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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

The Tonya Harding of Florida politics



Sounds like we missed a doozy of a press conference from Rick Scott, who called Bill McCollum the "Tonya Harding of Florida politics."

Great line. But we should give props to former Jeb Bush aide Cory Tilley, who used it in reference to Jim Smith during Florida's 1994 Republican primary (When Tonya Harding's knee-capping escapades were a little fresher in the minds of people). An excerpt from a May, 1994 Palm Beach Post account of a candidate forum:

...Asked whether they support the huge Blockbuster Video park and development project in Broward County that has caused some concern among environmentalists, Smith said that if Blockbuster ``makes it through the environmental gantlet it must run through, then I would support it because jobs are needed in South Florida.''
Bush said he would support it and that economic issues should be given the same priority as environmental issues.
The only spat came when Smith suggested that Bush had violated his pledge to run a clean campaign. Smith said one of Bush's senior advisers, Mac Stipanovich, accused Smith of being a ``boring, backbiting, mean little man.'' He also said that Bush's press secretary, Cory Tilley, called Smith the ``Tonya Harding of Florida politics who will do anything including lying and cheating'' to get elected.
Bush pointed out that Stipanovich wrote Smith a letter of apology for his remarks. Then Bush told Smith to ``lighten up.''
``You call me a shrub and I don't get excited about it,'' Bush said. ``Take a couple of deep breaths. We'll get through this without thermonuclear war.''

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 10:18am]


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