by Javier Manjarres
U.S. Senate candidate retired Col. Mike McCalister has been countering charges that he has intentionally misrepresented his military service to potential voters and supporters in the cause of his senatorial campaign. On several occasions, McCalister emphasized ‘Special Operations’ and ‘Black Ops’ as part of his military background, but there is increasing criticism from both former military officials that are questioning the veracity of McCalister claims and the true extent of his military service.
“I never served in combat,” McCalister said after speaking to the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club. “I accept responsibility if anything I have said has been misunderstood.”- (read more at Tampa Bay Online)
At the recent Florida Family Policy Council forum in Orlando, Florida, McCalister was questioned by reporters as to whether or not he had made the claim that he previously testified before Congress, but McCalister did not want to respond to questions that challenged whether he had ever provided Congressional testimony. The entire exchange was videoed by several reporters, and as McCalister attempted to exit the building and with cameras still rolling, Jason Sager, one of McCalister’s aides, attempted to run interference for McCalister and shield him from questions. More on Sager in a minute. (Video)
McCalister has often stated in his speeches that “we need to send another hard-charging Colonel to D.C. to help Allen West out.” On Friday, Congressman West was interviewed by Jimmy Cefalo on Miami’s 610 WIOD, and a caller asked West his thoughts about McCalister and the recent controversy surrounding him.
” He could put a lot of this to rest…Just show your DD 214.”- Congressman Allen West
A DD Form 214 document states a service member’s entire military record- the member’s duty stations, decorations and awards, and months of service in the armed forces.
But there are more questions are being raised about the campaign team that McCalister has assembled. Jason Sager, mentioned earlier, was himself a former candidate for U.S. Congress in 2010, and during that campaign, he had ‘suggested’ to then candidate Marco Rubio that if he wanted local Tea Party support, he would first need to come out and endorse his congressional campaign.
Sager actually bartered the support of the a local Tea Party group based in Citrus County to Rubio on the condition that Rubio would first endorse his candidacy. Sager ultimately failed in his congressional primary bid. The Citrus County Tea Party group actually stated that Sager was a ‘ray of sunshine’ and had won their support- but is old school political arm-twisting really a ‘ray of sunshine’ or a tactic that any Tea Party organization should embrace? As they say, sunshine is the best disinfectant…