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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Crist hits back at Rubio's 'truth squad'



UPDATE: 5:15 p.m. Rubio's camp releases a rebuttal. (see jump)

Following reports that Marco Rubio has launched a "truth squad" to take on criticism from his GOP U.S. Senate rival Charlie Crist, comes this release from the Crist campaign blasting it as the "latest desperate attempt to hide his record."

In some of the cases, stimulus being the glaring example, Crist shares the same "record" that he is trying to use against Rubio. And the Rubio campaign says Crist has distorted his position on a carbon tax. More on that below.

"Campaigns are an educational process and pointing out Speaker Rubio’s public record hardly falls under the category of vicious campaign attacks," the Crist campaign said. "The question is, which aspect of his record is Speaker Rubio most worried about being exposed that he has to proactively try to bury it?  

"Records’ speak for themselves, so as Speaker Rubio tries to re-write history as it pertains to his, below are the Top 10 facts about his record that the “Truth Squad” doesn’t want you to know:

  1. Speaker Rubio Was A Miami Lobbyist
  2. Speaker Rubio Co-Sponsored A Bill Giving Illegal Immigrants The Chance For In-State Tuition Costs.
  3. Speaker Rubio Has Several Pro-Tax Votes.
  4. Speaker Rubio Went On A Hiring And Spending Spree Deemed “Shocking” Once In Office. 
  5. Speaker Rubio Supported A Carbon Tax. (Buzz note: The Rubio campaign says this is taken out of context. In an interview, Rubio said he supported the DEP from designing a cap and trade or carbon tax and bring back to the Legislature for approval. But he went on to say: "I'm not in favor of them designing and implementing it. I'm in favor of them designing it and then bringing it back to the Legislature. The way we're going to clean up our environment, the way we're going to lower carbon emissions, is not through government mandates. It's through the American innovator."

  • 6. Speaker Rubio Would Have Accepted Stimulus Money. 
  • 7. Speaker Rubio Delivered Millions In Pork To Florida International University – Then Took A $69,000 Per Year Part Time, Unadvertised Job At The School. 
  • 8. Speaker Rubio Supported Gun Restrictions That Included Background Checks And Waiting Periods. 
  • 9. Speaker Rubio Was Implicated In Questionable Dealings Involving Sweetheart Home Loans And Political Favors For Campaign Donors.
  • 10. Speaker Rubio Earned $1.6 Million As An Elected Official. (Buzz note: this one can be misleading if you don't read the footnote below. This is money Rubio earned as a lawyer, not as a lawmaker.)
  •   Background Information:

