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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Crist, the NRA's Choice



As Charlie Crist is deflecting criticism from the right, and from supporters of rival Tom Gallagher, that he's not a true conservative, he picked up an endorsement that is pure gold in the Republican primary. The National Rifle Association and its affiliate, the Unified Sportsmen of Florida, are backing the attorney general. A statement by NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer, released by Crist's campaign, said "no one has been stronger" than Crist in supporting the Second Amendment.

Crist is looking bulletproof. He won the NRA's backing even though he did not support the group's No. 1 legislative priority, which would allow people to bring guns to work and keep them in a secure place (Tom Gallagher supported the bill, and plans to campaign Wednesday at a skeet-shooting range in Eustis).

Asked if he supported the bill, Crist wavered. "I think it's important that we strike a balance, and I think it's important that what we do is reasonable, always," he told reporters when asked about the "guns at work" bill while on the campaign trail in The Villages in Central Florida last week. 

Crist also released his sixth TV ad of the campaign Tuesday. Called "Safer," the spot highlights Crist's efforts as attorney general to reduce crime, his support from law enforcement groups and his promise to "secure our ports and keep violent criminals behind bars." The spot features images of the candidate alongside police officers.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 3:10pm]


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