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Mayor Jerry Sanders unveiled a website today highlighting what he repeatedly called the hypocrisy of Steve Francis.

Speaking behind a placard that read: “‘Do as I say, not as I do.’ — Steve Francis”, the mayor criticized Francis for making the types of campaign donations that he is eschewing in this election cycle. The mayor pointed to more than $100,000 in donations that Francis and his wife, Gayle, have given to federal political campaigns.

“Were they a corrupting influence?” Sanders asked. “If so, why did he give them?”

And he raised questions about Francis’ campaign promise to raise $20 million from private donors to fund city projects if elected. Sanders said such a plan raised “serious ethical questions” about whether an elected official could solicit such donations.

Sanders characterized his remarks and the website as an attempt to set the record straight and not as a personal attack against Francis. Sanders said his remarks were not meant to be “mean-spirited.”

At the same time, he also called Francis “a world-class hypocrite.”

“Let’s not mince words here,” Sanders said. “Steve Francis is trying to buy this election.”

The mayor also offered a subtle plea to potential donors, telling the assembled reporters (and TV cameras) that “at $320 a contribution, it is really hard to raise the amount of money you need to be on TV.”

Sanders said he was unsure whether he would raise enough to finance any television commercials.

Francis is holding a 1 p.m. press conference at a hotel near the Sunroad building. We’ll have more later.

ROB DAVIS

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