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The First Lady's first public event

Two dozen foster children and their parents went to the Governor's Mansion on Sunday, where they took part in reading "The Twelve Days of Christmas in Florida" (seven shuttle launchings, six gators grinning, etc.) Married nine days and fresh off what Gov. Charlie Crist called a "working honeymoon," he and First Lady Carole Crist sat in chairs facing the kids, who took turns reading parts of the book.

Her two daughters were to have been at the event but were unable to fly from New York because of the snowstorm. Asked what it's like to be First Lady, Mrs. Crist said: "I love it. It's a tremendous honor and privilege, and I enjoy obviously being with my wonderful husband, always." She described her role this way: "Whatever I can do to be of help to the governor's office and this administration's agenda, I'm happy to help in any way I can, particularly for the children."

She said the landscaping and hills of Tallahassee remind her of her hometown of Roslyn, N.Y. She hasn't chosen a cause, but said: "I think charitable work is extremely important and it's very gratifying for me so I will make every effort to do what I can." When she was asked if the governor seeks policy advice from her, he cut in and said with a laugh, "Okay, that was the last question."

The governor said he'll spend Christmas Eve in St. Petersburg. He said he's "fine" with Senate President Jeff Atwater's position that the two-week special session next month should focus only on the budget deficit, and not a casino gambling compact with the Seminole Tribe.

-- Steve Bousquet