Here's a blast from the not so distant past: "McCollum says he favored Schiavo case intervention." It was the low point, certainly, in the Jeb Bush years: the controversy that distracted the state of Florida from the greed of the housing market bubble and the impending implosion of the economy. Instead of focusing on the risk to Florida's economy, the radical right wing of the Republican party pushed the comatose woman forward, exploiting the rift between family members and her husband. The cynical political gambit to gin up the public on whether or not to remove a feeding tube from comatose Terri Schiavo lives on, in Florida political history.
McCollum says he favored Schiavo case intervention
By TIMES STAFF WRITERS
Published April 30, 2006
Attorney General Charlie Crist acknowledged recently that he disagreed with Gov. Jeb Bush's efforts to intervene in the Terri Schiavo case to try to keep the severely brain-damaged woman alive. So how does Bill McCollum, the front-runner for the Republican nomination to succeed Crist as attorney general, see it?
"Well, I can tell you I feel very strongly that he should have intervened," McCollum said, after some pressing, in a "Political Connections" interview airing today at 11 a.m. on Bay News 9. "I supported the actions Jeb Bush took, but I don't want to prejudge, just like a judge doesn't want to do that, what I would do as attorney general in in any given case."
In the Republican race for attorney general, that position puts former U.S. Rep. McCollum of Longwood on the same page on Schiavo as state Rep. Joe Negron of Stuart. The other two Republicans running to succeed Crist, Sen. Burt Saunders of Naples and Rep. Everett Rice of Treasure Island, disagreed with the legislative intervention.
The Democrat running for attorney general, state Sen. Walter "Skip" Campbell of Tamarac, supported intervening in the Schiavo case in 2003 but voted against it in 2005.
Sen. Mel Martinez beat McCollum in the 2004 Republican Senate primary, in which Crist took the unusual step of endorsing Martinez. Now that Crist is in a tough gubernatorial primary against Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, however, McCollum won't return the favor.
"Either Tom Gallagher or Charlie Crist would make fine governors of this state," McCollum said. "It's probably in the best interests of my party and the state that as a future Cabinet officer to serve with the next governor, I not be involved in that, and I don't need to be."
The 20-year congressman said that as attorney general, fighting sexual predators and Internet pedophiles would be his top priority. The former Bill Clinton impeachment manager also said he had no second thoughts about that action.
"The president of the United States in that case broke the rule of law. He lied under oath. He committed perjury, which is a crime," McCollum said. " ... I think the problem with that case was the public was focused not on the lying under oath in a court of law but rather on the subject matter of the case itself."