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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

In Pasco, LeMieux rails against Obama, debt; defends past Crist ties



We caught up with former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux in Hudson today, where he was speaking as a Pasco REC meeting. He's not quite yet in the race to challenge Sen. Bill Nelson and get his old job back ("I am considering it," he told the group), but he sure sounds like a candidate. "People are worried about the future of this country" he said. "They're worried about the debt and deficit. ... Unfortunately it's far worse than most know. It's what keeps me up at night."

During an interview before the speech, LeMieux turned a question about Marco Rubio into a thinly veiled shot at his potential primary opponent, Senate President Mike Haridopolos. He said he called Rubio to compliment him on a radio interivew in which Rubio said he isn't thinking about higher office -- he wants to focus on doing well in his current gig. "I think that's a good lesson for all of the folks who would seek the Senate seat," LeMieux said.

Besides his 16 months as an appointed senator, LeMieux is best known for his time managing campaigns and the governor's office for Charlie Crist. Back when Crist appointed him, he proudly labeled himself a "Charlie Crist Republican." What about now? "When he walked away from the party and our policies, I didn't walk with him," he said, adding that it was a "tough decision" on a personal level. He said he's spoken with the former governor once since the inaugural.

"My ideological view is to be a conservative who tries to solve problems. That's what people respect, I think, is being a problem solver."


[Last modified: Thursday, March 17, 2011 9:43pm]


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