GOPers might be worried that John McCain has fallen behind Barack Obama in a new FL poll. But FL Gov. Charlie Crist (R) "was probably (secretly) thrilled" ... because "bad news for McCain" in FL "only makes" Crist "more attractive" as a potential VP.
How the state is looking come 8/08 "could go a long way toward determining the fate of Crist's" VP dreams (Kornacki, New York Observer, 6/19).
Everyone Is Angry
Some opinion being expressed about Crist's new position on offshore oil drilling:
• FL CFO Alex Sink (D), the only Dem in the gov's cabinet: "This is not the right thing to do in Florida. I don't want those people in Washington to think all of a sudden the people in Florida support oil drilling off our coast." More: "The more I thought about it, the angrier I got" (Farrington, AP, 6/18).
• Orlando Sentinel's ed board writes, VP candidate Crist "formerly Florida's environment governor," showed on 6/18 "what drives him. ... Polls and an overwhelming desire to actually become" McCain's VP (6/19).
• Palm Beach Post's ed board writes, "When the choice is between doing what's best for Florida and what's best for John McCain/Charlie Crist, the governor ... let it be known that he's going to make the call based on political ambition. The proof is in the flip-flop" (6/19).
• Univ. of FL prof. Daniel Smith: "He seems to be willing to do anything to help the presumptive Republican nominee, John McCain. He has shown that he's willing to backtrack against his promises." More: "It's somewhat surprising. Maybe he thinks he has enough political capital to expend, to help out John McCain" (Man, Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 6/19).
• Another gov. who supports more oil drilling: AK Gov. Sarah Palin (R). Palin spokesperson Sharon Leighow said the gov believes "the answers lie right here in Alaska" to high gas prices and that ANWR should be opened to oil exploration (Nelson, AP, 6/18).
Gentlemen, We Can Rebuild Him
Crist "is reported to be in good spirits after arthroscopic surgery in St. Petersburg" on 6/18 "to repair damage to his left knee" (AP, 6/18).
SC Gov. Mark Sanford (R) "reiterated his conditional opposition to offshore oil and gas drilling" 6/18. Sanford "opposes lifting the moratorium unless states receive control over drilling operations." Spokesperson Joel Sawyer: "The states (must) get to decide what happens off their own coast. There was a proposal that surfaced several years ago about lifting the moratorium and it offered no guarantee for states as far as controlling their own destiny with drilling. So we would be open to lifting the moratorium if states got to decide what happened next" (Hoover, Greenville News, 6/18).
Joe Won't Go
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) "says he hopes to persuade disaffected supporters" of Hillary Clinton to back McCain and that "he's prepared to deliver a speech on his friend's behalf at" the GOP convo in 9/08. Will he also attend the Dem convo? Lieberman: "That could be dangerous." Asked if he plans to be a Dem "forever," Lieberman replies: "You know, forever is a long time."
In the meantime, Lieberman "says he'll do anything he can to help elect" McCain.
Lieberman: "I hope the fact that there's a prominent, life-long Democrat who's supported John McCain across party lines, because I think he's the best candidate for president for our country, may make it a little bit easier for some Democrats who voted for Sen. Clinton and are not favorable to Sen. Obama to be willing to ultimately cross party lines" (Page, USA Today, 6/19).
While in Trumbull, CT, 6/16, Lieberman "was asked if he would be" VP. Lieberman: "No." More: "I think in this, as in so much else, [McCain] has his head screwed on right. I think he's looking for somebody who shares his priorities and would be capable of being president" (Shapiro, Salon, 6/18).
The Case For T-Paw
In making the case for MN Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) to be McCain's VP, Washington Post's Cillizza writes, part of the reason is that Pawlenty "is nothing if not loyal" to the GOP. On two occassions he's stepped aside at the behest of his party. Thus, "there would be little reason for McCain to be concerned that Pawlenty would pursue his own political agenda either on the campaign trail this fall" or in the WH. It's "hard to underestimate how important that calculation is when picking" a VP (6/19).
But on the eve of a visit by McCain to MN this week, Pawlenty "made his strongest statements to date throwing cold water on speculation about his being picked" as the VP. After giving a speech 6/18, Pawlenty "said in response to a question that 'I'm honored to have my name mentioned. The fact is, I haven't been asked, and I don't expect to be asked.'" Asked directly what discussions he has had with McCain about the VP spot, Pawlenty replied: "None" (Lopez/Sternberg, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 6/18).
I've Already Got A Job
While "making the rounds" on Capitol Hill 6/18, LA Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) "rejected any talk that he was angling for" the VP job. Jindal: "I've got the job that I want." More: "I'm focused on being governor of Louisiana. It's the job that I want. And we have a lot more work to do in our state."
More Jindal: "It would be presumptuous for me to turn down something I have not been offered. I don't think I'll be offered. I think he's got many other great choices he can make" (Raju, The Hill, 6/18).
There's Lots Of Pictures
Supporters of Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) continue to talk up his VP prospects. Founder of the pro-Cantor for VP Web site Beau Phillips said: "Congressman Cantor seemed like the perfect candidate. Virginia's going to be a critical, if not literally the most critical, battleground state of this election." Cantor adviser Ray Allen "said the site is 'not something we've been involved with or fanned the flames at all. But it is flattering that people think so highly of him" (Meola/Schapiro, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6/19).