EVERY MINUTE COUNTS FOR CRIST CAMPAIGN by Roxanne Escobales

09/20/06

In his function as the attorney general of Florida, Charlie Crist spoke to an ethics commission conference in Tampa today. The officials from different cities around the state and the representatives of state agencies who attended were expecting a speech on Florida’s sunshine laws and the handling of public records from Crist, the state’s top authority on the subject of the law. Instead they got a dressed-down campaign speech seven weeks before the general election Crist hopes will put him in the governor’s mansion.

He began by recognizing Pat Gleason, the general counsel in the attorney general’s office.

ACT: thank pat gleason [applause then under]

And then in the same style that confounded Tom Gallagher during televised debates before the primary election, Crist denied he was doing what in fact he was actually doing. He unofficially yet publicly made Pat Gleason an offer she may not be able to refuse.

ACT:

Crist devoted the rest of the speech delivering an autobiography that included the story of his grandfather’s emigration to America and the rise of his progeny. At one point it seemed Crist would touch on what he came to speak about, the transparency of state government. But then he decided against it.

ACT:

After his speech, WMNF asked Crist, who insisted on being called Charlie, if he had indeed just made a campaign speech during his function as attorney general.

ACT: Interview

Tuesday, Crist’s gubernatorial opponent Jim Davis accused the attorney general of playing election year politics. The Financial Services Commission, which Crist sits on as a member of the cabinet, rejected the plan of operation from the beleaguered state-run insurer of last resort, Citizens Property Insurance. Crist took the credit for the move.

ACT: mini-interview

Another instance where Charlie Crist has been accused of using his office as attorney general to boost his gubernatorial campaign was the Harry T. Moore case. Over 50 years ago Moore was a civil rights activist and head of the N-double-A-CP when someone bombed his house, killing him and his wife on Christmas Day in 1951. Despite many investigations including by the F-B-I, the case went unsolved until this summer, when Crist and his office fingered four members of the Ku Klux Klan, none of them still alive.

Critics say re-opening the cold case was simply a ploy to gain the favor of black Floridians.

A recent report in the Sun-Sentinel newspaper quoted Ben Green, an expert in the Moore case, saying the attorney general’s investigation was not sound.

ACT: mini-interview

Charlie Crist was elected attorney general in 2002. Before that he served as Jeb Bush’s Education Commissioner, coming from the state legislature as a senator. With 48 days left before the general election on November 7th, Crist seems determined to make every appearance before voters count in his race to be the head of the state. Even if that means blurring the lines between what he was elected to do as attorney general and getting elected to be what he wants to be– Florida’s 44th governor.

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