Republican Senate Nomination May Come Down to a Hug

Marco Rubio capitalizes on a photo of Charlie Crist hugging Barack Obama

By Carlos Miller
|  Sunday, Oct 25, 2009  |  Updated 4:30 PM EDT
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Republican Senate Nomination May Come Down to a Hug

AP

This hug between President Barack Obama and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist may cost the governor in his senate run against Marco Rubio.

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Marco Rubio has less political experience than Charlie Crist. And he hasn’t raised nearly as much money in his run against the governor for U.S. Senate. And he still lags behind the governor in polls leading up the November race.

But he hasn’t hugged Barack Obama.

And that just may be his ace in the hole.

The former republican House Speaker has seized on a February photo that shows Crist hugging Obama as to why he is the better candidate.

And it appears to be working because he has recently swept 12 republican straw polls, tripled his fundraising and cut the governor’s lead in the polls by half.

Now the question remains: Will the hug go down as The Hug? As it did for John McCain when he hugged George W. Bush during the 2004 presidential election, which is described as the “defining moment” of McCain’s career?

Only time will tell but one thing is certain. Rubio is not the only republican who believes Crist is a closet liberal. The hug only seemed to cement that sentiment.

"I was horrified," Rubio said, adding that Crist canceled lunch at the governor's mansion with former Gov. Jeb Bush and other former governors to be with Obama.

"This was more than just a courtesy greeting, this was an embrace and a support of $800 billion of deficit spending."

Crist says he has no regrets about appearing with Obama.

"I was happy and delighted to do so. I'm a civil guy. The president of the United States is the president of the United States," Crist said. "Especially when it's the first visit to Florida and I'm invited to be there. I have that kind of respect in my soul."
 

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