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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Charlie Crist chides Gov. Rick Scott for not extending early voting: 'It seems suppressive not to do so'



Former Gov. Charlie Crist said he's not even thinking about the 2014 gubernatorial race, but he sounded Monday like an opponent of Gov. Rick Scott.

Crist scolded Scott for not extending early voting on Sunday, as Crist did in 2008 when he was governor.

"It's unconscionable to me that our governor would not sign an extension,"Crist told reporters in downtown Tampa. "This is a precious, sacred right that we have in our country. We're fortunate we get to choose our leaders. It seems to me that if you value that precious right you'd do everything to encourage people to vote. It seems suppressive not to do so. I just don't understand why someone would not extend it."

Yet when asked if Crist would take on the governor he would not name, he joked with reporters.

"You're in trouble for that," Crist quipped to the reporter who asked, before turning super serious. "My focus is on tomorrow. The future of my country is at stake."

Crist was there as a surrogate for President Barack Obama. He definitely looked the part, dressed in a crisp white shirt, lavender tie, dark blue pants and a blue Obama sticker on his shirt. He urged people to vote today by casting absentee ballots in person.

"It's not early voting per se," but it's insurance from what could be long lines tomorrow, he said.

"We're concerned about what the lines will be like," he said.

Crist said he knew both Obama and his opponent Mitt Romney, and that the choice was obvious.

"Obama was here time and time again during the BP oil spill," he said. "The man deserves our help, our support. He's always had our back, it's time we had his."

At that, Crist left with an Obama spokeswoman as they headed to Ybor City to canvass for votes. They hopped into into his blue Jeep Laredo -- with an Obama sticker on the back window -- and drove away.

-- Michael Van Sickler, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Monday, November 5, 2012 11:15am]


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