‘Top Line’ — GOP Strategist: Crist Victory ‘Spectacularly Unlikely’

Apr 29, 2010 4:23pm

 ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: Florida Gov. Charlie Crist’s decision to pursue a Senate as an independent may be his only path to victory — but it’s not a particularly clear one, given the political dynamics in Florida and beyond.  On ABC’s “Top Line” today, Florida Republican strategist Rick Wilson — who was part of Crist’s ad team for his 1998 Senate campaign — said Crist will be hamstrung by the fact that his party switch seems to be based primarily on political self-preservation.  “It is so spectacularly unlikely that this presents Charlie a path to victory that it’s almost not worth discussing,” Wilson told us from Tallahassee.  “Charlie Crist is no Joe Lieberman, to put it very mildly,” he added. “Joe Lieberman’s decisions were informed by principle; Charlie has none. He’s a guy completely driven by political ambition. There’s never been a discerning governing philosophy or any kind of underlying ideological principle with Charlie, other than how do I get to the next seat.” Crist’s problem was broader than his decision to support President Obama’s stimulus package, Wilson said. “I think there would have been ways for Charlie Crist to say, this is difficult but in these desperate times we really have to do this. Instead it was — he was up on stage, and you know, you look at it and it was like, if you love him so much put a ring on it. This is a guy who went way over the top in supporting and praising Barack Obama.” We asked our Twitter followers about the biggest winners and losers in Crist’s decision.  From @JordanRaynor, a suggestion that among the winners is Sen. George LeMieux, R-Fla. — a former Crist deputy who was appointed by Crist to hold the seat the governor now wants: “LeMieux a winner because it gives him the opportunity to demonstrate party loyalty in the most *difficult* of circumstances.”  Said @AndyLancaster: “Biggest loser is Crist’s dignity. Biggest winners are headline writers everwhere who get to play off Crist / Christ.”  Wilson agreed that LeMieux — who is widely discussed to want to return to the Senate in 2012, when Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., is up for reelection — is a winner in Crist’s decision: “If they thought he was going to be a mini-me for Charlie Crist, they were mistaken.” Watch the “Top Line” segment with Rick Wilson HERE.

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