It’s one month until Election Day and Florida governor Charlie Crist is desperate. When Crist launched his campaign more than a year ago he was leading conservative Marco Rubio by more than 30 points. Now, after having opted to run as an independent to avoid a humiliating defeat in the Republican primary, he remains down in the polls by double-digits. And he’s fading fast. Then, in an editorial board meeting with the Palm Beach Post last week, Crist claimed that he would have left the Republican primary to run as an independent even if he’d been leading by 20 points – one of the most ridiculous statements in recent political memory.
Given this context, and given Florida’s senior-heavy voting population, perhaps it’s not surprising that Crist would resort to highly misleading attack ads about Social Security.
Crist’s new ad begins airing today. The irony factor is high. A horror-movie voice begins: “Work longer, get by on less. That’s the Marco Rubio retirement plan. Rubio wants to raise the Social Security retirement age. That means you’ll work harder and longer for your money.” The ad flashes a source on the screen – “Fox News Sunday, 3/28/10.” And later the announcer says: “Charlie Crist is against raising the retirement age. He’ll protect Social Security because our seniors have earned it.”
Rank dishonesty. Rubio has said that he is open to raising the retirement age to preserve the viability of Social Security for younger Americans. But he has said repeatedly that he would not touch Social Security for current retirees – the target of Crists’s misleading ad.