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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Connie Mack's retort: LeMieux 'created' Charlie Crist

22

February

Connie Mack's campaign responds to George LeMieux's news conference. Mack, it should be noted, was a Crist supporter, too. From the Times archive April 2009:  “Rep. Connie Mack IV, R-Fort Myers, won't try to follow in his father's footsteps — at least not yet. In a letter to Gov. Charlie Crist, Mack said he will not run for the Senate in 2010. Instead, he'll seek re-election to the U.S. House and support Crist if he decides to run for Senate. Or anything. “‘No matter the decision you make, we will all be fortunate to have you standing up for Florida in the years to come,’ Mack wrote.

Dear George:

When we first met many years ago, you were a brash and ambitious political operative. You prided yourself in being a take-no-prisoners, bare-knuckled political junkie. All are traits that served you quite well as you made a name for yourself as the mastermind of Charlie Crist’s political machine.

But let’s be honest with each other – you know as well as the rest of us that as your power grew, so too did your thirst for more. It’s written all over you.

From the moment you were appointed as Charlie Crist’s Deputy Attorney General, to your engineering of Charlie’s campaign for governor, to being the go-to-guy in Charlie’s office, and to being the puppet-master of Jim Greer’s Chairmanship, the more success and power you had, the more you needed even more of both.

That’s not to say you didn’t care about public policy. After all, you were a forceful and articulate public advocate for the left-wing issues that you and Charlie really cared about – enacting cap and trade, passing the stimulus, and rejecting efforts to cut Florida’s budget.

You probably thought that hugging Barack Obama was a good photo op for Charlie too.

Nevertheless, even with your deep convictions on policy, at some point you realized you could cash in on your long and incredibly close professional and personal relationship with Charlie Crist.

You became one of the wealthiest lobbyists, err “consultants,” in Florida. And even though you were (and if one believes the newspapers, still are) caught up in the lingering scandals with the RPOF and Jim Greer, Charlie appointed you to the U.S. Senate without you ever having previously had a single moment in elective office.

That must have been a sweet gig – warming the seat you thought would become Charlie’s while looking out for Charlie’s special interests both in Washington and Tallahassee.

Indeed George, you became exactly what you always wanted to be – a rich and powerful man with powerful friends. I wonder, did the fact that you got there without the credentials or qualifications of any kind make it even better?

As a political operative myself, I can’t but help admire how well you worked the system. You became the insider’s insider.

But, George, this isn’t just about politics. No longer can you be the liberal (or is it amoral?) political operative who created Charlie Crist. Now it’s about the future of our country.

The fact that you would hold a press conference that does nothing more than help Bill Nelson and gives you a few more lines in the newspaper by trying again to take no prisoners is frankly why you’re not suitable, eligible or desirable to serve in any elective office, and certainly not in the United States Senate.

George, if it weren’t so pathetic it would only be sad. But your behavior is damaging to you, our Party, our state and the country.

You should leave the fight for freedom to Connie Mack and other principled conservatives. No doubt they’ll leave the fight for the special interests and other power plays to you.

It’s time, George, for this race to go back to focusing on stopping Bill Nelson and Barack Obama from inflicting any more damage on our state and our country. And it’s time for you to go back to what you do best - being an insider’s insider and a truly extraordinary political hack.

Sincerely,

Jeff Cohen
Campaign Manager

[Last modified: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 3:44pm]

    

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