From The New York Times:
Two years after he was shunned by Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida during that state’s Republican presidential primary, former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts endorsed Marco Rubio, Mr. Crist’s opponent in Florida’s Republican Senate primary, on Saturday.
Mr. Romney’s decision to support Mr. Rubio comes after Mr. Crist helped end Mr. Romney’s White House aspirations by endorsing a rival, Senator John McCain of Arizona, in the 2008 race for the Republican presidential nomination.
Mr. Romney is the third major Republican presidential candidate from the 2008 race to endorse Mr. Rubio, joining former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York and former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas. Mr. Giuliani, who endorsed Mr. Rubio earlier this month, was also counting on a Florida victory in the 2008 campaign and now says that Mr. Crist backed out of a promised endorsement.
Original movie poster
(How nice is it of Princess Sarah Palin to lend Captain Underpants her leather jacket?)
Mr. Crist and Mr. Rubio each sought Mr. Romney’s endorsement, according to a Romney adviser, but Mr. Romney is said to believe that Mr. Rubio has a stronger conservative record. Mr. Romney was also disappointed that Mr. Crist vetoed a teacher merit-pay bill last Thursday that was a high priority for Republican lawmakers and former Gov. Jeb Bush.
In 2006, Mr. Romney flew to Tallahassee as head of the Republican Governors Association with a $1 million check to help Mr. Crist’s run for governor.
In 2008, Mr. Romney and Mr. McCain were in a tight battle for Florida with Mr. Romney slightly ahead in polls leading up to the primary. Mr. Crist endorsed Mr. McCain just three days ahead of the election, and some political observers believe the support was enough to give Mr. McCain the primary victory, which he used to build momentum and capture the Republican presidential nomination.
Well, good thing that Charlie still has a grateful Captain Underpants in his corner! Not so fast…
From TALKING POINTS MEMO:
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is backing away from his support for Gov. Charlie Crist (R-FL), saying that he will not continue to support Crist’s Senate bid if Crist were to leave the GOP and run as an independent.
The Hill asked McCain if he would still support Crist as an independent. “No,” McCain replied. Pressed further, McCain only added: “I support Republicans.”
Like Joe Lieberman?
I don’t think that’s quite enough knives in Charlie’s back. How about one more? From THE HUFFINGTON POST:
Hours after formally endorsing Marco Rubio in the Florida Senate race, House Minority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) took a hammer to his opponent in the upcoming primary, all but accusing Gov. Charlie Crist of lacking principles.
Speaking at an conference hosted by The Week Magazine, the Virginia Republican called Crist’s position on several key political issues “really puzzling.”
“He embraced the stimulus bill, which I think, pretty much, there is close to unanimity that that bill fell short in terms of accomplishing [its] goals,” Cantor said. The congressman then pivoted to a veto Crist made of an education bill that would have eliminated tenure for new teachers and linked salaries to student progress.
“How is it that he could have done that?” Cantor asked. “[Y]ou have to wonder what Charlie Crist stands for at that point. And what people are looking for in leaders right now is a genuineness, a sense of purpose and a commitment to principles. That’s why I decided to endorse Marco Rubio.”
The indictment offered by Cantor reflects the near complete ostracism of Crist from the national Republican Party. The Florida Governor has watched his standing within the GOP slip as he has embraced small, but significant, portions of the president’s economic recovery agenda. But in recent weeks he’s gone from living on the outskirts to being an outright outcast.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee has privately urged him to leave the race, saying there is “zero chance” he can win.