by Mitch Perry
Even though his state is now facing a severe budget deficit, New Jersey governor Chris Christie told a group of Rick Scott supporters this afternoon that they ought to plan on seeing him back in Florida several more times before this November's election.
As head of the Republican Governors Association, Christie's job is to campaign and fundraise for GOP candidates running for governor this year across the nation, and he said today that it wasn't a hard choice for voters to discern between Rick Scott and Charlie Crist.
"Unlike other races around the country, you have a really clear choice," Christie said at Port of Tampa's Port Hendry, out in the heat. "You don't have to wonder about what it would be like, if Rick's opponent was elected governor. You lived it! You don't have to imagine it. You lived it. You saw the jobs flee from this state. You saw the foreclosures go up. You saw personal bankruptcies being had by people all across this state. You saw the pain that was caused. You saw what happened when somebody put politics above people's best interests. So, Florida — this is one of the easiest choices I think in America. Because you know what Rick Scott has done for the last three and a half years, along with his partners in the state legislature, and you know what Charlie Crist did when he was in charge."
Christie said if people were to take Charlie Crist's words to the bank, "that check will bounce." Mentioning he had left a cold and rainy New Jersey this morning, Christie said that he would be returning to Florida as often as possible. "This is really hard work for me, man, really hard work, " as the partisan crowd laughed along.
Although Republicans often say that government can't create jobs, that wasn't the mantra being preached on Thursday. Governor Scott blasted Crist on that front, saying that under the former governor, the state had lost 150,000 trade jobs. "In the last 3 years we've added 120,000 trade jobs. While he was governor we lost a total of 832,000 jobs. We've now added over 600,000 jobs."
Christie has blamed New Jersey's budget woes on the Democrats who control that state's legislature, and Tampa Republican state Representative Jamie Grant was only too happy to commiserate with him, saying "Governor Christie, I wish you had some dance partners like Governor Scott does here."
Along with Grant, getting speaking parts at the rally were Tampa Republican House member Dana Young and Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe. Sharpe criticized Crist indirectly, saying "whoever's there leading the ship when times are tough, as well as when times are good," was his choice to lead the state, referring to Crist's decision not to run for re-election for governor in 2010, but instead opting to run (and lose) for the U.S. Senate.
Governor Scott has attacked Charlie Crist for announcing his support in ending the sanctions against Cuba, and the possibility that he might travel there this summer. But when asked by CL about the report that both the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (who supports Scott) said they would make a trip to Cuba, and that members of a Florida company that has done extensive work for the Florida GOP and the governor named Taproot Creative have already been to Cuba and say they want to return, Governor Scott refused to directly answer the question, replying, "Look at what he's going to do. He's going to go down there and help the Castro regime. I'm going to focus on the citizens of Florida. I'm going to stand with Cuban Americans, I'm going to get jobs in Florida. If he wants to go down there and help the Castro regime, have at it. i'm going to stay in Florida and make sure we get jobs in this state, not focus on Cuba."
CL then asked again — is the Chamber then helping out the Castro regime by also going to Cuba?
"What Charlie Crist is doing by going to Cuba, he's helping the Castro regime," the governor responded. "And on top of that, think about what Castro is doing: he's also causing all this civil unrest helping with [Venezuelan president Nicolas] Maduro over in Venezuela. We need to stand with Cuban Americans. We stand to stand with Venezuelans ... Charlie Crist is doing the opposite."
Scott also blasted President Obama for failing to fire embattled Veterans Affairs Director Eric Shinseki for the problems at that department.