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Facts get pummeled in Nelson v. Mack debate

Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson held his own against challenger Republican U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV and Mack showed he can spar like a contender in a vigorous debate between the two candidates in Davie Wednesday night.

While it was the most drama we'll see in the race for months, there were casualties. Facts.

The good news is, PolitiFact Florida had covered much of this territory before, since the candidates relied on most of the same attacks they have lobbed in television ads for the past two months. Here's a run-down:

Mack: "Bill Nelson voted for higher taxes 150 times." PolitiFact ruling: False.

Nelson: Mack takes two homestead exemptions "directly contrary to Florida's Constitution." PolitiFact ruling: Mostly false.

Mack:  Nelson voted to cut $700 billion out of Medicare to pay for Obamacare. PolitiFact ruling: Mostly false.

Nelson: In 2012, Mack missed 178 votes, "one of the worst voting records" in Congress. PolitiFact ruling: mostly true.

After the debate, the slings kept flying. Nelson called Mack an extremist who is unlike his father, the former U.S. Sen. Connie Mack III, who "worked across the partisan divide with Sen. Bob Graham for bi-partisan solutions.

"What your’e seeing tonight is anything but that. It’s extremistm in the raw and, fortunately, that’s not where Florida is,'' Nelson said.

Mack countered,  “If anyone’s extreme in this race, it’s Sen. Nelson.’’

“This is an example of a desparate candidate who is willing to say and do anything to keep his job,’’ he said. “He’s a typical career politician.”

As for dismissing the rulings by PolitiFact and other organizations that have checked his claims throughout the campaign.

“You know that’s not true,’’ he said. “Just because a group calls themselves fact-checkers doesn’t mean its’ not right.’’