Charlie Sheen vs. Charlie Crist as LeMieux and Mack trade character attacksby George Bennett | February 22nd, 2012
Former appointed Sen. George LeMieux called U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, R-Cape Coral, “the Charlie Sheen of Florida politics,” citing decades-old bar brawls and more recent divorce and financial woes to say Mack “lacks the character and temperament to serve as a United States Senator.”
Mack’s campaign fired back quickly, with campaign manager Jeff Cohen calling LeMieux “the liberal (or is it amoral?) political operative who created Charlie Crist.” LeMieux was Crist’s chief of staff and campaign “maestro” and was appointed by Crist in 2009 to serve the last 16 months of a Senate vacancy. Crist, who fell from favor with Republicans and bolted the party for an independent Senate bid in 2010, is mentioned 11 times in the Mack campaign’s statement.
LeMieux was commenting on recent Miami Herald reporting on Mack’s history, including a 1992 barrroom beatdown at the hands of former baseball star Ron Gant and a loan from his father (former Sen. Connie Mack) to help pay his 2004 taxes.
The Mack campaign responded that LeMieux’s criticisms are only helping Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson and are evidence that LeMieux is “not suitable, eligible or desirable to serve in any elective office, and certainly not in the United States Senate.”
Read their dueling statements after the jump…
Statement by George LeMieux on Connie Mack:
Mack IV Lacks Character, Temperament to be Senator
Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – George LeMieux today at a press conference addressed the recent revelations put forth by the Miami Herald about Connie Mack IV’s past financial and behavioral transgressions. LeMieux made the following statement regarding Mack IV’s past:
“Connie Mack the Fourth’s past is a series of serious incidents that raise real questions regarding his fitness to serve in the United States Senate. Mack the Fourth has a history of violence and abuse including road rage incidents, bar brawls, arrests, and threatening his former-wife. He also has a troubled financial history that includes overdrawing his checking account while a member of Congress, borrowing money from his father to pay his taxes, neglecting to promptly pay his family support payment, and being sued by his condominium association, yacht club, and lawyer.
“You cannot study a rap sheet like that without concluding that Connie Mack the Fourth is the Charlie Sheen of Florida politics. It would be funny, were it not so serious. Connie Mack the Fourth lacks the character and temperament to serve as a United States Senator.”
Below please find a timeline of the incidents LeMieux discussed at the press conference:
Connie Mack IV’s Timeline of Violence and Abuse
1987: Road Rage – West Palm Beach – Fist Fight with Motorist at Drawbridge
1988: Road Rage – Cape Coral – Fist Fight with Motorist on Roadside
1989: Arrested – Jacksonville – Verbally Assaults Off-Duty Police Officer and Resists Arrest
1992: Bar Brawl – Atlanta – Fist Fight and Brawl with Baseball Player Ron Gant
2005: Threatened Wife – Lee County – Threatens wife not to return Virginia home or he would: “direct police and other authority figures” to ensure they remain in Lee County.
Connie Mack IV’s Timeline of Financial Misconduct
2003: Enters into Promissory Note for $4,000 in Unpaid Yacht Club Bill
2005: Borrows Money from Father to pay 2004 Income Taxes
2005: Spends $2,200 a Month More Than He Earns
2006: Lien Filed for $2,000 in Unpaid Bills Owed to Condominium Association
2006: Repeatedly Overdraws Checking Account, Assessed Overdraft Charges
2006: Fails to Make Support Payment, Wife Requests Mack 4th Held in Contempt
2006: Lien Filed for Failure to Pay $30,000 in Legal Fees
2007: Sued for Failure to Honor Promissory Note by Yacht Club
‘Open letter’ from Mack campaign to LeMieux:
When we first met many years ago, you were a brash and ambitious political operative. You prided yourself in being a take-no-prisoners, bare-knuckled political junkie. All are traits that served you quite well as you made a name for yourself as the mastermind of Charlie Crist’s political machine.
But let’s be honest with each other – you know as well as the rest of us that as your power grew, so too did your thirst for more. It’s written all over you.
From the moment you were appointed as Charlie Crist’s Deputy Attorney General, to your engineering of Charlie’s campaign for governor, to being the go-to-guy in Charlie’s office, and to being the puppet-master of Jim Greer’s Chairmanship, the more success and power you had, the more you needed even more of both.
That’s not to say you didn’t care about public policy. After all, you were a forceful and articulate public advocate for the left-wing issues that you and Charlie really cared about – enacting cap and trade, passing the stimulus, and rejecting efforts to cut Florida’s budget.
You probably thought that hugging Barack Obama was a good photo op for Charlie too.
Nevertheless, even with your deep convictions on policy, at some point you realized you could cash in on your long and incredibly close professional and personal relationship with Charlie Crist.
You became one of the wealthiest lobbyists, err “consultants,” in Florida. And even though you were (and if one believes the newspapers, still are) caught up in the lingering scandals with the RPOF and Jim Greer, Charlie appointed you to the U.S. Senate without you ever having previously had a single moment in elective office.
That must have been a sweet gig – warming the seat you thought would become Charlie’s while looking out for Charlie’s special interests both in Washington and Tallahassee.
Indeed George, you became exactly what you always wanted to be – a rich and powerful man with powerful friends. I wonder, did the fact that you got there without the credentials or qualifications of any kind make it even better?
As a political operative myself, I can’t but help admire how well you worked the system. You became the insider’s insider.
But, George, this isn’t just about politics. No longer can you be the liberal (or is it amoral?) political operative who created Charlie Crist. Now it’s about the future of our country.
The fact that you would hold a press conference that does nothing more than help Bill Nelson and gives you a few more lines in the newspaper by trying again to take no prisoners is frankly why you’re not suitable, eligible or desirable to serve in any elective office, and certainly not in the United States Senate.
George, if it weren’t so pathetic it would only be sad. But your behavior is damaging to you, our Party, our state and the country.
You should leave the fight for freedom to Connie Mack and other principled conservatives. No doubt they’ll leave the fight for the special interests and other power plays to you.
It’s time, George, for this race to go back to focusing on stopping Bill Nelson and Barack Obama from inflicting any more damage on our state and our country. And it’s time for you to go back to what you do best – being an insider’s insider and a truly extraordinary political hack.
Tags: Charlie Sheen