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Tags: Marco Rubio

No, Really: Charlie Crist’s Campaign Now Pitching Him as the ‘Honest’ and ‘Loyal’ Candidate



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The Charlie Crist for Senate campaign offers a video, in which folks are asked to describe the Republican-turned-independent candidate in a word. The first two words are “honest” and “loyal.”

The guy broke an explicit, definitive, Shermanesque pledge that he would run as a Republican, made on national television.

He pledged to support the GOP candidate for Senate.

Words don’t mean anything anymore, do they?

Tags: Charlie Crist , Marco Rubio

Rubio: Federal Spill Response Has ‘Created a Level of Extraordinary Frustration that Is Reaching a Boiling Point in Florida.’



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I mentioned some of these comments yesterday, but here is a video and transcript of GOP Senate candidate Marco Rubio describing the frustration among Florida residents as they watch more and more of their beaches become endangered by the Gulf spill:

. . . Clearly British Petroleum is responsible for the spill, but the federal government is responsible for the cleanup, and the fiasco that that effort has been. 

They’ve been slow, they’ve been ineffective, they’ve been  bureaucratic, and the evidence is that as of yesterday, real oil is now starting to wash up on our beaches, and let me tell you why that’s an outrage. 

Number one, northwest Florida, which is the area being affected now, these are some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and some of the best fishing in the world. It’s an economic engine. People have made their living off of fishing and the beaches for decades. But it’s also a way of life, and people in Florida have grown up creating family memories by fishing and going out on the ocean and taking the family to the beach. All of that is being ruined, perhaps for a generation, because of what’s happened.

This is the most powerful country in the world, in the history of the world. You would think that at this point we would have every skimmer on the planet earth working on the Gulf Coast. The response has been lackadaisical and incomprehensible and unacceptable. The bureaucracy, the red tape, the lack of resources — all of these things have really created a level of extraordinary frustration that is reaching a boiling point in Florida, as it has already in Louisiana. So, we’re watching that very closely. 

Of course, there was some time for some lighter topics:

Me: One last thing. The last time I spoke to you, when you came to National Review, last summer you said you had faith in Chad Pennington . . . What were you thinking? Do you regret that decision?

Rubio: I don’t! He got hurt!

Me: And can your campaign overcome this?

Rubio: Hey, listen, it opened the door for Chad Henne, and now, you know, Chad Pennington is still the third-string quarterback for the Dolphins which is a pretty good third-stringer to have.

Me: That’s true.

Rubio: Probably the best backup quarterback in the NFL. 

Me: The best backup backup quarterback.

Rubio: Our second-string guy, Tyler Thigpen, is a really good player. People don’t know a lot about him. He’s a really athletic guy.

Me: He survived Kansas City!

Rubio: He did well in Kansas City, people forget that! He had a dysfunctional team, and had like, four 300-yard games.

(I like Chad Pennington a great deal, but note that he seems to suffer a career-threatening injury biannually and that he ought to have one of those buy-six-get-one-free sandwich cards for his orthopedic surgeon.)

Tags: Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio on Scrapping Obamacare, the Video and Transcript



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Apparently my item from earlier is causing the Rubio campaign some heartburn; Talking Points Memo argues he’s contradicting earlier pledges to scrap Obamacare, and Ramesh contends his position is confused.

Here’s what Rubio said, in video and transcript form:

Marco Rubio: Obamacare should be repealed. It’s going to bankrupt America. It adds two and a half trillion dollars to our debt in the long term. . . . I think it’s going to incentivize employers to pay the fine and get people off of employer-sponsored health care onto these exchanges that are going to be subsidized by taxpayers. I think it’s going to increase the number of people on Medicaid, which is only going to add to the fiscal strain on states and on the federal government. There are better solutions for health care than what’s been passed. So I think there are a couple of things that stand on their own that people like, like the pre-existing condition clause, I think there’s widespread support for. The idea that people up to the age of 26 should be allowed to stay on their parents’ insurance plan, has widespread support. But beyond that, I think the bill should be scrapped and replaced with much better ideas like allowing individuals to have the same tax benefit as their employer does, so that they can go out and buy insurance from the individual market . . .

