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Crist: Florida could be GOP 'model of success'

On his way to the first event of the Republican Governors of Florida two-day meeting in Miami, Gov. Charlie Crist said Florida-style "common-sense solutions" could help attract more people to the Republican Party.

"I would think that would be a great recipe...for the future of our party," he said, touting lower property insurance, lower property taxes ("although not as much as I would like") and the recent U.S. Sugar deal which Crist said would protect the environment.

"We need to reach out more as a party," he said -- although he skirted a question about whether that would mean less focus on hot-button social issues like abortion and gay marriage. "I don’t know if you move away from them," Crist said.

He also said future Republican leadership would come from states -- "That's where it is right now" -- and that it was "a little early" to say whether Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is a contender for the 2012 presidential nomination.

"I think that's up to her to decide," Crist said before being whisked off to the governors luncheon.

After the luncheon, Palin was surrounded by reporters following a TV interview. She answered a few questions, calling Hispanic voters a "very, very important" that the GOP "didn't quite grasp" in last week's election. She also called anonymous aides from the John McCain campaign  who have criticized Palin as "cowardly."

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