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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Crist's final stop of day is brisk; Butterworth endorses



Gov. Charlie Crist spoke to the FEA Delegate Assembly this afternoon in Orlando, striking old notes with teachers: his family roots in public school education, his love of teachers, his promise to work hard for them in Washington.

He stressed his bipartisanship by having former attorney general Bob Butterworth, a Democrat, vouch for him.

"As a proud Democrat, I give my full support to Charlie Crist, an independent," he told the crowd. Later, he said he decided three days ago to endorse Crist.

"Kendrick Meek can’t win this race," Butterworth said. "Gov. Crist can. They’re both good people, but when it comes down to it, Charlie can make a difference."

But when asked if he had talked with Crist about his alleged conversations with the White House, or the pressuring of Meek to drop out, he said the two hadn’t discussed the topic.

Despite promising to talk with reporters afterward, Crist answered questions only briefly. While loud rock music boomed from the speakers in the hotel’s grand ballroom, Crist spoke, but it was barely audible. Then, as he and the reporters followed him outside, his wife, Carole, escorted him out.

"Let’s go," she said, her hand cradling his back, pushing him out. They walked away so briskly they were nearly running.
Outside, Crist stopped as a reporter asked if he spoke to Meek about getting out.

"I’m not going to get into the back and forth," he said as he got into a black Ford Explorer. And like that, he was gone.

-- Michael Van Sickler, Times Staff Writer

[Last modified: Friday, October 29, 2010 6:04pm]


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