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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Grayson: No apology for Webster ad



Grayson Congressman Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, refuses to concede his ad against Republican challenger Dan Webster distorted Webster's views toward women. "Of course not," he said when asked if he would apologize.

In an interview with the St. Petersburg Times, Grayson denied several times that his ad was false. “Let’s not exalt form over substance," he said. "The substance of the ad is that he has a worldview that is unbelievably twisted."

At issue in the ad is whether Webster believes wives should submit to their husbands. The commercial makes it sound that way and likens Webster to the Taliban. In fact, Webster was urging the opposite. "She can pray that if she wants to, but don't you pray it," he said in a 2007 seminar put on by the Institute in Basic Life Principles.

"The sect that he belongs to is documented on record as having the very beliefs that he was describing, this whole business of submission," Grayson said of the institute. Webster has been involved with the group for decades but in a 2003 interview with the Times, he refused to discuss specific teachings.

"People can argue about 'in context, out of context' forever," Grayson said, "but the substance of the ad is demonstratively true." Half True, ruled PolitiFact Florida. The ad claimed legislation Webster sponsored as a state legislator would have made marriage illegal even for abused wives.

The ad has become national news since it began over the weekend and there has been widespread condemnation of Grayson, whose campaign bumper stickers read, "Grayson. Truth." It has given much needed energy to Webster's campaign and helped him raise about $130,000 in two days.

Could it have backfired on Grayson? "Ask me on Nov. 3," he said.

A while later, Grayson said he was confident he would win the election, boasting that the district is now more Democratic and that his field operation and fundraising are superior to Webster's.

[Last modified: Thursday, October 7, 2010 5:32pm]


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