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Bloody Democratic primary looms in race to replace Ros-Lehtinen

David Richardson

Democrats believe they have a good shot to claim an extra seat in Congress this November as U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen prepares to retire.

But it also appears increasingly likely that the party's nominee will head into the general election bloodied and bruised.

Foreshadowing a long and contentious primary for the Miami congressional seat, state Rep. David Richardson is launching two commercials Tuesday (here and here) that promote his record in the Florida Legislature and attack former University of Miami president Donna Shalala over her stance on healthcare. The ads — the first on TV from any Democratic candidate in the race not named Shalala — tout Richardson's advocacy for Medicare for all and contrast that with a 2007 clip from a Shalala appearance on the Colbert Report in which she said she didn't support universal healthcare.

"You're not one of those universal healthcare people are you?" asks Stephen Colbert, at the time running shtick as a faux conservative on Comedy Central.

"No, actually I'm not," responded Shalala, who was Health and Human Services secretary in the 1990s when the Clintons tried to pass the Health Security Act.

Richardson's campaign says he' s putting more than $100,000 into the commercials. The spots begin airing only days after Shalala accused him of misrepresenting her stance in favor of universal healthcare as late-evolving.

"I've been for it. It's on my website," Shalala said during a debate Saturday at the University of Miami. "Let me remind you, what I’ve also said is Medicare has to be enhanced before we do it for all. It doesn’t have long-term care, it does not have dental benefits and it doesn’t have eyeglass care. I want universal healthcare and enhanced Medicare for all."

To read the rest, click here.

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