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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

A Testy Time in Orlando



Charlie Crist, campaigning in Orlando with Gov. Jeb Bush Friday, got decidedly off-message. A reporter for an Orlando TV station wanted Crist to respond to questions about his sexual orientation raised in recent stories in New Times, an alternative paper in South Florida.

"Silly season junk," Crist said. "Next question." The reporter asked whether Crist knew the man referred to in the stories, a former campaign worker for Katherine Harris. "I do not," Crist said.

At that point, Bush stepped to Crist's defense, saying: "Every time there's an election where a candidate gets desperate, somehow it happens to come out, these type of things that are completely unfounded and have no relevance."

When a reporter for WKMG-Channel 6 interrupted another reporter who was asking a question in Spanish, Bush got angry and called the reporter a "horse's ass." The governor later apologized to that reporter in the media's presence.

The same question came up at a stop in Fort Myers, but the reporter for NBC-2 was much more even-tempered, and so were Crist and Bush. Asked if he's gay, Crist said: "I've said no. I've answered it over and over again."

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 11:36am]


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