A day after vetoing a contentious teacher tenure bill in Tallahassee, Gov. Charlie Crist basked in the warm embrace of Miami-Dade educators and deflected questions about leaving the Republican party.
"I'm not thinking about that today,'' Crist told reporters at Alonzo and Tracy Mourning Senior High School in North Miami. "We'll look at that later on,'' Crist said of running for the U.S. Senate as an independent against Republican Marco Rubio.
Are you considering it? "No, not really,'' Crist said. The veto, he added, was not a political signal. "My veto is a signal that I thought the bill was bad,'' Crist said.
He downplayed losing support from former U.S. Sen. Connie Mack and state Rep. Dean Cannon. "There's always a price to pay for making decisions in life,'' Crist said. "In my business, in the political world, you take hits sometimes.''
"The only thing that matters is the people's poll on Election Day,'' he added, declining to evaluate whether Republican leaders in Tallahassee may have misjudged the electorate's response to SB 6. "I really don't know,'' Crist said. "You know, I didn't analyze it politically. I analyzed it in terms of what I thought was right policy at the time for the people.''
-- PATRICIA MAZZEI AND KATHLEEN MCGRORY