The Florida Democratic Party says Attorney General Bill McCollum, a Republican candidate for governor, has targeted a sacred cow: Social Security.
In a press release Feb. 3, 2010, the state party said that when he was in Congress, McCollum "voted to dismantle Social Security."
That's a major charge. The Democrats are not simply saying he voted to reduce the program that provides income for millions of senior citizens, but alleging that he sought to tear it apart.
To back up the claim, the Democrats cited nine votes McCollum took related to Social Security in the 1990s. The McCollum campaign doesn't dispute the individual votes but disagrees with how they're being interpreted.
"Bill McCollum was always a supporter of Social Security, despite the attempts of Democrats to portray him (and every other Republican) as its enemy,'' wrote McCollum campaign spokeswoman Kristy Campbell in an e-mail.
We examined those votes and showed them to experts on Social Security. We then concluded the Democrats are distorting McCollum's votes and making an incorrect claim based on flimsy evidence.
Patricia Dilley, a University of Florida law professor who helped write Social Security legislation in the 1980s, said it was a stretch to describe the votes in such stark terms. "There is not a vote in here directly to dismantle Social Security,'' she said.
The Democrats cite these votes by McCollum to support their claim: More...