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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

On divorce and children



It took a while, but the most provocative subject of the 2006 gubernatorial campaign surfaced late in a candidate forum Friday morning at the Vinoy in St. Petersburg: How much attention should voters pay to decisions you have made and the actions you have taken in your personal lives? Does this speak to your leadership?

Here's how the candidates replied:

Tom Gallagher: "Thanks very much for that question (laughter). All of us have things in our lives we probably haven’t been proud of and I think the sign of a good leader is to take those things, the mistakes you’ve made in your life, and learn from it. I believe I've learned more from the mistakes I’ve made than from the things that I've done and been successful."

Rod Smith: "If divorce was the reason we don’t have great leaders, Ronald Reagan wouldn't have been the president he was. You know, we’re human beings. If I had the life to do over again I’d probably do it most the same way but there’s a bunch of things I’d do differently."

Charlie Crist: "We are what we are. Yeah, I’m divorced and I don’t have any children. But Strom Thurmond gives me hope (laughter). I’m only 49. But in all seriousness, my upbringing has had a profound impact on my life. I understand the importance of families."

Jim Davis: "Some folks have said they want a governor with wife and kids in the governor’s mansion, that’s works for me. If I’m the governor, the first thing I’ve got to do in the morning is get my kids ready for school."

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 3:05pm]


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