February 10th, 2010
11:18 AM ET
12 years ago

A year later, 'The Hug' returns to spotlight in Florida

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/10/art.bocrist0210.gi.jpg caption="Charlie Crist has taken heat for his appearance with President Obama one year ago."](CNN) - Fort Myers, Florida, is home to nearby beach resorts, exotic birds and the spring training facility for the Boston Red Sox.

The Gulf Coast city also happens to be ground zero for the volatile Republican Senate primary between Gov. Charlie Crist and former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio.

One year ago Wednesday, President Obama arrived in Fort Myers to promote his $787 billion stimulus package. It was a piece of legislation, he argued, that would return precious jobs to a state reeling from the implosion of the housing market. Crist, eager to be seen with a president whose approval ratings were soaring at the time, joined Obama for the event.

Appearing on stage at Harborside Event Center during a rally for the Recovery Act, Crist embraced the president before the cameras, a gesture now widely mocked in Florida politics as "The Hug."

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Filed under: Charlie Crist • Marco Rubio • Popular Posts
soundoff (149 Responses)
  1. sensible Cape Coral FL

    How about itemizing some the of benefits that the stimulus provided to the State? Or would that be too sensible?

    February 10, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  2. Jayson

    @Black Viper - "...These people in the GOP must really think American are really stupid."

    The GOP *knows* that the American public is stupid. The public is reactionary and adolescent in its views and expectations and they capitalize on this and use it with great effectiveness. They parade characters like Sarah Palin, a women clearly of limited intelligence as any bright person will readily see. Yet she's charismatic and energetic, so the Republican base thinks that should be enough to be considered for President of the U.S.

    They don't grasp that you need people who understand what the issues and problems are in order to be able to solve them. You really do need more than a ditsy cheerleader.

    February 10, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  3. di

    Maybe Obama slipped FL some CHANGE since the buck stopped w/him!

    February 10, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  4. Independent

    Rubio unfortunately shows his glaring hypocrisy, since Rubio recently admitted he would have accepted the stimulus, too.

    February 10, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  5. Larry

    The republican party has allowed itself to be hijacked by nut cases like Sarah Palin. It will cost them in the end. The 2010 and 2012 elections will not be positive for them. the normal everyday independent may have taken a break from the noise but we will be back just in time to shut the judgemental, intolerant cynical forces down.

    February 10, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  6. Nick Mann

    Democrats used the same style adds against those that had photo ops with Bush. This is politics 101 and is nothing new.

    February 10, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  7. Ron

    It is certainly okay to "hug" a Republican or a Democrat and is certainly "free speech". However, "free speech" does not mean "without consequences". Charlie approved of a stimulus bill that many knew at the time, and we all know now, would/did fail. Charlie is NOT a conservative and his "hug" will be his downfall. Anybody is better than Crist in the state of Florida.

    February 10, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  8. iDrew

    Yes, yes, would have been much more productive and bi-partisan to knee Obama in the groin wile giving him the finger. These Republicans ... they want bi-partisanship, then they don't want it, then they do want it, then they don't want it ....

    February 10, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  9. Wisconsonite

    Wow . . . The Rabid Right is really made up of people who are insane. That's all there is to it.

    February 10, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  10. iDrew

    2008 Republicans: "Waaaaaaaaaaaaa, our governors and legislators are forgetting what party they belong to."

    2009 Republicans: "Waaaaaaaaaaaaa, the Democrats aren't being bi-partisan."

    Can ANYONE figure these people out?

    February 10, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  11. FactCheck

    If you look at Obama's approval/support numbers, I find it hilarious that the Democratic candidates running in 2010 are planning on letting Obama campaign for them.

    If you look at the Republican approval/support numbers, I find it hilarious that these Republican candidates running in 2010 think they have a shot.

    February 10, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  12. mario

    At least he is the one less hypocrite from the republican party

    February 10, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  13. J.Crobuzon

    The GOP is really sad these days. What a bunch of losers.

    February 10, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  14. Willa-PA

    "Hayes Simmons February 10th, 2010 10:48 am ET

    Sorry Gov, but anybody that would hug that radical muslim marxist is not welcome in Florida politics. The radical muslim marxist is destroying our Constitution and our morals and loving every minute of it."


