be the savviest Democratic operative in the state.

He helped his beleaguered party do something it hadn't done in more than 20 years: pick up a seat in the Florida House of Representatives. Under his steady hand, Democrats netted nine seats in the past two years.

Statewide, the latest polls show Obama with a slight edge over Republican John McCain, foreshadowing a knockdown, drag-out fight in the nation's largest battleground state. The Republican Party has already begun trying to undermine Obama among the state's Hispanic and Jewish voters, and it's easy to picture attack ads questioning his stated willingness to meet with hostile governments in Cuba and Iran.

Read the full story at miamiherald.com.