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Flashback: Crist said Palin would "do a great job" as president

Now that the Florida general election for Senate is under way, one interesting dynamic that's taking shape is that Republican Marco Rubio and Dem Kendrick Meek each have a common interest in tacitly pushing the same kinds of stories to damage Charlie Crist.

Both campaigns will be trying to unearth evidence of Crist's past lockstep loyalty to the GOP cause, but each for different reasons.

Case in point: A Florida operative digs up and sends over this video of Crist in October of 2008 claiming that Sarah Palin would do "a great job" as president, and gushing about her qualifications. This isn't going to help Crist in the battle with Meek for Dem support:

Here's a transcript:

QUESTION: Are you fully confident that if anything were to happen to John McCain, Sarah Palin could take over as president from day one?

CRIST: I think she'd do a great job. I mean, realize that, you know, she really is the only executive that's running -- the only one who has been the head of the government in Alaska. She's held executive positions as a mayor, executive position as a governor. Made those kinds of decisions. I think she's ready.

Meek's campaign will grab onto this video because it's imperative for him to consolidate Democratic support in order to be viable. So Meek's camp will point to this as proof that Crist's a loyal Republican at heart, and that his conversion to independent was born of expedience. Meek trailed both Crist and Rubio in pre-primary polls, and the only way he can be viable is by poaching Dem support from Crist.

Also: The worry for the Meek camp is that national Dems may worry he can't win. They may tacitly decide that the best way to deny the GOP the seat is to hope that Crist wins and caucuses with Dems. Previous Crist quotes like this one about Palin give Meek a powerful argument to dissuade national Dems from tacitly abandoning him and hoping for a Crist victory.

Paradoxically, video like this also helps Rubio. In light of Crist's latter-day conversion to indy, it's grist for Rubio's message that Crist is ideologically opportunistic and will say and do whatever it takes to win. What's more, the Rubio team is also happy for Crist to bleed Dem support, since it reduces his overall vote total. A story like this works for both Rubio and Meek.

It's going to be a wild race.

By Greg Sargent  |  August 26, 2010; 3:40 PM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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Crist is nothing if not a team player. Really, the Democrats should have scooped him up.

It's good to find a politician who will tow the party line, no matter what.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 26, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

uuuggg...if Christ and Meek split the vote and Rubio wins, it'll be devastating.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | August 26, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

That's Crist, not Christ. Sorry bout that JC! :)

Posted by: mikefromArlington | August 26, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Per Ras: "Meek supporters who might switch their vote are overwhelmingly considering Crist as their option. Among Crist supporters, most would consider changing to Meek. However, more than a third say they might switch to Rubio. This is not surprising given that 37% of current Crist supporters disapprove of the way President Obama is doing his job."

That's good news for Rubio.

Posted by: sbj3 | August 26, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I could see this if it had happened before Palin talked to the media, but that isn't the case. On paper Palin isn't so bad. Once she opens her mouth though there is no way you can support her unless you are either a rightwing wack job or a partisan hack.

This will hurt Crist. Badly. And that is too bad, I would have loved the for the Republicans to have their own Lieberman.

Posted by: nisleib | August 26, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Rubio: "See, Crist is an opportunist"
Meek: "Rubio agrees with Crist"

Meek has the stronger play as this damages both Crist and Rubio.

Kevin said: "Crist is nothing if not a team player."

HAHAHA! You don't follow FL politics much, do ya? Crist ditched the Republican Party (aka HIS TEAM) because he was going to lose the nomination.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 26, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Kevin: "Really, the Democrats should have scooped him up."

I think they would have greeted Charlie with open arms, but it was really up to him, and up till now, he's been unwilling to make that move.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | August 26, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Good observations Greg. It wouldn't surprise me if Crist finishes third. Rubio should hold 85-90% of Republicans while Meek consolidates the majority of Dems leaving Crist nothing but the bread crumbs. Rubio will win with 40% of the vote.

Posted by: Truthteller12 | August 26, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Don't you think it likely that Crist drops out at an opportune moment for Meek and ends up with an Obama admin job?

