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A send-off only Charlie Crist could give with a straight face

Ask any politician, lobbyist or reporter who has crossed Gov. Charlie Crist: He'll still kill you with kindness, at least in public.

So although his public statement on U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart's retirement didn't arrive until eight hours and 33 minutes after the press conference, Crist finally mustered some kind words for the congressman who withdrew an endorsement of his struggling U.S. Senate campaign last month.

It is hard to imagine the Florida delegation without the passion, thoughtfulness, and strength of Lincoln Diaz-Balart. Florida has been represented well for twenty-four years by this legislative champion.  He earned a reputation as a defender of freedom and democracy, particularly on behalf of his beloved Cuba. On behalf of Florida, we thank Congressman Diaz-Balart for his service in Washington, D.C. and welcome him home to the Sunshine State.