The Corner

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Dems Really, Really Want Crist


From Lakeland’s Ledger:

With most of the national attention going to the primary to determine his likely opponent for the U.S. Senate race, Democratic frontrunner Kendrick Meek dismissed Republican Gov. Charlie Crist as being more interested in photo opportunities than governing.

Meek said he was not concerned with who emerged from the increasingly fractious primary between Crist and Marco Rubio. However, Meek said Friday that Crist did not work hard enough to be Florida’s next U.S. senator.

“The governor’s record speaks for itself,” Meek said Friday. “We all know about the governor as it relates to his one-meeting days, (but) there’s more to leadership than releasing sea turtles and showing up on 9-11 saying ‘We love firefighters.’ We all love firefighters.”

Meek portrayed himself as consistent on the biggest issues facing Congress recently – health care and the economic stimulus – taking a shot at both his Republican rivals for fighting over the stimulus plan that is hugely unpopular with their party’s base.

“Now people are talking about how (they) would’ve taken some of the stimulus, or individuals that supported the stimulus at one time, said they didn’t support the stimulus,” he said. “I’ve been consistent as it relates to the stimulus package. I think it was needed. And I think if anyone takes a close analysis of Florida … there would be a number of teachers at home watching Oprah if it wasn’t for the stimulus package saving teachers’ jobs in this state.”

Meek turned his attention quickly back to Crist, saying “He’s very vague. I believe he’s more politician than leader.”

“If any Floridian was to ask the governor, ‘How do you feel about health care?’ the governor’s response would be, ‘How do YOU feel about health care?’ ” Meek said.

Can you tell that Meek is hoping to use the “he’s more politician than leader” line against Crist this fall? I’d say. If Rubio wins, he’ll have to come up with something new. Then again, Crist may decide to quit the race, at least according to Joe Scarborough, the former Florida congressman turned MSNBC host. On Friday, Scarborough used his mother network as an analogy for the GOP primary: “I think we may have like a Jay Leno issue here, where Charlie Crist may quit his new gig — running for Senate — and may actually go back and run for governor again.” Crist, for now, has brushed off the rumor.