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Crist links Rubio to Sansom in new TV ad

Charlie Crist’s new TV ad takes a hard swing at Marco Rubio. The “indicted” and “subpoenaed” refer to the House inquiry that could have called Rubio as a witness if it had not been short-circuited by Ray Sansom’s resignation from the Legislature.

Special to the Times

Charlie Crist’s new TV ad takes a hard swing at Marco Rubio. The “indicted” and “subpoenaed” refer to the House inquiry that could have called Rubio as a witness if it had not been short-circuited by Ray Sansom’s resignation from the Legislature.

Gov. Charlie Crist on Monday announced a hard-hitting TV ad that attempts to tie his Republican U.S. Senate rival, Marco Rubio, with indicted former House Speaker Ray Sansom.

"Both steered millions of taxpayer money into two colleges," a female narrator says, followed by a male voice that adds, "Then, received cushy jobs from the colleges."

Rubio's campaign called the ad sad and false.

The commercial dramatically shows the word "indicted" under Sansom's picture and the word "subpoenaed" under Rubio's — a reference to the fact that Rubio could have been called as a witness had a House inquiry of Sansom not been short-circuited by Sansom's resignation from the state Legislature in late February.

Sansom, R-Destin, got into trouble after he took a $110,000 job at Northwest Florida State College. A Times/Herald investigation showed how as then-House Speaker Rubio's top budget official, Sansom steered $35 million to the school.

Sansom took his job on the day he took over as speaker in November 2008. Rubio got a teaching job at Florida International University in Miami as he was leaving the Legislature that year. Budget records show that as speaker, he helped FIU get millions in funding. He has said he showed the school, among the state's largest, no special favor.

While Crist paints the two in a harsh light, the TV ad ignores that as governor, he had the ability to veto specific projects but did not.

That includes $6 million Sansom got for an airport building that one of his friends, Jay Odom, had wanted to use for his corporate jet business. That deal led a grand jury to indict Sansom; the case is ongoing.

"It's sad that Charlie Crist's political fortunes have fallen so far that he is willing to do and say anything to try to win this election," said Rubio campaign spokesman Alex Burgos. "Only a candidate on his last gasp of desperation would run an ad so false and so over the top against a fellow Republican."

FAST FACTS

Rubio to hit the base on bus tour

U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio is going old school this week with a statewide bus tour that will loop-de-loop around Central Florida from today to Friday. Rubio's itinerary shows a classic Florida mix of small towns and major media markets, from the Ol' Time Gun Shop in Hudson to the Villages retirement community in the highly competitive Orlando area. He will tape an interview with Fox News conservative talk show host Sean Hannity in the Villages today. The schedule also capitalizes on the outburst of tea party rallies this week to coincide with Thursday's federal income tax filing deadline.

Beth Reinhard, Miami Herald

Crist links Rubio to Sansom in new TV ad 04/12/10 [Last modified: Monday, April 12, 2010 9:18pm]
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