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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Senate President Gaetz can't take Crist's candidacy seriously



One element of the Republican reaction to Charlie Crist's candidacy for governor as a Democrat is to not take Crist seriously.

Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, spoke to the Economics Club of Florida Monday, mostly about the need to continue to re-engineer the state's education system so that it produces graduates with marketable job skills. Afterward, Gaetz reacted to the news that Crist is officially in the race as a Democrat.

"Let's see, now," Gaetz said. "He's been a Republican, he's been an independent, he's been a Democrat. Whig Party, you're on deck. They've got to be next, right? Either that or the Prohibitionists or the Know-Nothings -- somebody."

Gaetz said he believed that when Crist was a Republican, he actually believed what he said about himself.

"Charlie Crist is a likeable fellow. He gives you the warm washcloth treatment," Gaetz said. "He's a likeable fellow but certainly not deep on the issues." (It wasn't so long ago that Gaetz said publicly what most Republicans would say only in private: that Gov. Rick Scott faced an "uphill battle" in his bid for a second term. And in that TV interview, Gaetz wasn't joking).

Gaetz also disclosed Monday that his son, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, considered but soon dropped the idea of filing a bill that would abolish the position of lieutenant governor, which has been vacant for eight months.

"My understanding is that Rep. Gaetz is not going to pursue his bill," Sen. Gaetz said. "I think he'd like to have his other bills signed by the governor."

[Last modified: Monday, November 4, 2013 1:59pm]


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