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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio says he would help Rick Scott defeat Crist, and predicts governor wins 'convincingly'



Charlie Crist used to treat Marco Rubio like a gnat, barely acknowledging the growing threat in Tallahassee. The tables have turned.

Rubio could have unloaded today on Crist for his party shift but gave a more measured response that showed he doesn't think about his formal rival much.

"If he runs for office, there will be a campaign, and he'll have to explain to people what he once said, what he's saying now, how does he reconcile that?" Rubio told the Buzz on Tuesday. "Voters will make a decision. He has a right to change parties. But he'll have to run a race and he'll have to answer all these things."

Crist, who became a Democrat on Friday by signing party registration papers at the White House, says the GOP has become too rigid, and in TV interviews yesterday invoked Jeb Bush's comments that his father or Ronald Reagan would have a hard time fitting in today. But Crist left the GOP for a different reason.

"Why did he change parties when he ran against me to run as an independent? Because he couldn't get elected as a Republican, not because his principles changed," Rubio said. "I'll let him speak to his motives and what he believes in. Voters are going to examine all that and make a decision based on what they think is right for their future. I think Rick Scott's going to have a great story to tell two years from now and I expect he'll be re-elected. I think he'll win convincingly if his general election opponent is Charlie Crist. We'll find out."

Will you actively help Scott? "Absolutely."

[Last modified: Tuesday, December 11, 2012 12:33pm]


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