Matt Lewis: So you wouldn’t scrap the ability for insurance agents — you said there were to — you wouldn’t scrap pre-existing conditions, you would keep that in?

Marco Rubio: Yeah, and I think there’s broad support for that, Republicans and the American public support that. And I think there’s support for the idea that 26 years old — up to age 26 years of age should be allowed to buy into their parents’ insurance plan. Beyond that, I think Obamacare is unaffordable. It should be scrapped in favor of changes to the tax code to allow individuals to have the same tax benefit their employer has when they buy their insurance, that allow small businesses to join up with other small businesses and create buying pools that can buy insurance across state markets. These are the kinds of innovations that I think would go a long way towards insuring more people and cost a lot less money. So I think we need get rid of these other provisions of Obamacare completely and replace them with these simpler, cheaper, better ideas.

I suppose a lot of this comes down to how you characterize “beyond that, I think the bill should be scrapped.”

Tags: Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio: ‘I’m running against two Democrats, but only one admits he’s a Democrat.’



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More from my afternoon chat with Marco Rubio, Republican candidate for Senate in Florida.

“BP is responsible for the spill, but the feds are responsible for the response to the spill, and it has been a fiasco — slow, ineffective, bureaucratic. As of yesterday there is real oil coming up on our beaches in northwest Florida, and this is a disaster. These are some of most beautiful beaches in the world, and one of the best spots for fishing. People make their livings on that coast, and beyond that, it’s a way of life . . .”

“Compared to Louisiana, where Jindal is constantly pressuring the feds, [rival for the Senate seat, Gov. Charlie] Crist said Obama is doing a good job. But the evidence is that he’s not doing a job; the situation is getting worse, not getting better. You would think every oil skimmer on planet would be out there right now. . . . You talk to local officials in Florida, they say the federal response is bureaucratic, late, nobody’s happy with the response. . . . Crist is good with photo ops and walks on the beach with the president, but the governor’s not doing enough to pressure Washington to do everything it can.”

“I don’t think president had any choice but to accept the resignation of General McChrystal. I haven’t heard much debate on that point. But the bigger question is whether it’s being prosecuted effectively. Can this war be won given the rules of engagement that this administration has imposed on the military and this artificial timeline? I think this whole episode revealed a level of disorder within the war effort.”

“Florida Republicans didn’t know they had a choice. As they learned they had a choice, and then in larger and larger numbers chose me. There are still a lot of Floridians who don’t know much about me. They know the race is between a guy who has running for office for 10 years, a Democrat, and there’s a Republican, and right now, they don’t know much about the Republican. . . . This is a race between a guy with good ideas, a guy with bad ideas, and a guy with no ideas. . . . I’m running against two Democrats, but only one admits he’s a Democrat. That’s what this race has become, an effort by the liberal establishment across the country to hold onto a yes vote. . . . He’s the Manchurian Democrat.”

For those worried about Rubio’s recent “meh” polling numbers, it’s worth noting that his campaign hasn’t been running television advertising in May or June. Also, an interesting comment from a Rubio aide, about the challenge of running in a state with so many distinct and separate media markets: “You can have a killer day in Tampa, and Orlando never hears about it.”

Video will appear here in the not-too-distant future, as soon as I can cut down the 30-some minutes or so into something bite-sized . . .

Tags: Charlie Crist , Marco Rubio

The Two Parts of Health-Care Reform Marco Rubio Likes



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I’m with a small group of reporters in a D.C. coffee shop, chatting with Florida Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio. He just mentioned that there are two parts within the Obamacare legislation that he doesn’t want repealed.* The first is the ban on insurance companies denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, and the second is that he thinks that children up to age 26 should be allowed to “buy into” their parents’ coverage.

