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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Crist, Graham steal show at capital city fund-raiser



Two former governors, Charlie Crist and Bob Graham, shared the stage Monday night at a re-election kickoff for Leon County Superintendent of Schools Jackie Pons. Hundreds crowded The Moon, a dance-hall venue east of the Capitol, and listened as a well-known liberal trial lawyer, Don Hinkle, introduced Crist as "a governor who would respect teachers and appreciated teachers. We have fallen so far and so fast."

Crist and Pons are both 1978 graduates of FSU. The bonds between the two men were forged anew last year, when the then-Republican governor received a hero's welcome from Pons and local teachers after vetoing Senate Bill 6, the original teacher tenure and merit pay bill that Crist considered anti-teacher.

Graham followed Crist on stage and embraced Crist (remember what happened the last time Crist hugged a Democrat?). Graham recalled that the last time he set foot on the Moon's stage, it was in 1986, his last year as governor, at the annual Capital Press Corps Skits. He spoofed himself as "governor for life" and had to be carried off the stage. "My platform was a single pledge: to bring dignity back to dictatorship," Graham said. "I'm happy to be back, standing up." 

Also on hand for Pons' party were Alex Sink, the ex-CFO and Democratic candidate for governor in 2010, and her husband Bill McBride, the Democratic candidate for governor in 2002.       

[Last modified: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 7:22am]


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