'The term was misrepresentation'
Former U.S. Rep. Bill McCollum came out swinging Monday during a taped statewide attorney general debate. When candidates were allowed to question each other (it's very vogue in debating these days), McCollum accused Democratic nominee state Sen. Walter "Skip" Campbell of lying about his voting history in the Terri Schiavo case. Inconsistencies were detailed Sunday in the Times.
Campbell fired back. "I’m not too sure you want to call me a liar," Campbell said. "And I would hope you would take that back. The term was misrepresentation, which was not a lie." Campbell then went on to criticize McCollum for supporting Gov. Jeb Bush's attempts to intervene in the life and death case.
"You didn’t have any trust in the rule of law. You didn’t have any trust in the abilty of our courts to make a decision. You forgot about … our right of privacy," Campbell said. "To come in here and call me a liar, I find it offensive. I think the state of Florida will find it offensive. I voted my conscious. I voted for the Constitution. I voted for the rule of law."
After the debate, McCollum pointed out that he never had a say in the Schiavo case, unlike Campbell. McCollum said as attorney general he would have upheld a court's decision that Schiavo's feeding tube not be reinserted. Campbell voted to intervene in 2003, and voted against intervention in 2005.
The 30-minute debate, which included talk about insurance, McCollum's work as a lobbyist and Campbell's "Scarlet Letter" bill, will air on the state's PBS stations at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. Read more in Tuesday's Times.