Posted by: sbj3 | August 26, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

SBJ - I think it is more likely that Meek drops out.

We'll see.

Posted by: nisleib | August 26, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Off topic, but a very bright piece from Kinsley...

"OK, let’s go through this one more time.

Half of all pregnancies end in miscarriages, usually in the first couple of weeks, before a woman even knows that she is pregnant. A miscarriage destroys an embryo. If you believe that every embryo is the moral equivalent of a fully-formed human being, miscarriages are like a perpetual natural disaster like a flood or an earthquake, and you should be urging a massive effort to reduce miscarriages as the best way to save millions of human lives a year. As far as I know, there is no such effort going on in the United States or elsewhere.

But perhaps your concern is not the number of slaughtered embryos, but rather the morality of intentionally killing them or—worse, in your view—intentionally creating and then killing them. In that case, your attention should be directed to fertility clinics, which routinely create multiple embryos for each human baby they wish to produce. They pick and choose among the embryos that seem healthiest, and typically implant several in the hope that one—and not more than one—will survive. Every year tens of thousands of human embryos are created and destroyed (or pointlessly frozen) in the everyday work of fertility clinics. There is no political effort to stop this work. President George W. Bush even praised the work of fertility clinics in his speech announcing the policy that virtually halted stem cell research for eight years. Advanced fertility techniques have brought happiness to thousands of couples who otherwise would probably be childless. They are a godsend that no politician would dare oppose.

Of the tens of thousands of embryos discarded by fertility clinics every year, a few are used for stem cell research. Extracting the stem cells involves destroying the embryos, which would be destroyed anyway. True, the destruction of embryos used for research is purposeful, whereas the destruction of embryos in the everyday work of fertility clinics is incidental. But is that distinction really strong enough to support the difference between cavalier acceptance of tens of thousands of embryo deaths in fertility clinics and a legal ban on using a small fraction of these embryos to help develop ways to save lives? (Conflict-of-interest note: My life included. I have Parkinson’s.)..."

Posted by: bernielatham | August 26, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

@nisleib: It would probably be better for Dems if Meek dropped out, but he just won a contested primary! If I were Meek I'd demand a whole lot before I dropped out so an *Independent* could win...

Like Greg wrote, "It's going to be a wild race."

Posted by: sbj3 | August 26, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Maybe they should offer Meek a position in the admin to drop out and announce it on!

Posted by: mikefromArlington | August 26, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

mike, are you trying to give Darryl Issa wet dreams tonight?? LOL

Posted by: suekzoo1 | August 26, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse


"uuuggg...if Christ and Meek split the vote and Rubio wins, it'll be devastating."

Now you understand Mike why we here in Florida have a sick feeling in the pit of our stomachs.

Tea partiers are absolute IDIOTS!!! Rubio ran the Florida House like his own personal fiefdom when he was Speaker. The special interests ruled and Marco the pretty boy quadrupled his income. Again follow the money you tea party idiots...Marco scammed you out of tax dollars...he took wonderful positions and landed lucrative bribes..errr...consultancies after he stepped down. His hand picked successor did the same cr^p but got caught and is now under indictment. WTF do you tea party morons not understand about this. Would you freaking vote for Jack Abramoff when he gets out of prison?

BTW obviously don't know squat about Florida politics...Marco didn't even get 85% in his own freaking primary of the most rabid R's. Two no names without real funding managed to pick up 16% against golden Florida the cry is anybody but Marco the crook!

But the worst fear for Floridians right now is that bottom feeding scumbag robber barron the R's have nominated for Governor.
Rick Scott is the ultimate special interest. This is a new but perhaps efficient move on the part of the R's in Florida. Instead of having middle men like Marco to fall to his knees before the special interests...just freaking elect a special interest. Geezzz do you have to check your brain and hold your nose to vote for these do you people not see this?

To rational people...please help by watching this Alex Sink video and then send money...send money..send money...
Wretched Scott has deep..deep pockets after bilking us out of our tax dollars and then preying on the poor uninsured in our society.

