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Entries in Kendrick Meek (4)

Friday
Oct292010

Kendrick Meek-Bill Clinton Controversy Gives GOP Fresh Ammo in Final Days

Photo Courtesy - Donate dot Kendrick Meek dot com(WASHINGTON) -- The controversy over whether former President Bill Clinton urged Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek to drop out of the Florida Senate race to help an Independent win has given a last minute issue to Republicans, who called the report an example of Washington's penchant for backroom deals.

Clinton issued a statement Friday afternoon denying he asked Meek to leave the race. The former president's aides confirmed to ABC News and various other media outlets Thursday that the former president asked the Democrat twice to drop out while campaigning for him in the sunshine state last weekend, as Politico first reported.

"We did talk last week following a rally in Orlando about the race and it's challenges. I didn't ask Kendrick to leave the race, nor did Kendrick say that he would," Clinton said in a statement Thursday. "I told him that how he proceeds was his decision to make and that I would support him regardless."

"I still believe he could be the best senator to help Florida and America emerge from the current crisis and build a growing middle class economy," Clinton added.

Meek has vehemently denied that he ever agreed to get out of the race or that Clinton encouraged him to drop out and endorse Charlie Crist, former Republican turned independent candidate.

It was Crist who called both Meek's campaign and Clinton to ask the Democratic candidate to drop out, the Democratic congressman said.

The episode, however, has given Republicans a fresh issue in the final days of the campaign.
The GOP has assailed the revelation as an example of backroom deals among Democrats and "politics as usual."

"If you ever needed a reminder of what's wrong with American politics today, this story is a reminder," Rubio told reporters Friday. This is a reminder of "what got us bad public policies, this is what put America on the wrong track."

Rubio is also seeking to link President Obama to the controversy. An e-mail sent out to his supporters asks, "What specifically did the White House know about this deal? Who at the White House did Crist talk to?"

Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele on Thursday went a step further and inserted a racial element into the debate.

"President Clinton's actions to have Kendrick Meek withdraw from the campaign sends a chilling signal to all voters, but especially African Americans," Steele said in a statement. "One can only imagine the response if Republican leadership tried to force out of the race -- in the 11th hour -- a qualified black candidate like Kendrick Meek."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct292010

Kendrick Meek: Never Agreed to Quit Florida Senate Race

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The Florida Senate race was thrown into turmoil this week when it became clear that Bill Clinton had encouraged the Democrat, Rep. Kendrick Meek, to drop out of the race.

Meek has been locked in a three-way race with Republican Marco Rubio, a Tea Party favorite, and independent Gov. Charlie Crist, a moderate who left the Republican Party early in 2010 rather than face Rubio in a primary.

Two sources confirmed to ABC News that Clinton had encouraged Meek to drop out of the race. Politico reported that Meek was close to agreeing to drop out.

"I never told President Clinton or any of his staffers…or Charlie Crist or anyone else that I was going to get out of the race," Meek told ABC News on Friday. "I guarantee you that I did not say I am getting out of the race."

Rubio has led in polls recently, followed by Crist and then Meek. Crist is thought to have a better shot at defeating Rubio in a two-way race because he could pull Democratic and independent votes.

Crist has tried to appeal to Democratic voters, arguing he has a better shot to defeat Rubio and head off conservatives in Washington. But the argument has taken some political yoga by Crist, who was on John McCain’s short list for vice president in 2008 and has moderated his positions on social issues like abortion.

Clinton had been an ardent supporter of Meek’s, campaigning several times for him. Meek had supported Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid in 2008.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct282010

Bill Clinton Encouraged Democrat to Withdraw from Three-Way Fla. Senate Race

Photo Courtesy - Donate dot Kendrick Meek dot com(MIAMI) -- The Florida Senate race was thrown into turmoil Thursday night when it became clear that President Bill Clinton had encouraged the Democrat, Rep. Kendrick Meek, to drop out of the race.

Meek has been locked in a three-way race with Republican Marco Rubio, a Tea Party favorite, and independent Gov. Charlie Crist, a moderate who left the Republican party early in 2010 rather than face Rubio in a primary.

Two sources confirmed to ABC News that Clinton had encouraged Meek to drop out of the race. Politico reported that Meek was close to agreeing to drop out. To the contrary, Meek’s spokesman issued a statement after reading the Politico report that denied he was ever ready to withdraw.

"The article is not true. Kendrick Meek was never dropping out of this race, is never dropping out of this race, and will never drop out of this race. Kendrick Meek will always stand up for the middle class and will not leave Floridians a choice between two lifelong conservative Republicans who only stand with the special interests. Kendrick is the Democratic nominee so if anyone should drop out, it's Charlie Crist,” said Meek campaign manager Abe Dyk.

Rubio has led in polls recently, followed by Crist and then Meek. Crist is thought to have a better shot at defeating Rubio in a two-way race because he could pull Democratic and independent votes.

Crist has tried to appeal to Democratic voters, arguing he has a better shot to defeat Rubio and head off conservatives in Washington. But the argument has taken some political yoga by Crist, who was on John McCain’s short list for Vice President in 2008 and has moderated his positions on social issues like abortion.

Clinton had been an ardent supporter of Meek’s, campaigning several times for him. Meek had supported Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid in 2008.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct062010

Florida Senate Debate Gets Tough

Photo Courtesy - WFTS-TV | ABC Action News(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- An aggressive debate took place Wednesday in Orlando, Fla. between the three candidates running for Senate in Florida.  While the debate produced fireworks and some great one-liners, in the end, neither Gov. Charlie Crist (I) nor Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) was able to knock frontrunner Marco Rubio (R) off his game.

Rubio’s message – which he diligently stuck to throughout the one-hour debate – was pretty simple: I’m the anti-Washington, D.C. candidate.  Calling the health care bill and the stimulus “disaster[s]”, Rubio said, “If you like Obama care, if you like the stimulus” then vote for Crist or Meek. Rubio also fought back charges by Crist that he was supportive of privatizing Social Security, saying that it was “off the table.”

Meek, who represents a heavily Democratic district in South Florida, embraced his support of the Obama agenda, including his votes for the stimulus and health care reform.  He also worked to lump Crist and Rubio together as conservative Republicans, saying that both support “trickle-down economics” and would take the country back to Bush-era politics.  In response to Crist’s explanation for his change of position on gay adoption, Meek called Crist the “Governor Wallace of gay adoption,” arguing that he stood in the way of the issue for years.  The most recent polls show Meek essentially splitting the Democratic vote with Crist. The best way for him to consolidate that base is to call Crist out as a Republican. 

Crist, meanwhile, tried to thread the needle.  Calling himself a “live and let live kind of guy,” Crist labeled himself a “fiscal conservative and a social moderate,” while tagging Rubio as “far right” and Meek as “far left.”  Even so, he saved his strongest attacks for Rubio, calling him out as captive of the Tea Party.  “You haven’t been drinking Kool-Aid,” said Crist, “you’ve been drinking too much tea.”  He also tried to label the former Speaker of the Florida House as a serial earmarker. “I understand what it means to veto earmarks,” said Crist, “I had to do it to Rubio all the time.” With the most recent polling showing Rubio ahead among Republicans and independents, Crist needs to find a way to appeal to both, without alienating either – or losing support among Democrats. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio