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WATCH: Commentators: Latest Gun Scandal Is a "Big Black Eye" for Adam Putnam

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A new Tampa Bay Times report examining the Department of Agriculture's years-long mismanagement of Florida's concealed carry system is threatening to derail Adam Putnam's gubernatorial candidacy — and raising critical questions about his fitness for higher office.

During a panel discussion on WPLG ABC 10 Miami's "This Week in South Florida," commentators and journalists noted that Putnam created a culture of incompetence at the Department of Agriculture — and then tried to hide it from the public. WPLG's Michael Putney said that Putnam's mismanagement of the concealed carry system "does not reflect well on his ability to be chief executive officer of the state of Florida." Sun Sentinel Editorial page editor Rosemary O'Hara went further saying that Putnam's lack of "oversight and the kind of process in place" is "a big black eye on him." And The Miami Herald's David Smiley and WPLG's Glenna Millberg questioned why Putnam decided to "cover-up" the scandals at his department instead of disclosing them to the public.

 

TRANSCRIPT:

Michael Putney, WPLG ABC Miami: We've got new information this week about Adam Putnam. The Tampa Bay Times wrote another story that seems to indicate that his management of the office in which concealed weapons permits were issued — that the management just was simply not very good and that does not reflect well on his ability to be chief executive officer of the state of Florida.

Rosemary O'Hara, Sun Sentinel Editorial Page Editor: Right, Adam Putnam continues to be the frontrunner, the establishment candidate in the Republican race. But he is taking some hits rightfully so. He dismissed the first report about failing to review the results of background checks, saying it was just one person's responsibility and they've been fired. Now we find out because of added reporting that that wasn't the whole story, that there was really a culture in his office of those responsible — for such an important part of what his office does, and something that he's running on, the fact that there is like 1.8 million concealed weapons [permits] — that there wasn't oversight and the kind of process in place is a big black eye on him.

Glenna Millberg, WPLG ABC 10 Miami: And that process is going on even before he became head of that office. but it seems like at this point it almost, you know, the cover-up is worse than the crime. The fact that it just hadn't ever been made public is almost more troubling, is it not?

David Smiley, The Miami Herald: He could have totally diminished the role that this is playing in the election simply by releasing the audit when it came out. Politicians do that all the time. They dish dirt on themselves because it makes sense to get it out now instead of letting it hit them when it's much worse. He played it the wrong way.

Marlon Hill, Attorney: You can't mess with transparency and disclosure. He missed the ball on that.