DNC - McCain Watch: The Crist Edition

Washington, DC - Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has consistently supported President Bush, playing follow the leader on the economy at a high cost to Floridians. Since 2007, Crist has backed more of the same failed Bush-McCain economic policies in Florida that have already driven the American economy into a recession.

Crist has a long-standing relationship with Bush. In 2000, during Bush's presidential campaign, Crist and Bush were already close enough for Bush to bestow a nickname on Crist, "Chalkboard Charlie." It's no surprise that Crist has leaped to Bush's defense, saying, "I'm not concerned with being linked with him at all…I'm proud of my president."

After a year of Crist's Bush-McCain economic policies, Florida now faces a $2 billion budget shortfall. For the first time since 1971, Florida is suffering from back-to-back revenue declines. But instead of changing course, Crist has turned to the state budget stabilization fund, taking $700 million to compensate for the failure of his Crist-Bush-McCain economic policies.

If McCain is looking for a running mate whose loyalty to Bush, and especially to Bush's irresponsible, failed economic policies, rivals his own, he can't do better than Crist - Florida has a $2 billion budget shortfall to prove it. McCain-Crist is just Bush-Cheney with a Sunshine State twist.


Crist: Not Concerned About Being Linked to Bush; Proud of Bush.
"Crist said he has no reservations about standing side-by-side with a president whose popularity has slipped substantially because of the growing public opposition to the war in Iraq… 'I'm not concerned with being linked with him at all,' Crist said. 'I'm proud of my president. I'm proud of the commander in chief.'" [St. Petersburg Times, 9/18/06] 

George Bush Dubbed Crist "Chalkboard Charlie." In October 2000, presidential candidate George W. Bush named Republican Education commissioner Candidate Charlie Crist, "Chalkboard Charlie." According to the article, "Bush likes giving legislators and reporters nicknames. During his bus ride from Daytona Beach to the Orlando area Wednesday, he told Crist he had heard his nickname [Chain Gang Charlie] and offered to change it. 'I'm going to give you a new one,' Crist said the Texas governor told him. The presidential candidate suggested 'Chalkboard Charlie.' Crist liked it and so did Gov. Jeb Bush, the Texas governor's younger brother. So the Texas governor unveiled it at the fairgrounds to a cheering crowd." Crist acknowledged he liked it better than Chain Gang Charlie. [St. Petersburg Times, 10/27/2000]


Under Crist, Florida Is Suffering From First Back to Back Revenue Decline Since '71.
"Florida is staring into what some state officials all an uncharted budget chasm. The state is weathering its first back-to-back annual revenue declines since at least 1971." [Orlando Sentinel, 2/1/08]

State Tax Collection Fell Short $263.9 Million Over Three Months This Year; Expected Worsen.  "State tax collections fell a combined $263.9 million below anticipated levels in March, April and May. June figures are expected to be about $100 million short as the state sinks into recession, economists said." [Orlando Sentinel, 7/6/08]

Florida Is Facing $2 Billion Shortfall from First Year of Crist administration.
Florida is facing a $2 billion dollar short fall from '07. [Tallahassee Democrat, 2/1/08]

Crist Using Half of the State Budget Stabilization Fund to Patch Hole in Current Budget. 
"Seeking to avoid a grim, budget-cutting session while they're running for re-election, legislators earlier this year gave Crist authority to use half of the state's budfund -- or about $700 million -- to patch holes in the 2008-09 spending plan." [Orlando Sentinel, 7/6/08]