ROVE, WHITE HOUSE AIDES PISSED OFF AT CRIST SNUB OF PRESIDENT; HARRIS SNUBBED AT THE EVENT
President Bush brought his day-before-the-election tour to the Pensacola Civic Center Monday to support Florida GOP candidates, especially the campaign of gubernatorial nominee Charlie Crist. However, the Attorney General was several hundred miles southeast of the Panhandle city as part of his own last minute campaign sweep across the state.
Needless to say, presidential political advisor Karl Rove and other White House aides were less than happy with the snub, reportedly not finding out until Sunday evening that Crist would not be in attendance to introduce the president as had been originally planned.
As the Orlando Sentinel reported this morning:
White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove was miffed that Crist skipped the rally.
"All I know is that yesterday morning, they apparently made a decision that rather than being with the governor and the president and 10,000 people in Pensacola, they made a last-minute decision to go to Palm Beach," Rove said.
"Let's see how many people show up in Palm Beach on 24 hours' notice versus 8- or 9,000 people in Pensacola."
Crist's chief of staff said that it made no sense for the gubernatorial front runner be present, as they felt that the traditionally conservative Panhandle was soundly in their hands and it was better for the Attorney General to campaign in other areas of the state.
Meanwhile, U.S. Senate candidate Katherine Harris was present for the Pensacola event, but was not allowed on stage during the main event; she did get to address the crowd briefly more than an hour before the president arrived. During the main event, she and her husband were relegated to a seat in the stands with the "common folk".
Crist was not the only statewide candidate who snubbed the Commander in Chief. Attorney General candidate Bill McCollum, Chief Financial Officer nominee Tom Lee, and incumbant Agricultrure and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles Bronson also missed the rally in favour of doing their own campaigning.
From the St. Petersburg Times:
Without Crist and the other statewide candidates, Bush was joined on stage by first lady Laura Bush, his brother Gov. Jeb Bush, former Bush housing secretary and now U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, and U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, who represents the Panhandle. Also on stage were state legislators and Carole Jean Jordan, chairwoman of the Republican Party of Florida. McCollum, who finds himself in a tight race with state Sen. Walter "Skip" Campbell, spent the day campaigning along the I-4 corridor.
"I wasn't going up to Pensacola," said McCollum, who spent an hour with St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker on Monday, waving to motorists. "It's not where I needed to be."