Remember when Gov. Charlie Crist was sitting pretty and ignoring U.S. Senate rival Marco Rubio as he slowly, methodically built a stealth, upstart campaign that ended up knocking Crist on his heels? By the time Crist went on the attack, it was too late. His credibility with voters was shot and Marco was a conquering hero.
Note that Democratic frontrunner Kendrick Meek is not making the same mistake. He immediately went after South Florida billionaire Jeff Greene after he jumped into the race just before Friday's deadline.Download The Reviews Are In Jeff Greene's First Day on the Campaign is a ... Flop
Here are excerpts from the Herald/Times interview with Greene on Friday:
Why he's in the race: "Like a lot of people in Florida I share their anger and their frustration about what is going in Washington and the lack of progress...Things aren't getting better and and I look around see three career politicians running for office and it's more of the same, so I thought it's time to get involved. I wish I had gotten involved sooner."
Why voters should trust him: "I understand the complex issues that Congress is now facing with financial reform better than anybody...I was able to use credit default swaps to protect not only my investments but the hundreds of jobs that exist because of my investments. I understand the dangers of credit default swaps and the benefits of credit default swaps...Believe me, I'm sensitive to what a lot of Floridians are going through today having lost their livelihoods. You're right, I saw where the housing market was going and I knew I could be heading into a lot of trouble and so I wanted to find a way to protect my investments and that's what I did. Did I ever imagine in my wildest dreams that I could make the kind of money I made? That's wasn't my goal, and it could have gone the other way very easily."
On money: "I'll spend whatever it takes to get my message out and to be competitive with these career politicians. I'm not going to take a penny of special interest money I'm not going to take more than $100 from anyone because I don't want to be in the business of fundraising...No lobbyist money under any circumstances..."
On his rivals: "I'm the only one among the four of us who ever signed the front side of a paycheck. Those guys have only signed the backs of paychcecks...Everything in my life I've been successful at and it's not by accident. When I get to Washington the people of Florida are going to know I'm not going to spend my first year having fundraisrers to pay off a campaign debt. I'm not going to have fundraisers to get reelected. I'm not going to have meetings and dinners with lobbyists and special interests. I'm going to get to work."
On his buddies Heidi Fleiss and Mike Tyson: "I didn't live my life looking over my shoulder thinking I was going to run for office like some of these politicians worrying about who their friends are...She was being abused by her boyfriend, and she asked for a place to stay and I would never turn down someone subject to domestic abuse. She slept in the guest room. ..Mike Tyson is someone I've known for many years. He's had a lot of difficulties...I'm basically the kind of person that when I see someone who's down and out, I want to see them do better."
On Marco Rubio: He says he's going to help create jobs and solve the economy when he's never had a job besides runinng for office and being a politician. He's caught on with the far right, he's on the far right..There's a lot of far-right media and bloggers that prop these people up...I think he'd be a disaster for Florida and that's one of the reasons I'm running. ..His policies are too extremist...What is his platform? I'm going to stop
Obama. I'm going repeal health care reform. It's all about stopping this and stopping that. What's he going to start?