TALLAHASSEE — Debate over Florida's campaign financing program turned ugly Thursday when Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Valrico, mocked President Barack Obama as "the messiah."
A Democratic colleague chimed in with a vulgar retort, and Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, scolded them both.
The exchange occurred as the Senate Transportation and Economic Development Appropriations Committee unanimously approved a proposal to repeal public campaign financing for the 2010 ballot.
Republicans snickered when the discussion turned toward federal campaign financing. Sen. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, tried to end the discussion, pointing out that they were voting on a state issue.
Storms persisted: "People in Florida also voted for the president, who said he would stick with public financing and then failed to keep his word and didn't honor his word and the public then yawned about it and said 'It's not a big issue.'
"They don't want to talk about the messiah having a flaw, but actually it was a flaw."
Fasano, the committee chairman, told Storms, "Please be respectful of the president. … He is the president of this country."
Then Smith said, "My concerns weren't that we debate President Obama or things that he's doing. … We have four years to do that. My concern is always doing the people's business and the business before us.
"Don't piss on me and tell me it's raining. I know what you were doing, and I called you on it."