Our coronavirus coverage is free for the first 24 hours. Find the latest information at Please consider subscribing or donating.

  1. Archive


Editor's note: As television ads appear in the Florida governor's race, they will be described and analyzed by the Times.

Candidate: Lawton Chiles, Democrat

Opponent: Jeb Bush, Republican

Producer of ad: Greer, Margolis, Mitchell, Burns

The ad: This commercial starts with a freeze frame from one of Jeb Bush's recent commercials, then answers back: "Wait a minute, Jeb," the announcer says. "You're the one who's not telling the truth," the announcer says. "The Miami Herald says your ads take "liberty after liberty with the facts.' You're "distorting the truth' about Chiles' record. Your "tax and spend charge is . . . outrageous.' In fact, most new employees under Chiles have been prison guards to keep criminals locked up. And there's more you're not telling us. Under Martinez, you advocated the largest tax increase in Florida history. Your business career is checkered with questionable business deals. Perhaps the Palm Beach Post said it best: Jeb Bush's whole campaign is "a con job.' "

Analysis: This is a direct answer to an earlier Bush ad that said Chiles had increased the number of state employees, had asked for a tax increase and had lied in earlier ads. Now Chiles is calling Bush the liar.

Chiles has newspaper editorial boards on his side and quotes them often in his ads. Bush, in turn, brags that his conservative ideas drive editorial writers up the wall.

Chiles says he has added 7,400 employees to state government while the population grew by 700,000 people, a flat rate. And while the commercial says "most" of the employees were prison guards, Chiles said three days ago that "almost half" were prison guards.

Bush did support Martinez's services tax while serving as secretary of commerce. The tax was quickly repealed. Bush says he would raise taxes only as a last resort.

Bush's business career does include deals that many people have questioned, but no wrongdoing has been found. And Chiles, when pinned down, will not say he believes there was wrongdoing. He only says it's fair to raise questions.

Candidate: Lawton Chiles, Democrat

Opponent: Jeb Bush, Republican

Producer of ad: Greer, Margolis

The ad: Showing black-and-white photos of Jeb Bush, his running mate, Tom Feeney, and international felon Miguel Recarey, the announcer says, "You can measure a man's judgment by the company he keeps. Jeb Bush "did business with deadbeats and crooks,' says his own running mate. The Washington Post has revealed that Bush lobbied the federal government for Miguel Recarey, who embezzled $230-million from Medicare, from senior citizens. Jeb Bush borrowed from an S&L, and when it went belly up, taxpayers had to pay over $4-million while Bush and his partners made a million-dollar profit. It's a question of judgment. And it's why we just can't trust Jeb Bush and Tom Feeney with our future."

Analysis: This ad rehashes old charges against Bush and adds a new twist by including running mate Tom Feeney. In a letter to a friend last summer, Feeney tried to defend Bush. He wrote that the only documented allegations against Bush were "that he did business with people that turned out later to be deadbeats or crooks," an unfortunate choice of words but typical of Feeney's steamroller style.

Later is the key phrase in Feeney's letter, however, and Chiles leaves it out of his commercial. Bush argues he had no way of knowing that certain associates would go broke or turn crooked.

Bush did make at least one phone call to Washington to ask that Miguel Recarey, a Miami health-care mogul, be considered for a Medicare waiver. At the time, Recarey was the toast of Miami. Later, he was charged with crimes, fled the country and left senior citizens in the lurch. (He didn't get the waiver, anyway.) The Post's revelation came in 1987, and the story has been investigated to a fare-thee-well since then. Bush says he never would have made a call if he had known how Recarey would turn out.

The money from the S & L was borrowed by a third party who bought a building with Bush and his partner, Armando Codina. The third man defaulted on the loan, and taxpayers had to pay for part of it, as they did with so many S & Ls. Bush and Codina paid $505,000 for part of the loan in a settlement with the federal government. Bush denies he made any money when he sold the building a year later.