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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio campaign like Obama campaign, LeMieux says



The Buzz caught up with Sen. George LeMieux today and he talked about various issues (see jump) before the topic turned to Gov. Charlie Crist's campaign problems, chiefly his association with President Obama's stimulus bailout. But LeMieux promptly turned it into a critique of Marco Rubio.

"Being governor means you have to make choices. And you have to make decisions," LeMieux said, heading into a GOP lunch at the U.S. Capitol. "It’s very easy to be a critic and the speaker now is not in office. He wasn’t there when the state was facing the challenges of the huge recession and the stimulus. He didn’t have to vote on that. All of the folks that were in his administration voted for the stimulus money. And I suspect if he were there, he could vote for it. This is just like President Obama being able to be against the war in Iraq because he didn’t have to vote on it. There’s a lot of parallels to draw between Speaker Rubio and President Obama in the way they are running their race and in their ability to throw bombs without ever having to lead because they are out of office."

Replies Rubio spokesman Alex Burgos: "As Charlie Crist was endorsing Obama's stimulus, Marco Rubio was in the good company of Florida's entire Republican congressional delegation in opposing it. With Charlie Crist's record of embracing the stimulus, cap-and-trade schemes and tax increases, there is no greater parallel in this primary than the one between him and President Obama."

RUBIO v. CRIST GOOD FOR NEWSPAPERS: LeMieux dismissed growing attention to the Rubio v Crist race as a media confection. "It makes a good story. I think there are those who want this fight within the Republican Party. That’s a normal process that you go through when you’ve lost power. I think that’s healthy to have that discussion. But the attempts to nationalize the Florida election as to being some larger picture of where Republicans are, I think that is Washington driven. Ultimately people will decide which candidate they think will be better in the U.S. Senate and it will not be this 'heart and soul of the Republican Party 'debate."

: LeMieux said he supports efforts to address the nation's energy woes but not a cap and trade program for greenhouse emissions. He asserted that utilities could pass along costs to customers. "I don’t want to have a new burden on consumers. That would put him at odds with Gov. Charlie Crist, had the governor turn candidate not backed away from earlier support for cap and trade under growing criticism from Rubio and other conservatives.

LeMieux, who will likely have to vote on a sweeping energy bill, said he would like to see more nuclear power and could live with a time table for replacing a percentage of energy with renewable sources. He also supports more offshore oil drilling.

: LeMieux confirmed he'll help the Florida GOP fill its federal campaign coffers. He has a fundraiser Fort Lauderdale over the Thanksgiving event and said others could be planned. LeMieux said he's also going to do events for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. "I'm part of the team."

: Is he doing a good job? “I think so. He’s working hard and he’s trying hard. I think he’ll be fine."

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 1:06pm]


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