McBride's only criticism is Bush
Published: Sunday, September 1, 2002 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, August 31, 2002 at 11:21 p.m.
Bill McBride told a crowd of Alachua County union workers Saturday morning that Jeb Bush's campaign ads attacking him instead of other Democratic candidates show the Republican governor doesn't want to face him in the November gubernatorial election.
"He's trying to pick our candidate. We won't let him do it," McBride told a crowd of about 300 during the North Central Florida Central Labor Council's annual Labor Day breakfast.
McBride, who has been endorsed by the AFL-CIO and the Florida Education Association, focused his criticism on Bush instead of Janet Reno and Sen. Daryl Jones, his challengers on Sept. 10 for the Democratic nomination for governor.
He joked that a Bush-sponsored commercial featuring a pair of tap- dancing feet has worked in his favor.
"It's really helped me with name recognition," he said.
According to The Associated Press, opinion polls to be released this weekend are expected to show McBride closing in on or surpassing Reno's lead. An early June poll showed Reno leading 53 percent to 25 percent over McBride.
McBride said Bush promised to improve public schools and the Department of Children and Families during his 1998 campaign, but has failed at both.
McBride also said Bush has ignored Florida's working class.
McBride said after the rally that local residents have told him they favor U.S. Sen. Bob Graham's plan to restructure how Florida universities are governed.
Should the voters pass the amendment, new boards of trustees would be selected at each university and a statewide governing board would be created for universities that the Legislature could not dissolve
"There's a lot of resentment for the current board structure the governor put in. They just think it's not a good system for Florida," McBride said.
The breakfast gave other Labor Council-endorsed candidates for local offices the chance to give speeches and mingle with the crowd.
"Labor Day is right before the election. It's an extra push to get the campaign workers motivated," said the area's council's president Tom Summers.
Ashley Rowland can be reached at 374-5095 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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