Saturday, June 28, 2014

Nothing To See Here: Crist campaign connects Rick Scott to "shady group"

We've found a good fact check item for PolitiFact Florida to ignore.

Former Republican Charlie Crist has already served as governor of Florida. Now he's running as a Democrat against his successor, Republican incumbent Rick Scott.

The problem?  The shadowy group "Progressive Choice" has been running ads attacking Crist.  The Crist campaign calls the ads "disgusting and shameless."  And the Crist campaign is fundraising based on the attacks.  Crist's communications director, Brendan Gilfillan sent out this email message:
A shadowy group called Progressive Choice has taken this race to a whole new level of nasty.

They're running radio ads against Charlie that independent journalists have called "race-baiting" -- the spots are disgusting and shameless.

We're calling on Rick Scott to demand that this shady group take down the ads. Add your name if you agree that this kind of despicable behavior has no place in this election.

Progressive Choice is exploiting the history of slavery to purposefully anger the African American community.

This kind of behavior puts Scott and his allies in a category with some of the most dishonorable politicians in history.

We want to stay focused on the issues. Scott and his secretive friends want to drag down the conversation.

Add your name to demand an end to the nastiness:
Note the comment "This kind of behavior puts Scott and his allies in a category with some of the most dishonorable politicians in history."

What is Scott's connection to "Progressive Choice"?

Apparently none.  The left-leaning Talking Points Memo had a look at it:
TPM got in touch this week with the woman running Progressive Choice. She said the group was a "real deal progressive organization."

"We are currently working in a number of states - most active today in Florida - but folks will be hearing a lot from us in Maryland and Texas, for instance, in the near future," Progressive Choice chair Jamie Fontaine-Gansell wrote in an email. "We are a national organization and will look for opportunities to engage and have an impact across the country."
TPM went on to report Fontaine-Gansell has a history of working for pro-left causes.

There is a tiny bit of evidence connecting Scott to Progressive Choice, however.  After all, PolitiFact Florida partner the Miami Herald has reported it is "widely believed" that Progressive Choice is a front for right wingers.

There's some news you can use.

Meanwhile, the Herald also reports Progressive Choice has released an ad earlier this week saying Crist and Scott are essentially the same.  The diabolically clever Scott is attacking himself to hide the fact that he is behind the attack ads.

Here's betting PolitiFact will find a way to spin this in Democrats' favor if they don't choose the "ignore" option.

Because nothing to see here.

Correction June 28, 2014:  Corrected quotation used in the title: The Crist campaign used the term "shady group," not "shadowy group."  Subcorrection:  Could have left it as it was:  They used both terms.

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