Yeah, right. The move was an act of cowardice:The Florida Council of 100, a politically astute group of top business leaders, abruptly blocked a speech Thursday by Charlie Crist scheduled shortly after an address by Gov. Rick Scott, the Democrat's successor and likely November opponent.
The Republican-leaning group had invited Crist weeks ago to address its spring meeting at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando and offered 30 minutes of speaking time.
On Tuesday, it withdrew the invitation, but Crist showed up anyway and listened to Scott's talk. He then called a news conference and basked in the free publicity.
"It's silly, childish and frankly, rude," said Crist. "It's galactically stupid."
The council gave no explanation for silencing Crist, who as a former governor is a lifetime member of the council. Two council leaders, chief executive Susan Pareigis and chairman Steve Halverson, did not respond to phone and text messages and emails.
Crist said Halverson told him Wednesday, "I owe you an apology. I was involved in that," and that the reason was "we didn't want it to be political."
Halverson, a Jacksonville construction executive, has personally given $3,000 to Scott's re-election campaign and $25,000 more to Let's Get to Work, Scott's political committee. - Tampa Bay Times, 5/15/14
Not only does he brutally bash Scott, he also talks about investing in infrastructure, education and renewable energy. You can read all of Crist's speech here:The highly public snub of Crist by Florida’s corporate leadership played directly into his hands. He’s being vastly outspent by Scott in TV advertising and he’s running as a populist “people’s governor” who sides with individuals, not corporations that support Scott.
Ironically, Crist’s speech would have been largely ignored because Council of 100 events are off-limits to reporters.
The speech that Crist was not allowed to give was an all-out attack on Scott’s record and his integrity — “a bully with a $100 million checkbook,” according to prepared remarks released by his campaign.
“We have a governor who leads by embracing the ideological fringes, taking care of his friends, bullying his opponents, hiding from the public and press and running from tough issues,” Crist’s text said.
The speech also included policy ideas, such as a high-speed rail system, opening borders to Cuba and a program to encourage college students to get graduate degrees in science and technology if they stay in Florida.
Scott’s breakfast speech was a familiar recitation of job growth, lower unemployment, student learning gains and tax cuts. He made no mention of Crist, according to details released by the governor’s office, other than to repeat that the state is in far better shape now than when Crist left office.
“We’ve come a long way in the last 3 1/2 years,” Scott said, according to the text.
Afterward, a Scott aide distributed a flier to every table in the ballroom entitled “Why Charlie Crist Hates Your Business.” The council ordered the leaflets removed.
The Council of 100, created in the 1960s by Gov. Farris Bryant, calls itself nonpartisan, but many members are Republicans and Scott supporters. - Miami Herald, 5/15/14
It's a great speech and I'm happy it's available somewhere. Crist is doing everything in his power to keep the focus on how badly Scott's agenda is hurting Florida:
I have to say I have been loving Crist's brutal attacks of Scott on the campaign trail:Crist, a former Republican, defended his decision to switch to the Democratic Party, and his decision not to debate his Democratic primary opponent Nan Rich.
"My opponent is Rick Scott, and Chris, if I take my eye off that for one moment I'm doing the voters a disservice. He obviously thinks I'm his opponent," said Crist.
In March and April, the Scott camp spent $6.5 million on ads, including an ad attacking Charlie Crist and his record as governor. That record includes high state-wide unemployment and budget shortfalls.
"We went through a difficult time -- a global economic meltdown -- and yet we got through it, and frankly the economy was already starting to come back at the end of my term," said Crist.
Crist went on to say that he continues to back the Affordable Care Act, even calling out Scott for again failing to expand Medicaid, leaving hundreds of thousands of residents without coverage, and billions of federal dollars that instead are going to other states. - WFTV 9, 5/15/14
You can see why I am super excited about Crist's campaign. He knows what up against and he is a relentless fighter. Not only is Scott hurting in the polls but he also has this to face:Completing a weekend that kicked off the governor's race in the crucial Tampa Bay area, former Gov. Charlie Crist roused a crowd of Democrats on his home turf in Pinellas County Saturday by telling them Gov. Rick Scott is "a fraud."
