ORLANDO, Fla. — Jeff Greene reached out to fellow billionaire Warren Buffett to help defend himself against Florida Democratic Senate rival Kendrick Meek's attack ads.
Meek, a congressman from Miami, has been airing ads in which an announcer says, "Warren Buffett called Greene's scheme 'financial weapons of mass destruction.'"
The campaign called Warren's office and later e-mailed a link to Meek's ad to the legendary investor's assistant, Debbie Bosanek. Bosanek confirmed Tuesday she showed it to Buffett.
"He said, 'I have never spoken about Jeff Greene or any of his transactions in any way," Bosanek said.
An angry Greene said Meek is twisting the words of a well-respected, well-trusted individual to attack him.
"Kendrick Meek should run a commercial apologizing to Florida for lying," Greene said after meeting with a small group of senior citizens. "His campaign is based on deception."
The Meek campaign said it never claimed Buffett was talking specifically about Greene, but rather speaking in general about the types of investments Greene made.
Greene went from millionaire to billionaire status after correctly predicting the housing market would collapse and making investments that profited off the bubble burst.
"We've said Warren Buffett said it about credit default swaps and Jeff Greene invested in credit default swaps," said Abe Dyk, Meek's campaign manager.
He shot back that the Greene campaign is running ads stating that Meek is on a Washington watchdog group's list of "crooked candidates" even though Greene is also on the list. Greene was added to the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington's list after Meek was on the initial list released last month.
"It's grossly hypocritical for him to do that ad when he's on the list too," Dyk said.
Greene said he had no plans to take down the ad.
The winner of the Aug. 24 primary will face Gov. Charlie Crist, who is running as an independent, and Republican Marco Rubio. The race is to fill the seat Mel Martinez left early. Crist appointed his former chief of staff, George Lemieux, to fill Martinez' unexpired term.