Charlie Crist Memoir: Karl Rove Called Me "Chickensh*t" for Skipping President Bush Rally
Remember how Charlie Crist was going to write a tell-all book about breaking up with the Republican Party?
Well, it's here. The Tampa Bay Times got an early copy and apparently it contains some juicy stuff, including an anecdote about Karl Rove calling the then GOP gubernatorial candidate "chickenshit" for skipping a 2006 rally for George W. Bush.
We're guessing Charlie's hoping "Chickenshit Crist" doesn't catch on as a nickname.
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According to the Times, Crist writes about receiving a furious call from Rove after skipping the Bush rally.
"You've never been yelled at until you've been yelled at by Karl Rove. 'You chickens---!' he bellowed, almost cutting off my hello. 'I can't believe you didn't show up last night to be with the president. What a chickens--- thing to do.' "He sounded so agitated, he was yelling so loud, I had to pull the phone back from my ear. I knew he was under pressure. I really thought he might have a heart attack. ... But to me that day, Karl Rove just seemed like a jerk."
The book contains some other, equally unsurprising conserva-slams. Crist calls Sarah Palin "different" and kinda sorta says that she's stupid.
"She was definitely different from anyone I'd ever campaigned with. ... She gave the speeches she was asked to. She spoke with Sean Hannity of Fox News and Elisabeth Hasselbeck from The View. ... But other than that, she talked to almost no one," he writes.
"She was campaigning in a vital swing state, and still never asked me: 'What's going on in Florida? What are the local issues here? What are people thinking about?' Even if she didn't care, why not make idle conversation?"
See also our feature story: Is Charlie Crist Florida's Next Governor?
Crist also cuts current governor and likely future electoral opponent Rick Scott down to size.
"You know me. I'm always an optimist," the ever cheery and ever tan Crist writes. "I hoped Rick Scott would do a wonderful job as Florida's new governor. But from the day he took the oath of office on the Old Capitol steps, I have been deeply disappointed in the things he's done to our Florida. There's no other way to say it: He's been a terrible governor, and that's not just because I miss having the job."
Other interesting tidbits include how close Crist came to persuading Miami politician Kendrick Meeks to drop out of the race for Senate -- a race tidily won by Marco Rubio -- and the fact that Crist was seriously considered to be John McCain's running mate before Palin was selected.
Crist writes that he and aides spent three days filling out a detailed questionnaire before McCain officials arranged an official meeting. The group, led by McCain confidant A.B. Culvahouse, met
Crist holed up at his parents' house in St. Petersburg for three days answering the McCain team's detailed questionnaire. "We set up in the living room and stayed there all day," Crist writes. Questions included how far he would go to get Osama bin Laden -- "Anything legal" Crist answered -- and if he believed in torture (Crist said "No").
Perhaps least surprising of all, Crist skips over most of that messy business about Jim Greer -- his pick as chairman of the Republican Party of Florida -- stealing party money and going to prison.
But don't worry. Something tells us that might come up again in the fall.
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