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Republicans now own the 'Empty Chair Charlie' website, too

Published Jul. 18, 2013

Day after day, the Republican Party of Florida gleefully skewers Charlie Crist's record as a former Republican governor with a feature it calls "This Day in CRIST-ory." It highlights flip-flops, policy shifts or criticism of Crist from the same Democratic Party Crist has embraced in anticipation of his possible run for governor next year.

The GOP took its strategy a step further Thursday by claiming ownership of the dormant website, which the Florida Democratic Party created in 2008 as a platform to criticize Crist for his extensive travels and for what Dems saw as inattention to his responsibilities as governor.

In a release, RPOF said: "The site's sole purpose will be to archive and post previous Florida Democratic Party press releases and other materials attacking Crist's tenure as governor and his open campaign to be John McCain's vice president."

When Democrats launched the site in 2008, then-party chairwoman Karen Thurman fired off an email to party activists, saying the site would be "dedicated to holding Crist accountable for his blatant absence during the state's most dire economic times in 16 years." Now the site belongs to Republicans who will blast away at Crist for the same reason.

To complete this full-circle political irony, the "empty chair" strategy was actually created by Crist's team in the 2006 governor's race, when Crist ran a memorable TV ad of an empty chair careening through the streets of Washington, D.C., to criticize his Democratic opponent, Jim Davis, for missing votes while in Congress.


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