Obama Could Kill Charlie Crist’s Chances Still

Despite his party switch, Florida voters might see their former governor as being too close to the president.

ST PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 08: U.S. President Barack Obama (L) embraces former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist as he takes the stage during a campaign on the campus of St. Petersburg College September 8, 2012 in St Petersburg, Florida. Working with the momentum from this week's Democratic National Convention, Obama is doing a two-day campaign swing from one side of Florida to the other on the politically important I-4 corridor. 
National Journal
Beth Reinhard
Nov. 25, 2013, midnight

How many cam­paigns can one hug squeeze to death?

As the Re­pub­lic­an gov­ernor of Flor­ida, Charlie Crist paid dearly for put­ting his arms around Pres­id­ent Obama at a town hall tout­ing the Demo­crats’ eco­nom­ic-stim­u­lus plan in Feb­ru­ary 2009. The gov­ernor’s chief rival for the U.S. Sen­ate, Marco Ru­bio, re­played foot­age of the em­brace over and over, savaging Crist’s con­ser­vat­ive cre­den­tials.

Now run­ning as a Demo­crat for his old job, Crist may find that his con­tin­ued em­brace of an in­creas­ingly un­pop­u­lar pres­id­ent—and his con­tro­ver­sial health care law—could thwart him once again.

“The hug that crushed Charlie in 2009 doesn’t even com­pare to the boa con­strict­or of Obama­care that will crush him in 2014,” said Rick Wilson, a Tal­l­a­hassee-based Re­pub­lic­an strategist.

Crist an­nounced his party switch from a White House Christ­mas party last year and has stacked his 2014 cam­paign with former Obama staffers, mak­ing it easy for the GOP to yoke him to the pres­id­ent again. Earli­er this month, Crist at­ten­ded a fun­draiser in the Miami area head­lined by the pres­id­ent.

The re­la­tion­ship could be a li­ab­il­ity in Flor­ida, where a new Quin­nipi­ac Uni­versity poll shows Obama with only 40 per­cent ap­prov­al, match­ing his low­est-ever rat­ing notched in 2011. That’s even worse than the 42 per­cent ap­prov­al of the cur­rent gov­ernor, Re­pub­lic­an Rick Scott, who is widely seen as one of the most vul­ner­able in­cum­bents in the coun­try.

Most im­port­antly, Crist has en­dorsed the pres­id­ent’s sig­na­ture health care law at a time when it’s strug­gling to get off the ground. “Hug­ging Obama­care,” read one re­cent at­tack from the Re­pub­lic­an Party of Flor­ida, which in­cluded, of course, a pic­ture of a Crist-Obama hug. A ma­jor­ity of Flor­ida voters op­pose the Af­ford­able Care Act, ac­cord­ing to Quin­nipi­ac.

And it’s not just Obama­care that threatens Crist.

Scott got the good news last week that Flor­ida led the na­tion in job growth in Oc­to­ber. The GOP crowed that since Scott’s elec­tion in 2010, un­em­ploy­ment has dropped from 11.1 per­cent to 6.7 per­cent in Oc­to­ber. Un­der Crist, who served as gov­ernor from 2007 to 2010, un­em­ploy­ment climbed from 3.5 per­cent to 11.1 per­cent.

“While Charlie Crist sup­ports policies like Obama­care that harm our eco­nomy, Rick Scott has im­ple­men­ted policies that have put Flor­ida ahead of the rest of the na­tion when it comes to job cre­ation,” said Flor­ida Re­pub­lic­an Party Chair­man Lenny Curry.

Months of these early at­tacks on Crist seem to be tak­ing a toll, as his fa­vor­ab­il­ity/un­fa­vor­ab­il­ity rat­ings have dropped to 41/39 per­cent, put­ting him nearly on par with Scott at 39/42 per­cent.

But the Quin­nipi­ac poll also showed Scott con­tinu­ing to trail Crist, al­though by a slightly smal­ler mar­gin of 7 points. Scott’s 42 per­cent job-ap­prov­al rat­ing com­pares un­fa­vor­ably to the 53 per­cent ap­prov­al of the job Crist did as gov­ernor. And a ma­jor­ity of voters, 53 per­cent, say Scott does not de­serve a second term.

“You are deal­ing with two guys with uni­ver­sal name ID who both have been gov­ernor and people have already made judg­ments on,” said Demo­crat­ic poll­ster John An­za­lone, one of the former Obama ad­visers now work­ing for Crist. “The na­tion­al dy­nam­ics are not go­ing to af­fect the gov­ernor’s race in Flor­ida.”

Scott is ex­pec­ted to raise as much as $100 mil­lion in at­tempt to se­cure his reelec­tion, while Crist’s fledgling cam­paign has been dogged by ru­mors that the only Demo­crat elec­ted statewide in Flor­ida, Sen. Bill Nel­son, hasn’t ruled out jump­ing in­to the gubernat­ori­al race. That’s an un­likely scen­ario, but the pro­spect could cause some long­time Demo­crat­ic donors to hes­it­ate to write checks to Crist.

What We're Following See More »
DRUG OFFENDERS
Obama Grants 111 More Commutations
3 hours ago
THE DETAILS

In a release Tuesday afternoon, the White House announced that President Obama has commuted and/or reduced the sentences of another 111 convicted criminals, mostly convicted of drug possession or trafficking. About 35 were serving life sentences.

BUT HE’S NOT ADVOCATING FOR IT
Grassley Open to Lame Duck Hearings on Garland
5 hours ago
THE LATEST

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said Monday he'd now be willing to hold a hearing on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland in a lame-duck session of Congress. While he said he wouldn't push for it, he said if "Hillary Clinton wins the White House, and a majority of senators convinced him to do so," he would soften his previous opposition.

Source:
DEFINITELY MAYBE
Rubio Can’t Guarantee He’ll Serve a Full Term
6 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

We can call this the anti-Sherman-esque statement: If reelected, Marco Rubio ... might serve his whole term. Or he might not. The senator, who initially said he wouldn't run for a second term this year, now tells CNN that if reelected, he wouldn't necessarily serve all six years. “No one can make that commitment because you don’t know what the future is gonna hold in your life, personally or politically,” he said, before adding that he's prepared to make his Senate seat the last political office he ever holds.

Source:
DUTERTE BECAME PRESIDENT IN JUNE
Obama to Raise Multiple Issues in Meeting With Philippines Prez
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Since Rodrigo Duterte took over as president of the Philippines in June, he has made a serious of controversial statements and launched a war on drugs that has led to nearly 2000 deaths. He called the US ambassador to the Philippines, Philip Goldberg, "a gay son of a bitch." Next week, President Obama will meet with President Duterte at the East Asia Summit in Laos, where he " will raise concerns about some of the recent statements from the president of the Philippines," according to White House Deputy National Security advisor Ben Rhodes.

Source:
LATE SEPTEMBER
Conservatives Preparing ‘Dry Run’ for Constitutional Convention
7 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

The Convention of States Project, which seeks to force a constitutional convention under Article V of the Constitution, will hold a "dry run" in Colonial Williamsburg starting Sept. 21. "Several states have already followed the process in Article V to endorse the convention." Thirty-four are required to call an actual convention. "The dry run in Williamsburg is meant to show how one would work and focus on the changes and potential constitutional amendments that would be proposed."

Source:
×