July 16, 2012 at 10:41 am
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) focused much of his speech at Saturday’s Jefferson Jackson Dinner on two 5-4 Supreme Court decisions—first, Citizens United, which he said will allow groups to “buy certain elections,” and second, the recently upheld health care law which he vowed to defend on the campaign trail.
Saturday’s event at the Westin Diplomat hotel gave Nelson a chance to blast the influx of cash flowing into Florida from third-party groups who, he said, “hide behind the 5-4 Supreme Court decision that allows unlimited money.”
“You take a race such as mine with an opponent the newspapers have said is flawed and yet who is raising very little money yet what we see is millions of dollars that are pouring in,” Nelson said during the dinner. “Outside of the Miami TV market $8 million of negative TV ads have been run against me. Karl Rove just reserved another $6 million coming up in the fall.”
Nelson told the gathering of Democrats that they would have to combat the influence of outside groups by being “smarter” and “more efficient.”
At a news conference before the dinner, Nelson vowed to defend his vote for the health care law during the campaign, saying he will talk to people about “why it is the best policy and why it is working,”
During the news conference and the dinner, Nelson talked about a recent town-hall meeting in northern Florida where constitutes said they wanted him to repeal the health care law. Nelson recalled asking the group which parts of the law they wanted to strike-down.
“What part would you like me to repeal? Would you like me to repeal the part that allows you to keep your kid on your family’s policy until they are 26? … Repeal the part that says your insurance company can’t cancel you in the middle of treatment? …. Repeal the part that says an insurance company cannot deny you coverage because you have a pre-existing condition?”
Nelson said that the town-hall participants were “stunned into silence.” While the Democratic incumbent acknowledged a majority of Florida voters oppose the health care law, he predicted that “the public perception will change as the public learns what the law is.”
Nelson promised the crowd that he and his wife, Grace, will fight for their interests as he heads into November.
“I can tell you that Grace and I decided that this was not the time to do anything but stay in the game and keep carrying the banner for the state of Florida,” he said electing cheers from the crowd.
The Jefferson Jackson Dinner drew an estimated 1,000 activists and raised about $750,000.