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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Bush-Era Feud Plays Out in Senate Ad in Arizona


In perhaps no race has the Bush administration played a bigger role than the Arizona Senate contest, where a new attack features a former health official accusing Richard Carmona of severe anger issues.

In a new ad for Representative Jeff Flake, a Republican in a tight race for the open seat, Cristina V. Beato recounts hearing “a pounding on my door, in the middle of the night.”

“I feared for my kids and my self. It was Richard Carmona,” continues Ms. Beato, a former acting assistant secretary of health who was Mr. Carmona's boss when he was surgeon general under President George W. Bush.

“He has issues with anger, with women, and with ethics,” Ms . Beato says, ultimately concluding. “Richard Carmona should never, ever be in the U.S. Senate.”

Mr. Carmona's campaign manager, Alexis Tameron, called the accusation “completely false.”

“Congressman Flake's decision to run this false ad is deplorable and shows how desperate he is,” Ms. Tameron said, in a statement.

The Flake campaign said the spot is running on broadcast and cable television, with a Spanish-language version on Telemundo and Univision.

It's not the first time Mr. Carmona's clashes with members of the Bush administration have become an issue in the campaign. In fact, one of the reasons Democrats worked to recruit Mr. Carmona was because he accused the White House of blocking him from speaking about stem cell research and sex education for political reasons.

Ms. Beato rejected his claims when the House investigated in 2007, and she gave secret testimony that year accusing him of the angry visit to her home. She also ac cused him of taking too many government-funded trips during his tenure, a charge his campaign rejected when the issue flared up again in May.

On Thursday, Mr. Carmona's campaign referred to their longstanding feud.

“It's no secret that Dr. Carmona pushed back on her attempts to spin science for political gain,” said Ms. Tameron, “but this accusation is a work of fiction.”

Ms. Beato's secret 2007 testimony was first reported in May by Politico.