Other bits from our chat: 

“The reaction to the oil spill shows the federal government isn’t just broke, it’s broken.”

“You would think that by now we would have every skimmer on the face of the earth working in the Gulf coast.”

“There’s a sense in America that we’re the only country on the planet that’s afraid to enforce our border laws.”

“Arizona has a 10th Amendment right to provide for the security of its residents.”

“If you want to stop more Arizona-style laws in other states, secure the border . . . I think the lawsuit against Arizona will fail.”

Rubio, on his rise, lists Jim DeMint, Mike Pence, and “the fact that National Review put me on the cover was a big deal.”

* UPDATE: Team Rubio seeks to clarify:

Marco believes the health care law should be repealed — all of it. And in its place, we should adopt common sense reforms for which broad agreement exists. Some of these ideas were lumped in with the monstrosity of the final bill. He outlined those today. They were the same ones included in Republican alternatives, including the Coburn plan, which Marco highlighted at the time as a good piece of legislation.

Tags: Marco Rubio

More Reasons It’s Too Early to Worry About Rubio



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A pro-Rubio Republican watching the Florida Senate race offers some more reasons why it’s too early to panic about Charlie Crist’s lead in recent polling.

Rubio’s positions are still favored by the majority of Floridians: According to the Quinnipiac Poll, President Obama’s approval rating is 40-54 . . . Floridians want a check-and-balance above all else in the Senate, not someone who is flip-flopping to get in line with Obama or someone else who votes 98% of the time with Speaker Pelosi. Floridians still oppose ObamaCare and are concerned about the out-of-control spending and mounting debt crisis. The Florida unemployment rate is still one of the highest in the country and more and more people believe the stimulus was actually harmful to the country . . .

. . . While they don’t get as much attention as polls, the Rubio camp is taking strong steps to prepare for the fall. It’s built a pretty expansive field team that is actively identifying supporters/volunteers and the state party is building a strong organization to get out the vote. The Rubio campaign also has the added benefit of a grassroots trial run in August for the Republican primary. That will pay dividends in the fall . . .

. . . We have seen this before: Conventional wisdom this time last year was that Crist had this in the bag . . . Your fourth point was right. How long can someone sustain the image of a flip-flopper? And these are transparent flip-flops whether it be on abortion, gay adoption, Cuba and so forth. For every flip-flop he makes in order to align more closely with Obama, he is angering key constituencies at the same time . . .

Crist still hasn’t answered a critical question of why he wants to be a U.S. Senator. No one knows why Charlie Crist wants to be a U.S. Senator. Part of why Republicans rejected Crist in the primary is that there was no rationale beyond. “I can win.” In this election cycle, that is the worst rationale.

On that last point, a reader spots a Crist web ad that touts the fact . . . that he leads in polls. Not leads the state, just that he leads in polls.

'Charlie Crist Leads in Florida Senate Race.'

Tags: Charlie Crist , Marco Rubio

Why I’m Not Worried About Marco Rubio, Yet



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Lots of readers are looking at new polls in Florida and getting worried about Marco Rubio. I’m not, yet. I’d like to see Rubio leading, obviously, but a couple of things are jumping out at me in recent polling.

1. Democrats are wavering between Crist and Meek. Until April, Kendrick Meek was above 20 percent in a three-way matchup; since then, the bottom has fallen out; in the last four, he’s hit 15, 17, 15, and 14 percent.

This is an astonishingly low level for a major-party candidate in a competitive state. By contrast, Katherine Harris’s disaster of a Senate campaign won 38 percent in a two-way race, in a year when the words “Florida Republican” made people think of Mark Foley.

With one exception, when Meek is ahead of 20 percent, Rubio leads; when Meek is in the teens, Crist leads. 

