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"Heartbreaking"

Alan Levine, one of Gov. Rick Scott’s appointees to the Republican Executive Committee of the state party, listened in to the conference call where party Chairman Dave Bitner describe his struggles with ALS and his decision to quit his post later next month.

Levine described it in one word: “Heartbreaking.”

Levine said it was tough to think that Bitner, a hulking man with a bear-paw of a handshake and a warm demeanor, has had trouble walking and even talking at times. He said Bitner read much of his letter to state Republicans, but it was difficult for him to speak.

“David spoke briefly at the beginning but his voice was clearly very weak and he couldn't say very much.  He has clearly worked as hard and for as long as his health would let him.  The man has given it everything he has and I am so proud of him,” said Levine, a former hospital chief for former Gov. Jeb Bush and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. “It sounded like he struggled through it….

“David worked so hard for so many people. I'd see him at functions where he was dripping with sweat because he’d spend the entire day helping a candidate.  And he got nothing in return....just wanted to help.  He really is an honorable man and I think he deserves that legacy,” Levine said. “And shame on the jerks he apparently trusted who took this moment away from him. He did not deserve that.”

Levine's last sentiment was a reflection of the fact that Bitner's pending announcement was first noted on the Shark Tank blog and then mentioned by the mainstream press and other bloggers. Asked who the "jerks" are, Levine said "I'm talking about the people internally that David trusted and then went and ran their mouths. I have no problem with the media reporting news.  I mean that is your job.  But it takes a special kind of ass for a trusted person to do this to David, who has earned the right to exit with the grace he deserves."

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