Gov. Charlie Crist had nothing but praise for Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, despite Sen. Mike Bennett's call for him to resign.
"I don't agree with that,'' Crist said. "I think the commissioner has done a great job, and I have enormous respect for him...I haven't reached a final conclusion on (the insurance rate legislation)."
Crist was in South Florida today and got to do something that he hasn't been able to do in a long time: trumpet a decreasing unemployment rate:Download Release. He was the bearer of good news in a meeting with 14 buttoned-up executives from the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and in front of a more boisterous crowd of about 500 Kaplan University Employees in Fort Lauderdale.
"Unemployment has been a concern of mine,'' he told the business leaders in downtown Miami. "As you know, unemployment in Florida has been going up and up and up...For the first time in a very long time, unemployment has gone down in Florida. I don't know if it's the start of something significant, but it sure is better to have unemployment going down in the state instead of up. As Florida's governor, it makes my heart sing."
Crist fielded questions from this blogger on a few other topics. Asked if he was urging Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp to run for attorney general, he said, "I'm encouraging him to do whatever he feels in his heart he wants to do." Asked if Kottkamp would be the party's strongest nominee even though he faces a state ethics investigation, Crist passed up a chance to praise his No. 2.
"Well let's see who decides to run before we analyze the race," he said, even though no other prominent Republican has raised his hand.
How much money does he need to raise for his own Senate campaign? "Whatever it takes....I don't know...a lot...regrettably...it's what I like least about this business." (But he sure is good at it, and by all accounts, doesn't shy away from the task.)
What has the Obama administration done right and wrong? "I appreciated the stimulus obviously on behalf of Florida's children. It could have been done a little bit better, but by and large it was all right,'' Crist said. "I guess on on the other side, I would rather they didn't raise our taxes. I think that is not going to help our economy."