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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Crist's first TV ad looks to strip down Rubio image



In his first TV ad of the Republican U.S. Senate primary, Gov. Charlie Crist goes directly at rival Marco Rubio, seeking to peel away the image Rubio has built up as a darling of the conservative insurgence.

The ad draws largely on news reports that have raised questions about Rubio's spending of Republican Party money and campaign funds. It also brands Rubio a "lobbyist," a claim the St. Petersburg Times' PolitiFact found barely true.

Crist campaign manager Eric Eikenberg would not discuss specifics but said the ad is slated to begin this evening in "strategic markets" across Florida and would run for several weeks. "He claims to be a fiscal conservative when it comes to spending, and what comes to light could not be farther from the truth," Eikenberg said.

Crist is getting beat roundly in the polls, but Eikenberg said, "There’s no desperation. They are just trying to sidestep the fact that news accounts where the speaker has spent lavishly."

"We’re looking at 153 days to this primary, and the voters deserve to see issues related to the candidates' records," Eikenberg said.

RUBIO responds:

"Charlie Crist is doing exactly what you’d expect a liberal Republican who supported the stimulus, higher taxes and cap-and-trade to do in a Republican primary.  He’s trying to change the subject by falsely attacking his opponent," said Rubio for Senate spokesman Alex Burgos.

"Instead of addressing the big issues facing Floridians, Charlie Crist has shredded his last bit of credibility with a negative ad filled with false attacks.  In fact, Charlie Crist has spent more time lately attacking Marco Rubio than he has fighting Barack Obama’s agenda.  No wonder there is so much talk about him leaving the Republican Party.

"Because Charlie Crist has no conservative record or vision to talk about, he is trying to turn this election into a campaign of smears and distortions.  But Republicans know that Marco Rubio is the only candidate they can trust to stand up to President Obama’s big government agenda and offer clear conservative alternatives."


[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 11:24am]


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