Schiavo Role Dogs Randall Terry’s Political Campaign

Randall Terry, the far-right founder of the militant anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, was a key figure in the debate about Terri Schiavo in late 2004 and early 2005, orchestrating a full-scale media campaign, appearing regularly on national television, and meeting with Gov. Jeb Bush to urge him to intervene in various ways in the family dispute over end-of-life care. Terry, who once ran for Congress in New York State, decided next to run for Florida Senate against Jim King, a Republican who was recently president of the state Senate. As the Orlando Sentinel notes,

The two have crossed swords before. In 2005, when Terry lobbied state lawmakers to pass a bill to reinsert Schiavo’s feeding tube, King was one of nine Republican senators who helped block the bill. Terry singled out King, called him “Judas” and vowed that if Schiavo died, there would be “hell to pay.”

Now Terry is apparently seeking to present himself to primary voters as more moderate. He has posted several homemade videos to his campaign web site, in which he tells the camera that he has “mellowed out” in recent years. “What Jim King wishes is that this election was about Terri Schiavo, and it’s not,” Terry recently claimed.

Unfortunately, not all of Terry’s allies on the Right have gotten the message. Paul Schenck, executive director of the National Pro-Life Action Center, issued a press release condemning Gov. Jeb Bush for opposing Terry, saying, “Shame, shame on Jeb Bush for betraying the memory of Terri Schindler Schiavo by endorsing Jim King. As Senate president, King had the power to protect Terri, but for cynical political purposes he did not. Now Jeb Bush wants us to forget that King was largely responsible for Terri’s death.”