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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Meek: Crist loves turtles, but what has he done for Florida?



Kendrick Meek's campaign gathered reporters in Washington today to tout an internal poll showing Charlie Crist with a "soft lead" of 47-31 and suggested other ominous signs for the telegenic governor. One question in the Feldman Group poll found 51 percent of Floridians think Crist is putting his own ambitions above the state.

"He's been education commissioner, running for the next office. Attorney general, running for the next office. Now governor, running for the next office," Meek said. "I think that trend is going to catch up with him."

TurtleMeek had some sharp words for his opponent and interesting ways to describe his own campaign, which has been questioned. "I'm a walk-on candidate. I don't think anyone said in January, 'Let's go recruit Kendrick Meek to run for U.S. Senate,' " Meek said, trying to draw a distinction with Crist who is the anointed GOP favorite.

"Going around and releasing turtles and showing up in front of fire stations and saying we love firefighters on 9/11 is not going to cut it," Meek said.

"I think some of the explaining that he's going to have to do for a lack of leadership, especially on many of the bread and butter issues in Florida, is going to paint him in a come. People have to want to go vote for you. I believe we will make a strong case for why they should vote for me ..."

Meek met with reporters at the offices of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and said he is forging relationships to bolster his campaign. Former President Bill Clinton joined him for a fundraiser last night (along with Sen. Bill Nelson) and President Obama has included Meek in official events recently.

"I don't think Barack Obama, when he ran for Senate, he had a relationship with the DSCC this year," Meek said.

The Meek game plan will be to use Crist's turn to the right against him. Crist came out against the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, for example, which reflected the Republican Party line but could be used by Meek in seeking Hispanic support. Meek is also trying to exploit Crist's use of the word "cockamamie" to describe the health care reform effort, suggesting the governor is out of step with the general public.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 2:22pm]


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