Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Crist gives Rubio a buzz cut for $135 bill at barbershop

A fired-up Charlie Crist charmed a hometown crowd in St. Petersburg Saturday, and made it abundantly clear we'll be hearing a lot about Marco Rubio's state GOP credit card spending in the coming months.

Credit card statements from 2007 show Rubio charged $134.75 at a tony Miami barber shop.

Standing on the deck at the Ovation condominium, Gov. Crist happily called his longtime barber, Carl Troup, to his side.

"My opponent for about a year has been running around Florida, buzzing all over the place, telling everybody what a fiscal conservative he is. But what you need to know is the truth. It's just not the truth. The guy got a credit card from the Republican Party of Florida, and he charged a haircut for $135. Unbelievable. I get my hair cut from this guy for 11 bucks," Crist said, putting an arm around Troup and then taking off a shiny loafer and raising it in the air.

"These shoes that I'm wearing? I've had them about eight years. I just get them resoled. I'm cheap. Carole will tell you," he said to roars. "Don't you want somebody in office you can trust, that is frugal, that is careful with your money and will watch the treasury cautiously? That's what I'll give you and the other guy won't. He's full of baloney."

Rubio's campaign spokesman Alex Burgos responded: "Floridians know they can't trust Charlie Crist to be frugal with their taxpayer dollars. Again and again, Charlie Crist has squandered taxpayer dollars on everything from the $787 billion stimulus, to a shady U.S. Sugar bailout, to his lavish European junket which cost taxpayers over $400,000."

$135 buys what?

Rubio has said little about the GOP credit cards, except that he had paid for about $16,000 in personal expenses and would reimburse the party another $3,000 for eight plane trips. But on a South Florida radio station last week, he was pressed about the barbershop charge and stressed that it was not for a haircut.

"That's not what that was. That was a bunch of other stuff that was for a silent auction and all of that," Rubio said. "We paid for that out of my own pocket, we were just charged there on the charge card, but you've got to come back and pay for it at the end of the month."

We still don't know why Rubio didn't use his own credit card or what was purchased. For the record, $135 at that men's barber shop, Churchill's would buy not just a deluxe cut ($25), but also a pedicure, and back and eyebrow waxing.

Obama fans revving up the grass roots

A lot of hard-core President Barack Obama fans and activists have been quietly grumbling about the lack of focus they've seen from his grass roots political operation, Organizing for America.

But the network now is holding grass roots strategy sessions across Florida and the country, and it looks like the machine — including about a dozen full-time organizers in Florida — is about to shift from nebulous policy advocacy to more direct political activity.

"The core point of these strategy sessions is to talk to our volunteers — the people that are out in their communities every day talking with their neighbors, friends and family — to get their input for where they want to take OFA in 2010," said Florida director Ashley Walker. "But we already know from the thousands of one-on-one conversations we've had with our volunteers that people came into this movement through the electoral process and they want to support the president by electing people that support his agenda for change."

LeMieux on a Crist run as independent

With Charlie Crist lagging in recent polls by double digits, the chatter is everywhere that he might run as an independent, rather than face Marco Rubio in a GOP primary. Nonsense, says the guy who ran Crist's last campaign.

"He's a Republican, he's always been a Republican, he's got a great record as a Republican. I think those are the kinds of rumors that get spread around in a campaign, maybe sometimes by the other side," Sen. George LeMieux says in a Political Connections interview airing today on Bay News 9 at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. "It always amazes me how much Charlie Crist is underestimated by his opponents and by the news media."

Adam Smith can be reached at


of the week

Larry Cretul. A charisma king he's not, but the Republican House speaker from Ocala drew overwhelmingly positive reviews for a self-effacing, down-to-earth speech opening the legislative session. "I am one of the few elected officials in the Capitol not running for election this year — the only thing I'm running for this year is the porch," he said.

Loser of the week

Jeff Atwater. The Republican Senate president and chief financial officer candidate says he wants his GOP credit card statements released. But he says he's helpless to make that happen, even though he can do it himself.

Crist gives Rubio a buzz cut for $135 bill at barbershop 03/06/10 [Last modified: Sunday, March 7, 2010 4:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. St. Petersburg showdown: Kriseman and Baker pull no punches in first forum

    Local Government

    A standing-room-only crowd packed a Midtown church banquet hall Tuesday to witness the first face-off between Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker in what is a watershed mayoral contest in the city's history.

    Former Mayor Rick Baker, left, is challenging incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, right, to become St. Petersburg mayor.
  2. Wildlife officers look for answers in gopher tortoise deaths while reward money piles up


    The blood had already pooled when the bodies were found, bashed and beaten. One was dead. The other was still gasping, but it was too late.

    A gopher tortoise emerges from a bush to feed on vegetation on Thursday in 2016 at the Moccasin Lake Environmental Education Center in Clearwater. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission is investigating the deaths of two tortoises that were beaten and their shells broken in Manatee County. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  3. Airbnb on track to shatter tax revenues brought in last year


    Airbnb has collected more than $18 million in taxes for Florida state and local governments so far this year, putting it on a fast-track to shatter its 2016 tax collection of $20 million.

    Airbnb has collected more than $18 million in taxes for Florida state and local governments so far this year, putting it on a fast-track to shatter its 2016 tax collection of $20 million.
[Bloomberg file photo]

  4. PSTA foresees no service cuts as it rolls out proposed 2018 budget


    ST. PETERSBURG — The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority will unveil the first draft of its 2018 budget at Wednesday morning's meeting of the governing board.

    A Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority bus leaves the terminal at  3180 Central Ave. in St Petersburg in 2014. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]
  5. What you need to know for Wednesday, June 28


    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    St. Petersburg will finally break ground today on its long-awaited downtown Pier. [City of  St. Petersburg]