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Politics

With Obama White House Cautiously Behind Him, Meek Unleashes First TV Ad

July 25, 2010 - 6:00pm

With less than a month until his showdown with Jeff Greene for the Democratic nomination in the U.S. Senate race, U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek finally took to the airwaves with a new commercial on Monday attacking his rival. It is his first video attack.

While recent polls have found both Democratic candidates far behind independent Gov. Charlie Crist or Republican front-runner Marco Rubio, the battle between Meek and Greene has gotten increasingly vicious.

The new commercial from the Meek campaign continues the barrage of attacks emanating from both camps. While polls show that Meek remains unknown to many Floridians, the ad does not introduce the congressman. It instead focuses on Greenes record in the financial sphere.

"Greene bet that the housing market would collapse and that middle-class Floridians would lose their equity and their homes," said Meek's campaign manager Abe Dyk. "Every night, while Floridians went to bed praying to keep their homes, Greene prayed they would lose them, so he could profit and become a billionaire. Credit default swaps -- like the ones Greene pioneered -- played a critical part in the financial downfall, the credit crunch, the decline of the housing market and the near-collapse of the U.S. economy. Jeff Greene became a billionaire off the backs of middle-class, hard-working Floridians and played an integral role in contributing to the economic meltdown that has affected the lives of every Floridian."

The Greene camp responded in kind on Monday afternoon.

"What does a Washington politician do when he can't defend a record of failure and has been named one of the most crooked candidates in America? demanded Luis Vizcaino, a spokesman for the Greene campaign, Try to make things up about Jeff Greene. It was Kendrick Meek who caused the housing crisis by embracing the policies that triggered the collapse.

"Third parties have agreed that Meek is purposefully misleading voters on Jeff's record, insisted Vizcaino, before turning Meeks claim about being the real Democrat in the race on him. Truth is, a real Democrat is the one who won't take special-interest money -- unlike Meek, who takes special-interest money and does their bidding time and time again

"Jeff Greene is an outsider who took on Wall Street and did what Kendrick Meek and the career politicians failed to do -- protect jobs, added Vizcaino. Greene is running for U.S. Senate to spur the economy and put the people of Florida first."

Meek also received more backing from the White House on Monday when it was announced that his campaign will be holding a fund-raiser Aug. 2 in Washington and the headliner will be Rahm Emmanuel, former congressman from Chicago now serving as White House chief of staff.

With Democrats increasingly defecting to Crist, Meek and his supporters are desperate for President Barack Obama to hit the campaign trail. U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, who like Meek backed Hillary Rodham Clinton over Obama in the 2008 presidential primaries, even hinted to Politico last week that he may not back Obama in 2012 if the president does not become more active for Meek.

Asked about whether Obama intended to campaign for Meek last month, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said, I dont have a campaign schedule in front of me, but were supportive of Congressman Meek.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.

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