Charlie Crist, Rick Scott trade barbs over Cuba policies

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All of a sudden, the U.S. embargo of Cuban products is the hot-button issue in Florida’s gubernatorial race as Democrat Charlie Crist and Republican Rick Scott trade barbs over their respective Cuba policies.

On Friday, Crist appeared on Bill Maher’s HBO show and called for an end to the U.S. embargo of Cuba. 

“I don’t think it worked,” Crist said of the 52-year-old embargo. He also agreed when the comedian said politicians need to stand up to the Cuban exile community that supports the economic sanctions.

Crist’s about-face on Cuba (while a candidate for the U.S. Senate, Crist expressed support for the embargo), earned a sharp rebuke from Scott.

“The suggestion that Cuban Americans need to be ‘stood up to’ is insulting,” said Scott in a release. “Our Cuban community needs to be stood up FOR.”

Reacting to Scott’s criticism, Crist’s did not hesitate to respond — one sign of an increasingly active rapid-response effort by Crist’s campaign.

“If Rick Scott wants the Cuban people to be free, he should stop supporting a policy that has left them under tyrannical rule for more than fifty years,” said Crist. “His entrenched, failed policy just strengthens the dictatorship’s grip over access to freedom and lets China strengthen its footprint just 90 miles from Florida.”

Continued Crist, “That’s no way to deliver freedom.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.