Charlie Crist's orange-y skin tone proves he's not someone who's afraid of the bright lights, but he completely got overshadowed at the Republican Governor's Conference.
A recent Ramussen poll, taken before the conference, showed Crist coming in dead last in a completely speculative competition for the 2012 nomination, with only 1% of Republicans favoring him over any of the other listed candidates, including fellow governors or former governors like Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Bobby Jindal.
Right now Crist's biggest problem, if he even wants to seek national office, is that 40% of Republicans nationwide have no idea who he is, and he didn't really do much at the RGA to change that. Largely overshadowed by Palin, he didn't stake out any decisive positions that would attract coverage.
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Palin is a flash in the pan, and hopefully most Republicans will realize no matter how much prepping she goes through she's just not fit for the Oval Office. All that glimmers is not gold. A real contender has yet to emerge, and hey Obama isn't in office so no one should be jumping the gun. But other contenders like Jindal are planning stops in Iowa, the state that kicks off the primary season. Crist doesn't have time for that right now, he has a big problem at home, our economy. Hopefully the nation's collective wallet won't be in the same doldrums in 2012 as it is now, but if Crist can claim some credit for helping turn Florida's financial fortunes using fiscally conservative principals, and then parlay that into appearances that give him bigger name recognition in early primary states it would give him a big boost.
All that, and he has to win re-election in 2010.
But Charlie did walk away wit a bit of good news. He'll be chairing the RGA gala, the association's biggest fundraiser.