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Congressman Jeff Flake's Attack Ad Against Opponent Rich Carmona Features Woman Who Exaggerated Her Resume for Nation's Top Health Adviser

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One of the latest political ads that's emerged in the fight for Arizona's U.S. Senate seat attacks Democrat Richard Carmona over an incident he says never happened.

Congressman Jeff Flake, the Republican running against Carmona, released a 30-second ad claiming Carmona has a temper and doesn't play well with women.

The piece features Cristina Beato, a Cuban immigrant who rose to the ranks of Acting Assistant Secretary of Health under President George W. Bush from 2003 to 2005 -- but wasn't confirmed to that post by the U.S. Senate amid questions that she wasn't truthful about her professional credentials.

See also: Democrat Rich Carmona Races Toward the U.S. Senate

In the ad, embedded at the bottom of this post, she accuses Carmona of pounding on her door around midnight and adds that's she's a single mom and "feared for children."

But Beato -- even though former colleagues have vouched for professional integrity -- has documented issues with credibility that taint the veracity of her account.

Carmona says the allegations are patently false.

Who to believe?

Well, there are two things we know for sure.

First, in 2004, the Washington Post published a story about Beato's tendency to exaggerate her education and professional credentials, citing that she "may not be considered for confirmation -- amid questions about whether she fabricated or inflated portions of her résumé."

In the article, even one of Beato's defenders admits that Beato stretched the truth in some cases. And it doesn't even mention Carmona, so it shouldn't be dismissed as an attempt to discredit her allegations against the U.S. Senate candidate.

Secondly, Beato never was confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Here is a portion of the problems Washington Post reporter Ceci Connolly found with Beato's resume and documented in her June 10, 2004 article.

[Beato] claims that she served as medical attache at the U.S. Embassy in Turkey, received a master's degree in public health from the University of Wisconsin, "established" an occupational health clinic at the University of New Mexico and published a scientific paper on inert gases.

 

At several institutions listed on Beato's résumé, officials said they could find no evidence of her service, while former colleagues at the University of New Mexico and an affiliated hospital in Albuquerque disputed assertions she made, saying at a minimum she had puffed up her role in several projects.

Former colleagues in Albuquerque were most surprised by Beato's assertions that she was "one of the principal leaders who revolutionized medical education in American universities by implementing the Problem Based Learning curriculum." The curriculum was developed while Beato was in medical school.

"That's an exaggeration," said Gary Rosenberg, chairman of the neurology department at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, the university's hospital system.

R. Philip Eaton, vice president of the medical center, said others initiated the program but Beato deserves credit for expanding it.

Under professional experience, she lists "medical consultant" at the Technical-Vocational Institute and Presbyterian Senior Health Spectrum in Albuquerque and a 12-year relationship with the Sheet Metal Workers in Washington. None of the organizations has any record on Beato, nor do officials at the State Department, who said they have never heard term "medical attache."

Under educational experience, Beato lists: "successful candidate, occupational medicine, MPH (master's of public health), University of Wisconsin, 1995." A university spokeswoman said the school does not offer such a degree.

Yet even Beato's friends said it appears that she gave herself extra credit on her résumé.

At the All Faiths Receiving Home in Albuquerque, Executive Director Steve Johnson praised Beato as a dedicated volunteer physician who provided basic care to the abused and neglected. But she was not the medical director, as her résumé states, he added.

William Wiese, director of the Institute for Public Health at the University of New Mexico, said it was inaccurate for Beato to say she had "established" the school's occupational health clinic. "The clinic existed before she was hired. There was another medical director before her," he said.

Similarly, he said, Beato's description of the clinic as "one-stop comprehensive care for 13,000 employees" is an exaggeration. But Wiese said Beato was a good administrator and teacher.

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