Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Crist zaps Rubio spending with talk of 'a back wax'

Florida has a long history of dirty politics.

Take the legend of Sen. George Smathers supposedly declaring in North Florida that Claude Pepper was a "shameless extrovert" with a "thespian" sister. Or the Florida GOP sending mailers calling a legislator "Dr. Date Rape." Or even Mel Martinez's campaign calling Bill McCollum "the new darling of the homosexual extremists."

But this week Charlie Crist broke new ground in attack politics in his U.S. Senate campaign. Marco Rubio, he charged, may be a back waxer.

"He's trying to pawn himself off as a fiscal conservative. And yet just in recent weeks, two weeks ago it has come out in news accounts he had a Republican Party of Florida credit card, that he charged a $130 haircut — or maybe it was a back wax," the governor of America's fourth-largest state told a startled Greta Van Susteren on Fox News on Monday night.

Back wax. Ouch. Surely the specter of high-priced manscaping would tarnish Rubio's hero status among tea party activists.

Rubio's state GOP credit card statements included a $133.75 charge to a Miami barber, and Crist was speculating about what kind of services his Republican rival bought there. (A Times story Sunday mentioned that the barbershop offered a variety of services, from pedicures to waxing.)

Rubio "paid $20 for a haircut with a razor on the neck, and he bought some items that went into a silent auction, including gift certificates," his campaign clarified Tuesday, two weeks after the St. Petersburg Times/Miami Herald first revealed Rubio's personal charges on the GOP credit card.

"Charlie Crist's obsession with making up things about other people's grooming habits is bizarre for anyone, especially the sitting governor of Florida," said Rubio spokesman Alex Burgos. "It's also a shame he cares more about what's in Marco's personal bills than what's in the stimulus bill he supported."

A March 5-8 poll released Tuesday by the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling firm showed former House Speaker Rubio leading Crist among likely Republican voters, 60 percent to 28 percent, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points. It is an automated phone poll, often viewed as less reliable than surveys using live callers, but other recent polls have also shown Rubio leading by double digits.

Whether back-wax gate can help turn the numbers around for Crist remains to be seen, but the governor's male-waxing innuendo has managed to infuriate some Rubio supporters. Erick Erickson, editor of the conservative RedState blog, has launched a campaign urging people to send back wax to the governor's office.

"Let's send Charlie some back wax. And if he tries to use the stuff, he'll at least experience the same pain the voters have been experiencing for the last four years," Erickson wrote.

Adam Smith can be reached at

Crist zaps Rubio spending with talk of 'a back wax' 03/09/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 12:35am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays power their way to 5-1 win over Orioles before embarking on crucial road trip

    The Heater

    St. PETERSBURG — The Rays didn't get many hits in the early going Wednesday, but they got a couple that went a long way and that was enough to beat the Orioles, 5-1.

    Rays right fielder Steven Souza Jr. (20) hugs catcher Jesus Sucre (45) after Souza's solo home run in the seventh inning. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  2. Man accused of sexually assaulting 5-year-old girl


    ZEPHYRHILLS — Pasco sheriff's deputies have charged a Zephyrhills man with sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl in his care.

    Brett Campbell [Photo Courtesy of the Pasco County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Florida GDP growth in first quarter 2017 ranks 21st among states, still outpacing U.S.

    Economic Development

    Florida's gross domestic product or GDP rose 1.4 percent in the first quarter, slightly faster than the nation's growth of 1.2 percent and placing Florida 21st among the states for growth rates, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

    Not too hot. Not too cold.

    These Jackson Square Townhomes began hitting the west Hillsborough County market late last year and continued to be sold into the first quarter of 2017. The real estate sector was the biggest driver of Florida's gross domestic product, which rose 1.4 percent in the first quartrer of 2017.  [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  4. Coming to Netflix in August: 'The Defenders,' 'Death Note' and more

    Krysten Ritter, Finn Jones, Charlie Cox and Mike Colter in Marvel's The Defenders.
  5. Report: $36 million worth of guns stolen in Florida in four years

    Public Safety

    An estimated $36 million worth of guns was stolen in Florida from 2012 to 2015, according to an analysis released this week by the Center for American Progress.

    Broken glass litters the floor of Tampa Arms Co. after thieves drove a pickup  through the front of the gun store and stole more than 40 weapons, including handguns and semiautomatic rifles. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]