I have a tough time believing that Meek will not A) win the Democratic primary against Jeff Greene and B) remain in the race until the end. Yes, Meek is barely ahead in the Democratic primary, and Greene is spending a bundle. If Greene manages to spend his way to the Democratic nomination, we’ll have to rethink this; if the Democrats, in a swing state, are represented by a real-estate billionaire who hangs with Heidi Fleiss and Mike Tyson, it is possible that the Democrat’s final percentage on Election Day will be in the neighborhood of Meek’s current puny total.

Presuming the race is Rubio vs. Crist vs. Meek, will most of Florida’s Democrats disagree with Pennsylvania’s Democrats, and vote for the guy who they were rooting against just four years ago? I think a decent number of “Crist Democrats” will come home to Meek.

2. Charlie Crist is likely to have serious cash-flow problems as the race heats up. He has built up money reserves for now, but Florida’s an expensive state to campaign in and Rubio has proven a shockingly successful fundraiserCrist is shut off from most of his national GOP donors. Right now, Charlie Crist dominates the news, because he’s just done something dramatic (leave his party) and every day he’s announcing some shocking about-face on issues, and ironically that’s helping him win the daily message fight.

3. Rally around the state flag: BP oil is starting to reach Florida, and Crist is doing gubernatorial things to protect his state. Instead of looking like a treacherous Oompa-loompa whose ravenous ambition devoured his principles long ago, he looks like the guy who’s trying to protect his state’s pretty wildlife and birds from the Blob.

This helps Crist at the moment, but we don’t know whether this halo effect will still be in place come November.

4. Nobody’s really attacked Crist yet: Remember the phrase, “7 definite flip-flops, 2 rhetorical shifts and 4 more where a switch seems inevitable.”

Beyond that, it’s July. If the numbers look like this in late September or October, we can start worrying.

UPDATE: A fifth point from a smart reader: “Sooner or later, he will have to declare whether he plans on voting for Harry Reid or Mitch McConnell as Majority Leader.  That will move things.  Along those lines, he’ll have to take stands on the issues which will either disappoint Democrats or move Republican-leaners toward Rubio.”

Tags: Charlie Crist , Jeff Green , Kendrick Meek , Marco Rubio

Plug the Hole Before You Plug Your Old Agenda Items



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I think Obama may have made a serious miscalculation by attempting to change the subject from “How are we doing on plugging the darn hole?” to “When are we going to pass cap and trade?” Any Republican in the country can issue a statement like Florida’s Marco Rubio did last night, making the supremely appealing point of first things first:

Earlier today, I was pleased that President Obama finally made it down to Florida to see firsthand the Gulf Oil Spill’s impact on our economy and environment. For 57 days, Gulf states have been reeling from the impact of this spill, and it’s important to send the message that Florida remains open for business. 

Nonetheless, there is a justified sense of frustration among all Floridians regarding the government’s delayed response, especially in terms of overseeing the boom, mobilizing skimmers from around the world, utilizing tourism promotion money and promptly processing economic claims. Local governments still feel there is too much bureaucracy in the response coordination, too little communication, and that’s why they are pushing back. Ultimately, there is a lack of leadership, while mistrust is the prevailing sentiment.

For example, I’ve spoken to fishermen in Destin and across the Panhandle who were hurting even before the spill because of government regulations. Their challenges have since been exacerbated. Floridians and our fellow Gulf states don’t need any more sound bites or dithering. We deserve deliberate action to cut through the red tape that is holding back disaster mitigation efforts. We need action.

Floridians and our Gulf neighbors have been through a lot of hardships in recent years, but we’ve survived. We’ve gotten through hurricanes in the past, and we’ll get through this oil spill. But to do so, I urge the President to act swiftly and focus his attention on making sure that every possible measure is taken to equip our first responders with the tools they need to do their jobs, encourage willing volunteers who want to help us in our time of need, and reemphasize that Florida is open for business. Finally, it is also my hope that the President will not take his focus off the Gulf Oil Spill to push a cap-and-trade national energy tax.

These guys are so busy making sure they never waste a crisis that they never seem to get around to fixing the crisis.

