New Rick Scott ad connects Charlie Crist and Barack Obama

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A new ad from Gov. Rick Scott links Charlie Crist with Barack Obama, highlighted by photos of the infamous 2009 hug that eventually prompted the former GOP governor to leave the Republican Party.

“On the Ballot” is the first gubernatorial campaign ad using the clip of Obama saying, “I’m not on the ballot this fall, but make no mistake: these policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them.”

The 30-second ad, first reported in POLITICO, starts with a narrator claiming, “Charlie Crist backed Obama from the start … If you liked the last six years of Barack Obama, you’ll love the next four years of Charlie Crist.”

After becoming a Democrat less than two years ago, Crist has taken great pains to support the president, including expressing a readiness to have Obama campaign for him. Obama carried Florida twice.

Nevertheless, Florida is not on the White House’s travel agenda; instead, Crist had campaign visits from Joe Biden and Michelle Obama.

Crist’s campaign fears a visit by the president could nationalize an already close race.

Two recent polls show the race virtually tied; campaigning by Obama could prove a potential drag on Crist.

Obama’s approval rating is at 39 percent, according to a CNN/ORC poll, with an overwhelming 57 percent of respondents disapproving. Another Tampa Bay Times poll put the approval numbers at 38 percent.

“On the Ballot” also features Crist speaking at the Democratic National Convention in 2012, ruminating on the 2009 hug from Obama, when Crist endorsed the federal stimulus.

“I was proud to embrace him and his plan,” Crist said.

“And he still does,” adds the narrator.

Another clip shows Crist at a 2012 Obama re-election rally saying, “Let me tell you why I’m here: I love Barack Obama.”

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio — who defeated Crist in the 2010 U.S. Senate race — campaigns with Scott today in Miami.

The third gubernatorial debate between Scott and Crist is Tuesday night, broadcast live on CNN.

“On the Ballot” is also available on YouTube.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.