Crist campaign denies scrubbing GOP references from Web siteby George Bennett | April 21st, 2010
When state Rep. Tom Grady, R-Naples, withdrew his support for Gov. Charlie Crist’s U.S. Senate bid Tuesday, he said the Crist campaign Web site appears to be telegraphing a Crist abandonment of the GOP in favor of an independent candidacy.
“This evening, as I reviewed your updated campaign website, I noticed a disheartening fact. Your website has eliminated all references to our Republican Party, or as you frequently refer to it, the party of Lincoln,” Grady wrote in a letter to Crist.
UPDATE: Our Mike Bender reports after using a data-monitoring service that no references to “Republican” have been removed from the Crist site. Grady hasn’t responded to a request to elaborate on his scrubbing claim.
There aren’t a lot of Republican mentions on the charliecrist.com site. But Crist spokeswoman Andrea Saul this morning denied Grady’s charge that GOP references have been “eliminated.”
Says Saul: “No Republican references have been scrubbed from our website, period.”
The “Meet Charlie” section of the site refers to Crist as a “common-sense conservative” without mentioning the R-word. And the “Voter Info” link refers to “the primary on August 24″ without specifying a party.
But if you look hard enough, there is some evidence on the site that Crist is a Republican.
An entry on Crist’s campaign blog last week says:
“Read on and learn more about my commitment to the conservative, Republican principles that have allowed our state and her people to thrive…the same fiscally conservative principles we must return to while continuing to fight against the bloated, tax-and-spend agenda in Washington that’s mortgaging the future of our state and the nation.”
Under “Press Releases,” there’s an April 8 statement from campaign manager Erik Eikenberg decrying “baseless rumors” that Crist would bolt the GOP and blaming the rumors on Republican primary rival Marco Rubio:
“The Governor is proud of his conservative credentials and stands firmly behind the principles of limited government and more personal freedom, the bedrock values of the Republican Party. He is proud to be a member of the Party of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan.
“This should completely and utterly put to rest any of the unfounded rumors coming from the Rubio campaign that Governor Crist would run as anything other than the Republican that he is.”
The site also includes archived press releases referring to Crist speaking at Republican events and Lincoln Day dinners and weighing in on the departure of his hand-picked Republican Party of Florida chairman, Jim Greer, back in January. In a Jan. 5 press release, Crist said:
“I call on Florida Republicans to unite behind our common values of less government and more personal freedom and sincerely hope that we can move forward together to ensure statewide Republican victories in 2010.”
The home page on Rubio’s Web site, on the other hand, features a picture of Crist and President Obama and the headline “WILL CHARLIE ABANDON THE GOP? AGAIN?” The site says Rubio is “the only Republican we can trust to stand up to Obama, and trust to stay a Republican.”
The “Marco 101″ bio on the Rubio campaign Web site doesn’t mention the word “Republican.” But alongside the bio are endorsements of Rubio that include South Carolina GOP Sen. Jim DeMint’s praise of Rubio as “a big part of the Republican Party’s future” who “needs to be a big part of the Republian Party’s present.”
Tags: Tom Grady