Gov. Charlie Crist was feeling the love today when he spoke in front of several hundred at Wynmoor -- a retirement condo community in Coconut Creek that is predominantly Democratic. Lots of voters in the room wore Crist for U.S. Senate stickers and warmly applauded the governor who ditched the GOP earlier this year and is running with no party affiliation.
Crist spent about an hour at Wynmoor -- schmoozing with every single last person who wanted to chat with him, pose for a photo or wish him luck.
Crist knew his audience -- he knew to give a shout-out to Wynmoor Democratic club president Gert Weinberg who sat in the front row and embraced Crist but said she is supporting Democrat Jeff Greene. "He's wonderful, he spoke beautifully, very impressive charming person,'' Weinberg said. When asked if Crist could win Wynmoor she said: "It's hard to tell."
Crist talked up his support for Israel with the heavily Jewish crowd and one of his longest anecdotes was about visiting Israel in 2007 with Democratic Congressman Robert Wexler. Crist said that Wexler told him to write a prayer and stick it in the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Crist wrote: "Dear God: Please protest Florida from storms and other difficulties."
Every year since then Crist has asked some other Floridian traveling to Israel each year (one year it was state Sen. Nan Rich) to put the same prayer in the wall. Crist said he and Wexler later teamed up to push for a paper ballot trail.
His point wasn't just appeal to Jews in the room by talking about Israel -- Crist underscored how he and Wexler worked together despite being in opposing political parties. He repeatedly told the crowd that he'll put them -- not a political party -- first.
Asked after his talk why he bothered visiting a Democratic stronghold after the event Crist told the Herald: "because every vote counts. .. It's almost like why not come here? These are Floridians."
Politicians in the room included Republican Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti who was initially appointed to his post by Crist and said he is making no endorsement in the race, Democratic state Rep. Ari Porth who has endorsed Crist and Democratic City Commissioner Mikkie Belvedere who has endorsed Democrat Kendrick Meek. Democratic state sen. Jeremy Ring said he made a phone call to Wynmoor to help Crist get space to speak but said he has made no endorsement in the race.