The Plank

The Cold Shoulder, GOP-style

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Tallahassee--John McCain and Florida Governor Charlie Crist, who have now endorsed each other in their respective primaries, also have something else in common: They both appear to prefer each other’s company to that of the president.

Last night, McCain finished his campaign day with Crist by his side, in Crist’s home turf of Tampa Bay. Some 800 miles to the northeast, President Bush was getting ready to deliver his final State of the Union address to Congress, which McCain, as a senator, is technically a member of.

Sort of reminiscent of the day before Crist’s election in November 2006, when Bush staged a rally for Crist in Pensacola and Crist found better things to do--like campaign in other parts of the state with McCain. (In fairness, every other statewide GOP candidate that year also avoided Bush, with the exception of Katherine Harris, who was running for Senate.)

And if blowing off the president, particularly one from your own party, wasn’t a strange enough signal for a Republican to be sending, how about missing church on the Sunday before the election? Time was when that if you were a Republican running in Florida, you had to hit two or three or six church services on the Sunday before the Tuesday, preferably at big, suburban mega-churches. (The Democrat would also appear at services, but they would without fail be at black churches.) This past weekend, only ordained Baptist minister Huckabee went to church (two of them). McCain and Romney did not. Giuliani attended a synagogue. Just more anecdotal evidence of a shift within the party…

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