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« NRSC, McConnell Endorse Crist | Blog Home Page | Club For Growth: Crist Could Be Next Specter »

From White House Ally To Senate Foe?

Just three months after the president shared a stage with Gov. Charlie Crist (R) in Florida, the White House today signaled that Obama would likely support his Democratic opponent in the Senate race.

Press secretary Robert Gibbs said it was too early to speculate about whether Obama would campaign in Florida against Crist. But when asked if Obama would support the Democratic nominee, Gibbs said that the president "generally support[s] Democratic nominees." "I think you have a sense of where the president's party allegiance lies," he added.

During a town hall meeting in Fort Myers this February, Obama thanked Crist for his strong public backing of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. "Governor Crist shares my conviction that creating jobs and turning this economy around is a mission that transcends party," he said. "When the town is burning, we don't check party labels. Everyone needs to grab a hose! Governor Crist and governors across the country understand that."

These words could be very helpful to Crist in a general election campaign. But of course, Crist needs to get through a Republican primary first, and today he was asked if his support for the stimulus package could backfire amongst a conservative electorate.

"I think what's important to bear in mind is that we do things a little bit differently here in Florida and that's another reason that I run for the United States Senate. We work together to solve problems and do what's right for the people of our state," Crist said, according to CNN. "The people are the boss. And I think, regardless of party, we have to work together to get things done. And that's what I'd like to take to Washington, D.C."