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Connie asks, where's Bill? Bill, sort of, answers

069On the last of a six-day bus tour through north and central Florida, Republican Connie Mack's refrain has been: "Where's Bill?"

"I'm not sure he's campaigning -- other than running negative ads trying to smear my character,'' Mack told about 20 supporters at the Donut Hole cafe in Destin on Thursday. "He doesn't have anything to offer the people of Florida." 

For an incumbent U.S. senator seeking re-election for the third time in a crucial swing state, the Democrat has kept a pretty low profile. His poll numbers are up. His campaign had eight times as much money in the bank as his competitor after the last reporting period. It's a strategy that's working.

Nelson's campaign has primarily featured television ads attacking Mack for his personal financial woes, his divorce, his hard-partying youth and attendance record in Congress. After the last reporting period on July 25, he had $8.8 million left in the bank compared to Mack's $1.3 million.

Mack, by contrast, has had to rely on third party organizations to pay for his ads and he has spent the last week in 17 cities talking to modest-sized crowds.

"Stay tuned,'' Mack argues, saying his internal polls show the numbers shifting his direction. He predicts there will be "$25 to $30 million" spent on his campaign before it's over and points to a new influsion of third party attack ads against Nelson. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, he said, is spending $2 million on ads this week in Florida and American Crossroads, a Super PAC founded by Republican political strategist Karl Rove, announced it is spending $1.8 million in Florida hitting Nelson's record on Medicare.

Mack also plans to campaign with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio on Monday in Miami, The Villages and Tampa.

As for where is Nelson, his campaign says he's been working and provided the highlights of his schedule this month:

Sept. 2 - New Covenant Baptist church ( official )
Sept 3 – Labor Day celebration in Plant City ( campaign )
Sept 4 – Democratic Convention in Charlotte, fundraiser, interviews including with WFLA’s Keith Cate ( campaign )
Sept 5 – Address to the Northwest Florida Military Association in Fort Walton Beach ( official )
Sept. 6 – Fundraising calls
Sept. 7 – Speak to Florida Citrus Mutual in Lakeland ( campaign )
Sept. 8 – Appearance with the President’s campaign in Central Florida ( campaign )
Sept. 9 – Appearance with President’s campaign in South Florida ( campaign )
Sept. 10 -  Senate in session in Washington ( official )
Sept. 11 – Senate in session in Washington ( official )
Sept. 12 – Senate in session in Washington ( official )
Sept. 13 – Senate in session in Washington, Neil Armstrong memorial service  ( official )
Sept. 14 – Fundraising ( campaign )
Sept. 15 – Campaign advisers meetings ( campaign )
Sept. 16 – Orlando campaign office
Sept. 17 -  Speech on voting rights at Florida State College in Jacksonville ( official )
Sept. 18 – Orlando campaign office ( campaign )
Sept. 19 – Senate in session in Washington ( official )
Sept. 20 – Senate in session in Washington ( official )
Sept. 21 -  Senate in session, speak to NAACP ( official )
Sept. 22 – Presided over Senate midnight to 1 a.m. ( official ); meeting with African-American leaders in Broward and Democratic in Broward and Dade ( campaign ); keynote speaker at the Puerto Rican Bar Association ( official )
Sept. 23 – Fundraising
Sept. 24 – DSCC fundraising event
Sept. 25 – Orlando campaign office
Sept. 26 – Campaign strategy meeting; fundraising calls
Sept. 27 - Al Gore lunch in Miami