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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

5 Ways Charlie Crist can beat Marco Rubio



Almost daily, some supposedly savvy Florida political operative insists Charlie Crist has already lost the U.S. Senate race. It's a crazy suggestion considering Gov. Crist is leading Republican rival Marco Rubio byTBT_Front_200 about 20 points in recent polls and so far has four times as much money to spend in the GOP primary.

But Crist, 53, is in a free-fall among likely Republican voters, say Crist supporters and detractors alike, while Rubio's trajectory is heading straight up. Crist's credibility among hard-core Republicans is practically gone, they claim, while the contest's ever-growing national attention ensures Rubio won't be as overwhelmingly outspent.

It's nine months before the primary — way too early for predictions. What's clear, though, is that Crist's long-held image as a man with remarkable gut instincts for politics and people is shot. It took him way too long to wake up to Rubio, and then he kept handing ammunition to critics, such as lamely insisting he did not endorse the $787 billion stimulus package that he campaigned for.

Governor, if you're reading this, here are five things you should do to fight Rubio's insurgent threat:

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 1:06pm]


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