Posted by: rukidding7 | August 26, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Falling into the "Well, it figures" category...

"Producer Of New Commercial Smearing Muslims For Political Gain Also Produced The Willie Horton Ad"

Posted by: bernielatham | August 26, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

@bernielatham: "President George W. Bush even praised the work of fertility clinics in his speech announcing the policy that virtually halted stem cell research for eight years. "

I'm not clear on this. There was no federal funding for stem cell research before this, was there? Indeed, Bush approved funding for stem cell research on existing lines of embryos--the first president to have done so.

And, of course, stem cell research proceeded apace in pretty much every first world nation (afaik) except America. There were no limits put on stem cell research, even here, except that it would not be federally funded (thus, requiring private funding, if done in America).

I tend to agree, on the whole, with Kinsley's point. However, I'm pretty sure the idea that Bush somehow halted stem cell research for 8 years is, at best, hyperbole.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 26, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

RUK, I'm giving to Sink tonight.

I can't imagine the fear and loathing of living in a state where the Governor is a KNOWN SCAM ARTIST!

Who VOTES for that?

Hard to imagine anybody voting for someone like that, party loyalty or not.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 26, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

@Ethan....Thanks brother...we are afraid here in the Sunshine state.

I could respect tea partiers if they actually had some issues they believed in...but backing Marco Rubio is simply absurd...he was a tool of the special interests...

But thanks Ethan if you can help Alex. My wife met her last year at the annual "Dentist's Day on the Hill" where Florida dentists go to Tallahassee to lobby their legislators. She was very impressed and even the very conservative (the majority) dentists who were with my wife commented about how impressed they were by Sink. She is very charismatic in person but alas she is not as photogenic and has difficulty selling herself to masses of people. She named Rod Smith as her running mate for Lt Gov. Smith barely lost in his own bid for the Governors mansion and he is very popular throughout the state and his popularity extends across party lines. R's respect him as well and Smith is a dynamic campaigner. Smith also can deliver his home area of South Florida...Sink is stronger upstate where her background of growing up on the farm and no nonsense approach is appreciated.

Sink has yet to really push her name recognition but her campaign is now ready to ramp up. They made a tactical decision to hold their powder while Wretched Scott and McCollum were slinging mud at each other. Negative campaigning can be effective but usually it also ends up tearing down the winner as well as the loser and many folks are really really sick of Scott's endless commercials.

As I said on a previous post...Scott is shopping for a hat right now to cover his bald head and hide the circumcision scars.

Posted by: rukidding7 | August 26, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

RUK, this is pretty devastating too:

“In Case You Missed It: Crist: I’m a True Blue Reagan Conservative”

The Meek campaign just posted a Crist email from Feb 2010 which consisted of a Newsmax article in its entirety. Pretty much says it all. He's against everything Obama and the Dems have been doing and for all of the typical tired GOP talking points.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 26, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

All, Happy Hour Roundup posted:

Posted by: Greg Sargent | August 26, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

@Kevin - One could quibble with "virtually halted". But the limitations set American research far behind other nations in this extremely promising field (and for, in my view, quite morally untenable reasons, as Kinsley speaks to). And you're right to note that Bush's allowance of this limited research followed a full restriction from the Clinton administration. But we also must note that in both cases, the restrictions arose less from rational ethical concerns than from theology (of an extreme variety, then as now.) The private funding allowance was a reflection of Bush economic ideology, of course, and as in so many areas of R and D, without it the science does not progress or progresses at a very slow pace.

Posted by: bernielatham | August 26, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse


There are several OBAMA voters I know who would rather have Palin as President at this point, so it's not just us right-wing wackos or partisan hacks.

Posted by: JakeD2 | August 26, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

More and more people would rather have even PRESIDENT BUSH back in office rather than Obama:

Posted by: JakeD2 | August 26, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps he was distracted by her initial perkiness. These things happen.

Posted by: CalD | August 26, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

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