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Why Crist Went for McCain

Sen. John McCain speaks before the Florida state flag at a campaign event at the Borini Theater, Kings Point Clubhouse, in Sun City Center, Fla., Saturday, Jan. 26, 2008. (AP).

By Juliet Eilperin
TAMPA, Fla. -- Florida Gov. Charlie Crist elaborated today on his decision to back Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), saying he was most qualified to be president on the basis of his national security credentials.

Crist dismissed the idea that he wanted McCain to pick him as a running mate should he win the GOP nomination, saying, "That's not an issue. The issue is what's good for the country and what's good for Florida."

"Look, at the time we're in right now, my goodness, safety and security are at the forefront of our nation's future," Crist told reporters as he rode on the Straight Talk Express, sitting at McCain's side. "I don't know if anything is more important than that."

When asked how he would respond to the fact that voters are now increasingly focused on the nation's economy, McCain said he had no interest in changing his own policy priorities.

"Even if the economy is the, quote, number one issue, the real issue will remain America's security," he said. "If it's not the most important issue in the minds of many voters, America's security will remain the number one issue with me. And if they choose to say, 'Look, I do not need this guy because he's not as good on home loan mortgages,' or whatever it is, I understand that. I will accept that verdict. I am running because of the transcendent challenge of the twenty-first century, which is radical Islamic extremism, as you know."

McCain added that while he has recently criticized former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney for his approach to Iraq, Romney is not the only presidential hopeful who is not as prepared to handle foreign policy matters. He said all of the Democratic candidates, as well as former New York City mayor Rudy Guiliani, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) and former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson, who recently dropped out of the race, belong in the same category.

"Anybody who's running, Republican and Democrat, Libertarian and vegetarian, has to go through a period of on-the-job training. I don't," he said. "It's not just Romney. It's Giuliani. It's Thompson. It's Paul. These are good people. But they are not as experienced to handle the dangerous world we're in as I am."

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), he added, "lacks good judgment, obviously," for stating she would begin the withdrawal of troops from Iraq within 60 days of taking office if elected president.

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 27, 2008; 1:15 PM ET
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peterfromnh | January 27, 2008 02:00 PM refers to Romney saying: "he wants to surrender"
This notion is ridiculous. Romney has, for the entire campaign, spoken against the withdrawl. He has explained several times that it would be a disaster to set arbitrary "timetables" and abandon the mission in Iraq before it is finished. To assume the leaders of our countries don't discuss plans to achieve goals associated with winning the war, which is what Romney was refering to, is nonsense. Never was he advocating an approach that would undermine the troops or the generals that lead them.

Posted by: manwaringjd | January 28, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

ceo1 said "His perspective seems to be to leave the rest of the world behind and only focus on America.

Wrong. Ron Paul want to bring our military home. He very much want to trade (ideas and commerce) with all nations. He also wants to build diplomatic relations with all nations. This would actually help our free market economy.

"If he wants to restore the Constitution to its original state, ..."

Wrong. Ron Paul does not want to restore or return the Constitution to its "original state". What he wants is for the three branches of the Federal Government to confine their activities to those which are currently granted by the Constitution. For example, Ron Paul would vote against "Hilary care", which would have the Federal Government mandating that all citizens purchase health insurance. Nowhere in the Constitution does it grant this authority to the Federal Government. If we (The People) want to grant that authority to the Federal Government, then the Constitution needs to be amended. Congress and the Executive do not have the authority to do that on their own. This is what Ron Paul is fighting for.

pach12 wrote: "he is an opportunist. ... We never heard about Ron Paul's opposition to the war until 2/3 of Americans registered their disapproval first."

Wrong. If you never heard his position on the war before, then: 1) The MSM (or Old Media) didn't cover him, or 2) You weren't paying attention, or 3) Both. Ron Paul spoke out against invading Iraq back to 2002, after the "authorization of the use of force" by congress (which he voted against).

"Hard work, intiative, [sic] enterprise will not matter in the Ron Paul world,..."

Talk about never-never land! You're just making this stuff up? Ron Paul is the only candidate that believes that you should be rewarded for your hard work and initiative. Not for just showing up.

wendim wrote: "Virtually NONE of the presidents in the last 50 years had any experience in that department [military]".

Wrong. While I agree that military service should not be a prerequisite for the presidency, of the nine presidents since 1958 ("last 50 years"), seven had served in the military.

