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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Crist's first day in Israel

Israel1_018Gov. Charlie Crist isn't the only American politician who decided to visit Israel this week. As he waited to meet with the foreign minister Tuesday afternoon he crossed paths with three U.S. senators, also visiting: Republican Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, a possible presidential hopeful, and Democrats Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Ken Salazar of Colorado.

"Good to see you, governor," Leahy said as he and the others posed for a picture with Crist.

The first day has been heavy on symbolism: Crist spoke of Israel as "a tremendous friend" of the United States, and he met with officials of the U.S. Commercial Service, a government agency that assists Florida firms seeking to drum up business in Africa. He has added another stop on his five-day mission: a weekend visit to Amman, Jordan, to visit with King Abdullah II.   

Crist's bleary-eyed look on his arrival reflected the grind of a 10 1/2-hour, all-night plane trip (albeit in first class on El Al). In addition, he revealed a recent health scare: a sting from a brown recluse spider while he fished aboard a boat in the Keys the weekend before last as part of a GOP fund-raiser. Crist's thigh bandage needs to be changed twice a day, he said.

: The governor was given a glass of Florida orange juice on arrival in Jerusalem. Click on photo to enlarge.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 2:25pm]


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