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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Marco Rubio's shoes and Charlie Crist's battered image



BELLEVIEW- Day two of Marco Rubio's bus tour, and even with the relatively modest crowds showing up to see Rubio the level of hostility to Charlie Crist is striking.

Marion County Commissioner Stan McClain scoffed that Crist has no message except attacking Rubio's character. "He cannot come to us and say,"Here is my record, this is what I want to do' because we've seen it. We knoow what's going on, and we're not interested,'' McClain said as Rubio campaigned in Marion County this morning. "Charlie's left the roots of the Republican party. A lot of the people here voted for Charlie, and they wouldn't vote for him again because they've seen him govern."

Rubio almost never speaks of Crist directly and promised again Wednesday his campaign will stick to issues: "I'm not spending a single second trying to convince you the people I'm running against are bad or people you should hate."

Asked about the ads attacking Rubio for his ties to indicted former House speaker Ray Sansom and about questionable spending on his party credit cards and political committees, Ann Zalak shook her head and pointed at Rubio's feet while he worked the crowd."Look at the man's shoes. They're regular man shoes, nothing fancy," she said of Rubio's black slip-ons. Taking a closer look, she chuckled. "He is short, and the shoes have a little lift in them....People  say he reminds them of a Republican Barack Obama, but that's not true; Marco Rubio doesn't need a teleprompter."

In Orlando Tuesday Army mom Donna Barron also raised the Obama comparison: "Charlie Crist reminds me a lot of Barack Obama - nice guy but an empty suit and political opportunist."

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 11:28am]


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