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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Crist: Obama will be formidable



"He'll be very formidable if he's the nominee. I think he's very engaging, and obviously has a tremendous following," Gov. Charlie Crist said of Barack Obama today, while stressing he would never underestimate Clinton's ability to come back.

But asked about the Rev. Jeremiah Wright controversy, the potential vice presidential candidate said Obama "didn't handle it great" but declined to elaborate or weigh in on whether Obama should have left the church. "He should do what he thinks is right for him. ... That's obviously been a difficult situation for him. Some of the comments I've seen the pastor make are hard for me to imagine."

In his visit to the St. Pete Times editorial board below, Crist also had some friendly fencing with Paul Tash, the Times' editor, Chairman and CEO over the guns at work bill Crist is expected to sign. See below.

Tash: "Property rights are important, too."

Crist: "I agree. I don't disagree. It's not an easy issue."

Tash: "If the Legislature can start to put restrictions on our property rights on our parking lots, then logically they can put restrictions on our property rights inside our building. And if they can apply them to gun laws, they can apply them to other kinds of personal liberties inside of our premises."

Crist: "The other personal liberty, some would argue, is the right to bear arms. ... I haven't signed it yet."

Tash: "That's why we're still offering advice - as opposed to criticism."

Crist also joked that his support for a new waterfront Rays stadium isn't helping him win fans among his neighbors at Bayfront Tower, where residents tend to be decidedly unenthusiastic about the proposal: "My ratings have dropped in the Bayfront Tower more than they have in Florida."

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 10:50am]


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