Tags: Barack Obama , Marco Rubio

Barack Obama Is Not Going to Save Kendrick Meek



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Boy, I can’t understand why the newsweeklies are having circulation problems. Time’s Michael Grunwald:

How Florida’s Forgotten Democrat Could Win the Senate Race

. . . That’s the kind of thing you’d expect a Democrat to say when he’s buried in third place, consistently polling below 20%. But it also happens to be true. Though Meek may look hopeless today, it’s still strange to watch the pundits count out a Democrat running against divided Republican opposition in a Democratic-leaning state; an Obama supporter running against two Obama foes in a state that supported Obama; and a consistent offshore drilling opponent running against a drill-baby-drill guy and a petroleum flip-flopper in a state with lovely white-sand beaches now threatened by the spill in the Gulf.

Check the calendar. The Obama who won Florida, who was a blank slate who could simultaneously appeal to the political cultures of Vermont and North Carolina, of California and Indiana, has been gone since summer 2009. Take a look at his approval-disapproval split in the state these days:

Grunwald continues:

Rubio and Crist are gifted politicians, but I don’t understand why a Florida Democrat with a mainstream voting record and solid fund-raising would get crushed by a tea-party ideologue and an all-over-the-map opportunist unless he were a truly awful candidate. 

“Mainstream voting record”? Meek’s lifetime ACU rating is 8 out of 100. In the House, he represented a district so heavily Democratic that he has never faced a Republican opponent. On his fundraising, Meek has spent $2.3 million already and he’s below 20 percent; I’m not so sure the remaining $3.7 million will be exponentially more effective.

I’m reminded of Newsweek’s October 30, 2009 article, “Why Corzine Will Probably Win in New Jersey.

Tags: Barack Obama , Charlie Crist , Kendick Meek , Marco Rubio

Kendrick Meek Is Still Running, Right?



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Another poll puts Charlie Crist ahead in a three-way race for Senate from Florida, but I suspect Marco Rubio will catch up in this survey eventually, just as he caught up in Rasmussen’s. No, what’s jumping out at me now is the share that’s left for Democrat Kendrick Meek: 15 percent.

His share in the three preceding polls? 17 percent, 19 percent, and 18 percent. In this most recent poll, “the unaffiliated Crist is leading among Democratic voters, 38 percent to 33 percent.”

I tend to think some Florida Democrats will “come home” as the election approaches . . . Otherwise, this would be a strikingly bad performance for a major party in a swing state.

Tags: Charlie Crist , Kendrick Meek , Marco Rubio

Floridians Digest the Idea of Independent Charlie Crist



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On May 5, Rasmussen gave us some results out of Florida that confounded the conventional wisdom: As an independent, Charlie Crist led the Senate race and seemed to be in healthy shape.

But today, Rasmussen finds Marco Rubio in the lead again, 39 percent to Crist’s 31 percent, with Democrat Kendrick Meek continuing to trail badly at 17 percent.

I think this suggests that we unhealthy political junkies process news at a different speed than normal, relatively apolitical voters. Many of us look at Crist’s departure from the GOP – often predicted in the preceding weeks, and often flatly denied by the candidate himself – as a self-immolating temper tantrum, a demonstration that hell hath no fury like an Oompa Loompa scorned. We may see his refusal to return donations from Republicans who feel betrayed as one step removed from theft. We may see Crist’s moves – from embracing Obama and the stimulus to trying to argue that he was the real fiscal conservative to suddenly doing the teachers’ unions’ bidding on a school-reform bill – as the unpredictable, zig-zagging political reckless driving of a lost and increasingly desperate tourist, whose Garmin refuses to reveal the path to an electoral majority.*

But I suspect a decent number of Floridians, who have already voted for Charlie Crist in quite a few elections before, heard that a familiar name was running as an independent and thought, “Oh, good! I like independence. Our system needs more independents.” It was only after a few weeks of digestion did they realize that this is still the same guy who’s underwhelming them as governor, who’s running on a platform of “I’ll be anything you want me to be as long as I get to win.”

