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Crist to hobnob with McCain over the weekend

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Charlie Crist and his girlfriend will spend Memorial Day weekend in Arizona with Sen. John McCain.

But don't read too much into that, says the campaign for the presumed Republican presidential nominee.

"It is purely a social visit," said McCain spokesman Jeff Sadosky. "A V.P. vetting process is not on the agenda."

The visit to McCain's home in Sedona, where Crist and girlfriend Carole Rome are one of 10 couples invited, will come on the heels of a trip to New York City.

In an unusual move today, Crist will hold a bill signing ceremony on Wall Street. Then tonight, the couple will attend a New York charity gala for foster children. Two preferred seats for the event start at $2,500.

Crist will be traveling at the expense of the Republican Party of Florida, Crist's office said.

Asked about his weekend plans earlier Wednesday, Crist did not mention the McCain get-together. "I look forward to a Memorial Day weekend," he said.

Also invited to McCain's home is another governor mentioned as a possible running mate, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, as well as former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Quoting unnamed Republican sources, the New York Times said the meetings signaled a new level of intensity in McCain's search for a running mate. McCain has said little publicly about his preferences. And Crist said recently that McCain's campaign has not requested any records from him.

Today's Wall Street ceremony is for a bill that allows up to $1.8-billion in state pension funds to be invested in job-creation incentives in Florida.

Tonight's charity event is "ARTrageous," a celebrity auction benefiting the Edwin Gould Services for Children and Families. In Florida, subsidies for foster parents were cut recently by the Legislature over Crist's opposition, but a last-minute budgetary maneuver will allow families to continue to receive subsidies.

Times staff writer Alex Leary contributed to this report.

Crist to hobnob with McCain over the weekend 05/21/08 [Last modified: Thursday, May 22, 2008 5:11pm]
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