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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

McCollum gets sermon on negative attacks

22

August

McCollum

Bill McCollum brought the right person to First Baptist Church in Jacksonville this morning: former Ark. Gov. Mike Huckabee.

The 2012 White House hopeful received a whooping (for church) standing ovation and pastor Mac Brunson, a person friend, brought him to the stage to share a few words. (By contrast, McCollum received just polite applause when he was introduced.) In his brief remarks, Huckabee didn't mention McCollum but the connection likely stuck.

The lesson of the sermon, however, did not. Brunson spoke about the hurtfulness of criticism and attacks on character. “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth,” he urged those gathered at the mega-church, citing Ephesians 4:29. “Be nice!”

Moments later, McCollum – and Huckabee, less so – went back on the attack a rally at a GOP office. McCollum scolded rival Rick Scott for trying to buy the election and lying about his own record.

Asked about the sermon, McCollum said he saw it differently. "I was thinking about the words that were going on at the beginning, the words that hurt people, that you shouldn't take words out of context and distort what people say,” McCollum said. “I thought about Rick Scott's first television ad about the Arizona immigration law. He just lifted my words out of context.” (PolitiFact found McCollum flipped on the issue, as Scott suggested.)

As for the attacks, McCollum said “all I'm doing is telling people what I've told people all along: there's a difference between Rick Scott and me.”

The church service nearly drew a Tallahassee quorum. Those in attendance: future Senate President Mike Haridopolos; Sens. John Thrasher and Steven Wise; Reps. Adam Hasner, the majority leader, and Leonard Bembry; and attorney general candidate, Holly Benson.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 11:22am]

    

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