Rick Scott and Charlie Crist Launch New Ads, Clash on Health Care
Around the State
The Florida gubernatorial contest focused on the airwaves with the two leading candidates launching new videos on health-care issues and clashing over commercials.
Former Gov. Charlie Crist is going on the attack with a new video trashing Gov. Rick Scott which was unveiled on Thursday. Despite spending most of his political career as a Republican, Crist is the favorite for the Democratic nomination to challenge Scott in November. “Florida can’t trust Rick Scott” is the theme of the new ad.
Crist insisted the ad was needed to counter an earlier one from Scott over the Democrat’s support of President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law.
“Rick Scott is going on the air with a new ad spreading bad information about health-care reform,” Crist maintained on Thursday. “Health care is too important for this kind of dishonesty. We can't go back to the days when people went broke because they got sick. Instead, let's move forward together to make this law work for all Floridians.”
The Scott team fired back by insisting Crist raised tuition during his time in office and pointing to a report from Bay News 9.
“Charlie Crist is releasing a new ad this morning, but it was his response to Gov. Scott last night in Sarasota that should raise eyebrows,” Matt Moon, a spokesman for the Scott campaign, emailed the media on Thursday. “In Tampa yesterday, Gov. Scott said that ‘we have to reduce the tuition increases that happened while Charlie Crist was governor.'
“Charlie Crist’s response?” Moon asked, before pointing to the Bay News 9 report. “As the reporter said, Charlie Crist ‘didn’t deny raising tuition for college.’ Only one conclusion can be made from that: Charlie Crist doesn’t care about students.”
Scott’s team launched a Web ad of their own on Thursday praising the governor’s work on funding cancer research.
State Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, the chairman of Scott’s campaign, tried to contrast Scott’s record with that of Crist.
“Gov. Scott continues to increase funding to support cancer research,” Thrasher said on Thursday. “Meanwhile, Charlie Crist continues to embrace Obamacare as ‘great,’ even as the law is hurting cancer patients’ access to treatment. This ad shows how Gov. Scott cares about cancer patients. Unfortunately, Charlie Crist only cares about his own political career and how embracing Obamacare may help himself.”
The ad is part of a more than $350,000 digital ad buy.
Crist did double down on his support of Obama’s health-care law on Thursday, even as Republicans pointed to his statement made in 2010, when he ran for the U.S. Senate with no party affiliation, that he would have voted for it.
“Republican leaders have been fighting the Affordable Care Act tooth and nail, but that hasn't stopped hundreds of thousands of Floridians from signing up,” Crist insisted. “Just think of what we can do if we work together.”
In the meantime, the Florida Democratic Party sent letters to television stations across Florida, citing a Politifact article that Scott’s ad linking Crist to Obama’s health-care law was “mostly false.” Allison Tant, the chairwoman of the Florida Democrats, demanded stations pull the ad and even parroted the theme of the new Crist ad.
"Rick Scott knows he can’t run on his failed record as governor, so he’s relying on scare tactics funded by his million-dollar war chest," Tant said. “This isn’t a surprise to Florida voters, who have gotten used to this governor covering up the truth. This ad’s outright lies are disappointing confirmation to the millions of Floridians who just don’t trust Rick Scott.”
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.