Updated with correction below.
How embarrassing is it when a senatorial candidate sits down with your own editorial board and issues a statement so absurdly mendacious that the video clip of the "Pinocchio moment" becomes a big hit in the blogosphere yet your own story about the interview completely misses it? Such was the case with the Palm Beach Post. Charlie Crist sat down for an hour long interview with its editorial board and declared that he would still have left the Republican party even if polls had shown that he was running 20 points ahead of Marco Rubio in the race for the U.S. Senate seat from Florida. Here is a transcript of that memorable magic moment:
Q: But if you had been 20 points up in the polls over Mr. Rubio would you have left the party to run as .an independent?
A: Absolutely. Yes. I absolutely would have. Because I think it's that important. Sure. I would have...
On Wednesday’s World News on ABC, anchor Diane Sawyer briefly reported on a court ruling in Florida which struck down a state law banning the adoption of children by homosexual couples. Ignoring the issue of whether an activist court should make such a ruling, Sawyer seemed to frame the story from a sympathetic point of view for would-be same-sex parents in Florida as she referred to the ruling as "new hope" for such couples. Sawyer: "And there is new hope tonight for gay people in Florida who want to adopt a child. A state appeals court ruled that the 33-year-old ban on gay adoption is unconstitutional. And the governor said that the state will allow the adoptions immediately."
But, while ABC News programs have a history of advocating gay rights, it is ironic that the story was immediately followed by a full report about Bishop Eddie Long, a Georgia pastor accused of pushing teenage boys into homosexual sex. Sawyer set up the report: "And trouble is mounting tonight for the pastor of a 25,000-member mega church near Atlanta. Bishop Eddie Long, who lives a lavish lifestyle and has denounced homosexuality, is accused of coercing three young men into relationships. Steve Osunsami has details of the lawsuits."
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Wednesday, September 22, World News on ABC:
George Will on Sunday gave a much-needed education to the entire "This Week" panel about how the Tea Party is moving the GOP in a positive direction that could alter politics in this nation for years to come.
As Christiane Amanpour and her Roundtable guests - Democrat strategist Donna Brazile, National Journal's Ron Brownstein, and Republican strategist Matthew Dowd - all fretted about the so-called Civil War brewing in the GOP, Will was once again the voice of reason.
"At the beginning of the year, the question was, will the Tea Party people play nicely with others and will they obey the rules of politics? Who's sort of not playing nicely?" asked Will.
"Mr. Crist starts losing the primary to a Tea Party favorite Rubio. He suddenly discovers that he's an independent and changes all his views overnight," he continued.
"Mrs. Murkowski loses a primary and suddenly discovers that she has a property right in her Senate seat and she's going to run as a write-in. Senator Bennett thought of that in Utah, Senator Castle in Delaware is thinking of a write-in candidate. Who are the extremists?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In today's Washington Post, Dan Balz argues that the "Florida Senate race starts without a clear favorite." While that may be true in some sense, recent polling data has some favorable signs for conservative Republican candidate Marco Rubio.
Yet nowhere in his 20-paragraph story did Balz delve into those poll numbers. Instead, Balz presented the Florida race as complete wild card that is unpredictable due to the three-way nature of the contest:
Gov. Charlie Crist is the man in the middle in Florida's high-stakes race for the Senate, a candidate without a party whose hopes of moving from Tallahassee to Washington depend on his ability to fend off a squeeze play from his Democratic and Republican rivals.
The three-way campaign for the Senate is the latest in a series of important races in Florida - including the 2000 recount that helped define red-blue divisions in America - but with dynamics new to the Sunshine State.
But a look at recent polling data available on RealClearPolitics.com seems to indicate Rubio went to bed on primary election night in good shape for the general election fight ahead.
During an interview on Saturday’s The Situation Room with independent Florida Senate candidate and Governor Charlie Crist, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer pressed the former Republican to announce which party he would choose to caucus with if he is elected to the Senate, and brought up his current associations with Democrats and flip-flops toward more liberal positions.
As Crist repeatedly tried to evade acknowledging the importance of being aligned with one of the two major parties to have influence, and the likelihood that he would ultimately choose to ally with one of the parties, Blitzer was persistent in pressing for an answer, at one point quipping: "You just can't caucus with yourself, if you will, if you want to have some influence."
Crist eventually seemed to hint that his decision would depend on which party holds the majority after November: "And you’ve just hit on the pivotal issue really: What is in the best interests of the people of Florida? We don’t know who’s going to be in the majority November 2 nd after the general election. And so I think it’s important to keep an open mind, to stay committed only to one thing, and that’s the people of my state."
After playing a clip of Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio accusing Crist of moving toward President Obama politically, Blitzer queried: "But are you increasingly embracing the Obama agenda? Because he’s saying you flip-flopped on a whole lot of issues where you were a Republican, but now you’re siding with the Democrats, including President Obama."
There was Mika Brzezinski, ripping Charlie Crist as unprincipled for his mid-campaign ditching of the Republican party. Joe Scarborough, the quondam GOP congressman from the Sunshine State, was in a much more forgiving mood, going so far as to predict that, following in Crist's footsteps, many others would successfully go the independent route.
