In a jarring campaign ad for Jeff Flake's U.S. Senate campaign, Dr. Cristina Beato alleges that, when he worked under her as Bush's Surgeon General, Flake opponent Democrat Richard Carmona angrily pounded on her front door during the middle of the night on one occasion. As a "single mom," Beato told viewers, "I feared for my kids and myself." Carmona "has issues with anger, with ethics, and with women," she added.
This charge -- leveled in a November 2007 interview with majority and minority counsels for the House Oversight Committee --is, if true, very troubling. So how is MSNBC -- the network most obsessed with the GOP's supposed "war on women" -- reacting to the explosive charges? By bemoaning how nasty the Flake campaign is by running the ad, of course. From the October 15 edition of MSNBC's Jansing & Co.:
CHRIS JANSING, host: I've never seen an ad quite like the one we just looked at, but is there an indication that it's moving the needle?
MARK MURRAY, NBC News senior political editor: It's a brutal ad, and sometimes these actually do move the needle, particularly in a state like Arizona that isn't seeing a whole lot of presidential ads, and also, voters in Arizona don't probably know a whole lot about both Jeff Flake and Richard Carmona. So, it could move the needle, but I'm most interested in why Flake is actually running this ad in this state. It shows that this is a jump-ball race, Chris.
On Friday's Daily Rundown, host tagged the ad as the Flake dropping a "nuclear bomb" with their "brutal" ad in "what is now the nastiest Senate race in the country."
Back in May, Politico reported on Beato's allegations, which go back to 2007 (emphasis mine):
Richard Carmona, the former U.S. surgeon general now running as a Democrat in Arizona for a Senate seat, made national headlines in 2007 when he told Congress that the Bush administration had improperly interfered in public health decisions for purely political reasons.
But behind the scenes, his former boss Cristina Beato — a onetime supporter turned bitter enemy — was painting a very different picture of Carmona for House investigators, alleging that an angry Carmona twice banged on her door and yelled at her in the middle of the night after workplace disputes.
Beato gave her testimony in secret in 2007, saying Carmona was an “extremely angry” person, a “living nightmare” to work with, had trouble working for a female supervisor and abused travel privileges by improperly billing taxpayers for some personal expenses, according to the testimony. When POLITICO contacted Beato recently, she confirmed her testimony and reiterated her accusations on the record, five years after she originally gave them to the House committee.
The Oversight and Government Reform Committee did not issue a final report on its investigation into the surgeon general’s office under the Bush White House, and Beato’s testimony had been kept private until POLITICO obtained the documents.
Carmona declined several interview requests for this story, but campaign aides furiously denied the allegations and sought to undermine Beato’s credibility, pointing to past allegations that she lied on her résumé. A number of Carmona allies also contacted POLITICO to praise him and question Beato’s integrity and competence while at HHS.
Beato’s most eye-opening accusation involves two incidents in which she says Carmona banged on her door at her house in the middle of the night, screaming at her over issues the two disagreed on. Beato, a single mother with two children, said she refused to open the door because she was frightened of his behavior. The two lived in the same neighborhood on the National Institutes of Health campus at the time.
Remember, Beato did not come forward to resurrect her complaint, Politico unearthed it and she confirmed it after they asked her.
For his part, Hardball Chris Matthews conducted an interview via satellite with Carmona on October 9, two days before the explosive ad but nearly five months subsequent to Politico's reporting on the allegation. Matthews, naturally, did not ask Carmona about the charge, let alone any tough questions at all.
Indeed, Matthews gushed that should Carmona win -- even if Obama should be "blown out" in November -- that he'd be a figure to be watched in the Senate "for years and years."
Yes, the ad is highly-charged, because the nature of the allegation is so. But the underlying issue remains: If Beato is telling the God's honest truth, that seriously casts doubts on Carmona's temperament, which is a legitimate campaign issue.
A network supposedly concerned with looking out for the interests of the American woman should understand that.