Joe Garcia's campaign lashed out at state Rep. David Rivera Wednesday for what it called a flip-flop on Rivera's position on the controversial Arizona immigration law.
"Rivera can't have it both ways and tell one news channel he supports Arizona's extreme anti-Hispanic law to pander to fringes in his political base and then moments later say something else to our local newspaper,” Garcia said in a news release. “The people of South Florida need clear and honest leadership on the issues that affect them -- not David Rivera's slick brand of politics."
In a WTVJ-NBC 6 piece that aired Tuesday, a reporter for the TV station said Garcia opposes the Arizona law and "Rivera takes the opposite position."
What Rivera said on camera sounds as mushy as his comments to us about the law on Tuesday.
Here's what Rivera told NBC 6:
"We need to make sure that local law enforcement continues cooperating with federal authorities as they do right now to do whatever is possible to combat illegal immigration."
And here's what he told us:
"The law is a distraction from the real solutions that are required to solve the immigration problem," such as securing the border and developing a viable guest-worker program. And: "A lot of what's going on in Arizona happens in practice already throughout the nation. When police officers do a legal stop and they run the information or the data or the name and they find the person is here illegally, they immediately interface with federal immigration authorities."
Garcia kicked off his congressional campaign Tuesday and came out swinging against Rivera, the Republican House budget chief. Both are considered the leading contenders to win their respective primaries.
UPDATE: Leslie Veiga, Rivera's communications director, said Rivera has not changed his stance on the law.
"He really doesn't flip-flop on this issue at all," Veiga said. The TV reporter, she added, "made it sound more like Rep. Rivera was in favor of the Arizona law when he just thinks it's a distraction from the issue of immigration reform."