Posted by: MDLaxer | January 28, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Most people know by now that Ron Paul is the only candidate who is against the military draft. John McCain would have our children throwing themselves at the guns for "a hundred, even a million years." People also know that Ron Paul is the only candidate committed to stopping NASCO's NAFTA Supercorridor that's about to wipe out my farm here in Texas. And you can't hide the fact that the SPP ( is a thinly disguised effort to create the North American Union. That's just the problem for the media covering the retail politicians. It's hard to run a campaign when you have no plans to do anything FOR people, and you are trying to hide what you intend to do TO people. The media has been substituting Guliani for Ron Paul in their coverage, because they don't want to contribute to the rise of a true American who believes in the Constitution and won't take dirty money from Wall Street or borrow Americans further into debt slavery to the OPEC nations and China. Obviously, the media should be covering Ron Paul who has deligates instead of Rudy Guiliani doesn't. And if the media doesn't believe that Ron Paul has enough support to win this thing, they should check out the amount of money that average people have donated to his campaign this quarter. He keeps a running total on his website. Ron Paul believes in transparency in government. The American people are disgusted by the slicked up thieves and carpetbaggers who can't keep their campaign staff out of jail. Those are the retail politicians the media wants us to accept. I think I'd rather have a president who respects the Constitution. Ron Paul is probably one of the stories of the Century and the media has missed the scoop. So much for a free press.

Posted by: Sprite1 | January 28, 2008 6:09 AM | Report abuse

Why was Bomb Bomb McCain not qualified to become a colonel in the Air Force after many years as a captain? Evidently McCain was too mediocre to advance in the bureaucracy of the armed forces. This makes him about as qualified as GW Bush which is why the MSM must love him and is setting us up for the Democrats to take the White House. Every candidate who is receiving MSM coverage is a big government socialist, espousing that the federal government is here to solve our problems. The MSM deep-sixed Thompson. But we have the MSM pushing Romney promising to bail out Michigan, Guiliani promising to bail out Florida coastal residents. Huckabee is promising to bail out everyone else in America and McCain is promising to bail out Mexico by relieving them of their residents. So it's about time the MSM ended it's blackout of Ron Paul so folks can find out about the only true American conservative left in the race.

Posted by: davrobi | January 27, 2008 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Was Ronald Reagan a military leader before he took office? No. Virtually NONE of the presidents in the last 50 years had any experience in that department. But what they all had was a great experience GOVERNING!!! I have no doubt that Mitt will be an awesome military leader for our country because he is such an analyst. He analyzes everything to death, and listens to all sides of the argument before making a decision.
Florida wants a conservative, experienced, competent, patient leader....not a grumpy general.

Posted by: wendim1 | January 27, 2008 9:54 PM | Report abuse

I am dishearted by McCain
Read this story:
McCain said Thursday that he hadn't yet decided on precise benchmarks. "They'd have to be specific, and they (Iraqi government officials) would have to meet them," he said.

Asked what penalty would be imposed if Iraq failed to meet his benchmarks, he said: "I think everybody knows the consequences. Haven't met the benchmarks? Obviously, then, we're not able to complete the mission. Then you have to examine your options."

That's from January 2007. How is it any different from what Governor Romney said?

Answer: It's not. And if the attacks we are seeing in Florida are how Senator McCain treats those who agree with him, how in the world can we expect him to -- if elected president -- convince those who don't?

This, suffice it to say, is not what one would call leadership. It's petty, it's not based on the facts, and -- as Bill Bennett said -- he should apologize. So, in fact, should his new partner in crime, aspiring vice-presidential nominee Governor Huckabee.

Posted by Charles Mitchell at 03:47 PM on January 27, 2008

Posted by: manwaringjd | January 27, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Want to see the Real Mccain??? check this out!
What a joke he is!

Posted by: austincales | January 27, 2008 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Let's face it; John McCain is just too old to be president. I'm sorry that George Bush was able to screw him out of the nomination in 2000. We would probably be a better country today if he had won. 72 is just too old to begin a new job. McCain is a true American hero and we all owe him a debt of gratitude for his military service, but we need a younger person for the presidency.

Posted by: jp31901cg | January 27, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

The American people want OUT of Iraq. Why shouldn't we have a time table. An open-ended war is stupid. Countries can go on fighting for ever. Look at the Middle East and their skirmishes.
McCain and Giulian are the most pro-war candidates. A vote for them is a vote to stay in Iraq for the next 4 to 8 years.

When you lose your job, lose your house due to the mortgate crisis, can't afford gasoline, can't affort health insurance, etc. the last thing you care about is how safe you are from Islamic terrorists. It is time we care about fellow Americans and their well being. Vote Mitt Romney. He doesn't need an advisor telling him how to run the economy.

