Yesterday, Charlie displayed not once, but at least twice why he is still considered the best retail politician in the state (except when Bill Clinton visits, as he did on Wednesday).
Crist stopped by the Fort Pierce pizza parlor owned by Scott Van Duzer, the man who bear-hugged the President.
Crist told Van Duzer “You know what I’m here for”. Van Duzer obliged by lifting Crist off the floor.
Van Duzer said it was his first time meeting Crist, although he said Crist had helped his non-profit Van Duzer Foundation in 2009 by promoting Be A Hero Day to promote blood donations.
Not only did the impromptu event make great optics, it paints a stark contrast between Crist and everyone else who might run for governor in 2014. Can you envision Van Duzer bear-hugging the aloof Alex Sink? Can imagine anyone hugging Rick Scott?
Obviously that hug was not enough close personal contact for Crist, who later in the day planted a kiss right on congressional candidate Lois Frankel’s cheek after endorsing her campaign.
“I am so proud to be here with Lois Frankel,” Crist said at a fundraiser in West Palm Beach on Wednesday. “She and I served in the legislature together in Tallahassee. And, she’s a great public servant. [She] was a great mayor. And, she will be a great member of Congress. God bless you, Lois.”
So much for the wrong-headed argument, voiced recently by La Gaceta‘s Patrick Manteiga, that Crist is not actively engaged in the 2012 election cycle on behalf of the Democrats he might one day wish to woo.
Sorry, Patrick, but I see Charlie introducing the President in St. Petersburg, touring the state with Bill Clinton and speaking at fundraisers for Democratic congressional candidates. What more do you want?
Crist’s political activity continues to cost him the support of previous supporters.
In a guest column in Thursday’s Tampa Bay Times, AK Desai, finance chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, promises “to do everything within my power to raise enough funds for Floridians to see the true character of Charlie Crist and to ensure he never sets foot in the Tallahassee house on Adams Street as a sitting governor again.”
Desai certainly is a powerful man and a prodigious fundraiser, but his declaration really doesn’t matter. What do you expect from the finance chairman of the RPOF to do other than raise a lot of money?
No one — not for one moment — has ever doubted the Florida GOP will pour tens of millions of dollars into its effort to stop Crist if he runs for governor in 2014. But their standard bearer, Rick Scott, is the Jon Corzine of Florida politics; the more money he and his allies spend, the more unpopular he will become.
If Crist should be disappointed by any of the recent developments surrounding his leftward tack, it’s this ambivalent column from State Senator Paula Dockery.
By her usual standards, the column is a little tame, maybe even a little lame. All Sen. Dockery does is recap the last three weeks of Cristpalooza, ending with a question already asked by dozens of other pundits: “Is Crist a man without a party or a political opportunist? Depends on whom you ask.”
C’mon, Paula, you can do better than that.