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Sink on Scott campaign, Crist veto

Had lunch with Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink on on a particularly newsy day in Florida politics, what with tea parties, presidential visits, high-stakes vetos, and lots of lots of speculation about Gov. Charlie Crist's Republican bid for the U.S. Senate.

On the out-of-the-blue campaign for governor by Republican Rick Scott: "Bring it on. I'm ready,'' said the leading Democrat in the race. "He's probably tapping into what I am feeling, which is a strong sense of outrage about how politics and government are working." Asked if it's too late for Scott to get into the race, she said, "Heck no. If he's willing to spend -- pick a number -- $25 to $30 million in the race, he could very quickly become the best known candidate."

On the current Republican frontrunner, Attorney General Bill McCollum, who initially dismissed the idea of a criminal probe into spending at the state Republican party but ordered FDLE to investigate when it blew up in the press: "He waits three months to see that there's something going on and then puts it in the hands of a Cabinet agency that reports to him?''  asked Sink, who noted that the former party chairman says McCollum was quietly involved in the backroom negotiations over his departure. "What about this picture is he not getting?''

On Crist potentially running as an independent: "He had rather not, for sure, but he's 23 points down. If he stays in the Republican primary I think he can make up some of that, but people already seem so entrenched. It's hard to run as an independent.''

On Crist's veto of a controversial teacher pay bill: "He did the right thing. He's the old Charlie. He's one of the best gut politicians I've ever been around. He has a good ear for people, and when you have thousands of people responding like this, he should be listening.''