* Why yes, I did have trouble getting to the airport this morning, why do you ask?

Tags: Charlie Crist , Kendrick Meek , Marco Rubio

Rubio vs. Crist on the Gun Issue



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Team Rubio makes the case for their man on the gun issue:

Beyond Marco’s lifetime A rating with the NRA, he was supportive of all NRA-sponsored bills during his term.  The background on the “guns at work” bill you mentioned as the source of discontent with the NRA (or more accurately, the NRA’s Florida head, Marion Hammer) is that, like previous years when it came up, it didn’t get passed during Marco’s first year as Speaker. It was a controversial bill that pitted pro-business against pro-2nd Amendment interests.  In Marco’s last year, he put his top lieutenants (future speakers in waiting) on point to negotiate, and they got it through after years of trying.

On the other hand, Crist’s NRA issues are more concrete – he appointed a liberal judge to the FL Supreme Court that the NRA explicitly opposed.  He also waffled on whether he would sign the “guns at work”bill, and later proposed raiding the concealed weapons fund before succumbing to pressure and vetoing his own proposal.  Below is a summary:

As Speaker, Rubio Supported The “Guns At Work” Bill, Which Passed The Florida House And Eventually Became Law

“The Florida House Wednesday passed the so-called guns-at-work bill by a 72-42 vote and sent it to the Senate. . . . The bill (HB 503), which allows concealed weapons permit holders to keep their guns locked in their cars at work and visitors who do not have such permits, was amended to exclude nuclear plants, and now goes to the Senate.”  (“House Passes ‘Guns At Work’ Bill,” St. Petersburg Times, 3/26/08)

Charlie Crist Was Initially Indecisive About Whether He Would Sign The Bill

“Senate passage is considered likely, but Gov. Charlie Crist has not said whether he will sign the bill, citing the tussle between gun rights and property rights. ‘I think there are some real competing issues with that piece of legislation,’ Crist said recently.”  (“House Passes ‘Guns At Work’ Bill,” St. Petersburg Times, 3/26/08)

Crist Eventually Signed The Bill Into Law

“Employers and business owners can no longer bar workers and shoppers from bringing guns onto their property and leaving the weapons locked inside their vehicles under a bill signed into law today by Gov. Charlie Crist.  The new law allows employees and visitors who have concealed weapons licenses to leave their weapons locked in or to vehicles. But concealed weapons license records are not available for public inspection so businesses would have no way of verifying if employees actually have the licenses.”  (“Crist Signs Bring Your Gun To Work Bill,” Palm Beach Post, 4/15/08)

Crist’s Original 2009 Budget Proposed Taking Money From A Concealed Weapons Permit Fee Trust Fund.  “Crist has often been in the NRA’s corner. Even when he didn’t know he wasn’t.  Case in point: Crist’s recommended budget for this year. It proposed taking $8 million from a trust fund dedicated to receiving concealed-weapon permit fees to help process CWPs. The Legislature knocked Crist’s recommendation down to $6 million.”  (“Marco Rubio’s Gun Problem,” Miami Herald, 11/16/09)

After Pressure From The NRA, Crist Vetoed His Own Proposal.  “Then the NRA made a stink, so Crist vetoed the trust fund sweep that he ultimately had proposed.  Hammer said that won’t be held against Crist because his budget was based on staff recommendations that he wasn’t fully aware of when he unveiled the spending plan. Once he learned of the implications of the trust fund sweep, Crist acted accordingly.”  (“Marco Rubio’s Gun Problem,” Miami Herald, 11/16/09)

Crist Has Gone Against NRA Priorities In His Appointments To The Florida Supreme Court And U.S. Senate.  “Crist did, however, buck the NRA when he chose Justice James Perry for the Florida Supreme Court. The NRA lobbied against him. The NRA also wanted Crist to pick Jim Smith to fill out the rest of U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez’s term, but Crist picked his former staff/campaign chief George LeMieux.”  (“Marco Rubio’s Gun Problem,” Miami Herald, 11/16/09)

Tags: Charlie Crist , Marco Rubio

What Will Mike Pence Say About Elena Kagan?