"He's going to say anything, do anything to try to get back there, to try to wipe his past away," Crist said. "I'm running against a $100 million war machine."
But, he said, "In this election, the truth is coming -- and it's you."
Crist spoke to the premier annual fundraising event of the Democratic Party of Pinellas County, his home turf, as friendly a crowd as he'll see on the campaign trail.
The appearance followed one by Scott at a Hillsborough County Republican Party dinner Friday, as the two begin a battle for what may be the most crucial political area in the coming election, the Tampa Bay area, a swing-voting swath of Central Florida that's also the state's largest media market.
But while Scott has been coming to Tampa on a more-than-weekly basis, Crist has been concentrating on South Florida, where he needs a big turnout from the state's largest cache of Democrats, making comparatively few appearances here.
Opening his speech, Crist told the crowd, "I'm going to litigate Rick Scott."
He began with what apparently will be a staple of his campaign, the Medicare fraud investigation of the hospital chain Scott headed in the 1990s, Columbia/HCA, which led to a $1.7 billion fine, the nation's largest to that date.
"It's despicable. It's a health care company," he said. "They're supposed to care about sick people. You know what they cared about under his leadership? Money."
That investigation was a major issue in the 2010 campaign, which Scott won. Asked how he expects to succeed with it this time, Crist told reporters, "I'm going to talk about it more," and said he knows "intelligent voters" who don't know that Scott invoked Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination in testimony in the case.
He said despite Scott's talk of tax cuts, the new budget will increase property taxes to pay for education -- "Then he says it's not happening. Remember the fraud thing? It's kind of a pattern. It's fraud. That's what he does."
He said Scott has compiled a "terrible" record on government ethics, voting rights, the environment and support for education. - Huffington Post, 5/11/14
And then there's this:An emergency lawsuit filed in the Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday raises an election-year constitutional challenge to a law that allows statewide elected officials to place their personal financial assets in blind trusts.
The obvious target is Gov. Rick Scott, the first officeholder to take advantage of the 2013 law, but he’s not a defendant. Rather, the lawsuit seeks to prevent Secretary of State Ken Detzner from accepting candidate qualifying papers of anyone who has placed finances in a blind trust.
The lawsuit was filed by constitutional law expert Talbot (Sandy) D’Alemberte, a former Democratic legislator, who pointed to an erosion of public access to information in a state known for its landmark “sunshine” laws.
The plaintiff is Jim Apthorp, 75, a Democrat who was chief of staff to the late Gov. Reubin Askew, a champion of ethical government who died in March. After a series of political scandals rocked Florida in the 1970s, Askew persuaded voters to pass the “Sunshine Amendment” to the Constitution in 1976 that requires officials to disclose personal financial details each year.
The suit seeks emergency court action because candidates must submit candidacy papers, including financial disclosure statements, the week of June 16-20.
Scott, the richest governor in Florida’s history, listed every one of his investments when he ran for governor in 2010, and showed a net worth of $218.6 million. He spent at least $73 million of his own money on the campaign.
With the approval of the state Commission on Ethics, and following a rule used by federal executive branch officials, Scott formed a blind trust in 2011. He held investments in companies that were regulated by the state and said he wanted to avoid conflicts of interest.
In 2013, acting on the advice of a statewide grand jury and the Commission on Ethics, the Legislature unanimously passed legislation (SB 2) regulating blind trusts and setting the powers and duties of appointed trustees, including prohibiting them from telling their clients, such as Scott, what assets are bought or sold.
Scott then got a second ethics opinion that said his blind trust complied with the law. Last year, the trust held $72.9 million in assets of a total net worth for Scott of $83.8 million.
