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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Bense regrets remarks about Crist, McCain



A contrite former House Speaker Allan Bense says he regrets remarks he made over the weekend in a Romney campaign conference call criticizing Gov. Charlie Crist for endorsing John McCain, and said he would apologize to Crist .

"My remarks were inappropriate. I did not put what I've always had in my political career, a 48-hour rule," said Bense, a Romney supporter. "I should have made those comments to the governor himself ... I had no business saying that. I apologize."

Over the weekend, Bense said that after Crist endorsed McCain, the ex-speaker from Panama City got 48 phone calls from people offering to help Romney as a result. His point: Crist's moderate Republican philosophy would cost McCain votes in the conservative Panhandle.    

''I think there's just concern about it. This is a very conservative part of the state and there's been some concern whether or not this is a conservative ticket McCain is running,'' Bense said, according to a Miami Herald story. Bense also injected race into the discussion by noting that Crist's support for a state award to the family of boot camp victim Martin Lee Anderson was unpopular in the Panhandle.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 2:21pm]


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