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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Former Gov. Claude Kirk is recovering from heart attack



Former Gov. Claude Kirk, 85, is recovering from a heart attack and has returned to his West Palm Beach home, the Palm Beach Post reported Friday. Kirk, who was governor from 1967 to 1971 and was Florida's first Republican governor since Reconstruction, told the Post he was treated at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Riviera Beach and at JFK Medical Center in Atlantis.

True to form, the fiesty former governor who is known for his sharp wit dismissed the episode: "It's nothing important. It's all over," he told the Post's Eliot Kleinberg. "They did a good job and I'm up and at 'em."

In a note this morning to St. Pete Times reporter Lucy Morgan, Kirk wrote: "I'm up and attention...awaiting your command (also, please identify the enemy. Warm regards, Claude (aka 'His Excellency')"

Kirk also took a shot at President Obama's health care plan. "Under his system, they wouldn't authorize any support, (saying), 'Look. You're old enough. Now why don't you go away and die,' " Kirk said.

In interesting historical twist, Kirk came out of nowhere to capture his party's nomination like Gov. Rick Scott but the Legislature, then dominated by Democrats, did not have a veto proof majority as the Republican-led Legislature now has over Scott.

[Last modified: Saturday, February 5, 2011 5:35pm]


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