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Elder Mack hits back at two newspapers, reporters

Posted Apr 18, 2012 by William March

Updated Apr 19, 2012 at 12:59 PM

The Connie Mack IV Senate campaign is lashing out against the “liberal media,” singling out two newspapers and two reporters – Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times and Marc Caputo of the Miami Herald – it says are attacking Mack to help Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.

And the campaign is rolling out its big gun for the attack: It’s in a letter from Mack’s father, former Sen. Connie Mack III, an elder statesman among Florida Republicans, to donors and supporters.

The fracas follows comments by state Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater saying he is seriously considering jumping into the race.

It also follows a weekend story by Caputo and Smith saying Republicans were disillusioned by Mack’s “lackluster” campaign. Caputo had earlier done a story on Mack’s history of bar brawls and financial problems that led GOP primary opponent George LeMieux to call Mack “the Charlie Sheen of Florida politics.”

In the letter, the elder Mack says the Herald and Times both opposed him when he first ran for the Senate in 1988 – “Day in and day out, they attacked me personally.”

Now, he says, “It’s clear that the left-wing media, especially Adam Smith and Marc Caputo, are in full attack mode on a mission to save and promote Bill Nelson and Barack Obama.”

“Connie’s campaign is, in fact, going great,” he wrote. “The Caputo/Smith article and their unprofessional behavior makes me want to work harder than ever.”

He urged supporters to “write letters to the editor, demand fairness, hold reporters accountable to report the news, not act like paid staffers of the Democratic Party.”

The Herald and Times now cover politics jointly, sharing their stories, and their reporters occasionally work together.

Times Managing Editor Mike Wilson responded in an email, “The Tampa Bay Times’ coverage of the Florida Senate race has been fair and accurate. We will continue reporting vigorously on all of the campaigns so voters will be well informed when they go to the polls.”

Read the letter here.

In a blog post, Caputo called the accusation of “unprofessional behavior” false and said Mack’s letter didn’t specify what behavior he meant.

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