Friday, April 08, 2005


Martinez: These Things Just Keep Happening To Me! Honest!

Both the Palm Beach Post and the St. Petersburg Times have noted that Senator Mel Martinez has been linked to more than one bit of political naughtiness, and that he always denies that he personally did anything wrong. From the Palm Beach Post:

As late as Tuesday, Martinez had forcefully denied any knowledge of the memo. But Wednesday, he admitted that his legal counsel, Brian Darling, was the author and that it was Martinez himself who had brought a copy of the unsigned memo to the Senate floor, although Martinez said his role was accidental. He said he thought he was only handing Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, some talking points on the Schiavo bill, and he had no idea his office had produced such a memo. [...] "This is not the first time (Sen. Martinez) has engaged in this kind of activity," Singer said, adding that "the first time it's an accident, the second time it's a coincidence, the third time it's a pattern. This is the third time where Sen. Martinez seems to pass the buck to someone on his staff and say, 'It's not me, it's not me.' " A Florida Republican strategist, who asked not to be named, said, "It's just so familiar. It's never his fault." [...] It is not the first time Martinez has disavowed the actions of those working for him. During the GOP primary, a Martinez advertisement mailed to Republican voters in North Florida described his opponent, Bill McCollum, as "the new darling of the homosexual extremists." A television ad using similar wording was broadcast. Martinez insisted the mailings were sent without his knowledge. After Bush objected, Martinez pulled the television ad. Martinez's campaign also arranged a conference call with reporters featuring conservative religious activists who called McCollum "anti-family" and falsely accused him of supporting gay rights and gay marriage. In each case, Martinez said his staff acted either without his consent or went further than he had been led to believe.
And from the St. Petersburg Times' prescient editorial of November 4, 2004:
Long after leaving Republicans embittered by his appeals to bigotry and his vulgar attacks on former U.S. Rep. Bill McCollum, Martinez used his general election campaign to tar Castor, a distinguished former legislator and education leader, as a terrorist sympathizer. When challenged, Martinez was too eager to assign blame to his staff or to groups he said he couldn't control. As a senator, he will need an office and a staff that speaks with the measured and centrist tone he says will be his own. He can't pretend to be above it all if the people he employs are not.

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