Saturday, April 22, 2006

Harris Gaffe of the Week

From the Miami Herald:

U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris acknowledged Friday that a defense contractor angling for multimillion-dollar government contracts picked up the tab when they dined last year at a tony Washington restaurant.

When Mitchell Wade, the contractor who paid for dinner, pleaded guilty two months ago to donating illegally to her U.S. Senate campaign, Harris said she had paid for her own meal.

But Harris’ campaign released a statement Friday that acknowledged that she did not pay after all.


Her statement came in response to an Orlando Sentinel story that said Harris’ former campaign strategist said Wade picked up the $2,800 bill. Harris said Friday the bill was so high because Wade bought several expensive bottles of wine to take home.

She said she thought her campaign would “reimburse” Wade for her share. But she also said she did not think it would be appropriate to pay him back while he was under investigation.

“Just to resolve any questions, I have donated to a local Florida charity $100, which will more than adequately compensate for the cost of my beverage and appetizers,” she said. “It has always been my intent to conduct myself in an ethical manner, and I regret this oversight.”


Her supporters contend the latest scrape won’t sink Harris, who has rebuffed appeals from some members of her own party to exit the race.

Some Republicans think the former Florida elections chief is too divisive to beat Nelson, and poll numbers show her as much as 29 points behind.

“She’s an honest person, but she can be her own worst enemy,” said Stanley Tate of Miami, her campaign fundraising chairman. “Sometimes she can be naive about politics.”

She didn’t seem too naive about politics in 2000….

I think you have to go back to the days of Arizona governor Evan Mecham to find a politician with such an amazing propensity for self-destruction.