Senate Rivals Rubio and Meek Tee Off on Crist Veto
Around the State
Gov. Charlie Crist’s veto of HB 1143, a measure requiring women considering having an abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy to have an ultrasound, led to like-minded reactions from the governor’s rivals in a tight contest for the open U.S. Senate seat in November.
Polls released earlier in the week showed Crist, who is running as an independent, in a close battle with the likely Republican candidate, former House Speaker Marco Rubio. The two leading Democratic candidates for the Senate seat, U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek and billionaire investor Jeff Greene trailed both Crist and Rubio by a considerable margin.
Rubio attacked Crist’s veto from the right and said that the governor’s veto helped undermine Attorney General Bill McCollum’s lawsuit against the federal government over new health care laws backed by President Barack Obama.
“Once again, Charlie Crist has put politics ahead of principled policy,” said Rubio in a statement. “ This veto will now make it harder for Florida to fight ObamaCare, since the bill would have enabled our state to opt out of the abortion coverage mandate in the federal health care law.”
McCollum, who is running for governor as a Republican, agreed with Rubio that Crist’s veto hurt his lawsuit.
“I am deeply disappointed Gov. Crist vetoed important legislation that would have supported Florida’s challenge to President Obama’s unconstitutional health-care reform, prohibited taxpayer-funding of abortions and promoted a culture of life in our state,” said McCollum. “Unfortunately, despite his support for our lawsuit and his previous profession of pro-life values, it is clear good policy fell victim today to Gov. Crist’s veto pen.”
Meek, attempting to stop Democrats from defecting from his campaign to back Crist, praised the veto but attacked the governor’s record on abortion over the years.
"Gov. Crist's veto today was a no-brainer,” said Meek. “The governor can never escape his anti-choice past however hard he tries to run away from it.”
Meek added that pro-choice voters should back his campaign instead of Crist’s. “ The personal decision a woman makes in private should not be dictated by a band of rigid philosophical conservatives with power in Tallahassee,” said Meek. “I have fought my entire life for a woman's right to choose and that fight continues.”
The Meek campaign launched a website attacking what it calls inconsistencies on Crist’s record on abortion.
While not supporting the veto, Rubio agreed with Meek that Crist has shown no principle on the matter.
“Even those who agree with the outcome of the governor’s decision should be alarmed that an issue as serious and deserving of sober deliberation as this one was treated in such a calculating, political manner,” said Rubio. “Florida deserves a U.S. Senator who will think issues through and let principles, not the politics of the moment, guide their decisions. Not surprisingly, his latest decision is only the latest in a long litany of examples in which Charlie Crist has broken his word to Floridians."
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at (850) 727-0859.