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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Charlie Crist hires a campaign manager

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It's his big sister, Margaret Crist Wood, there in the background of this photograph by Scott Keeler. She officially is called interim campaign manager, the governor said, but only to give her an opportunity to step down if she doesn't like it.

Doesn't he need a seasoned pro? "No," Crist said Thursday. "You know what you need? I've learned this in the last month: Somebody who’s loyal - really - honest, that cares about you, and is smart and tough. My older sister Margaret has always been that."

He's been talking to some veteran operatives as well lately and he said some longtime friends are also helping with the campaign. They will remain anonymous "because I’m trying to protect them. A lot of people in our administration and people who were helpful with the campaign get this refrain in Tallahassee – if you stay with him you’ll never work in this town again. Can you imagine that? Talk about unconscionable?"

The comments came during a fascinating and wide-ranging talk with the St. Petersburg Times editorial board, where even the relentlessly cheerful Crist seemed more relaxed and upbeat than ever. The newly registered nonpartisan candidate  also casually threw out a few morsels likely to cause more conservative heads to explode.

What does he think of the nomination of Elena Kagan? "A lot.I think she'd do a great job. ... Isn't that fun,'' added the candidate who opposed Justice Sotomayor when conservatives were turning on him. "Honesty is the best policy."

Asked about the FairDistricts redistricting proposal, he criticized the Republican-controlled legislature's efforts to undercut it, and praised Ellen Freidin's effort to end gerrymandering: "I think she's done a very good job. I want to do whatever I can to help her cause."

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[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 11:37am]

    

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