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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Warm (and frosty) welcome for Crist at Tampa event



Gov. Charlie Crist got a standing ovation today at a national conference of foster care experts and government officials at Tampa's Intercontinental Hotel. The three-day event, hosted by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, is focusing on ways to reduce the number of children in foster care.

Joined by First Lady Carole Crist, the governor cited two years of record numbers of foster child adoptions in Florida: 3,777 last year and 3,764 the year before. He said that was the result of the "great efforts" of child welfare secretary George Sheldon and child advocate Jim Kallinger. "I'm a blessed man," Crist told the group.

On the way out, Crist was cornered by Fox-13 reporter Chris Chmura, who asked Crist if he made a "John Kerry-style flip flop" by now saying he didn't endorse President Barack Obama's stimulus package.

"They're wrong," Crist said, adding he didn't endorse the specific stimulus bill Congress passed -- though he is very grateful for the billions it brought to Florida. When the reporter asked Crist if he has "remade himself" for a race against Marco Rubio, the governor uncharacteristically asked travel aide Dave Mica Jr. to end the questioning. "Dave?" Crist interjected.

-- Steve Bousquet

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 2:26pm]


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