Thursday, February 22, 2018
  • Bay Buzz
  • From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Did Rick Baker speak out about Charlotttesville? Democratic ad suggests he didn’t. But Baker did say something

The Florida Democratic Party on Friday released a new ad attacking Rick Baker.

Entitled "Changed Man," it portrays the Republican former mayor as a Trump lackey who lies about his opponent, Mayor Rick Kriseman.

Except the 30-second ad has some problems of its own.

The ad has Baker's face share the screen with white supremacists and Nazis while criticizing Baker for remaining silent about Trump's comments about the violence in Charlottesville in August.

"Baker never took a stand," the narrator says.

Baker never condemned Trump by name, but he did say "ever public official at every level" should condemn white supremacy in a statement about the violence, which was noted in the Tampa Bay Times. Below is the statement Baker made in August about Charlottesville:

"Every American, including every public official at every level, has the moral obligation to reject and condemn the White Supremacists, KKK, Neo-Nazis and all others who promote racism. These groups trade in hatred and are responsible for the violence in Charlottesville, period." – Rick Baker

Baker also attended a vigil on St. Petersburg's waterfront at which Kriseman spoke.

The ad proceeds to blast Baker for dishonesty for his campaign's ad last week, which incorrectly stated that Kriseman didn't attend a NAACP event earlier this month. Baker's political action committee, Seamless Florida, later revised the ad to say the mayor had insulted the civil rights organization after the Times wrote a story.

The Democratic Party ad, which begins by asserting Baker has changed for the worse, ends by asserting Baker's latest ad, which isn't named or described, as being "more of the same"

Baker's latest ad attacks Kriseman's chief of staff, Kevin King, detailing his 2001 arrest involving the solicitation of underage girls. King has declined to discuss the case, including its final disposition.  A judge sealed the file. He was never convicted of a crime. The Baker campaign has spent much of the week releasing statements urging the mayor to demand that King unseal the records.

The Democratic Party ad never explains what is false about the King ad. Here is the new TV spot.

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