Mika and Joe's exchange was triggered by the news that Crist's own Lieutenant Governor, Jeff Kottkamp, has endorsed Marco Rubio for Senate.
Since neither of the likely Democrat nominees for the Senate from Florida appear to have a chance in hell of winning the general election, Newsweek has thrown its obvious support behind the conservative Republican in the race.
The likelihood of that happening ranks right around zero which is why Newsweek is promoting Florida governor Charlie Crist, running in that race as an independent, as the best person to defeat conservative Republican Marco Rubio. In fact, Newsweek is plugging Crist to the extent that they have conveniently neglected to mention how he broke his promise not to run as an independent as well as his pledge to return campaign contributions by Republicans. Here are some tidbits from the Newsweek puff piece disguised as a news story:
Crist’s resurgence also stems in part from his shift back to where he’s always seemed most comfortable: the political center. That’s where he’s largely governed as the state’s chief executive—pursuing a Republican agenda of low taxes and limited government, but also collaborating with Democrats on environmental issues and judicial appointments. The approach made him one of the most popular governors in the country.
UPDATE: It turns out that the future is NOW. This Matthews video is running as a Marco Rubio campaign commercial as of yesterday.
Are you happy with the job that the Obama administration and the Democrats are doing? If so, then vote for Charlie Crist for the U.S. Senate because Chris Matthews happily proclaimed that Crist is going to be the new star in the Democrat caucus. However, if you are dissatisfied with the direction this nation is going and want to change it, then Marco Rubio will be your choice which is why your humble correspondent won't be a bit surprised to see this video of Matthews making his proclamation about Crist on Morning Joe end up as a Rubio campaign commercial. Here is a transcript of Matthews delivering his kiss of death product endorsement of Charlie Crist:
Charlie Crist is going to be the new star of the Democratic caucus in the Senate. He's going to be a major player in the Democratic Party down the road. He'll be a moderate Democrat somewhere in the middle. I think he's very shrewd and nimble.
Last year, Time offered its "Ten Questions" feature to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, but the reader questions it selected were mostly hostile, panning his response to the State of the Union, asking if he looked like the geeky Kenneth the Page from "30 Rock," and underlining the shakiness of the GOP: "Voters rejected the GOP in November. What changes do you think it needs to make in order to become relevant again?"
This week, Time offered the same feature to Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, and the questions were not hostile, except for "Why don't you support same-sex marriage?" and maybe "Do you still consider your support for the stimulus to have been the right choice?" There were neutral oil-spill questions, and then there were these:
"How difficult was it to leave the Republican Party?" -- David Hutchinson, Kansas City, Kans.
"What are the pros and cons of running as an independent?" -- Kevin Waters, Harrisburg, Pa.
"Will people still remember the Tea Party in 20 years?" -- Justin Powlison, Raleigh, N.C.
It was bound to happen and no one can really blame them for doing so, but someone eventually had to determine who the political winners and losers are for the tragic circumstances surrounding the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Looking forward to the upcoming election cycle, MSNBC "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough determined the time was right to take a stab at it, although reluctantly on his June 2 broadcast.
"[W]e will stay with BP for one second but talk about presidential politics and I know this will be offensive to some people but it's just a reality that there is somebody in the White House, somebody in the Democratic Party, somebody in the Republican Party that's trying to figure out the political impact of this environmental tragedy. And we were talking with Chuck Todd last hour about how it ramps up when the oil starts washing on Florida shores, Chris. That makes this a much bigger political event in terms of presidential politics, like it or not."
You might as well play the theme music of Love Is A Many Splendored Thing while reading this Michael Mayo column in the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel about Florida Governor Charlie Crist. With the senate campaign of apparent Democrat nominee Kendrick Meek seemingly dead in the water before it even really begins, Crist has now become the favorite of liberals whose main goal is to prevent conservative Marco Rubio from becoming senator from the Sunshine State.
Even though Mayo spent time cozying up to Crist, not a single penetrating question from him. Not even the obvious ones like why he lied on national television when he swore that he would NOT run as an independent as well as breaking his promise to return Republican campaign contributions when he made the switch. Mayo oozes unskeptical affection for Crist while in his presence with nary an uncomfortable inquiry:
I've got a new nickname for Charlie Crist — Governor Gamble — although I didn't share it with him when he gave me a lift the other day.
"Hop in," Crist said, waving me and a colleague into a Black Chevy Tahoe on his way to a bill-signing ceremony in Fort Lauderdale. "You [the taxpayers] pay for it. You might as well use it."
This was Crist at his affable best. Likability is what he's banking on to capture a U.S. Senate seat as an independent after his bold break from the Republican Party.
[MP3 audio available here; click play on the embedded video at right for video]
Matthews informed viewers that an RNC selection committee had submitted its recommendation of Tampa -- the RNC still has to give its formal approval -- over other finalists Phoenix, Arizona, and Salt Lake City, Utah. The "Hardball" host than gave his theory behind why the latter two cities were rejected, failing, of course, to cite any sources nor to add the caveat that this was purely his own speculation.
Here's the relevant transcript: