House Speaker endorses Rubio; blasts Crist
House Speaker Larry Cretul endorsed former Speaker Marco Rubio for the U.S. Senate GOP nomination on Tuesday, issuing a blistering retort against Gov. Charlie Crist who referred to the Legislature as an "asylum."
The rhetoric in the endorsement (read it below) doesn't match Cretul's even-keel temper and monotone delivery, but it was clear that he took the "asylum" comment personally.
"I wasn’t planning to endorse until after session, but it’s become apparent that Marco’s thoughtful, intelligent and principled conservatism are a sharp contrast with his (Crist’s) erratic behavior and his relentlessly negative and desperate attacks against Marco and the Republican-led Florida Legislature,” Cretul said. “During the past few months, Governor Crist has confirmed what most Floridians already knew about him, which is that he’s willing to say or do just about anything to preserve his political ambitions."
As for the endorsement, Crist responded: "It sounds like he was in a negative tone today." Asked if it is emblematic of a increasing negative tone toward him, Crist said: "Perhaps it is. I don't know, nor do i care. I'm going to treat him as a gentleman, but I won't question his motives."
Crist added that his "asylum" comment "was out of character but then again so was that legislation."
The full statement:
House Speaker Larry Cretul Endorses Marco Rubio
Tallahassee, FL – Larry Cretul, Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, announced his endorsement of Marco Rubio for the United States Senate today.
“I’m proud to endorse Marco Rubio, who I believe is the only candidate Floridians can trust to go to Washington and provide conservative, principled and unapologetic leadership,” said Speaker Cretul.
“I wasn’t planning to endorse until after session, but it’s become apparent that Marco’s thoughtful, intelligent and principled conservatism are a sharp contrast with his opponent’s erratic behavior and his relentlessly negative and desperate attacks against Marco and the Republican-led Florida Legislature,” added Speaker Cretul. “During the past few months, Governor Crist has confirmed what most Floridians already knew about him, which is that he’s willing to say or do just about anything to preserve his political ambitions. I have worked with both men, and for me the choice is clear.
“The economic downturn of the last three-and-a-half years has been tough for Floridians, and it was a time that called for real leadership, not poll driven press conferences. Marco stood up to lead with new ideas and real reforms. Unfortunately, Governor Crist was never willing to step up and put good policy above campaign priorities or campaign politics, and Florida has paid the price.”
“I’m grateful for my friend Larry Cretul’s support in this race,” said Marco Rubio. “Speaker Cretul has led the Florida House under extraordinarily difficult circumstances, but has done so with humility and distinction. As a father and grandfather, Speaker Cretul is someone who understands just how big the stakes are in this election, and how important it is that we elect people to go to Washington and stand up to the radical agenda being pursued by Barack Obama and his congressional allies.”
About Larry Cretul:
House Speaker Larry Cretul has served in the state House of Representatives since 2002. He represents House District 22, which includes a diverse population of citizens from portions of Marion, Levy and Alachua counties. He also served on the Marion County Commission for eight years, including two terms as Chairman and Vice Chairman.
Speaker Cretul was sworn in as the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives in March 2009. Speaker Cretul had previously served as Speaker pro tempore and Deputy Majority Leader, and sat on healthcare, economic development, and education committees.
Speaker Cretul is a licensed real estate broker and was a homebuilder prior to the current recession. He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, where he served with VF-74 and VF-101, including a tour overseas aboard the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal. He and his wife of 42-years, Lana, have two sons and two grandsons. One of their great pleasures is to explore Florida on his Harley Davidson.