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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Alan Grayson claims Joe Biden wanted to endorse a different Patrick Murphy

The story of how Vice President Joe Biden decided to endorse U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy in the Democratic Senate primary is a tale of lies, confusion and mistaken identity.

At least, that’s what U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson — Murphy’s chief Democratic opponent who was not endorsed by Biden — says.

Grayson believes that to woo Biden’s support, someone fed the vice president false information about Murphy’s record. In fact, Grayson claims, he was shown information about a different Patrick Murphy, a former Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania and former acting secretary of the U.S. Army.

“They sold him — Patrick — as being somebody different from who he was,” Grayson said during an interview Thursday with the Tampa Bay Times editorial board. “They managed to sell our Congressman Patrick Murphy from Florida by pretending he was the other one from Pennsylvania,”

Was the vice president confused about which Patrick Murphy he was supporting?

“I’m absolutely certain of it.”

Of course, the Times/Herald is not privy to every conversation the vice president has (his office did not respond to requests for comment), and we don’t know what he was told about congressmen named Patrick Murphy.

Grayson says Biden told him he was impressed “because of some statistics that he read to me over the phone and because Patrick had been so good on the issue of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.” Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — the now-repealed policy that banned openly gay people from serving in the military — was an important issue in which the Other Patrick Murphy took a leading role, and Florida’s Murphy was elected after the policy was repealed.

“Clearly his master plan to win the Democratic primary is to insult the intelligence of our party’s leaders,” Murphy campaign manager Josh Wolf said in a written statement.

Biden has twice campaigned with Murphy in Miami and Orlando. At the Orlando event in May, he called Murphy “the real deal” and said his endorsement “wasn't about Alan (Grayson), it was about the caliber of this guy.”

Biden’s endorsement was one of many high-profile Democrat names backing Murphy, including President Barack Obama.

Grayson says other Democrats have endorsed his opponent because they think he’ll support pro-Wall Street legislation.

Correction: An earlier version of this post mistook former acting Secretary of the Army Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania for the current secretary, Eric Fanning. It has been updated.

[Last modified: Friday, July 1, 2016 10:55am]


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