Jeb Bush scolds Crist for his Social Security attack on Rubioby George Bennett | October 5th, 2010
Bush lost a close 1994 challenge to Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles. Crist, then a Republican state Senator, chaired hearings in 1995 that helped reveal that the Chiles campaign had authorized thousands of phone calls from phony groups to seniors claiming that Bush opposed Social Security and Medicare.
“Charlie Crist used to believe that scaring seniors to win votes was wrong. I know this first-hand because in 1995 he spoke out forcefully in my defense when the very same kind of false attacks were made against me,” Bush said in a statement today.
Crist campaign spokesman Danny Kanner said there’s an important difference between the Chiles attacks of 1994 and Crist’s new ad.
“Those were untrue. This is true,” Kanner said.
Crist’s new ad says Rubio wants to “balance the budget on the backs of seniors.”
He cites Rubio’s openness to raising the Social Security retirement age and changing the way annual benefit increases are calculated for future retirees. Rubio has stressed that he favors no changes for current retirees or for those who are 55 and older and approaching retirement. But he says Congress must eventually take steps to address the long-term solvency of Social Security.
Here’s the complete statement from Bush, released this afternoon by the Rubio campaign:
“Charlie Crist should be ashamed of his false attack against Marco Rubio on Social Security. Charlie Crist is purposely trying to scare seniors in order to win votes.
“The fact is, Marco Rubio will protect Social Security. His own mother relies on Social Security and he has repeatedly stated that he would not support or propose any benefit reductions for current retirees or people who are close to retirement.
“Charlie Crist used to believe that scaring seniors to win votes was wrong. I know this first-hand because in 1995 he spoke out forcefully in my defense when the very same kind of false attacks were made against me. It is sad that he has become so enamored with winning political office that he has abandoned the very principles that steered him into public service in the first place. I am disappointed, but can’t say I am surprised.”