Steve Southerland Attacks Gwen Graham over Obamacare

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: August 22, 2014 3:55 AM
Steve Southerland and Gwen Graham

Steve Southerland and Gwen Graham

The most vulnerable Republican congressman in Florida is going on the attack against his Democratic opponent as he focuses on his opposition to President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law. 

In November, U.S. Rep Steve Southerland, R-Fla., faces a tough challenge from Democrat Gwen Graham, the daughter of former U.S. Sen. and Gov. Bob Graham, D-Fla., and he is going all out to tie her to Obama’s health-care law.

In Panama City on Wednesday, Southerland announced the support of the Bays Medical Society and Florida Medical Association before turning his fire on Graham.

“I’m honored to have the support of the hard-working doctors, nurses, and health care professionals who help keep our communities healthy,” said Southerland. “Doctors take an oath to ‘first, do no harm,’ and they know better than anyone how harmful government-run health care has been for local families. Unfortunately, that message hasn’t gotten through to Gwen Graham, who continues to shift between supporting Obamacare and running from the question. When you’re more interested in currying favor with Nancy Pelosi than you are in listening to our doctors and patients, you’re writing North and Northwest Florida a prescription for disaster.”
“Steve is the only candidate in this race who opposes Obamacare,” said Dr. Jon Ward, the past president of the Bays Medical Society and currently on the board of governors for the Florida Medical Association. “Steve supports letting patients choose the health care plans and their physicians, and has fought for adequate Medicare payments to doctors and hospitals so our seniors can get the care they deserve. Gwen Graham, on the other hand, has stuck to the Nancy Pelosi playbook, dodging questions and refusing to fight government control of health care. As doctors, we know we can’t trust Gwen Graham to put the needs of our patients first, and that’s why we’re proud to endorse Steve Southerland for Congress.”

Southerland followed that up with a new radio spot in which he says Obamacare is a “bad law” and tried to claim Graham’s “North Florida Way” mantra.

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“I’m taking North and Northwest Florida values to Washington because we just can’t afford their values here,” Southerland says in the radio ad.

In recent weeks, conservative group America Rising showcased a video in which Graham was asked if she would have voted for Obamacare if she had been in Congress and she refused to answer the question.

For her part, Graham released a new TV ad this week in which she stressed she would work with members of Congress from both parties.

“We released our newest ad highlighting how I will bring the North Florida Way back to Congress in order to get Washington focused on priorities that will help North Floridians succeed – like job growth, economic development, investing in education and protecting vital programs that our seniors have earned,” Graham noted when the ad was launched.

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“I know neither Republicans nor Democrats are right 99 percent of the time,” Graham says in the ad. “We need to be working together and developing the right policies.”

Despite her calls for bipartisanship, national Democrats are vested in Graham’s campaign with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) launching attacks against Southerland for 10 straight days and leading party members, including U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., offering financial support to her campaign. Graham served as aide to her father and to liberal presidential hopefuls former Gov. Howard Dean, D-Vt., and then-U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., during the 2004 presidential campaign.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN 

Comments (2)

6:25AM AUG 24TH 2014
Yes. the captain of the Dead Sea Skinny Dipping and Swimming Society does not care for things that help the folks.
I am still so, so dissapointed Southerland did not hunt nekkid at the King Ranch. That would have been perfect.
We will just have to be satisfied that Southerland is the typical Florida pay to play Republican influrnce peddler.
Gwen Graham will be a huge step up .
6:27AM AUG 23RD 2014
Gwen will be an excellent Congresswoman if she lives up to her promise to work to get things done. Steve has made 2 major mistakes. 1) His $144k salary "is not so much", that salary is well over what the average Floridian makes and his comment showed a serious dis-connect with those he represents. 2) 50+ votes to repeal obamacare and numerous stupid votes for bills that are partisan political stupidity. 0 votes to solve anything. No is not a solution. It is a political staement. When a politician is elected, their job, their responsibility is to represent ALL the people in their district, to the best of their ability. The only folks Steve has represented is his base. He does not deserve another term. Gwen comes from an honorable family that understands how politics "works".

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