Reporter William March has covered state and national politics since 1994. Email
Reporter Mike Salinero has covered Hillsborough County government since 2007. Email
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Mack smacks LeMieux over backing of Obama jobs bill
Posted May 14, 2012 by William March
Updated May 14, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Rep. Connie Mack IV has released a “TV-ready web ad” criticizing his opponent in the GOP Senate primary, former Sen. George LeMieux, as one of two Republican senators who backed an Obama administration jobs bill in 2010.
The ad includes video of President Barack Obama publicly thanking LeMieux by name at a bill-signing ceremony, and calls LeMieux, “Once a liberal, always a liberal.”
The ad doesn’t mention this, but to political insiders, it will be reminiscent of the famous man-hug between Obama and Gov. Charlie Crist, LeMieux’s long-time political patron, over Crist’s backing of Obama’s 2008 economic stimulus package.
There was no hug involved with the Small Business Jobs Bill, but when Obama signed it in September 2010, he named and thanked LeMieux and George Voinovich of Ohio as two Republicans who broke ranks in the Senate and allowed the bill to pass. LeMieux was in the Senate through a temporary appointment by Crist, but later repudiated his former patron.
In his signing message, Obama said the bill would “cut taxes and provide loans for millions of small business owners across America.”
He said the bill was bipartisan, but had been stalled by Senate GOP leadership.
“Thankfully, two Republican senators, Sen. George Voinovich and Sen. George LeMieux, have refused to support this blockade any longer. ... and because of their decision, this small business jobs bill will finally pass. I want to thank them for their efforts, because they understand that we just don’t have time any more to play games.”
The bill provided tax incentives for community banks to lend to small businesses, enhanced Small Business Administration lending programs, and provided tax breaks for small businesses and their investors.
LeMieux campaign spokeswoman Anna Nix said LeMieux backed the bill because it “cut taxes, helped small businesses get loans from community banks, and did not raise the debt or deficit. Republicans helped draft the legislation and George knew it would help Florida businesses.”
Mack voted against the bill as it passed the House on a near-party line vote with only three Republicans among the 241 votes in favor.
Here’s the ad.