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Greene's usual attack falls flat

Democratic Senate candidate Jeff Greene has made a campaign out of criticizing "career politicians,'' especially his rival, U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek of Miami. It's a popular appeal in this anti-incumbent election year.

But in a ballroom full of local officeholders from across the state -- with a bunch of career politicians among them -- Greene's usual lines about the "corrupt political system" didn't resonate. When he wasn't government-bashing, he was media-bashing, making for a slightly sour and defensive speech.

The folks at the The Florida League of Cities candidates' forum were more receptive to Meek, who is announcing endorsements from 51 mayors today. "I want to have that personal cellular phone number relationhip with every one of you,''  Meek said.

Democratic and independent candidates for governor Alex Sink and Lawton "Bud'' Chiles III, also catered their comments to the pro-local-control, anti-unfunded-mandates crowd.

Referring to the GOP-controlled state Legislature, Sink said, "No more can they stand on the steps of the Capitol and brag about cutting taxes when all they did was shift the burden to you,'' she said.

"I'm going to be a governor who will do it not from the top down, but from the bottom up,'' Chiles said.

The Republican candidates for governor and U.S. Senate were invited but did not attend the conference at the Westin Diplomat in Hollywood,