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The national media is abuzz, again, about the possibility of Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., shaking up the Florida governor’s race.
Nelson has repeatedly said he has no plans to enter, but he hasn’t flatly ruled out a scenario in which he enters the race if Democratic front-runner Charlie Crist appears to flame out against Republican incumbent Gov. Rick Scott. A new poll has Crist and Scott tied with 42 percent of the vote, while other polls generally have shown Crist ahead.
On Wednesday at a luncheon with Daytona Beach business leaders, Nelson zinged Scott for rejecting high-speed rail financed by federal stimulus dollars and not pushing harder for billions of federal dollars to expand Medicaid to poor, uninsured residents.
"I think it’s not only a shame," Nelson said, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal. "I think it’s a moral abscess."
The speech generated headlines that Nelson was toying with the idea of running. That, in turn, spawned reaction from Scott’s campaign chairman, state Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine.
"His solutions are federally based solutions — not Florida-based solutions," Thrasher said in criticizing Nelson.
Why are we writing about any of this at PunditFact?
Because MSNBC’s Daily Rundown got it mixed up in a segment about the story featuring input from Chuck Todd from Seoul, South Korea, Tampa Bay Times political editor Adam Smith and fill-in host Kristen Welker.
After Smith noted a concern among Democrats that Crist "could wind up as a train wreck," Welker noted, "Crist’s campaign is actually responding, which is interesting. He says of Bill Nelson, or his campaign chairman says, ‘His solutions are federally based solutions — not Florida-based solutions.’ So Crist really feeling the heat here, pushing back. What do you make of that?"
A chart also wrongly referred to Thrasher as Crist’s campaign chairman. This is the same man who just this week released a statement saying, "We are very confident in our campaign to show Charlie Crist's failure as governor in contrast to Gov. Scott's record of job creation."
The segment prompted Crist adviser Kevin Cate to tweet, "Correction for @dailyrundown: @John_Thrasher is not our chair & we didn't bash Nelson. cc: @chucktodd @adamsmithtimes pic.twitter.com/149Etntdyq"
After we began reporting this item, MSNBC acknowledged its mistake:
MSNBC wrongly attached the words of Scott’s campaign chairman to the Crist campaign. Crist’s campaign chairman did not blast the prospect of Nelson entering the Florida governor’s race. Scott’s did.
We rate the claim Pants on Fire.
The Daily Rundown, April 25, 2014
Twitter post by Crist adviser Kevin Cate, April 25, 2014
Daytona Beach News-Journal, "Sen. Nelson ‘tempted’ to run for governor, doesn’t agree with state’s direction," April 23, 2014
News4Jax.com, "Sen. John Thrasher to chair Gov. Rick Scott's re-election campaign," Jan. 17, 2014
Interview with Danielle Lynn, MSNBC spokeswoman, April 25, 2014
Interview with Dan McLaughlin, Nelson spokesman, April 25, 2014
Interview with Kevin Cate, Crist spokesman, April 25, 2014
Tweet from @DailyRundown, April 25, 2014
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