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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

McCain: VP Crist sure would've helped in FL



MELBOURNE - John McCain acknowledged in an exclusive interview Friday that he'd probably be better positioned in must-win Florida if he had picked Charlie Crist as his running mate.  The Republican presidential nominee expressed no regrets for choosing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and said Florida was sure to be a a hard-fought state with almost any vice presidential pick - besides Crist.

"Charlie, because he's so popular he probably would have made a significant difference,'' McCain said in a an interview with the St. Petersburg Times and Bay News 9 for a "Political Connections" show airing Sunday.  "I think this would have been a battleground state, except for obviously (with) a popular governor as Charlie Crist is,'' McCain said. "Look, this is a tough decision that we made with Sarah Palin. But I also saw Sarah Palin come down here and energize crowds in a way that's pretty remarkable too."

McCain has been hammering Barack Obama for his associations with the likes of 1960s radical Will Ayers and the controversial community organizing group ACORN. But he declined interview to talk about his own relationship with Harry Sargeant, a top McCain fundraiser from Palm Beach County accused by the Democratic chairman of the U.S. House oversight committee of "war profiteering" and vastly overbilling the Defense Department for fuel deliveries in Iraq.

"I have no idea what those charges are. We had to give back, as you know, some of the contributuons that he raised,''McCain said, refering to $50,000 in unusual campaign contributions to McCain bundled by Sargeant, which raised questions in August about whether they had been made by people in California later reimbursed.
"I don't know anything about those charges so I can't make a comment on any of that,'' McCain said of the latest allegations, strongly denied by Sargeant. "I don;t know what they're talking about. But I'll get back to you if you like."

[Last modified: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 4:38pm]


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