On Wednesday, Rick Scott's Senate campaign and the Republican Party responded to an anti-Scott ad by arguing that a Miami doctor who attacks Scott "refuses to accept Medicaid patients" after railing against Scott's healthcare record in the 30-second TV spot paid for by a Democratic super PAC.
Turns out, they were wrong.
On Thursday, The Daily Caller, a conservative outlet, ran an article that parroted the attacks on Dr. David Woosley, a South Florida internist who works at Jackson Memorial Hospital and the Miami VA Medical Center. Their initial headline was "The Doctor in a Bill Nelson Medicaid-expansion ad doesn't accept Medicaid."
But The Daily Caller updated their article on Friday with a new headline and the following editor's note:
"The original published version of this article said Dr. David Woolsey himself does not accept Medicaid. While the Florida Department of Health states Jackson Memorial Hospital, the hospital where he practices, does not participate in Medicaid, the hospital clarified that it actually does accept patients on this program. Doctors are only permitted to accept insurance companies approved by the hospital or practice for which they work."
The new headline is completely different: "Doctor in a Bill Nelson ad tries to hammer Rick Scott's health care stance."
Scott's campaign initially aired the attack on Woosley in a press release on Wednesday, and the RNC followed suit on Thursday. The National Republican Senatorial Committee included the Daily Caller story in its weekly roundup of negative Senate news for Nelson.
Senate Majority PAC communications director Chris Hayden, whose PAC spent $2.6 million on the advertisement, said the Scott campaign responded to a negative advertisement by lying about a constituent.
"Dr. Woolsey treats patients with Medicaid at both of the hospitals he works at. He does not have a private practice," Hayden said in an email. "Florida's health care system is in a crisis and Governor Scott's response is to lie about a well-respected doctor. Governor Scott badly mismanaged Florida's health care system, and he should personally apologize for falsely attacking one of his constituents."
Scott is spending tens of millions of dollars in an attempt to oust Nelson, Florida's only statewide elected Democrat. National groups are also expected to spend millions on a Senate seat that could decide which party controls the upper chamber of Congress.
UPDATE: Scott's campaign says their initial release pointed out that Woosley doesn't accept Medicaid based on the Florida Department of Health's website.
"The release did NOT say that Jackson Memorial does not participate in Medicaid; it pointed out that this specific doctor has chosen not to participate," Scott spokesperson Kerri Wyland said in an email. "As a Florida doctor, he chooses whether or not to participate in the Medicaid program – with the knowledge that whatever answer he chooses will be publicly displayed for Floridians looking for healthcare professionals through the FLHealthSource webpage"
Watch the ad below: