The Republican presidential race became so bitter Sunday that even Florida's sunny and immensely popular governor got dissed.
The disser-in-chief: former Florida House Speaker Allan Bense. He suggested the Republican governor's endorsement of John McCain could actually hurt the candidate in the Panhandle because Crist is seen as too moderate.
Bense is a supporter of Mitt Romney.
''I think we're conservative in this part of the world,'' Bense said in a conference call. ``Since the endorsement last night, I got 47 phone calls to my cellphone and home cell, either wanting to get [Romney] campaign signs or how to get to the rally that Gov. Romney will attend.''
The sour-grapes comments -- Romney had sought the governor's endorsement -- exposed the increasing tensions in the two men's battle for victory in Florida. Polls have the two men running neck and neck for first place in Tuesday's primary.
The Romney camp struck hard at McCain in a prerecorded call Sunday to Republican voters that painted the Arizona senator as a Hillary Clinton buddy, a Bush tax-cut flip-flopper and a supporter of ''amnesty'' for illegal immigrants.
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