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Later today at the NRA convention, Rep. Mike Pence will address the attendees, and he is expected to talk about Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. At first glance, it might seem surprising that a House member is talking about a potential justice, instead of one of the senators in attendance (Thune, Burr). But the senators probably need to appear open-minded on Kagan, while Pence can articulate all of the concern about her meager, and not promising, comments on the Second Amendment.

The NRA scored the vote to confirm Sonia Sotomayor, meaning that it counted towards the organization’s annual “grades” of candidates and potential endorsements. Pence has already compared Kagan to Harriet Miers (and he didn’t mean it as a compliment), and if he really hits Kagan hard today before an audience of tens of thousands of NRA members, he may make it difficult for the NRA to not score the Kagan vote.

One other wrinkle? As I noted earlier this week, the Florida Senate race represents a unique headache for the NRA, since their longtime ally Charlie Crist has alienated many conservatives and Republicans but been solid on the gun issue. Meanwhile, while many conservatives enthusiasically back Marco Rubio, the NRA was underwhelmed with Rubio’s effort on a bill that gave employees the right to keep guns in their cars when they park in workplace lots. The NRA is “evaluating the race”, and on paper, they appeared set to be Charlie Crist’s last ally . . . except that the Florida governor just declared about Kagan, “I think she’d do a great job.”

Tags: Charlie Crist , Marco Rubio , Mike Pence , NRA Convention

Charlie Crist Really Is Leading in Florida, Huh.



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Yesterday I wondered if a Rasmussen poll in Florida’s Senate race showing Charlie Crist leading with 38 percent, Marco Rubio at 34 percent, and Kendrick Meek at 17 percent could be somehow off-kilter.

Now Mason-Dixon, one of the pollsters I trust most, offers similar numbers: Crist 38, Rubio 32, Meek 19.

As a Rubio fan, this isn’t what I want to see. But I can’t help but wonder if there’s a valid comparison to the other prominent NRSC endorsee who left the party, Arlen Specter. Specter led his Democratic primary by a wide margin for quite a while, while Joe Sestak kept his powder dry. Then Sestak started running ads, voters started paying more attention as the primary approached, and then POOF! Specter’s lead – driven, I suspect, by higher name identification – was gone.

By the way, remember when Democrats thought the big winner in Crist’s departure would be Meek?

Tags: Charlie Crist , Kendrick Meek , Marco Rubio

Crist Ahead? Meek at 17? Scott Rasmussen, What Are You Telling Us?



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This result from Rasmussen surprises me on two levels:

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Florida Voters finds Crist earning 38% support to Republican Marco Rubio’s 34% and Democrat Kendrick Meek’s 17%.

One: Crist went up 16 percentage points from Rasmussen’s mid-March as an independent? Really? And Rubio lost 8 percentage points?

Two: Kendrick Meek is really only pulling 17 percent? He’s polled badly in the hypothetical three-way matchup before, but never this badly.

Put another way, Meek is only 17 points ahead of the Democrat running against South Dakota incumbent Republican John Thune. You know, State Senator Nobody from Nowhere who’s polling at zero.

We’ll have to see if other pollsters see what Rasmussen sees.

Tags: Charlie Crist , Kendrick Meek , Marco Rubio

Greene May Spend a Lot of Green



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Ha-ha, Florida Democrats chuckle. “Look at those silly Republicans! Now they’ve got Marco Rubio and Charlie Crist splitting the non-Democratic vote! Our guy, Kendrick Meek, has a much clearer path!”

And now, Kendrick Meek has a billionaire primary competitor: Jeff Greene.

Ordinarily, a guy with no political experience, jumping in late, can be dismissed as a minor factor. Except Greene’s a billionaire.