Posted by: JohnJacobs99 | January 27, 2008 7:02 PM | Report abuse

How can anyone think that McCain is a defender of National Security when he has openly defied the American people on securing our nation's borders? For 35 years he as left our borders open including having overt knowledge post 9/11 that Al Quaida operatives have been entering the United States through Mexico. A man who cared about our national security would shut down the open borders overnight with troops (and not with a surveillance camera like he wants to do now so as not to offend his illegal alien friends). I'm glad that McCain survived his POW experience but that was 40 YEARS AGO! His last 35 years on record as a legislator has shown that he is in lock step with the democrats and totally out of touch with conservatives...more than that...he is stubborn and still thinks we "need to be educated". Good grief. Let this guy get a job in the real world for a change instead of posturing. Can't hold my nose and vote for this liberal RINO.

Posted by: lookout_63 | January 27, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

My question is: Would someone tell me why we should NOT elect Ron Paul?

I can only tell why I won't vote for Ron Paul.

First is that he is a weenie- there is just no way that guy can handle the pressure or supply the leadership needed in the Presidency.

Second- he is an opportunist. Chuck Hagel took a principled and strong stand against the war in Iraq and cratered his career doing it. We never heard about Ron Paul's opposition to the war until 2/3 of Americans registered their disapproval first.

Third- Ron Paul is a naive idealist without the slightest shred of common sense. He is a gold bug who realizes that all economic growth will be controlled by the ones holding the reserves. Hard work, intiative, enterprise will not matter in the Ron Paul world, only who has the biggest pile of sterile metal.

Vote for him if you want to, but you will be wasting your vote with your dreams of Never-Never land.

Posted by: pach12 | January 27, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Rudy is by far the best of the republican candidates and it is truly a shame that the liberal media has already proclaimed him dead in Florida. Rudy may not be the most ultra conservative representative of the party with his more liberal stances regarding abortion and gay rights but he certainly has a proven record for being a tax cutter and supply side advocate. In addition to his record for turning around the greatest city in the world Rudy does not flip-flop like Romney and for all that the liberal media says about McCain I would like to know what has Mccain done in the last 20 years that makes him such a great Presidential candidate. A leader is one who can get things done and Mccain nor Romney have shown a great ability at both. Rudy has done what all thought could not be done and that is turn around a city while he was outnumbered by liberals five to one. The choice is clear Rudy will be better at being President than any of the others and the talk of what is Presidential is complete non-sense. Give me the guy that will do whatever it takes to get the job done and one who will stand-up to those who are trying to take away our freedom. I am hoping that Rudy wins so that he can prove to the liberal media that he is the one to beat and the only reason why everyone is counting him out is because he stands the best chance to beat any democrat faced before him.

Posted by: rudyiacono | January 27, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

I don't like Ron Paul's version of patriotism. He is against keeping the troops in Iraq which would only stir up more problems in the region to bring them all home. His perspective seems to be to leave the rest of the world behind and only focus on America. This perspective would eliminate our free-market economy especially with trade arrangements with other nations, it would destroy our economy because of our reliance on foreign partnerships and the performance of our currency in global trade. There is no way that returning the dollar to gold would provide any significant benefit in light of forcing our government to continue to purchase gold. Once they stop buying gold, the value of it will start to drop forcing the devaluation of our currency. I suppose Paul would need to do something should a foreign power choose to stop producing gold or accelerate its production to force our government to do something that is not in our best interests.

Yes, I have some serious problems with Ron Paul's positions on the economy and the war. I infatically disagree with him. If he wants to restore the Constitution to its original state, it will take allot more than a president, it will take a president, a majority in congress, and a majority in the Supreme Court. Other than that, we have no chance.

Posted by: ceo1 | January 27, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

As a Republican and a Rudy supporter I am so concerned that there will be a Keneddy McCain bill again. I will never vote for a candidate that supports amnesty never I don't care if I have to waive my right to vote. The Gov of Florida is an idiot and by endorsing McCain his problem with immigration in Florida will not get anybetter and watch when re-election comes now they can say he supported McCain who supported amnesty! One by one Republicans are killing themselfs! I am to the point of almost feeling bad for being a Republican, but I would never vote Democrat. As far as Ron Paul goes man that guy is such an idiot and his fallowers are rude and aggresive. Can't wait till he drops out and hopefully he will be so old next time around he wont run again.

Posted by: irizarryrafael | January 27, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Support ANOTHER would be President who favors AMNESTY for Illegals??!! - NEVER!!

Posted by: michaelLitz | January 27, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

McCain is a snake...and not just a normal snake. He is a grouchy old bully of a snake. He is also terribly manipulative and dishonest. My vote is with Mitt.

