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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Charlie Crist preaches to two African American churches




Solomon Masters, 8, stares out the window of Charlie Crist's campaign bus on October 31, 2010 at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church at Suncoast High School in Riviera Beach. In the final days before the election on November 2, Crist is making an attempt to appeal to black voters. He visited two churches Sunday morning whose congregations were largely African American. Solomon's grandfather, Bishop Thomas Masters, is a Charlie Crist supporter.(EDMUND D. FOUNTAIN | Times)

WEST PALM BEACH – Independent Gov. Charlie Crist spent his Sunday morning at a Palm Beach County senior center and two black churches trying to drive traditional Democratic voters to abandon U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek and unite around his third-party candidacy.

Crist worked the stage at Shiloh Missionary Church and later Redemption Life Fellowship like a preacher, mixing principles of the Bible with his stump speech about Social Security, stem cell research and the “extremist agenda” of Republican Marco Rubio.
He also mixed in points where he and President Barack Obama agreed on policy. Crist talked about being criticized by his former party for visiting President Barack Obama in Ft. Myers in early 2009 and supporting the federal stimulus.
Earlier, as a prominent African American Democrat said she was supporting Crist because he would help push Obama’s agenda in Washington, reporters heard Crist say, “Yes we can.” Later, Crist said he didn’t hear that the supporter, former Palm Beach County commissioner Addie Greene, was talking about Obama’s agenda specifically.
“I’m gonna stand up to him when he think he’s right,” Crist told members of the Redemption Life Fellowship church. “But I’m gonna stand with him when I think he’s right.”
Crist’s appearances were buoyed by several prominent African Americans who have endorsed his campaign, including Greene, Riviera Beach Mayor Thomas Masters and Riviera Beach community activist Emma Bates.
 “It’s time for us to be very realistic,” Bates said. “Crist has been a very good governor and crossed the line many times.”
“You’re crossing a line too, and I’m so honored that you’re doing that,” Crist answered.

[Last modified: Sunday, October 31, 2010 1:36pm]


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