    1. “Former House Speaker Marco Rubio and U.S. Senate candidate was a Miami-Dade County lobbyist from 1997 (when he was a West Miami Commissioner) until 2005.” (Miami Herald, Marc Caputo, “Marco Rubio Lobbyist,” 1/22/10)
    2. HB119 CS: “GENERAL BILL by Zapata (CO-SPONSORS) Arza; Bucher; Bullard; Cantens; Davis, M.; Garcia, R.; Harper; Jordan; Kottkamp; Llorente; Patterson; Planas; Reagan; Richardson; Rivera; Robaina; Roberson, Y.; Rubio; RECOMMENDED by Education K-20 Resident Status for Tuition Purposes: Provides an exemption from payment of nonresident tuition at community colleges and state universities for certain students meeting eligibility criteria; reenacts provisions relating to general requirements for eligibility for state financial aid, to incorporate the amendment.”(HB119 CS, accessed at 
    3. St. Petersburg Times Headline: “Speaker Rubio Has Several Pro-Tax Votes.” ( St. Petersburg Times , Aaron Sharockman, “Rubio Has Several Pro-Tax Votes,” 11/30/09) 
    4. “Mr. Rubio, a Miami Republican, embarked on a spending and hiring spree that's shocking even by Tallahassee's low standards.” (Orlando Sentinel, editorial, “The Regal Rubio: Our Position: The New State House Speaker Has Delusions of Grandeur,” 12/13/06) 
    5. Marco Rubio: “I’m in favor of giving the Department Environmental Protection a mandate that they go out and design a federal cap and trade program, a carbon tax program.” (Marco Rubio Face to Face Interview,, 3/13/08) 
    6. Marco Rubio: "Ultimately I would have accepted those portions of the money that would not have put Florida in a worse position off in the future than it is right now." (St. Petersburg Times, Adam Smith, “Marco Rubio: I would have accepted stimulus money,” 12/10/09) 
    7. “‘We had a great year,’ FIU's lobbyist said of millions in new funding in 2007, crediting Rubio and the Miami-Dade delegation.  The following year, as term limits forced Rubio to exit the Legislature and contemplate his next political move, FIU offered him a $69,000, part-time job that was never publicly advertised.” (St. Petersburg Times/Miami Herald, Alex Leary and Beth Reinhard, “Senate run puts Rubio's ties to FIU under fiscal scrutiny,” 12/13/09) 
    8. “Views on Guns … Rubio supports ‘reasonable restrictions’ including background checks and waiting periods.” ( Miami Herald , Ivette M. Yee, ““House district 111 voters to choose rep on Tuesday,” 1/20/00) 
    9. “State House Speaker Marco Rubio abruptly amended his financial disclosure forms Friday after The Miami Herald asked why they lacked a $135,000 home-equity loan he obtained from a bank controlled by his political supporters.  Rubio and his wife bought the West Miami home for $550,000 in December 2005, with a $55,000 down payment. A month later, Rubio qualified for the equity loan from Miami-based U.S. Century Bank because an appraisal valued the home far higher than the purchase price: $735,000. … Rubio said the appraisal was legitimate, considering the heady days of Miami's real estate boom, but experts aren't so sure. … Though U.S. Century Bank's appraiser said Rubio's new house was worth far more than the purchase price, none of the homes of similar size within a half-mile sold for any more than Rubio paid for his in the year before or after he bought it, according to home sales data.” (Miami Herald, Gary Fineout, Susannah A. Nesmith and Rob Barry, “Rubio home equity loan questioned,” 3/28/08) [T]ucked deep inside the ‘strike-all’ amendment are a few other gems. Such as the language sought by House Speaker Marco Rubio's that requires DOT to change a turnpike contract in a way that his friend and fuel distributor Max Alvarez had asked.” (Naked Politics, “Committee tucks Rubio's turnpike language into CSX bill,” 4/21/08) 
    10. Speaker Rubio’s law firm salaries totaled $1.6 million (Marco Rubio Public Disclosure Of Financial Interests 2002-2008)


    Response from Rubio

    1. CRIST ATTACK: Speaker Rubio Was A Miami Lobbyist.

    RUBIO RECORD: Rubio does not lobby.   Miami-Dade County requires all land use and zoning attorneys to register as lobbyists, even though lobbying is prohibited on these matters.   Rubio has worked as a land use and zoning attorney representing clients in quasi-judicial hearings.


    ON THE OTHER HAND: It’s no secret that Crist is the Lobbyist’s Choice for U.S. Senate.


    2. CRIST ATTACK: Speaker Rubio Co-Sponsored A Bill Giving Illegal Immigrants The Chance For In-State Tuition Costs.

    RUBIO RECORD: Rubio, along with Crist’s hand-picked Lt. Gov Jeff Kottkamp and other legislators, supported measures to a give a limited number of non-resident students with very high academic performance the opportunity to attend school in Florida and pay in-state tuition, but only if they were in the process of obtaining permanent legal status.   Regarding a federal immigration bill, Rubio has opposed the McCain-Kennedy-Martinez Bill.   (“Rubio’s party,” National Review Online , 5/13/09)


    ON THE OTHER HAND: Crist supported the McCain-Kennedy immigration amnesty plan in 2006.     (Charlie Crist, Remarks Before Florida TaxWatch Forum, 6/02/06)


    3. CRIST ATTACK: Speaker Rubio Has Several Pro-Tax Votes.

    RUBIO RECORD: Rubio has never violated his “No Tax Pledge.”   He has earned the support of prominent pro-taxpayer leaders and organizations like the Club for Growth and has been hailed by Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist as the “most pro-taxpayer legislative leader in the country.”