    "Jim in Florida February 10th, 2010 10:07 am ET

    and the "hug" is costing and will cost Crist dearly. We don't need another Populist in Washington and Crist is a Populist.

    I am supporting Marco Rubio."

    I quess you haven't experiences any hardships, like no job or insurance or a major illness you couln't pay for like that little 5 year old that needs drugs to stay alive that the insurance corporation won't pay for and if you're thinking that the teaparty repubs are going to take care of you, well, we'll see. Go stand in the shoes of the most desparate in our country and then say we don't need populists.

    February 10, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  15. Irma in North Carolina

    I cannot for the life of me understand why the republicans are acting they way they are blocking everything that the president is trying to do. And then they take take a republican poll and say they are gaining ground and they are going to get in control of everything again. And then of course you have people like Sarah promoting this. Can the american people not see what these thugs are doing to our country. As Sarah would say God surely has a plan for these people to make them wake up.

    February 10, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |

    The GOP is toast! Buh Bye!

    Thanks to its fringe, right-wing nuts and the teabaggers, the GOP continues to implode; meanwhile, its spokespeople, Palin and Limbaugh continue bloviating and suckering people.

    When will the GOPers wake up?

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012.

    February 10, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  17. Jon-In-Ca

    @ Dean writes,

    "Charlie Crist at least appears to be the more moderate one. Rubio is more the crazy & extreme tea bagger type."

    So what you're saying, Dean, is that Rubio is more like Scott Brown from Mass. I certainly HOPE SO!!

    February 10, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  18. The Great Northwest

    CNN this is not journalism ,CNN this is not news .
    CNN are you having a problem locating what is news and not more made up clatter to see if you can get reaction ?

    Its about time the Republican tea party stop reading off their palm of their hand and start thinking what is the best for the country .

    Will Phailing Palin call her hand palm reading a teleprompter?

    February 10, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  19. A. Goodwin

    Republican's: Obama is a failure? Seriously – like you all have room to talk since you voted for Bush TWICE! Thanks – idiots.

    February 10, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  20. nomorepoliticsplease

    hugs are good for you..........studies prove it

    February 10, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  21. Justen in Florida

    Crist, like Specter, backed the wrong horse.

    February 10, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  22. ICARE - countdown to 2011

    This beautiful hug, gave out meals to the hungry and the unemployed, whose jobs have been offshored by the Republi CON controlled Congress.

    Why do we spend 1 trillion dollars in Iraq to dig out a few holes and consider that a triumph over feeding the mass unemployed, caused by failed policies?

    According to Nobel Prize economists, it was the policies of the ELEPHANTS that crashed our economy.

    So that hug was the most meaningful hug in America!!!

    February 10, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  23. Barbara- a Canadian

    This from your northern neighbour... Are you some of you just plain crazy????
    So, the GOVERNOR of Florida, showed RESPECT to the President of your country. He accepted funds from a program that DID keep the U.S. from total collapse, on behalf of the State of Florida, forwhich he is responsible.

    Do you have any idea that the rest of the world is shaking heads at the lunacy which is your politics. ... What an upside down world!... Talk about Alice in Wonderland.... Silly Sarah, Queen of Starts...going up the down staircase with instructions on how to get there on her palm. Rush Limbaugh, grinning Cheshire Cat... and the Mad Hatter Glen Beck and his tea party all shouting that everything done is Unconstitutional!... Your President is a Constitutional Lawyer for goodness sakes. Surely your Constitution does not profess lunacy.

    Get real people... you have an intelligent, thoughtful and engaged President. (Don't see where some of you have the grey matter to see that). From where the rest of us on the globe see it... the sheets are out of the dryer.

    Hopefully, Mr. Crist can overcome this so called sin!

    I pray that brains will overcome brawl and that insanity can be cured.

    If not, please keep it on your side!

    February 10, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  24. ICARE - countdown to 2011

    At the end of the day, we need to ask ourselves this question: For the past eight years, THE ELEPHANTS SPENT 5 trillion dollars, did you all get something?

    Answer: You did if you were the few elites within the leagues

    February 10, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
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