Florida Circus: NY Times Dives Into the Crist-Rubio Race

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The New York Times Magazine's massive piece about the Marco Rubio vs. Charlie Crist race just went online. If you've been keeping a close eye on the race, and reading our nearly obsessive coverage, there's not a lot new to learn besides some interesting color here and there. If you haven't, it's probably the best catch-up piece you'll read.

What's covered: Charlie Crist is very tan, hounded by some *wink* *wink* rumors, and though he still holds a slight polling lead and a major fundraising lead, he's losing ground fast to the conservative insurgent, thanks to a certain hug and excited teabaggers.

Marco Rubio is the insurgent who appeals to the same right-wing crowds that love Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, while not being as in-your-face and off-putting, and he might just pull out a win here.

The race between the two is important not only to Floridians but also to the future identity of the Republican Party.

And just to give you an idea of how politically exhaustive the piece is, even long-shot candidate Bob Smith gets a few paragraphs.

The devil is in the details, though.

Writer Mark Leibovich tells of how a Rubio supporter accused the journalist of

taking down license plate numbers while scribbling in his notebook. An

African-American student wearing an Obama shirt at a Tea Party says he

was called both the N-word and a racist. Police at Mayor Tomás Regalado's

swearing-in ceremony, which featured Crist, may or may not have been

purposefully turning away angry, anti-Crist protesters. Rubio, who

knows all too well the destructive power of charismatic,

cult-of-personality politicians in Latin America, says he's steering

away from that; he's not pushed on his thoughts about Sarah Palin.

Musicians perform a song called "Press One for English" during an event at which the bilingual Rubio speaks.

Maybe that's why Leibovich

dismisses Crist's claim that Florida is a bastion of common sense. 

"'Florida circus' is more like it, this swamp of Elián Gonzáles [sic], Terri

Schiavo, Mark Foley, Katherine Harris, William Kennedy Smith, confused

Jews voting for Pat Buchanan in Palm Beach County, the National

Enquirer (based here), Rush Limbaugh (lives here), and Tiger Woods (crashed here)."

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