Former GOP Boss Zings Jeb and George

by Writer Team | March 20, 2005 9:45 pm

Former Florida Republican State Chairman Tom Slade’s claim to fame is that he was the key architect of making Florida a solid Republican state.

He also played a major role in getting Jeb Bush elected governor.

Now, however, the former state party chairman may be sorry he was so good at his job.

In a January interview with University of South Florida political scientist Darryl Paulson for an upcoming book on the state’s Republican Party, Slade said Gov. Bush lacks “the maturity … and wisdom” to be president.

Worse, he says, the governor’s rule in Florida is “dictatorial” in nature and that he isn’t prone to taking advice — problems that could hinder the Republican Party in general down the road.

Finally, he describes the Bush brothers as “arrogant as hell.”

But wait. The Tampa Tribune learned of the Paulson interview, and when it contacted Slade to inform him that his comments would be part of a story published by the newspaper, he changed his tune somewhat.

He told the Trib his comments about Bush’s maturity “referred not to his present opinion of Bush, but to the opinion he held earlier in Bush’s political career, after his loss in the 1994 governor’s race,” the paper reported.

Nowadays, Slade said, he’s of a different opinion.

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