Super PAC spox says Ron DeSantis will use ‘his words’ during GOP presidential debate

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'There are laws that exist that would prevent direct coordination.'

Amid a flap over a strategy memo from Ron DeSantis’ Never Back Down super PAC, a spokesperson promises that the Governor’s words will be his own in Wednesday night’s GOP presidential debate.

“I can tell you this much. … Every word you’re going to hear tonight are directly his thoughts, his words and his actions,” said Erin Perrine on Wednesday’s “Fox & Friends.”

Perrine added that there “are laws that exist that would prevent direct coordination,” even though the super PAC “put out the advice.”

The Governor has had a uniquely symbiotic bond with his super PAC, which has sponsored multiple bus tours and events for DeSantis in early voting states. And the strategy memo proved to be controversial from the time reporters sleuthed it out.

It said DeSantis would go on the attack against President Joe Biden, the “media,” and two opponents who are threatening his position in opinion surveys.

“Hammer Vivek Ramaswamy in a response,” the memo compels. “Defend Donald Trump in absentia in response to a Chris Christie attack.”

Beyond those attacks, the memo urges DeSantis (referred to as “GRD”) to feint and redirect at times.

“When there is a core attack on GRD’s central candidacy (calling GRD a liberal, hitting veteran record, hitting conservative record), GRD should take the time, correct the record, and highlight the positive/dismiss the attacker if it’s a tier one candidate,” the memo reads.

“If it’s not a core attack but GRD’s name is invoked, GRD should take the response opportunity to pivot and take up time. GRD should ignore the weak attack, not even address it, and instead pivot to message and vision and name check Iowa, New Hampshire, etc. voters directly.”

The memo invokes Roger Ailes’ “Orchestra Pit Theory,” which contends the press will focus on “pictures, mistakes and attacks.”

“Potential Orchestra Pit Moments” include taking a “sledge-hammer to Vivek Ramaswamy,” the memo contends, calling him ‘Fake Vivek’ Or ‘Vivek the Fake.’”

The scripted response to Christie likewise seeks to undermine him: “Trump isn’t here so let’s just leave him alone. He’s too weak to defend himself here. We’re all running against him. I don’t think we want to join forces with someone on this stage who’s auditioning for a show on MSNBC.”

Meanwhile, the campaign released its own memo, suggesting an alternative strategy.

“Viewers at home will see the fighter who volunteered to serve our country and deployed to Iraq after 9/11, the father who wants to restore America’s promise to future generations for his children and theirs, and the champion of freedom who stood up time and again as Governor to defeat the Left,” wrote Campaign Manager James Uthmeier, in a memo first reported by Axios.

The campaign is “fully prepared for Governor DeSantis to be the center of attacks and on the receiving end of false, desperate charges from other candidates and the legacy media,” Uthmeier added. The “competitors have to go down this road,” he added, “because this is a two-man race for the Republican nomination.”

Addressing debate strategy during an interview this week, the Governor didn’t show his cards.

“Tell the truth,” DeSantis said during a pre-taped interview that ran Monday on Manchester, New Hampshire’s WGIR.

DeSantis slipped into the second person, saying the goal was to “let people know why you want to be President and how you’re going to fix the country.”

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


2 comments

  • Ocean Joe

    August 23, 2023 at 10:38 am

    This has got to be the most inept PAC ever. They keep harpooning their own guy.

  • TJC

    August 23, 2023 at 1:34 pm

    So Ron is going to use his words, great. Here they are: At the end of the day, you know, like, it’s the end of the day and you know, like they gotta do what they gotta do, I suppose, you know, you know what I mean, you do. I do.

Comments are closed.


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