In campaign appearances, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Adam Hasner has repeatedly said he supports oil drilling off Florida’s shores, and that he opposed then-Gov. Charlie Crist’s attempt to impose an offshore drilling moratorium. In a speech before the Palm Beach County Tea Party’s Boca Raton chapter on Oct. 4, Hasner adamantly asserted, “We rejected Charlie Crist’s plan to block offshore drilling off of the coast of Florida.” The implication in the statement is that he has always supported drilling off the coast of Florida, and that just isn’t true.
Hasner may have opposed Crist’s proposed moratorium, but he wasn’t always such a fan of offshore oil exploration. Back when he was a green Republican, the Boca Raton legislator approved a “three-pack” political ad sent in 2002 on his behalf by the Republican Party of Florida. On its front, the mailer quotes Hasner as saying: “Florida is a special place for all of us. We must preserve our quality of life to ensure that it remains an ideal place to live, work and enjoy.”
How did Hasner propose protecting Florida’s quality of life back in 2002? “Support the current moratorium opposing offshore drilling on Florida’s coastlines” was one suggestion.
Three-pack political ads are usually disseminated by political parties to support a particular candidate’s campaign. Political parties are only allowed to spend a certain amount in support of an individual candidate, so the so-called “three-pack” gets around that law by mentioning two other politicians in tiny type, generally found in the disclaimer. The rest of the mailer (it can be an ad for television, newspaper or other media, too) focuses on the candidate it is designed for, and is only mailed to that candidate’s targeted district.
All the candidates mentioned are required by law to approve the mailer, but in practice, only the featured candidate — in this case Hasner — typically approves the mailer, in cooperation with party officials representing the other named candidates.
If you look closely at the bottom of the addressed side of the mailer, you will see this disclaimer:
“PD POL ADV. Paid for by the Republican Party of Florida, Approved by Charles Bronson, Charlie Crist and Adam Hasner-Republicans”
The Hasner campaign responded to my request for clarification of his position with the following statement:
“Adam’s voting record on this issue is clear. He supported repealing the statutory ban on offshore drilling and was one of the leading opponents to Charlie Crist’s attempts to place a permanent ban in Florida’s Constitution. Technological advancements have made offshore drilling much safer than it was 10 years ago in 2002.”
That’s a good answer. That’s the kind of answer I expect from a potential U.S. senator. I have known Adam for many years and have always considered him a friend. But I am a conservative first, a committed soldier to the cause, and my duty to that cause and to my readers is to expose political spin designed to mislead voters about a candidate’s record, especially as we close in on one of the most important election years of this decade.
Hasner’s response, though couched in political speak, is an honest answer and acknowledges that the Senate candidate has indeed changed his mind about the issue.
That’s OK by me. Hasner is vying for the U.S. Senate, the most powerful deliberative body in the world, a body designed by the Founding Fathers to protect our republic from the dangers of fads and populism.
It is an office that requires a high level of intellectual maturity and sophistication that, up until this point, I haven’t seen from the Hasner campaign. But the campaign trail, like time, can mature a person, and to me, Hasner’s response was, well, it was senatorial, wasn’t it?
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