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Alex Sink wins 'worst candidate' honors

In an election year that brought us Christine O'Donnell in Delaware, Carl Paladino in New York, and Martha Coakley in Massachusetts, this is pretty tough: Alex Sink last week was named the worst candidate of 2010.

The citation came courtesy of Savannah Guthrie and Chuck Todd on MSNBC.

"It's unbelievable,'' Todd declared. "Think about it: You lost to a guy who defrauded Medicare — in Florida! Okay? More people on Medicare perhaps in the state of Florida per capita than maybe any other state!"

They were kind enough to show clips from a deer-in-headlights interview Sink had with Todd, where she was equal parts evasive and stammering.

Sink dismissed the criticism, saying her campaign came remarkably close to winning, given the Republican wave. She said she ignores the view of someone "who doesn't live in Florida" (Never mind that Todd grew up in Miami and his wife is from the Panhandle.)

Florida was doubly honored by Guthrie and Todd. Charlie Crist was a finalist for worst candidate along with Republican Senate nominee Joe Miller of Alaska.

Crist on tax cuts

Charlie and Carole Crist attended Barack Obama's Christmas reception at the White House Thursday night.

"I told him I thought he was moving in a good direction. I love the tax cuts,'' said Crist, who expects most of the moving out of the governor's mansion will occur this weekend.

He's a survivor

Pop quiz: Who is the longest serving Republican in either the U.S. House or Senate? It's U.S. Rep. C. W. Bill Young of Indian Shores, who turned 80 years old on Thursday.

The end of the 111th Congress represents his 50th year in office — 40 in Congress and 10 in the Florida Legislature. Young has served with eight U.S. presidents and has overseen the full House Appropriations Committee and its defense subcommittee, a panel he expects to chair in the 112th Congress.

Jeb or Marco?

It's not clear yet whether Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio is generating more chatter about running for president in 2012. An activist in Texas has started the DraftMarcoRubio.com site ("Every current Republican presidential candidate either has substantial baggage that makes them an inviting target for Obama or simply fails to inspire America to be great again. That's why we must draft Marco Rubio.")

And last week, Rubio's favored presidential contender in 2008, Mike Huckabee, told the National Journal he would not run in 2012 if Jeb Bush ran: "I love Jeb, I think he's brilliant," Huckabee said. "He could certainly raise the money, and I think he'd clear the deck."

Charisma contest

Brad Phillips, an ABC News and CNN alumnus, has posted an interesting study on his Mr. Media Training site, rating 18 potential GOP challengers to Barack Obama in 2012 based on their effectiveness communicating in front of the camera. It's a mighty subjective study, based on reviewing video of TV interviews. Rubio earns a solid A, compared with A- for Haley Barbour and Mike Huckabee, B for John Thune, B-for Jeb Bush and C+ for Sarah Palin and Jim DeMint.

On Rubio: "In the television age, we have never had a contest between two more charismatic candidates. If Mr. Rubio runs, he would match well against President Obama's oratorical gifts. This guy's a phenom for a reason, and he earns the highest grade to date."

Political Connections

Check out state Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, on Political Connections today on Bay News 9 at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Lucy Morgan and Janet Zink contributed to this week's Buzz.

Winner

of the week

Chuck Colson. The Naples resident, whose colleagues used to call the "evil genius" in the Nixon administration and who was said to have discussed firebombing the Brookings Institution, has found Florida to be the redemption state. In 2000, 25 years after Colson was released from prison on an obstruction of justice conviction, Jeb Bush pardoned the prison ministry leader. Last week, Governor-elect Rick Scott announced that Colson will speak at his inaugural prayer breakfast Jan. 4.

Loser

of the week

David Rivera. The soon-to-be congressman from Miami had long insisted he never received a dime from a dog track for which he helped win voter approval for Las Vegas-style slots in Miami-Dade. The Miami Herald reports that authorities are investigating $510,000 in secret payments the track made to a firm co-managed by Rivera's 70-year-old mom. Time to call a defense lawyer, congressman.

Alex Sink wins 'worst candidate' honors 12/18/10 [Last modified: Saturday, December 18, 2010 8:00pm]
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