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Rice Lashes Out at Moderator During Candidate Forum

Everett Rice responded to forum moderator Adam Smith, political editor for the Tampa Bay Times, which published an article prior to the forum describing Rice's supporters as a "veritable who's who of America's right-wing fringe - birthers, tax protesters,

Pinellas County Sheriff candidate Everett Rice had some harsh words for the moderator of a candidate forum Monday evening in Palm Harbor.

Adam Smithpolitical editor for the Tampa Bay Times, moderated the event which was hosted by the Council of North County Neighborhoods at East Lake United Methodist Church. 

Candidates running for Pinellas County Sheriff, County Commission and state offices participated in the forum.

The exchange between Rice and Smith happened near the end of the event, when sheriff candidates were on stage.

At one point, the discussion centered around a controversial organization called the "Oath Keepers," a group that is described by Wikipedia as law enforcement and military personnel who "resist actions taken by the U.S. government that overstep constitutional boundaries."

The Oath Keepers organization was mentioned in a Tampa Bay Times article about sheriff candidate Everett Rice that was published four days prior to Monday's forum. The article claimed Rice had signed an Oath Keepers pledge. The article also talked about Rice's political "allies and admirers" and called them a "veritable who's who of America's right-wing fringe - birthers, tax protesters, militia enthusiasts."

Smith angered Rice during the forum when he asked a question that suggested Rice might support beliefs of "birthers," a group of people who question President Barack Obama's citizenship. Birthers were also mentioned in the Tampa Bay Times article about Rice. 

Here's the exchange between Smith and Rice:

Adam Smith: "I gather you said you're not sure if Obama is a citizen. Is anybody else unconvinced that the President of the United States is a citizen? Raise your hand if you are confident President Barack Obama is a United States citizen."

Everett Rice (grabs microphone): "Adam, I'd like for you to say that question again and who you're directing it at. Did you say that I didn't think...(Rice stops talking mid-sentence when Smith speaks)"

Adam Smith: "That's what I read in the paper this week."

Everett Rice: "Well, your paper was wrong and I think if you'll go back and read your paper you'll see it never said that."

Adam Smith: "You're confident Barack Obama is not a United States citizen?"

Everett Rice: "Your reporter asked me if I thought the President's birth certificate was valid and I said, 'I don't know, it's not an issue with me, he's our President, let's move on'. And, how you or any other reader can convert that to me being a birther is asinine." (Rice supporters in audience applaud loudly)

Adam Smith: "Let me rephrase it, does anybody else have doubts that the President's birth certificate is valid?" (no one responds)

The exchanged ended and the forum continued without any more heated discussions. 

The at 6:30 p.m. July 17 at the Unitarian Universalists of Clearwater Octagon Arts Center, 2470 Nursery Road.

Patch.com is a co-sponsor along with Dunedin’s National Armed Services & Law Enforcement Memorial Museum and Bay News 9.

Candidates who appeared in Monday evening's forum include-

State Rep District 65        

  • Philip Tropea
  • Marg Baker
  • Tory Anthony Perfetti

County Commissioner at Large District 1 

  • Neil Brickfield
  • Janet C. Long

County Commissioner At Large District 3    

  • Nancy Bostock

Pinellas County Sheriff                  

  • Bob Gualtieri
  • Greg Pound
  • Everett Rice
  • Scott P. Swope

State Senator Dist 20      

  • Roy Zahid
Ron Gonzalez June 22, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Let's not forget that Adam Smith endorses Gualtieri in his bid to stay the Sheriff. In all fairness, Mr. Smith should disclose that to the citizens!! Don't you believe his columns will be slanted to favor Gualtieri who is "his pick"?
Ron Gonzalez June 22, 2012 at 07:28 PM
And Everett Rice has explained himself quite extensively on this issue. I'm glad he took the mic and made sure to set the "record" straight in this forum. I just wish the reporters would ask Gualtieri why he runs under the GOP "umbrella" when he doesn't abide by or believe in its basic core values. Gualtieri doesn't believe in God. He is agnostic. Bob Gualtieri is a "pro choice" advocate which is appalling the Republican canon.
T Rex June 22, 2012 at 08:22 PM
"White Rice" is pandering to every knuckle-dragging bigoted right-wing fringe group. "White Rice" is unfit to hold elective office. He is a would-be double-dipper whose time is past. He is a John Bircher and birther who does not have the moral guts to disavow his racist supporters. He is a candidate that Bishop Mitt Romney could be proud of.
rick barasso June 24, 2012 at 12:06 AM
I like the idea that our top sheriff does not believe in imaginary friends! And I think it's a good idea that the sheriff be involve with as few viginas as possible. If what you've said about BG is true, he just firmed up my vote. Which is hard to believe, as the worst Govenor in the country thought he was the best man for the job.

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