Elections
FILE - In this Jan. 18, 2008, file photo, former Surgeon General Richard Carmona speaks during a news conference in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Harry Cabluck, file) FILE - In this Jan. 18, 2008, file photo, former Surgeon General Richard Carmona speaks during a news conference in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Harry Cabluck, file)  

Carmona’s former boss in new Flake ad: ‘He has issues with anger, with ethics, and with women’

Photo of Alexis Levinson
Alexis Levinson
Political Reporter

An old grudge is coming back to haunt Democrat Richard Carmona in his bid for Arizona’s Senate seat.

Republican Rep. Jeff Flake is going up with an ad Friday, running statewide, that features Carmona’s old boss Dr. Cristina Beato recounting harassment allegations she made against him in 2007 in private testimony before Congress.

Beato was Carmona’s boss from 2003 through 2005, when she was a deputy assistant secretary for health and he was Surgeon General under President George W. Bush. Carmona testified before Congress that the Bush administration had attempted to politicize his messages, undermining his public health goals.

Beato gave conflicting testimony. She also went after Carmona personally, according to Politico, calling him “extremely angry” and a “living nightmare.”

At the time, The New York Times reported that the two “clashed tremendously, both personally and professionally,” according to William Pierce, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services from 2001 to 2005.

The new ad from Flake’s campaign recounts one of the more unsettling allegations made by Beato.

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“There was an angry pounding on the door — in the middle of the night,” says a somber looking Beato, speaking directly to the camera. “I’m a single mom; I feared for my kids and for myself.”

“It was Richard Carmona, and I was his boss,” she said. “Carmona’s not what he seems. He has issues with anger, with ethics, and with women. I have testified to this under oath to Congress. Richard Carmona should never, ever, be in the U.S. Senate.”

Carmona has vehemently denied the allegations.

“It’s not true; it never happened,” said Carmona communications director Andy Barr. He added that Beato was “not a particularly credible person for the Flake campaign to be leaning on,” noting that she was accused of embellishing her resume, a fact which undermined her nomination as assistant secretary for health in 2004.

It was common knowledge that Carmona and Beato clashed, Barr said, but said it was about Beato’s attempts to politicize public health issues.

The ad is approved by Jeff Flake and paid for by the National Republican Senatorial Committee. It hits TV screens as Carmona appears to be gaining momentum in the race: A Public Policy Polling poll released last week found him leading Flake by two points, and an internal Democratic poll released Thursday found him ahead by four.

Flake’s campaign released internals showing the congressman up by 6 points. An internal poll conducted by GS Strategies for the National Republican Senatorial Committee found Flake leads Carmona by 6.4 points, 47.4 percent to 41 percent.

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