We told you that Florida’s Gov. Charlie Crist (R) wasn’t planning to hobnob with the president when he came to Florida this week. We knew that the political realities for Crist, who is in a very competitive race for U.S. Senate with an actual Republican conservative, would keep Charlie from appearing too chummy with Obama. After all, a handshake-turned-shoulder-hug this spring still rankles the far right in the governor’s party.
But even we are astounded at Charlie’s excuse for not welcoming the president to his state.
…the governor said he didn’t know President Barack Obama was in the state Monday to honor sailors and Marines at the Jacksonville Naval Air Station, less than 200 miles from the Capitol.
“Where was he?” Crist asked Tuesday. “First I’ve known of it.”
While the president was saluting the nation’s fighting men and women, Crist was visiting the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood for a 40th anniversary celebration with tribal leaders.
Shocked reporters didn’t let Crist’s assertion that he knew nothing about the proposed visit, which has pretty much lead every news broadcast in the state for the past week, stand. They kept getting the governor on record throughout the day.
Crist got a second chance to talk about his decision to ignore Obama’s visit, but instead said again he wasn’t aware of the Jacksonville stop.
“Explain that comment? Is it unclear?” Crist responded after being asked a couple of hours later following a Cabinet meeting. “I didn’t know that he was in the state.”
Asked a third time, Crist said he was aware that Obama was coming, but didn’t know the itinerary.
White House spokeswoman Gannet Tseggai said Tuesday that Crist’s office was notified of the president’s Florida visit.
Don’t expect Charlie to start telling the truth now. He’s down in the polls and truly worried about his chances for grabbing that Senate seat.
It’s hard to imagine what will become of Crist if he doesn’t make it out of the primary. He’s thrown away the governorship, so he would likely have to fall back on whatever he did before he was on the taxpayer dole. Even if he follows in Jack Abramoff’s shoes and becomes a high-priced lawyer/lobbyist for the gaming industry, it’s hard to see his socialite wife hanging around for long. When she leaves, she can always claim she didn’t know Charlie would be out of the public spotlight one day.