The Republican Party of Florida's newest ad is straight out of public-opinion polling heaven, featuring Spanish-speaking female teachers who laud Gov. Rick Scott's education record and the teacher raises he secured.
“Florida students are better off due to Scott,” says one of the women in the ad, identified only as a teacher named “Betty.”
The GOP announced the $300,000 ad buy, which includes online and TV spots, just days after Crist tapped the Spanish-speaking head of Miami-Dade’s Democratic Party, Annette Taddeo.
Though polls indicate Scott is competitive with Crist in courting the Hispanic vote, the Democrat bests him in support from women, who comprise a bigger segment of the likely-voter electorate.
Scott's lieutenant governor and running mate, Carlos Lopez-Cantera, is also Hispanic and hails from Miami-Dade. And the governor invested early in Spanish-language ads, running about $1 million worth, mostly in Miami’s media market. RPOF has announced three Spanish-language and two English-language ads and has spent at least $1 million.
Gender and ethnicity aside, both campaigns are focusing heavily on education.
Crist is making much of Scott's mammoth $1.3 billion cuts to the state's education budget his first year in office helped tank his then-weak poll numbers, which have taken years to recover. PolitiFact found that per-pupil spending under Crist has exceeded Scott's figure when adjusted for inflation.
But the teachers identified in Scott’s ads say the governor isn’t getting credit for the $480 million in teacher bonuses he pushed for and the $18.9 billion education budget he signed.
"In the last two years I’ve seen that the resources for the classroom have greatly improved,” another teacher named “Maritza” adds. “There is more technology in the classroom.”
A third woman, identified as “Elisa” then says “they can repeat all the falsehoods they want, the facts don’t lie.”
The supposed “falsehoods” and who “they” are isn’t clear, however the Republican Party press release accompanying the announcement of the $300,000 online and TV ad buy attributes two misleading statements to Leslie Dougher, the state GOP chair.
Dougher’s statement claims that, under Democrat Charlie Crist, “state education funding was slashed by nearly $1.4 billion, funding was cut for voluntary pre-kindergarten programs, and 3,000 Florida teachers were laid off.”
In a previous fact check of another Scott ad, PolitiFact Florida rated the 3,000-teacher-layoff claim “mostly false,” partly due to the reliance on unverified and anecdotal data.
As for the $1.4 billion “slashed” under Crist, Dougher fails to point out that Crist pushed a recalcitrant GOP-led Legislation to accept roughly $1.7 billion in federal stimulus money over two years. Factoring in the stimulus money and education spending was reduced overall by $524 million during Crist’s term as governor, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Also unmentioned: the federal stimulus money is credited, in state studies for helping preserve 19,000 jobs of school-board employees throughout the state.
Ironically, Scott bashed the stimulus as wasteful but then blamed the Obama Administration for not sending Florida more money when the federal money ran out, leading to the $1.3 billion in education cuts that Crist now blasts Scott for.
CHYRON: Maritza, Maestra
CHYRON TRANSLATED: Maritza, Teacher
MARITZA: Me gusta ser maestra de educación especial porque mucha gente no ven el potencial de esos estudiantes.
MARITZA TRANSLATED: I like being a special education teacher because many people don’t see the potential of those students.
CHYRON: Elisa, Maestra
CHYRON TRANSLATED: Elisa, Teacher
ELISA: Es una profesión bien dedicada.
ELISA TRANSLATED: It’s a profession of great dedication.
CHYRON: Regla, Maestra
CHYRON TRANSLATED: Regla, Teacher
REGLA: Muchas personas no sabe que Rick Scott logro el aumento de sueldo de maestras.
REGLA TRANSLATED: Many people don’t know that Rick Scott achieved an increase in pay for teachers.
MARTIZA: En los últimos dos años he visto que los recursos en la clase han mejorado mucho. Hay mas tecnologia para la clase.
MARITZA TRANSLATED: In the last two years I’ve seen that the resources for the classroom have greatly improved. There is more technology in the classroom.
ELISA: Con Rick Scott han aumentado los fondos para la educación pre-escolar y para mí eso es muy importante.
ELISA TRANSLATED: With Rick Scott there are more funds for pre-school education and that’s very important to me.
CHYRON: Betty, Maestra
CHYRON TRANSLATED: Betty, Teacher
BETTY: Los estudiantes de la Florida están mejor debido a Scott.
BETTY TRANSLATED: Florida students are better off due to Scott.
ELISA: Pueden repetir todas la falsedades que quieran pero los hechos no mienten.
ELISA TRANSLATED: They can repeat all the falsehoods they want, the facts don’t lie.
CHYRON: Anuncio político pagado por el Partido Republicano de la Florida, 420 E. Jefferson Street, Tallahassee, Florida32301. El Partido Republicano de la Florida apoya y le pide a usted que vote por Rick Scott para Gobernador, Jeanette Nunez para Representante Estatal Distrito 119, y José Félix Díaz para Representante Estatal Distrito 116.
CHYRON TRANSLATED: Paid political advertisement paid for by the Republican Party of Florida, 420 E. Jefferson Street, Tallahassee, FL32301. The Republican Party of Florida endorses and urges you to vote for Rick Scott for Governor, Jeanette Nunez for State Representative District 119, and Jose Felix Diaz for State Representative District 116.