Self-made.

Kendrick Meek’s day went south faster than Jack Bauer’s.

Tags: Charlie Crist , Jeff Greene , Kendrick Meek , Marco Rubio

Permit Me to Tweak Those Who Speak of Meek’s Peak



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Permit me to throw a bit of cold water on those who think Crist’s independent bid turns Democrat Kendrick Meek into the odds-on favorite: Here is a list of Meek’s percentage of the vote in six polls on this scenario since November: 31, 24, 27, 25, 24, 22. He has led none of them, he is in third place in four of them.

In other words, he needs to build on his current level of support. Crist’s independent bid splits the existing Republican vote, but there so far hasn’t been enough Meek backers to get him a win under either scenario.

Tags: Charlie Crist , Kendrick Meek , Marco Rubio

Charlie’s Tuna Is Cooked



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This Charlie Horse Can’t Win the Race

You’re going to get beat, Charlie, and I’m going to enjoy it. It didn’t have to be this way; you notice Mark Kirk got through a Republican primary without insisting that everyone in the GOP had become an extremist except him. Mike Castle’s probably going to get through his primary fine. It’s this ‘primary voters have to love me, if they don’t, it means the party been hijacked by radicals’ victim card that is so darn tiresome. You know what Jim Jeffords, Dede Scozzafava, Lincoln Chafee and Arlen Specter all have in common? By the time they switched parties/endorsed the other side, they were so politically weakened they would have a tough time outpolling Jesse James among women voters. Nobody switches parties when they’re a winner.

I’ve noted that I don’t agree often with Daniel Larison, but I’d offer some ‘amens’ to this: “No one has to agree with or even like Marco Rubio to appreciate the one service he has done for Florida, which is to expose how Crist’s desire for personal advancement trumps any and all other considerations. Whatever their reasons for the Republican rank-and-file’s rejection of Crist, there are few candidates more deserving of rejection than Crist because of the sheer opportunism that has marked his career and which he will continue to display this year.”

Red State’s Erick Erickson has earned the right to an ‘I Told You So’ or two: “Charlie Crist will not only run as an independent in Florida, but he has also reserved all of his air time in Florida through November, or as much as he can. Why? Because he knows the Club for Growth is going to do what they did to Specter — fund an effort to have Crist donors ask for their money back. Well, because Crist has spent it all on television advertising holds that he may or may not later use, he can say he has none to give back. Classy, Charlie.”

David Frum is dusting off Tony Kornheiser’s old Redskins bandwagon and is painting ‘Rubio 2010’ on the side: “Crist continues to lead the polls. I expect that lead to fade as Republicans rally to Rubio and independents question the grounds for Crist’s candidacy. I hope that translates into a Rubio win, but I worry that a Rubio candidacy will be a tougher and harder fight than a Crist candidacy would have been: I don’t share the view that the conservative voter belongs to Rubio’s hard-edged style of politics, especially not in a state like Florida. But all that is past helping. The GOP nomination race has a presumptive winner and Republicans of all stripes have a new standard-bearer.”

Yeah, Crist led some hypothetical three-way polls, but I suspect that his bold departure from the party, about a month and a half after he pretty explicitly promised he wouldn’t do that, is going to drag down his approval across the board. ‘Florida Independents for Duplicitous Turncoats’ just isn’t a big enough demographic to get Charlie to 34 percent.

Oh, and Drew M. at Ace of Spades would like a word with Frum and other past fans of Crist: “Why exactly should the right be taking advice from someone who thought Crist was a great choice, really the only choice? The guy has turned out to be a sore loser snake who may well be trying to cut a deal with the Obama White House to win this race. Some of us saw that early on and wanted nothing to do with the guy.  Exactly at what point to our ‘leaders’ have to answer for the fact that they are often wrong?”

On NRO today, I take a look at Crist’s many avoidable mistakes since declaring his Senate bid.

Tags: Charlie Crist , Marco Rubio

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