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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

McCollum calls Rick Scott a copycat, says he's dodging a statewide TV debate



Trailing even in his internal polls, Bill McCollum launched attack after attack against GOP rival Rick Scott Tuesday during an hourlong meeting with the St. Petersburg Times editorial board Tuesday morning.

Among the accusations: Scott is ducking a statewide TV debate, has stolen or copied McCollum's economic proposals, ripped a plan from a McCollum speech to tout an Internet-based immigration verification system called E-Verify, and has blanketed Florida with misleading and false TV ads.

Scott has been putting out policy papers in the past week or so, McCollum said, including a plan to create 700,000 jobs in seven years. "What's ironic about those policy papers is that he copies me a lot," he said.

On top of that, McCollum said Scott was at best "incompetent" while running the hospital chain Columbia/HCA (a company that eventually pleaded guilty to 14 corporate fraud felonies and paid $1.7 billion in fines) and possibly complicit in criminal acts.

"And here's a guy who wants to be the next governor of Florida," said McCollum, who is speaking later to the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club.

A McCollum internal poll leaked to Politico Tuesday shows Scott taking 37 percent of the vote to McCollum’s 31 percent in a GOP primary, with a full 32 percent of voters still undecided.

McCollum said the numbers reflect Scott's TV onslaught and his campaign's decision to hold back some TV ads until closer to the Aug. 24 primary.


[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 10:15am]


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