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The rhetoric and record of Mike McCalister

For a U.S. Senate candidate campaigning against truth-stretching politicians, Republican Mike McCalister is facing questions about whether he padded his resume and misrepresented his military service.

The retired U.S. Army Reserves colonel has fashioned himself on the campaign trail as an "in the trenches" candidate who participated in "black ops" and even testified before Congress on national security.

But McCalister now admits he never spoke before Congress. He denies ever saying “I testified.” However, he did say the phrase on at least two occasions at campaign events, according to witnesses and videos posted on that stretch back to his 2010 unsuccessful bid for governor.

“If there was any misrepresentation, I accept responsibility,” McCalister, a 59-year-old from Plant City, said Saturday in his first public statements about the issue.

He also makes much of being a small-businessman tree farmer -- though he doesn't appear to make money off it or even sell trees (if a tree falls in the forrest..... If a tree farmer sells no trees, is he still a small businessman?). He does make money working for a pharmaceutical company, but doesn't mention this on the trail, preferring to say he works in healthcare and works with all the med schools/teaching hospitals.

It's all here in this mini-profile of the little-known, but surprisingly strong candidate