May 23, 2013 9:20 am
Updated: May 23, 2013 1:13 pm

Public affairs consultant says media needs to back off Ford

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TORONTO – A former political aide to mayoral candidate George Smitherman said Thursday that support is growing for Rob Ford amid allegations the mayor appears in a video smoking what appears to be crack cocaine.

Bruce Davis suggested the media is creating public sympathy for Ford by hounding him for answers.

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“When I talk to people out there, they have a lot of sympathy for the mayor,” Davis said. “They don’t have a lot of sympathy for people interrupting a press conference, or challenging him in the Tim Hortons drive-thru. That doesn’t go with Canadians.”

Appearing on Global News’  The Morning Show, Davis said reporters should back off and await a formal response from Ford.

“If you chase him to every Tim Hortons, if you play cat and mouse, if you exacerbate, if you turn up the heat, it will only make things worse,” he said. “Support is building for the mayor.”

The mayor has refused to comment on allegations by the Toronto Star and Gawker that he appears in the video beyond calling the allegations “ridiculous.”

Global News has not seen and cannot verify the authenticity of the video.

Ford’s former press secretary said Wednesday the mayor hasn’t handled the situation well. “He needs to say something. The silence is deafening right now,” Adrienne Batra said on The Morning Show. “He has created a vacuum and that vacuum is being filled by the likes of us and his political opposition.”

VIDEO: The alleged video has become an ‘elephant in the room’ at city hall. Jackson Proskow reports.

Davis agreed that Ford needs to respond formally to the allegations.

“He’s got to do it by the weekend,” he said. “He’s got to lance this boil.”

Davis suggested the mayor is unlikely to lose the support of his base.

“Ford Nation is very forgiving,” he said. “If he comes clean, whether the allegations are true or not, Ford Nation will be there for him.”

© 2013 Shaw Media

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