Posted by: acorn160 | January 27, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

McCain never met a Bill or a War he did not like. He admits to being part of the problem in the Republican Party in the past, to bad he could not have figured that out BEFORE the election. The man has not a clue about economics and all the people he named that are his advisors already work for the economic genius Bush. So McCain knows nothing and is going to rely on the same people that have been running the show for the last 8 years? That's economic genius for you. As well intentioned he may be he is certainly is not the brightest bulb in the bunch. With the U.S. heading for rough economic times does anyone really want this man President? Scary thought..
What do John McCain and Miss Teen USA South Carolina have in common?

Huckabee wants to do to the Constitution what sharia law does for Middle Eastern government. Taxes? All of a sudden (during election) he becomes the great anti-Tax man. How convenient, to bad he could not have figured that out before the election..

Romney as McCain called the kettle black is truly the "Candidate of Change" (Changing sides) can anyone say flip-flopper?

Rudy... Can anyone say 9-11 a hundred times fast without a lisp? In reality this is all Rudy has to run on. Not to boot his past leadership shows a authoritarian style of governing.

Ron Paul.. With the whole GOP against him he is definitely an underdog and with his radical idea of following the constitution and strengthening the dollar he is on a rocky road, on the other hand most Americans love an underdog..

Posted by: b.kuszmar | January 27, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I expect that you are entitle to your opinion here. I do NOT see the (SO CALLED) leading candidates offer the GOP anything that can fix the accumlation of bad previous GOP and Democrate management of the world largest economy.

Vote Ron Paul for real Change!

Vote Ron Paul and bring back the GOP!

Posted by: ispeedtoo | January 27, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps the endorsement was all about getting the Vice President spot. It surely wasn't because Crist likes the way McCain left his sick wife for a woman 17 years younger than him with lots of money.

McCain is good at a lot of things, but he's not good at being faithful to a spouse that waited for him while he was P.O.W. You know she gained some weight and walked with a limp, but I'm sure we can count on him to be faithful to the Republican Party! What a creep!

Vote Ron Paul, a patriot not a self-seeking opportunist.

Posted by: PiousPolly | January 27, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Willard AKA Mitt's statement about the timetable is doublespeak. We need a timetable but keep is secret. That way he can say he supported a timetable and didn't. Who in their right mind would think it's possible to have that secret? Even considering a timetable is a losing war strategy that will lead to surrender.

This is just another Mittism like his answer in the debate about catastrophic insurance. He said he supported a national program but not if someone in Iowa pays for a loss in FL. Is he serious? This is another one where he flips mid-sentence so he supports it and doesn't at the same time.

Americans are tired of this dishonesty. This is not a conservative or republican value. Mitt is loose with the truth, wants to be on every side of every issue, and says whatever he needs to get elected. This is his track record all the way back to 1994. If he is the nominee he will be torn to shreds with his own words and record.

Oh, and for those swayed by fake testimonials... I used to support Mitt, I really like his hair, he looks so Presidential, and he says things that make me feel good, maybe he will tell us all how to make money like he did. But this last reminder (Timetable) that he wants to surrender really has me switching to McCain. He is the only one who can lead us from day one as Commander is Chief.

Go Johnny Go...

Posted by: peterfromnh | January 27, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

We each seem to have our own major issue(s) that make their choice for President seem like the best one. The economy is a big one for me. McCain did not know about the "Working Group on Financial Markets" in the last debate. This is VERY scary if he is elected. My question is: Would someone tell me why we should NOT elect Ron Paul?

The rest, with Richardson and Kucinich out, seem to be talking crazy talk (or did last week, who knows what the Democrats will say next week!) about our military adventures in the Middle East. Additionally, no one else seems to understand the problems with the economy, inflation, and out of control deficit spending. Inflation is going to eat us alive, as it has already started to do so. Do you really believe that the REAL inflation rate last year, the rate that was used by the government for Social Security check increases this month, was 2.3%? Just look at the price of gold up 30% in 2007, now at an all time high and getting higher!

One can not talk about tax cuts without ALSO talking about cutting spending. We have a $9 trillion debt (nearly double since 2000) that must be paid so we can afford Social Security and Medicare. The interest payments will go sky high when we begin to fight inflation with higher Federal Reserve bank rates.

And we must stop inflation or everyone's life savings will go down the tubes, along with the middle class, like what has happened to the middle class in most countries south of our border. And do not forget Universal Health Care, which is coming down the tracks right at us, unless Republicans begin to understand the seriousness of runaway deficits and inflation. And start educating the country. A Democratic President will surely not fight inflation like Volcker and Reagan did!

Please vote Ron Paul and save the country from bankruptcy abroad and at home!

Posted by: RamseySt | January 27, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

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