TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Supporters who have become a little too ardent have forced Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to trademark his name so it won't be used by a group that has launched personal attacks against potential Bush opponent Janet Reno.
Americans for Jeb Bush have sent out fund-raising letters and articles questioning the former attorney general's sex life, calling her term as a Miami prosecutor "possibly perverse," and holding her responsible for Sept. 11 attacks by not pursuing prosecutions of Arab terrorists.
Bush told the political action committee on Thursday to stop using his name to raise money, saying the personal and political attacks are not what his campaign is about.
"This is what's sick about politics," Bush said.
"We're going to do whatever we can to stop them," he added. "It's just one of these scams that misrepresents my views and attacks my opponent. It's not my campaign."
The governor wrote Republican state Rep. Gus Barreiro, chairman of the PAC, saying "there is no room in this election for the kind of rhetoric."
He asked Barreiro to "repudiate this mailing forcefully, publicly and immediately."
Barreiro said he will sit down and talk with the governor.
"I value his opinion. I would consider anything that he has to say.... Ultimately, all we're doing is trying to help the governor get re-elected," he said.
Barreiro acknowledged that candidates' sex lives are not germane to the campaign, but the 2001 Insight article enclosed with the fund-raising solicitation made the suggestions.
"I can't change the article," he said.
Reno was unavailable for comment Thursday, but campaign spokeswoman Nicole Harburger said Reno wouldn't "engage in spiteful attacks."
Bush campaign lawyer Ben Ginsberg said the Bush campaign filed trademark applications Thursday to limit the use of Bush's name. Bush said he doesn't like third party groups jumping into the campaign fray and anticipated groups would attack him as well.
"I guarantee you all these third-party groups are going to be on me like ugly on an ape.... And I don't like it," Bush said. "I don't like it when it's against somebody else; I don't like it when it's against me."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.