Sarasota, Florida (CNN) – Saturday marked the ninth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, typically a day when politics are put aside to honor the memory of those who died in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania.
But the somber nature of the day didn't prevent nearly 4,000 Florida Republicans from gathering in a Sarasota arena to assail President Obama and root for Democratic failure in the midterm elections.
“This election is nothing less than a referendum on our identity,” Senate candidate Marco Rubio said, using a well-worn line from his stump speech. “Do we want to continue to be exceptional or are we prepared to be like everybody else?”
Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Florida, roared against “amnesty” and called for English to be adopted as the country’s official language. “We are going to fire Pelosi and the rest of the them on Nov. 2,” he said.
Attorney General candidate Pam Bondi, who won her primary last month thanks in part to an endorsement from Sarah Palin, promised to move forward with a state lawsuit against President Obama’s health care law and “to fight for our state’s rights.”
Then there was Sarasota GOP chairman Joe Gruters, who brought the crowd to its feet when he shouted “Let’s fire Barack Obama in 2012!”
The overtly partisan rally, at which campaign stickers were handed out alongside barbecue sandwiches and $3 beers, was called “offensive” by the state’s firefighters union.
"On a day that should be spent remembering those we lost nine years ago today, including 343 FDNY members, and commemorating the brave service of our firefighters, police and first responders, it is disappointing that instead Rick Scott, Marco Rubio, and Pam Bondi are spending their day in a show of partisan attacks and name calling," said Gary Rainey, president of the Florida Professional Firefighters.
While each candidate took time to honor the dead, none shied away from outright attacks against the opposing party.
Asked about the criticism from the firefighters union before he took the stage, GOP gubernatorial nominee Rick Scott told CNN that the 9/11 anniversary “is a day to respect the individuals who lost their lives that day.” Pressed a second time about the political nature of the event, Scott repeated his answer.
Moments later, he took to the podium and railed against taxes, “government intrusion,” the Obamacare “disaster” and the stimulus bill.
“We are going to stop letting President Obama tell us how to live our lives, and we are going to take back the state for ourselves,” he said. “This country will be changed on Nov. 3.”
Janet Mixon, a small business owner who attended the rally, said the event struck the appropriate tone.
“9/11 brought the country together and reminded us of why we are so great,” said Mixon, also the president of a Manatee County Tea Party group. “We are fighting for those people who lost their lives, because we feel the country is being pulled in the wrong direction.”
Rick Scott, the reason to hate huge corporations.
As CEO, his company stole billions from Medicare by keeping 2 sets of books. How can the CEO not know that is going on? The company HCA/Columbia paid the largest fine in history. Rick Scott who should be in jail, is the GOP candidate for governor of Florida, using his golden parachute to fund his campaign.
So apparently Mr. Scott is not only a scumbag for politicizing 9/11, but he's also a liar. And if Ms. Mixon thinks that it was the appropriate tone, then she's just as bad. I was embarrassed and angered at the tone that was set at the rally. I was looking into the Tea Party, but if this is what they are about, then good riddance, the sooner the better.
Stay classy, Republicans.
Republicans caused the 9/11 they were in power and failed to stop it now they are rejoicing. Does that surprise any one? They love to see dead people that is why they were talking of death panels now they want to take away Health care. What happens if someone gets sick and has no means to a Doctor? That person is going to die and that is what they want. Taking away health care from the sick is a pure Death panel because the end result is death. I can't believe the people of Florida would listen to nonsense coming out of the extremists
The Republicans of today are sick human beings. They don't care about the human suffering that the American people suffer today. Barack Obama and his administration actually cares about America and its future.
Wern't the brave firefighters and first responders at 9/11 all a function of the "government" that they took the time today to express their HATE for?
And this is the best the repubs could put up. What an embarassment.
Leave it to the Republicans to assail a day of remembrance honoring those who perished in the attacks and those heroes who risked and gave their lives to save others by with a rally to push THEIR selfish agenda.
This should speak to many people who are considering a vote for the Republicans. They won't even put aside their verbal assaults to memorialize a national tragedy. It shows they only care about their own political positions and NOT what is best for the country and its average citizens.
When the dust settles in November these people's words will follow them into infamy. Ignorance and intolerance are not political platforms.
Listening to these comments makes me think of how Hitler sounded. The "we are exceptional" and "speak our language". Scott mentions stopping Obama from telling everyone what to do but that is exactly what the GOPers do everytime they open their pie holes.
Hypocrites, racists, bigots. We should send all these haters to the middle east and hook them up with their brethren the Taliban.
This isn't surprising since their majority won't even pay for first responders health coverage. Just another reason that proves they are scum below the scum. They are just disgusting.
It is a referendum. Socialist Democrats out in November and the Elite Socialist Czar leaves in 2012. What a bunch of losers that killed our country. It had to be planned surely Obama, Reid, Pelosi, and the rest of the Socialist aren't that inept. Yeah, they probably are just inept.
Oh, come on people! Can't you let go of your hate for ONE DAY?! This is disgusting.
I love this instead of coming together and remembering the victims of 9/11 he uses it to further his political agenda
I can only pray that the sick people on the right need to hope for success for Obama and America over Big Oil, Big Business, Big Wall Street and the republicans who are only for the rich! They just want a second try to ruin our country economically since the almost did the first time! The same policies that they proposes if they take control will bring America to its knees!? Sicko's!
Political hacks....the whole lot of them!!!!!!
I will vote NO to the Party of No.
The Republicans are disgusting! Do not let them get control of our government! The Republicans are a "HATE MACHINE"!
what a show of shame, what do you expect from Republicans? after all 9/11 was their making. It was a cover up for the economic ruins the brought our nation into, and a diversionary attack to hookwink Americans from knowing what mess Bush era Republicans landed us into. How would the Republicans not made politics of such sad events.
Foolish and narrow minded Americans are gambling with their fate in the event of another Republican admnistration. An Obama administration, though confused is prefered to another disaster in the hands of iliitrate and greedy republicans under the leadership of their tea bag Madam king maker – Sarah Palin.
Unbelieveable. FL GOP is no better than the slimy pastor that threathen to burn Qu'rans. I hope they pay for this at the ballot box in November.
Republicans the the muslims haters they egged on in NY really show their true colors this 9-11 while claiming to be more "American" than others.
Disgraceful. and just plain Pathetic.
You gotta hand it to Rick Scott. He's proven you don't have to be a lipstick-wearing, moose-eating mama grizzly to carry off a stunt like this, or even a semi-albino Mormon. You can be a grafting crook who looks like he should be wearing a prophylactic over his head and cheapen the day just as much.
Yes Yes Yes, conservatives are coming together. Oh by the way, Governor Palin never said she could see Russia from her house, that was said by Tina Fey when she was doing her impression of Governor Palin and the idiotic lame brained limp wristed pink panty wearing liberal males sent out messages that Governor Palin said it. Gotta love how the sheep follow abc,cbs and PMSnbc.
One wonders about these liberals ... On the one hand the site is not sacred... on the other a rally thousands of miles away is offensive. Can anyone keep up with them?