The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

His poll numbers preceded him

Dsc_0345On his third day in Israel, Gov. Charlie Crist had a 45-minute meeting with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, whose handling of a war in Lebanon last year has sent his popularity in a steep downward spiral. Their midday meeting in the prime minister's office in Jerusalem was closed to reporters.

According to Sen. Nan Rich, D-Weston, who attended, Olmert knew all about Crist's high poll numbers back home. "He said, 'I hear you have a 75 percent approval rating. I might need to borrow a little,' " Rich said. "It was cute."

Rich said she found Olmert disarming, and Crist described the former long-time member of Knesset and mayor of Jerusalem as gregarious and friendly. Crist said Olmert gave a moving account of a family of Darfur refugees whose 4-year-old daughter was kidnapped as they tried to cross the border from Egypt to Israel. The girl was released after Olmert's wife recently wrote a letter to the wife of Egypt's prime minister, and the harrowing story underscored how different the two leaders' challenges are.

"So I thanked him for what he and his wife had done for civil rights, for human rights," Crist said.

Dsc_0341Among the elected officials meeting Olmert for the first time were state Rep. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, the House minority leader (Click on picture to enlarge).   

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 3:25pm]

    

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