McCollum batters Scott in debate

Finally Attorney General Bill McCollum got to swing back at his opponent in the Florida governor’s race, Rick Scott. After months of Scott buying television ads across the state that attacked McCollum for being a tax-and-spend Congressman and not a true conservative, McCollum made Scott have to answer direct questions about the millionaire’s legal issues.

Scott has run a very controlled, very expensive media-driven campaign. He has refused to be in any more debates and rarely speaks directly with reporters. Although I get an average five emails from his campaign daily, he refused a direct interview with the IN when he came to Pensacola to eye the BP oil disaster. We tried to set up a telephone interview later and that fell through, too.

There is no question Scott is out to buy the Republican nomination for governor…without being vetted by the press or the voters.

At yesterday’s debate, McCollum accused Scott of being a business failure whose companies have created controversy and bilked taxpayers. “How are you going to govern if your companies committed fraud?” McCollum asked. He tore into Scott about how his former company Columbia/HCA, which Scott served as CEO, paid $1.7 billion in fines for Medicare fraud. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Scott was forced to resign from the company in 1997 after the FBI raided hospitals across the country.

Scott contends he didn’t know about the fraud. McCollum’s reply: “You were either incompetent running that company, or you were aware of it.”

When McCollum brought up another Scott company, Solantic, which has faced numerous lawsuits from former employees, Scott dismissed the Solantic plaintiffs as “disgruntled former employee.”

Scott’s response to the charge: “He must not like anybody who’s been in business, so I don’t know how he can run as a Republican.”

Scott’s camp has pulled out the standard playbook against anyone that has served in Congress— He has accused McCollum of voting for 42 tax and fee increases in Congress. Of course, Scott ignores the tax cuts that McCollum voted for that far outweigh any minor tax or fee increases.

Scott wants the voters to ignore his past and focus on his opponent’s. And he isl willing to spend millions to do it. Will it work?

I do know that Scott’s handlers must be upset with the debate because I’ve already received 8 emails since leaving work yesterday. Many were sent during or right after the debate. There subject lines are: Bill McCollum: Career Politician, Career Hypocrite; Setting The Record Straight; Scott Campaign Statement on Bill McCollum’s Latest Stunt; In Case You Missed It: Politifact: Negative campaigning? Not me, says Bill McCollum (This is my favorite – since all we have gotten is negative campaigning from Scott); Polls Show Scott Ahead of Sink, McCollum Just Sinking; Bill McCollum: Career Politician, Career Hypocrite; McCollum, Professional Politician, Professional Flip-Flopper; In Case You Missed It: Bill McCollum Lies About His Record On Taxes And Fees.

Read Orlando Sentinel article.