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Fact-Checking the Battle of Gubernatorial Campaign Ads


It's the battle of the TV ads -- literally -- in the race for Florida governor. 

Former Republican governor and presumed democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist has launched his first TV ad, with lots of claims that were immediately countered by a fresh TV commercial from the Republican Party of Florida -- using parts of Crist's own ad.

Charlie Crist's ad -- called "Sunshine" -- talks about how -- when governor -- he worked sun up to sun down for Floridians, including cutting property taxes for seniors and middles class.

"We rated this claim mostly true," said Amy Hollyfield of PolitiFact Florida. "It's absolutely true that taxes were cut. He just leaves out some of the nuance. The first part was tax cuts for low-income seniors. The second part was tax cuts for property-owning residents. It wasn't just the middle class. So he loses the nuances when he makes his blanket statement, but absolutely there were tax cuts and they fell under those two umbrellas."

Meanwhile, the Republican Party of Florida took Crist's ad apart in a new TV ad called "Sorry Charlie". The ad actually uses the worlds of Crist from his own commercial.

Among other things, the Republicans claim that when he was Governor Charlie Crist actually raised taxes on the middle class by over two billion dollars.

"We rated this claim mostly true," Hollyfield said. "Let's take you back to 2009. The state of Florida was in a tremendous budget deficit.  It was actually the Republican-led legislature that pushed forward $2.2 billion  in new taxes and fees. This was things like auto tag fees and fishing licenses. They didn't want to be known for raising taxes so they went around and looked for all kinds of things they could do, including raising the tax on cigarettes. They're pinning this on Crist because it happened when he was governor. We rated it mostly true because they're, sort of, skirting past the fact that it was a gigantic Republican priority in order to balance the budget."

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