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How Charlie Crist lost his mojo

Remember when Senate budget chief warned Gov. Charlie Crist's staff about his rose-colored view of the world? It was a sign that the Gov. had lost some of his oomph. And it didn't get much better. Crist's agenda was dissed by the Legislature for a number of reasons. He'll take credit for some property-tax plans he pushed, but remember: Most of them were re-hashes of legislative plans of yore. They were as much the legislators' plans as much as his.

Despite his high popularity with the public, Gov. Charlie Crist lost sway in the Capitol. That was partly because of rumors of his departure, and partly because few pieces of legislation or spending projects in this session were subject to a veto, which meant he had little advantage in dealing with lawmakers.

''The rank-and-file all the way up the ladder believe, whether true or not, that he's running for Senate, and he's gone. That permeates all the stuff that's down here,'' said Sen. Jim King, R-Jacksonville. 'There's really no leverage that he has if they think he's gone. There are no member projects. There's not much legislation. So the leadership and governor can't corral members as easily by saying, `Hey, remember that senior center you wanted? Well, I need your help on something.' ''

House Republican leader Adam Hasner had little respect for the gov's now-dead energy plan, portraying it as a typical Crist policy: Made for headlines, not the real world. Example: The "20 in 20" provision of his renewable energy plan calling for 20 percent alternative fuels in 2020. Fat chance that would happen, Hasner said.

"We're interested in sound policy, not policy that's just about sound bites," Hasner said.

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