The three Republican candidates for U.S. House in district 25 did not reveal anything new when interviewed by Michael Putney this morning on WPLG ABC 10's This Morning in South Florida.
But, as expected, both Paul Crespo and Marili Cancio took the opportunity to hit State Rep. David Rivera, the GOP favorite, again.
"He has wrapped himself around the Cuban flag," Cancio said. "Yet he has taken an endorsement from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce [which supports lifting the embargo], so there is a lack of consistency between his acts and his words."
Rivera said that he got their support "because I cut taxes and I create jobs. They know my position on Cuba and if they don’t know it now they will know it when I am in Congress."
But Crespo challenged his budget record, saying he voted for increased spending by millions and increased fees across the board to motorists and then repeated his claim that Rivera's title as chairman of the local REC is a "conflict of interest" with the race and asked him again to resign. Crespo has repeatedly said that Rivera's campaign is unfairly and unethically benefiting from his chairmanship. Putney asked Rivera to give a reason why he didn't step down.
Asked Putney: "Why don't you?"
Rivera said there has been plenty of precedents -- including RPOF chairman John Thrasher and Sen. Mel Martinez who was chairman of the Republican National Committee -- but Crespo said Martinez did not serve during his campaign. (Still, is that the best reason you could come up with David? Precedent? You are doing it because you CAN? Not because you still have important work to do?).
Putney also showed a video of Crespo being asked to leave the REC candidate forum by West Miami Police Thursday night and called it "a civil exchange."
Said Crespo: "The police were summoned and sent to me to harass me and intimidate me and take me out of the room."
Rivera, who was speaking when Crespo was led from the room and said he had nothing to do with the involuntary police escort, said the REC fracas would not matter to voters.
"There were 100 people in that room. There are hundreds of thousands of voters here worried about losing their jobs, their homes," Rivera said.
Like good Reps, all three said they would vote against a new stimulus plan, extending unemployment benefits and any off-shore drilling ban. Rivera stuck to his "because we can" argument: "We can't ban off-shore drilling because other nations are doing it all around the world," he said. "So, if we are not doing it, someone else is going to be doing it." Cancio said that this was not a time to make an impulsive decision like that one: "We don’t know what happened. Right now a very emotional time we need to investigate what happened in the gulf before we make any decision. I'm against the Crist ban. It is politicizing something that is affecting our environment." Crespo wouldn't commit, but said the U.S. has "oil and gas reserves to last us 300 years" if we can tap into the off-limits areas like Alaska. "Part of the reason we are out in 500 feet of water is because these other areas are not open up to explore.
Like I said... absolutely nothing new.