Crist says he has no regrets about accepting federal stimulus fundsIt is true that the stimulus money helped the public sector but the private sector, well, not so much. And make no mistake, those of us in the private sector are taking note. From Daniel Foster at the National Review:
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) said he has no regrets about accepting stimulus funds for his state.
Crist, who's locked in a very competitive primary challenge from his right being waged by former Florida state House Speaker Marco Rubio (R), defended accepting assistance from the $787 billion Recovery Act signed into law a year ago.
Accepting stimulus money was the "responsible, right thing to do," Crist told reporters at the White House on Monday.
"It puts people above politics," Crist said.
When asked about whether he had any regrets, Crist said he had "none whatsoever."
"I don't apologize for it at all," Crist added. "It was the right thing to do. We needed the money."
Crist's self-defense comes as Democrats seek to go after Republicans who had opposed the stimulus only to have touted projects to result from the act.
Crist was one of the few Republican political figures in the country to openly back the stimulus package, having notably appeared with President Barack Obama in Florida last year to promote the stimulus.
Rubio has used Crist's support for the stimulus as a cudgel in his conservative challenge to the governor in Florida's Senate GOP primary.
Crist shot back at his primary challenger, whom some polls have showed him trailing, saying Rubio's criticism is irrelevant.
"It doesn't matter. Not one iota," Crist said. "He's wrong, and I'm right."
Poll: Rubio 54, Crist 36When Crist took the stimulus money he thought it was a win/win. He could use the money to plug holes in the state budget rather than make the necessary cuts needed to keep the state out of the red and he assumed that by the time the whole house of cards came crashing down that he would be sitting safely in the US Senate. Now he has no choice but defend the indefensible.
Bad, bad news for Charlie Crist. From Rasmussen via TampaBay.com:
Rubio now carries male GOP voters by a two-to-one margin but break even with Crist among women. The governor also breaks even among moderate Republicans, but conservatives in the party favor his challenger now by more than 40 points.
It’s telling that Florida Republican Primary voters are now evenly divided over Crist’s performance as governor. Forty-eight percent (48%) approve of the job he is doing, down eight points from January, but 49% don’t approve. Those numbers included eight percent (8%) who strongly approve of how Crist is governing and 20% who strongly disapprove. Keep in mind that those figures are among Primary Voters in the Governor’s own political party.
We still have six months to go until the primary. Those six months favor Rubio.