Crist: ‘God bless’ Obama for vacationing in Floridaby Dara Kam | August 14th, 2010
Gov. Charlie Crist praised President Barack Obama for bringing the First Family to Florida’s Gulf Coast for a brief vacation.
“It’s the biggest single commercial you could imagine. God bless him,” Crist said before meeting with Obama, his wife Michelle and a handful of Panama City business owners at a waterfront Coast Guard station.
Republicans have blasted Obama for what they called a “27-hour guilt trip” to the region where the economy suffered as tourism plummeted during BP’s massive oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
Crist brushed off the criticism.
“On behalf of Florida and as Florida’s sitting governor, I couldn’t be more grateful that the president and the First Lady of the United States are taking the time to come to our Gulf Coast and highlight Florida and promote tourism and jobs for our people. There’s no other way to look at this,” he said.
Crist broke with the Republican Party earlier this year to run as an independent in the U.S. Senate race after polling showed he was trailing in a potential primary against former House Speaker Marco Rubio.
Crist, who gained notoriety for the now infamous hug with Obama, sidestepped questions about whether Saturday’s visit with Obama would help Crist’s effort to draw support from Democrats to his campaign.
“I don’t know. I have no idea. But I think what’s important is that I’ll stand with anybody who’s going to help promote Florida tourism and our economy. It would be ridiculous not to,” Crist said. “I’m very, very grateful that the President and the First Lady…put such a spotlight on Florida tourism.”