TAMPA – Facing Marco Rubio’s avalanche of momentum in the Republican Senate primary, Gov. Charlie Crist’s best shot at winning – and salvaging his political career – is to redefine Rubio’s image.
Rubio, Crist will contend, isn’t the conservative purist that the Miami Republican and adoring conservative pundits have claimed.
Crist has the money for ads to repaint Rubio, but will he have the ammunition?
Few politicians could spend a career like Rubio’s – 2000-08 in the Florida House, the past two years as speaker with the power to control all House legislation – without compromising occasionally.
“Compromising ideas is acceptable. Compromising principles is not,” Rubio said. “I’ve never compromised on my principles.”
Rubio’s record is conservative. Many supporters of former Gov. Jeb Bush, and even Bush, consider Rubio the inheritor of Bush’s anti-government social conservative mantle.