Mitch Perry Report 2.21.14 - Distortions in CD13 race are now out of control

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It was Alex Sink's response to my question about her support of Republican-based ideas that led to a another day of back and forth attacks in the CD13 race.

On Wednesday, the aspiring congressional Democrat held a press availability in Clearwater, where she touted her centrist appeal by trotting out three registered Pinellas County Republicans who are endorsing her in her race againstDavid Jolly. So in the spirit of working with the GOP, I asked if there were any Republican-backed proposals that she could support if elected to serve in Washington?

Sink mentioned immigration reform (referring to how Marco Rubio helped push the Senate's comprehensive bill last summer), repealing the tax on medical devices in the Affordable Care Act, and her support for "Simpson-Bowles," the much beloved Beltway report on how to fix the deficit that was released in late 2010. Of course, in classic Washington fashion, nothing was ever done with it, and it's been collecting dust on various bookshelves ever since.

But the Jolly camp jumped on her support for the plan.

First, let's clarify what was in the report, because it has been three years since its debut. It recommended the following:

$200 billion reduction per year in discretionary spending. The highlights of the cuts include a 15% reduction in defense procurement, closing one third of overseas bases, cutting the federal workforce by 10% and eliminating earmarks.

$100 billion in increased tax revenues. Proposed avenues for these taxes include a 15 cent per gallon gasoline tax and the cancelation of tax deductions like the home mortgage interest deduction.

Maintain the Obamacare Medicare cost controls and consider the public option for health care reform.

Reduce entitlements like farm subsidies, student loan subsidies, and federal pensions (both military and civilian).

Raise the retirement age for Social Security and raise the payroll tax.

Uh-oh; it was that last element that set off the Jolly camp.

“Once again, Alex Sink defends measures that would further raise costs and restrict access to care for Pinellas seniors,” said Sarah Bascom, Jolly campaign spokesperson. “As she has done with her defense of Obamacare, she has told voters she intends to stand behind the ‘Simpson-Bowles’ plan, which would ultimately raise the retirement age for Social Security and Medicare eligibility, raise social security taxes and cut Medicare spending."

That led Sink to respond later in the day:

“We have repeatedly seen that special interest lobbyist David Jolly is willing to twist the truth to distract from his own record of making seniors pay more while protecting unfair tax breaks for corporations. While lobbyist Jolly has said that Social Security is ‘not guaranteed,’ I am proud to be the only candidate in this race who has been unequivocal in my support for protecting and preserving this vital program, and I am opposed to any changes that would raise the retirement age, reduce the guaranteed Social Security benefit, or privatize Social Security in any way. I would challenge David Jolly to denounce his campaign finance co-chair and client, who called Social Security a ‘Ponzi scheme’ before hurling any more false and misleading charges.”

Oh brother. Look, the Democrats have pushed the idea that Jolly supports privatizing Social Security when he has been adamant that he breaks from his GOP brethren on that issue. Yet he's been pummeled for it.

And when Sink was responding to my question, I doubt every aspect of that bill was in her head when she was fishing for bipartisan solutions.

All in all, another silly day on the campaign trail.

Also yesterday: Two Democratic Party-affiliated groups out of Washington are now hitting David Jolly for being pro-life.

I'm almost finished reading that new book on Fox News leader Roger Ailes by Gabe Sherman from New York Magazine. CL spoke to the author of The Loudest Voice in the Room recently. Here are some excerpts from that interview.

While conservatives in Congress think about defunding NPR every year, what about Radio and TV Marti? The propaganda channel recently came to Tampa to trash the recent visit by the head of the Cuban Interests Section to town.

We all know there's a wide divide amongst Republicans and Democrats on the seriousness of global warming. But according to Organizing for America, the grassroots political group of the DNC, only two lawmakers in Florida are so-called "climate deniers." One of them they say is Marco Rubio, which is why a handful of activists descended on to his Tampa district office yesterday to try to change his mind on the issue.

And St. Pete appears (finally?) to be on the path to getting curbside recycling.

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