Updated to fix some paragraph break hinkyness in the originally Tweeted version
UPDATE 2: audio of the call here. You can test out my typing skills for yourself!
In a conference call with reporters this afternoon, Rep. Kendrick Meek went after Gov. Charlie Crist for his, shall we say “revised” position on lifting the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell rule on gays in the military. Per Leslie Clark at the Miami Herald, Crist’s position has evolved since Monday, when he said he saw no reason to change a policy that has “worked pretty well for America,” to his new position today, in which he said he’d be “inclined” to support the current repeal compromise, since:
“Ultimately, as in all military matters I defer to the Pentagon and to the generals and what the Senate is doing today is giving them the ultimate authority to do what is best for our military,” Crist said.
Well Meek was having none of that.
On the call, Meek basically said Crist isn’t a leader, and that “this is not about being independent, this is about being for whatever way the wind blows for his own personal gain.” Meek mentioned Crist’s other changes of heart, from oil drilling, which Crist was against, then suddenly for when he became a contender for John McCain’s running mate, but which he’s against again, post-Gulf gusher; to the teacher tenure bill, which Meek said Crist “flipped on … when the teachers started uprising.” (To be fair, Crist sent a staffer to the negotiations, and supported the broad outlines of the plan early on, but never really committed. But anyway, it’s the narrative, so let’s go with it.)
More Meek attack (quotes taken from my typed notes):
“Having been in the leadership game for a long time, I can say the only thing Charlie Crist believes in is self preservation … The only thing Charlie Crist stands for today that he’ll stand for tomorrow is that he wants to be elected.”
Meek went on to say Crist basically witnessed the courageous anti-DADT stands “being taken by military leaders and congressmen, such as myself who has been a three time cosponsor of legislation to repeal” DADT, and went with the flow.
Asked by two different questioners whether at this point, he was simply serving up policy softballs for Charlie Crist to grab out of the air and scamper out of the stadium with, Meek kept hammering on the “leadership” issue, saying that when all is said and done, he’ll be shown to be the true leader in the race:
“My role in this campaign is to show all of the state of Florida that I am the true leader in this race, that I can take positions when its not clear [what] the outcome would be, but its for the overall security of the country. “
On whether he’s concerned that Crist is going after his base, Meek said:
“I believe in the final analysis, especially after the primary, there will be no secret I’m in this race.”
He noted that the Crist-Rubio clash has gotten a lot of attention (although that was last month and really isn’t true now that the media has moved on to the three-way, well, four-way if you include Greene …) and that the primary he’s embroiled in with Greene will help boost his recognition factor. He even called Crist’s flip-floppery “dangerous”:
“Come August 24 (primary day), people will know there is a Democrat in this race and that is me. People will know that Rubio is a Republican right and Crist is Republican light. He (Crist) has the ability to flip on issues by the day based on what he thinks will help him get elected. That’s very dangerous.”
Meek said the danger in a Charlie Crist is that “you can’t count” the idea that he “would go to Washington and take a position on behalf of those who are risking their lives to defend this country,” and that Crist’s DADT flip-flop “shows the kind of lack of leaderhisp the governor is willing to provide in tough times.”
If that wasn’t harsh enough, Meek then responded to a question about Jeff Greene getting that endorsement today, from Democratic money-man and former Clinton ’92 and Kerry ’04 campaign treasurer Robert “Bob” Farmer by blasting Farmer’s, shall we say, ease of sale:
Meek said that from what he understands from Farmer’s email statement today, that “he had dinner with Jeff Greene and his wife and was impressed, and I’m sorry that he’s that easily impressed over dinner.”
Oh, and he pointed out that while Kerry and Clinton are “110 percent” behind his campaign, Farmer is “from Massachusetts.”