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Crist's hug, and Rubio's 'big, wet kiss'

Miami Herald columnist Carl Hiaasen:

Marco Rubio's campaign to win the Republican Senate primary revolves around the now-famous hug that Gov. Charlie Crist shared with Barack Obama during a presidential visit to Fort Myers last year. Now Rubio, the darling of Tea Party conservatives, is getting uncomfortably squeezed himself.

Last week, a committee of the Florida House of Representatives put Rubio's name on a list of witnesses who could be subpoenaed to testify about the Ray Sansom scandal. Sansom, a fellow Republican from Destin, was Rubio's handpicked budget chief while Rubio served as the House speaker in 2007-2008. Sansom used his leverage to route more than $35 million in public funds to little Northwest Florida
State College.The most flagrant waste was $6 million to construct a 30,000-foot airplane hangar for one of Sansom's pals and campaign donors, a developer named Jay Odom. Sansom liked to fly on Odom's plane and bill the state GOP for the ride.Florida TaxWatch flagged the airport project as a ``turkey,'' but it sailed through. Crist chose not to veto it.The scam unraveled soon after Sansom took over the powerful House speaker's post from Rubio. It was discovered that on that same day Sansom had become a vice president of Northwest State at a salary of $110,000.

It smelled like a payoff, and prosecutors perked up. Samson, who eventually resigned as House speaker, was indicted for official misconduct and is now awaiting trial. Once the story broke, Northwest Florida State officials insisted the airplane hangar was really ``an emergency-training education'' facility where students could attend classes, presumably while perched on the wings of private jets.

You can understand why Rubio isn't thrilled to talk about his old pal. It was only a year ago that Rubio said Samson should stay on as speaker, and called him ``one of the best people I ever interacted with in the legislative process.'' That statement raises a serious question about Rubio's judgment: What judgment?

Keep reading.

Comments

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KilroyFSU

If libs like Hiaasen are starting to attack Rubio, then they see the writing on the wall. Crawl back in your hole, Carl. Marco Rubio will be the next Senator from the great state of Florida. Count on it.

ufgrad1991

If the obama hug is damaging to crist then the love affair rubio had with sansom will be a real killer.

Saint Petersblog

Busy f'raising week for @marcorubio: Liz Cheney, Mary Matalin raising $ for him after CPAC.

http://bit.ly/aaSSTr

Mayor

Rubio has the same deal worked out with FIU that samson had with northwest college.

... He just didnt accept the job the day he was sworn into office

True Blue

Why can't any of these idiots go out and get a real job instead of their continued feeding off the taxpayers???

CommonsenseCorrect

The Hiaasen winds (winds of hate and dislike) have once again pointed the way for the voter. Glad to see the endorsement by Hiaasen. Where Carl goes neither do I. So, you can count on Rubio being a darn good candidate.

IMNotPC

Awe come on guys. What Rubio stated was "Nicespeak"! It is what is always said by anyone friend or foe if you just want to not be offensive or if you do not know at the time what is the real situation. If Marco knew, then he would have more than likely avoided the question or answered directly with a statement that would not be an endorsement. It is political "Nicespeak" which he used at the time.

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