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My opponent just won't end negative campaigning

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By C. T. BOWEN, Pasco Times Editor of Editorials

© St. Petersburg Times
published November 3, 2002

Wiped the mud off your television yet?

Cleaned out the mailbox?

It's become a chore every political season because there is no escaping the saturation of negative campaigning.

What follows are actual allegations, though paraphrased for our purposes, raised during the 2002 campaigns for legislative, congressional and County Commission seats representing Pasco County. The comments came in direct-mail, television and radio advertisements; in statements at public forums; and in written statements to and interviews with journalists.

In case you've forgotten -- and undoubtedly some are trying very hard to at this point -- the field of major party candidates includes Mike Fasano, Lee Cannon, Heather Fiorentino, Craig McCart, Tom Anderson, Kevin Jensen, Pat Burke, Ken Littlefield, Amye Cox, Pat Mulieri, Karen Thurman and Ginny Brown-Waite.

Here's their thinking on their rivals. We caution that some candidates are represented significantly more than others:

* * *

My opponent left a private-sector job in 1986 and won't tell us why. What is he hiding?

My opponent accepted campaign contributions from Enron two years ago.

My opponent supported bringing guns to school campuses.

My opponent voted to make your medical records available to telemarketing companies.

My opponent won't debate me.

Neither will mine.

My opponent worked on a constituent problem only on the day of a candidate forum. Isn't that convenient? What did he do the other eight years?

My opponent won't give raises to teachers.

My opponent favors crowded schools.

My opponent lives with his mother.

My opponent is funny.

My opponent shows disdain for the public.

My opponent takes contributions from liquor and gambling interests.

My opponent accomplished little in eight years.

My opponent is lazy. She should get off her butt.

My opponent was a high-paid lobbyist.

My opponent lobbied for HMOs and then supported their legislation.

My opponent's supporters stole my campaign signs.

My opponent's husband is a sign-stealer. (Never actually uttered out loud.) My opponent accepted big fat legislative pay raises while the school budget was cut. Oh, wait, never mind.

My opponent doesn't know the issues.

My opponent accepts campaign contributions from pharmaceutical companies.

So does mine.

My opponent left a job under funny circumstances.

My opponent voted to raise taxes.

My opponent voted to cut taxes.

My opponent has been detached from helping people in the back of an ambulance. My opponent wants to import prescription drugs from Canada. She's risking the public's health because the safety of the drugs can't be guaranteed.

My opponent doesn't want to import prescription drugs from Canada. She's kowtowing to drug manufacturers.

My opponent voted to tax Social Security.

My opponent didn't include the required political disclaimer on her stuff.

My opponent isn't a nice person.

Same here.


My opponent is a liar.

That goes without saying for my opponent.

My opponent is abrasive.

Mine is condescending.

My opponent is out of touch with the constituents.

My opponent wants to give needles to addicts.

My opponent protects criminals.

My opponent's attack ads are inaccurate.

My opponent's negative ads are sleazy.

They're not my ads. Soft money is paying for them, so I'm not responsible.

My opponent is running a slanderous campaign. He has abused his role as a candidate and has shown no responsibility, integrity, character or leadership.

* * *

Has anyone?

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