A blind trust allows Scott to declare a lump sum net worth without having to disclose the value of his vast portfolio of stocks, bonds and other investments, some of which are regulated by the state and whose value could be directly affected by Scott’s policies. - Miami Herald, 5/14/14
Scott is running scared and so are his dark money backers:Democrats slapped Gov. Rick Scott with three ethics and election law complaints Thursday, accusing him of violating state law by not fully reporting his campaign's use of an aircraft owned by a company in his wife's name.
The complaints follow a Times/Herald report last month that Scott's campaign did not disclose expenditures for use of the Cessna Citation Excel jet that has taken him all over the country on dozens of fundraising and campaign events since he officially became a candidate for re-election in December.
Scott's campaign accused former Gov. Charlie Crist, his likely Democratic opponent, of orchestrating the action and accused him of "mudslinging."
The complaints were initiated by Alejandro Victoria, 22, of Kissimmee, a recent political science graduate from Florida State University who said he is an active volunteer in Democratic politics but is not involved in Crist's campaign for governor.
The complaints were filed by Ron Meyer, a Tallahassee lawyer and a Democrat who practices election law and lobbies for the Florida Education Association, the state teachers union that strongly opposes Scott's re-election.
"Scott has not made timely payment for the use of the aircraft; nor had he reported the airplane use values, either as an in-kind contribution or a loan," Meyer wrote in one of the complaints.
A second election law complaint contends that each use of the plane by Scott's campaign was an in-kind contribution that exceeded the $3,000 limit, and should have been reported as such but was not. Meyer said the cost of operating Scott's jet is about $2,000 per hour.
The ethics complaint alleges that under state law, the Scott campaign's use of the jet is a gift that must be reported each time, and it has not. - Tampa Bay Times, 5/15/14
And the anti-Crist propaganda is up and running:More than six months before the general election, a committee backing Gov. Rick Scott’s re-election spent $5.1 million on advertising in April, newly filed campaign-finance reports show.
The spending by the “Let’s Get to Work” committee was far greater than the combined $1.3 million raised last month by the committee and Scott’s re-election campaign. But the committee still had roughly $18.4 million available to spend and the campaign had about $3.1 million as of April 30.
The Scott campaign and the committee released the numbers as state candidates and political committees faced a Monday deadline for filing reports detailing contributions and spending through April. Reports trickled onto the state Division of Elections website throughout the day.
A committee backing Scott’s leading challenger, Democrat Charlie Crist, reported raising nearly $1.3 million in April, buoyed in part by a $500,000 contribution from the Democratic Governors Association. The committee, dubbed “Charlie Crist for Florida,” had raised $6.6 million through April while spending only $617,900.
The updated totals for Crist’s campaign account had not been posted late Monday afternoon on the Division of Elections website. - Florida Courier, 5/15/14
And of course Scott needs this clown's help:The Republican Party of Florida relaunched CutAndRunCrist.com on Thursday, its anti-Charlie Crist website.
The website is a property purchased by the RPOF after the Florida Democratic Party allowed it to expire. The website contains press releases, quotes, and other materials originally produced by the Florida Democratic Party and Democratic officials.
This is the third site once owned by FDP that now belongs to the RPOF.
The website was originally created when Charlie Crist announced he would run for Senate instead of seeking a second term as governor. - Sunshine State News, 5/15/14
Here's the ting: no one really gives a shit about Crist's past as a Republican. Why? Because Florida voters are worried about their future and they know Scott is taking them down the path of destruction. Crist is getting that message out and polls show the majority of Florida voters want him back. I for one am proud to be supporting Crist's campaign and will do what I can to help him take down Scott. If you want to get involved and donate to Crist's campaign, please do so here:Sen. Marco Rubio is helping the state GOP mark the 5 year anniversary of Charlie Crist's entrance in the U.S. Senate race with a fundraiser that calls Crist a "phony" and asks Republicans to stop his "liberal agenda."
Crist, of course, was the Republican Party of Florida favorite -- and that of the national establishment -- when the race began but Rubio steadily overtook him, forcing Crist to leave the party and run as an independent. Rubio won in a three-way contest with Crist and Democrat Kendrick Meek. - Tampa Bay Times, 5/13/14