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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

St. Pete Times recommends Charlie Crist



The editorial board of the Florida's largest newspaper recommended Charlie Crist for U.S. Senate.

Whatever his flaws, Crist offers a fresh approach and is well known to Floridians. He moves easily among Republicans and Democrats who are not party activists. He is fiscally conservative and socially moderate. He has praised Ronald Reagan and embraced Barack Obama. He respects differing opinions, adopts good ideas regardless of their source and treats everyone with uncommon decency. That is the prescription for restoring the Senate's once-proud tradition of collaboration and compromise...

Meek, 44, has served a competent eight years in the House. He voted for the economic stimulus package, health care reform, cap-and-trade legislation and financial regulatory reform. But the Democrat has not distinguished himself from the pack in Congress. While in the Legislature, his crowning achievement was a constitutional amendment limiting class sizes that strains state funding and marginally improves student performance.

Rubio, 39, is exactly what Florida and the nation do not need. He says Washington is broken, but his solution is not to work with Democrats to find common ground on the nation's most pressing problems. He would lock arms with the obstructionists who would rather deny the Obama administration any victories than move the country forward through negotiation and compromise.

Even more concerning, there is a yawning gulf between Rubio's legislative record and his rhetoric pushing fiscal responsibility. It was during his term as state House speaker that indicted former Rep. Ray Sansom inserted $6 million into the state budget for a community college building that was really an airport hangar sought by a friend. It was Rubio who made the $48 million "Taj Mahal" courthouse in Tallahassee a priority for his pals on the appellate court. And it was Rubio who charged thousands of dollars to his Republican Party credit card for personal expenses such as repairs to the family minivan, groceries and plane tickets for his wife. He says he has paid those expenses. The federal government needs fiscal discipline, but his legislative record and personal conduct reveal Rubio is a badly flawed disciple.


[Last modified: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 5:45am]


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