HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) During Friday's WMBF News This Week, 7th Congressional District Republican candidates Tom Rice and Andre Bauer let the mud fly, and at one point, even Anchor Michael Maely is hit with an accusation.
The noon show started with WMBF News Anchor Michael Maely sitting down with Horry County Council Chairman Tom Rice, but noticeably absent from the round table discussion was Former Lt. Governor Andre Bauer.
"We are scheduled to have Former Lt. Governor Andre Bauer, who has not yet arrived, but hopefully he'll be here soon," announced Maely to a live television audience at the beginning of the broadcast.
During the wait for Bauer's arrival, Maely and Rice began discussing the blatant negativity in the recent advertisements released by both Rice and Bauer.
"Well, I don't think we've been negative until now, but [Bauer's] been so relentless in throwing mud that, basically, I think he's just doing a shotgun of lies," claims Rice.
Maely addresses Rice's absent opponent by saying he would make all efforts to be fair in the display of information.
"This is going to be tricky," admits Maely. "I'll try and defend Andre [Bauer] as best I can to be fair."
With that, the conversation topic jumped to Rice being accused of being a "moderate," and he defended his previous comments by saying the quotes were taken out of context.
"Both of the times I was asked to compare myself to Senator DeMint," begins Rice, "and I agree with 99 percent of what Senator DeMint say and does, but, in truth, I am probably a little more moderate than him."
Television commercials were brought into the mix as Rice announced he was airing a new ad Friday afternoon. The commercial, which aired on WMBF News This Week, titled Bauer a "career politician who can't tell the truth," and claimed that Bauer raised "70% of his campaign donations from out-of-district special interest groups."
Fewer than three minutes from the ad's debut, Andre Bauer enters the WMBF News This Week studio as live cameras are rolling.
"Guess who came," says Bauer off screen as camera crews attempt to hand the Former Lt. Governor a microphone.
"Andre Bauer is here. I'm glad he made it in," states Maely. "We're talking about some of the [political] commercials," he adds as Bauer attached his mic to join the conversation.
Once the mic is clipped and the audio is on, the fireworks begin. Maely asks Rice to comment on the commercials airing with negative comments on his political career.
Rice responds, "Well, [Bauer] can go first cause I've been here for fifteen minutes."
Before Maely can turn to address Bauer, Rice's opponent explains why he has been absent and how he says he actually came to be on the show.
"Well, he's been here for 15 minutes because this is a debate I wasn't invited to. Which is interesting, because when we [were on WMBF News This Week] last Friday, there was no discussion that we would have another debate," expresses Bauer in his first on-air response.
Bauer continues, "I just happened to be riding down the road and my mom called me and said Mr. Rice was on TV talking about me."
Bauer goes on to express his interest in speaking at any debate, at any time, and claims that his missing the first half of Friday's program was an effort of "home cooking" so that one candidate gets all the air-time.
Maely jumps in to clarify and redirect the debate to the political issues most important to voters.
"I want to stick to the issues, but I do want to correct the record…I have a text message to you [Bauer] and you [Rice]. I say 'if I can get a last minute discussion with both of you, could you come'," Clarifies Maely. "And I got a response from [Bauer's] number, which said ‘yes, and I doubt [Rice] will come because [Rice] didn't show up at an event on Monday."
Again to clarify the confusion, Maely asks Bauer on live television if that was someone else on his telephone responding in his place.
"No, no, no. That was me, but you never confirmed that you actually wanted, oh, that's neither here nor there," Bauer states as he moves on to the issue of negative advertising.
In their closing remarks the candidates moved to issues such as jobs, tax increases, and political contributions. To see the complete segment of WMBF News this week, head to our video page.
The run-off election between Rice and Bauer will be Tuesday, June 26.
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