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Crist shooting McCain ad. George Bush building a house divided

After weeks of the Republican Party of Florida asking that Gov. Charlie Crist appear in a John McCain ad, he's cutting one.

What we learned: scripts have flown back and forth for two days. And the Crist-commercial request is longstanding. We're told the RPOF told the McCain campaign months ago that Crist be used early and often. Yet the selection of Sarah Palin as vip, the decision to downplay Crist and Crist's own odd relationship with the McCain campaign  (spend too much time for McCain and get bashed for not being governor and vice versa) made a TV commercial a longshot.

Meantime, McCain campaign director Rick Davis had Florida in his "safe column." That changed last month, just as the relationship between McCain Florida director Arlene DiBenigno and RPOF chair Jim Greer appeared to get frosty. Some Republicans say the third floor of the party's George Bush building is divided - state Republicans on one side and McCain folks on the other. And there's not much chatting going on between the two. Lots of closed-door meetings. Little trust. Sometimes state and county Republicans find out about McCain events by reading it in the papers or on the blogs.

Today's LA Times mentions that Greer/Crist shot down a plan to have the party pay for a flier linking Barack Obama to terrorist Bill Ayers. Some Republicans say it's true. Others aren't sure. Others remember a flier that featured Middle East terrorists. Either way, it's a bit much for Crist, who's trying to appear as a nice guy and steer the party down a more centrist path.