There's one word Michael Schiavo gravitates toward in describing a new political ad set to air in South Carolina: "disgusting."
The 30-second, pro-Jeb Bush spot features a photo of Michael's late wife, Terri, who was in a persistent vegetative state for the last 15 years of her life. As the photo flashes on screen, a narrator touts Bush's credentials as a social conservative who "fought time and again for the right to life."
The ad was released by the pro-Bush super PAC "Right to Rise USA."
In 2005, Bush tried to order health care workers to replace Terri's feeding tube, despite Michael's belief his wife wouldn't want to live that way, and a court ruling in favor of removing her from life support. The tube was ultimately removed, but only after a protracted national spectacle.
"It is simply disgusting that Jeb Bush and his super Pac would exploit my wife’s tragedy for his crude political gain," Michael said in a statement published by the Tampa Bay Tribune. "Shame on Jeb Bush."
"Using his disgraceful intervention in our family’s private trauma to advance his political career shows that he has learned nothing," Michael continued. "He’s proud of the fact that he used the machinery of government to keep a person alive through extraordinary artificial means -- contrary to the orders of the court that were based on the courts determination, made over 6 years of litigation, that doing so would be against her wishes."
"What the campaign video shows is that if he ever got his hands on the power of government again, he would do the same thing again, maybe next time to your family."