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Republicans bash Crist for raising money off VA scandal

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Published:   |   Updated: May 23, 2014 at 03:51 PM

series of tweets

a link Affordable Care Act, thousands of veterans are left without health insurance -- Crist has used the state’s refusal to expand Medicaid as a campaign issue against Scott.

Another tweet included a map based on an Urban Institute report showing Florida with 41,000 uninsured veterans.

In another, Crist said, “This isn’t an issue of left versus right -- it’s a crisis that requires leadership. Join me:” and added a link to a campaign site that allows people to sign a petition for Medicaid expansion, and takes users to another campaign site with a fundraising pitch.

State GOP spokeswoman Susan Hepworth noted that in an email news release calling on VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign, Crist had implicitly criticized Gov. Rick Scott for politicizing the issue. Scott has also called for Shinseki to resign, and blames President Barack Obama for not firing him.

“If I were Governor, rather than using this moment as a political tool, I would take immediate action to employ any and all resources needed to make sure that our veterans here in Florida get the care that they need and deserve,” Crist said in that release.

Hepworth said, “Crist is exploiting veterans to raise a few bucks while Governor Scott is leading the charge against the VA’s unacceptable actions.

The Crist campaign said Scott’s the GOP criticism was meaningless because the petition was about Medicaid expansion, not the VA, and it’s common for campaign web sites to include fundraising links.

“No amount of phony, fraudulent outrage from partisan troublemakers like the Republican Party of Florida can get healthcare for the 41,000 plus veterans in Florida without it,” said spokesman Kevin Cate. “That was Rick Scott’s job, and he failed them.”

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