Marco Rubio vs. Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Florida Gubernatorial Issues
Around the State
Republicans looking to keep Gov. Rick Scott in office in Florida and Democrats looking to throw him out of office turned to high-ranking political leaders from the Sunshine State on Tuesday as the attacks continue to fly in one of the nation’s premier races.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., took aim at an old foe on Tuesday: former Gov. Charlie Crist.
Crist joined the Democrats at the end of 2012 and is now his new party’s front-runner to challenge Scott in November. Rubio went to bat for Scott on Tuesday, with the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) sending a fundraising email from the senator.
“Five years ago, Charlie Crist announced that he was running for the U.S. Senate. At the time, I was 20-to-30 points down in the polls,” Rubio wrote. “No one thought I had a chance. But with your support, things changed, and Floridians were exposed to the phony that is Charlie Crist. Today, I’m asking you to help the Republican Party of Florida re-defeat Charlie Crist.
“Five years ago, Crist sold himself as a conservative Republican, but he sure didn’t act like one,” Rubio continued. “As governor, he raised taxes by $2.2 billion, increased state debt by $5.2 billion, and oversaw an economy that lost 832,000 jobs. Now, Charlie Crist has switched from Republican to Democrat, with a pit stop as an independent. He’s running out of parties.”
Rubio called on Republicans to “educate the public on the real Charlie Crist, the man who has been a member of every major party and crippled our state as governor” before trying to link his old foe to President Barack Obama and his health-care law.
“Crist supports Obamacare, causing Floridians to lose their doctors and their insurance plans,” Rubio wrote. “He supports President Obama’s economic policies and won’t rule out raising taxes again as governor.”
Rubio also hit Crist for his recent shift in positions on the Cuban embargo. While Crist had been a supporter of it, he now is calling for an end to it.
“Charlie Crist has called for lifting the Cuban embargo, saying that Florida’s Cuban community needs to be stood up to, even while human rights abuses grow worse by the day for people under the Castro regime and while they export their brutal brand of repression to Venezuela, as well,” Rubio wrote. “I was elected as your senator because the voters responded to my call for low taxes, more freedom, and a government that lives within its means.”
Rubio ended with a last shot at “Charlie Crist’s liberal agenda.”
But Democrats came out attacking Scott on Tuesday, even as they urged him to veto two bills on abortion that passed the Florida Legislature in the recently closed session.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, came out swinging at what she called “tea party infused legislation.” She was joined by Rep. Lori Berman, D-Boynton Beach, and Orange County mayoral hopeful Val Demings on a call with the media on Tuesday. The Democrats urged Scott to veto the “Florida Unborn Victims of Violence Act” which increases penalties on criminals who are convicted of killing a fetus. Wasserman Schultz and the other Democrats also called on Scott to veto a bill allowing doctors who examine a fetus and find it viable to refuse to perform an abortion
Wasserman Schultz, whose name has surfaced as a possible Democratic candidate to challenge Rubio in 2016, exchanged a shot at the senator earlier in the week.
Rubio told CNN last week that he had major doubts about whether humans were influencing climate change.
"I think severe weather has been a fact of life on earth since man started recording history,” Rubio said on “CNN Tonight” last week. “I understand that there's a vast consensus of scientists that are saying that human activity is what's contributing to changes in our climate. I think it's an enormous stretch to say that every weather incident that we read about or the majority of them are attributable to human activity."
Rubio repeated those comments on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday during an interview with Jon Karl.
"I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it," Rubio said.
The Republican also said government efforts to fight climate change often hurt the economy. "I do not believe that the laws that they propose we pass will do anything about it, except it will destroy our economy," Rubio said.
Wasserman Schultz fired away at Rubio on Monday.
“I just cannot believe that a senator from Florida – a state that’s seen so much devastation from severe weather – flat out ignores the facts on climate change,” Wasserman Schultz insisted. “The longer we drag our feet on this one, the worse the problem will be for our children.”
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.