    ON THE OTHER HAND: Crist violated his no tax pledge just last year, raising a historic $2.2 billion in taxes, prompting the Cato Institute to rescind its previous fiscal conservative ranking of Crist.


    4. CRIST ATTACK: Speaker Rubio Went On A Hiring And Spending Spree Deemed “Shocking” Once In Office.

    RUBIO RECORD: During Marco’s two years as Speaker, the Florida House’s administrative spending came in under budget both years. In fact under his watch, the House returned money to the state.


    ON THE OTHER HAND: I n his first proposed budget, Charlie Crist requested $222,000 to hire a personal television production team. ( St. Petersburg Times , 3/25/07)


    5.   CRIST ATTACK: Speaker Rubio Supported A Carbon Tax.

    RUBIO RECORD: Shortly after Crist announced an executive order to impose cap-and-trade on Florida, Rubio announced his opposition to Crist’s mandates. (“Use Common Sense on Energy Policies,” Op-Ed By Marco Rubio, Miami Herald, 7/25/07)   Rubio and the Legislature then passed a bill that blocked cap-and-trade from taking effect by giving “themselves veto power over the final rules.” (“Crist’s Green Plan A Work In Progress,” Miami Herald, 6/25/08)


    ON THE OTHER HAND: We know Crist would be a solid vote for an Obama cap-and-trade plan, since he’s tried to impose a similar plan in Florida through executive order.   (“Crist Picks Green Over Red: The Governor Is Well Aware His Warming Initiative Is Unpopular With Some In His Party,” St. Petersburg Times, 7/12/07)


    6. CRIST ATTACK: Speaker Rubio Would Have Accepted Stimulus Money.

    RUBIO RECORD: Unlike Crist, Rubio joined conservative Governors Rick Perry, Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal and Haley Barbour in opposing the stimulus.


    ON THE OTHER HAND: Crist endorsed, lobbied and rallied for the stimulus, though he later said he did no such thing.   He also said he would have been one of only four Republicans in the entire Congress to vote for the stimulus, one of which (Sen. Arlen Specter) has since become a Democrat.


    7. Speaker Rubio Delivered Millions In Pork To Florida International University – Then Took A $69,000 Per Year Part Time, Unadvertised Job At The School.   RUBIO RECORD: State university projects and funding requests are developed by the Board of Governors.   As the St. Petersburg Times has reported, “… all of the school's projects had been scheduled for funding at some point by the Board of Governors.”   (“Rubio's Relationship With University Raises Questions,” St. Petersburg Times/Miami Herald, 12/12/09)


    8.   CRIST ATTACK: Speaker Rubio Supported Gun Restrictions That Included Background Checks And Waiting Periods.  


    RUBIO RECORD: Rubio has voted in line with NRA priorities 100 percent of the time and received an “A” rating over the course of his legislative career.


    ON THE OTHER HAND: Crist was initially indecisive about whether he would sign a “Guns At Work” bill that Rubio helped pass.   (“House Passes ‘Guns At Work’ Bill,” St. Petersburg Times , 3/26/08)   In March 2009, Crist nominated James Perry to the Florida Supreme Court, a move opposed by the NRA.   (“Supreme Court Pick Likely Perry, St. Petersburg Times , 3/10/09)


    9. CRIST ATTACK: Speaker Rubio Was Implicated In Questionable Dealings Involving Sweetheart Home Loans And Political Favors For Campaign Donors.


    RUBIO RECORD: Like millions of Floridians and Americans, Rubio is a homeowner who fully qualified for a 6.5 percent interest home loan, for which he makes regular payments each month.

    ON THE OTHER HAND: Crist wouldn’t understand, since he’s never owned a home.


    10. CRIST ATTACK: Speaker Rubio Earned $1.6 Million As An Elected Official.


    RUBIO RECORD: Rubio was a citizen legislator who earned a living practicing law to support his wife and four children.   It’s sad desperation has driven Crist to criticize his opponent for making a living to support his family.

    [Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 12:16pm]


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