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CNN analysis of Charlie Crist v. Marco Rubio: ‘This one’s pretty ugly’

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As primary battles go, this one’s pretty ugly.

The intra-party Republican fight in Florida between Gov. Charlie Crist and former state House Speaker Marco Rubio is full of fireworks…

Stuart Rothenberg, editor and publisher of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report, said, “The Republican Party’s long had different wings on cultural issues, but that’s a very different kind of fight than the GOP experienced in New York 23 and that the party’s having in Florida right now, where economic issues, such as taxes and spending, are crucial to the bitterness.

“First New York 23, and now Florida, are unique in the level of animosity that’s built up, not over social issues but over fiscal matters,” Rothenberg added. “I don’t think we’re going to see that many GOP splits elsewhere, because on issues of taxes and spending, most Republicans are on the same side of the ball.”

For the rest of this story from CNN, please go here.

Update – 5:30 p.m. – Karl Rove weighs in with op-ed for Wall Street Journal: Can Republicans retake the Senate?

Update – 5:31 p.m. – Rubio responds to Hotline re: criticism of his statement saying he would have accepted stimulus money:

Charlie Crist campaigned with President Obama in support of the $787 billion stimulus spending bill and pressured Florida’s congressional delegation to vote for it. And if he had been in the U.S. Senate, he would have voted for it.

Unlike Charlie Crist, I do not believe we can deficit spend our way into prosperity. I would have stood up to the Obama-Crist stimulus package and offered a clear alternative in the form of permanent tax cuts.”

“Advocating for the stimulus plan and accepting those dollars are not the same. The stimulus was a disaster and I would have fought it in every way possible. But once President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Charlie Crist mandated their mountain of debt, I have said I would have handled the stimulus money the same way real conservative governors like Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, Sarah Palin and Haley Barbour have.”

“The difference is clear. Charlie Crist actively advocated for this fiscally irresponsible stimulus policy. At a time when most other prominent Republican governors were fighting Obama’s stimulus and offering conservative alternatives, Charlie Crist actually championed the Obama package and helped him pass it. Charlie Crist may not understand what he did wrong or he may just want to forget it, but I’m confident that Florida Republicans won’t.”


Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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.

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