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Teflon Charlie Rules Lauderdale Stage

The big punchline in Washington D.C. these days is "bipartisanship." Barack Obama wants to be friends with Republicans but they don't want to be friends with him. Of course, it's all politics. The Republicans have nothing to gain from jumping on the Obama bandwagon and everything to gain if that wagon loses a wheel or three. But Obama has managed to make a friend out of at least one Republican: Our own Gov. Charlie Crist.

In opening remarks before this afternoon's town hall meeting at the Galt Ocean Mile condominium on Fort Lauderdale Beach, Crist took a defensive posture two weeks after he appeared with Obama at a town hall meeting in Fort Myers, for which he caught some major flak from national Republicans. As if speaking to those critics, he said of Obama, "This is my president now. And I'm an American first, and I think it's important we support our president and work together." This got a nice round of applause in what must have been a majority Democrat audience.

Clearly, Crist is burnishing his moderate credentials in a state that's gone blue in advance of his next election, be that for governor or, more likely, U.S. Senate. He doesn't have to worry about creating bad blood between himself and the GOP kingmakers, if only because polls show that the national party would have a hard time rallying a more conservative candidate to beat Crist in the Senate primary.

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Thomas Francis

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