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Florida's candidates in their own words

Charlie Crist, 54

"When it comes to Florida, if you want somebody that's on the hard right, you have a candidate now. If you want somebody on the hard left, you have a candidate. But, if on the other hand, you want somebody who's going to fight the gridlock in Washington, stand up for the people first instead of the party, do what's right for Florida rather than what's right for Washington, or right for just Republicans or Democrats, then you have an alternative. And that's what we offer in this race. My opponents … are imprisoned by the parties, expected to do certain things. And that's the real difference in this race. I don't run against them. I run for the people of Florida. And I put forward a positive message about what I think is the right thing to do to rein in spending, to reduce our taxes, exactly like we've done here in Florida, to make sure that we're innovative about trying to produce a better economy, a clean economy that produces new jobs, work with Democrats for that, work with Republicans to reduce taxes. Just the kinds of things that are common sense. That's the thing that's really missing in Washington today. Where's the common sense?"

On CNN's Larry King Live, Aug. 24

Kendrick Meek, 43

"Tonight, Floridians sent a clear message — they want a real Democrat representing them in the U.S. Senate. I am the only candidate who supports a woman's right to choose and equal pay for equal work, has fought against privatizing Social Security, and will repeal the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans and cut taxes for the middle class. Floridians need leaders who are willing to stand up for middle-class families — tireless fighters who know what it means to tackle big issues. They deserve leaders who will fight tooth-and-nail to preserve Social Security and will stand with President Obama to rebuild Florida's middle class. Most of all, Floridians want leaders who will fight for them all the time, not just when it helps their own political career or advances an extreme philosophy. The naysayers said we couldn't beat a billionaire, and tonight with your help, we proved them wrong. We have the momentum in this race, and over the next 70 days, we'll make sure that every Floridian knows that there is just one candidate who will fight for everyday Florida families. In 10 weeks, Floridians will prove the naysayers wrong once more and send a real Democrat to Washington, D.C."

Speaking to supporters after winning Democratic nomination, Aug. 24

Marco Rubio, 39

"In Florida, the choice that our people are going to have is very simple. If you like the direction that America is headed, if you think Washington is doing the right things, then there are two other people that are going to be on the ballot, and you should vote for one of them. If, on the other hand, you are unhappy with the direction that Washington's taking America, if you are unhappy with the road that we are on, then there's only one person running, there's only one campaign in Florida in 2010 that is offering to stand up to that agenda and, in its place, present a very clear alternative. If we stay on the road that Washington has us on right now, we will lose our exceptionalism. We will lose the things that make us special and unique. Our economy is not creating jobs. You know why? Because politicians don't create jobs. Jobs are created by everyday people from all walks of life, who start a business or expand an existing business. And the job of government is to make it easier for them to do that, not harder. But that's not what they're doing. Our government cannot continue to spend more money than it takes in, or soon we will face a Greece-like day of reckoning. And the world is a safer place when our country, the United States of America, is the strongest country in the world."

Speaking to supporters after winning the Republican nomination, Aug. 24.

Lawton "Bud" Chiles, 57

"I'm running for governor to speak for a million Floridians who are out of work right now. I'm running to help nearly a million children who have no health care — and for the millions of people who, like me, believe Florida can and must do better by its families and communities. It's big money vs. big money and the people are left on the sidelines. I refuse to play that game. I am in this race as an independent, beholden to no party. My campaign is all about bringing people together, not dividing folks. I'm the guy who's not taking special interest money and not buying the election. I'm ready to take on this system and take back our state."

Statement on website on Aug. 25

Alex Sink, 62

"Floridians have endured $60 million in negative ads and personal attacks — but heard little about how my opponent will attack Florida's urgent challenges or help the millions of Floridians who are out of work or struggling to get by. Anyone who has spent any time in Tallahassee knows that the partisanship and special interests are even worse than Floridians think. Like the people of Florida, I'm fed up with the indictments, arrests and waste in state government. And as your next governor, I have a plan to reform government, and I will hold people accountable to get results and move Florida forward.

"For governor, Floridians have a clear choice between a businesswoman with detailed plans to diversify Florida's economy and create jobs — or more of the same tired promises, politics and partisanship that helped create the mess our economy and state government are in today."

Statement issued after winning Democratic primary, Aug. 24.

Rick Scott, 57

"Our goal is very simple: We want to improve the quality of life for every Floridian. And we believe that the only way to do that is to make the government work for us, instead of us working for the government. Voters took a chance on me today. They know that I'm not a politician. That's right! And I didn't come up through the political ranks. And they know it was not my turn to be governor. But the voters also know this: Our state and our nation have been heading in the wrong direction for quite a while. People know that government cannot continue to expand. They know that you can't continue to spend more than you make. And they know you cannot keep piling up record debt each and every year. It's a mistake.

"We've sent a clear message to Washington insiders — to Tallahassee insiders — and the special interests that fund both of them. The message: It's time to clean house and hold government accountable. It matters who governs. My Democratic opponent belongs to the insiders' club in Tallahassee — insiders who have been doing the same thing for each other for years. I think it's time that Tallahassee started working for us."

Remarks after winning the Republican primary, Aug. 24.

By Lesley Cark and Sergio Bustos, Miami Herald

Florida's candidates in their own words 08/28/10 [Last modified: Sunday, August 29, 2010 12:48am]

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