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. rightsaid

    Yep, that is the GOP way: mock, mock, mock. Well, it is more complicated than that. Actually, it is mock, obstruct, lie!

    February 10, 2010 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  2. JD in Jax

    As a Floridian and Conservative I will be voting for Marco Rubio.

    February 10, 2010 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  3. JOE

    i don't get it. why should gov. crist apologize for hugging president obama. seems pretty stupid if you ask me. it is exactly what is wrong with our politics today. if gov. crist had any sense of integerity he should confront this type of petty politics.

    February 10, 2010 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  4. moderate in illinois

    If Florida wants more filibusters, more angry discourse, more agreements at the table followed by denials in the following press conferences, they know who to vote for.....

    February 10, 2010 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  5. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    The hypocritical republicans who voted against the stimulus sure sing a different song in the photo ops of delivering the big checks to their districts. Last night, Rachel Maddow listed about three dozen repubs who praised the money and the jobs it would create in their own states.

    February 10, 2010 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  6. Black Viper

    I was impressed of how rachel Maddow called out on the republican Hypocrites that voted against the stimulus bill but taking credit for projects in their states founded by the stimulus bill.
    These people in the GOP must really think American are really stupid. Maybe they know there is no other option for the Voters because if they are mad at democrats the only other choice they have is to vote GOP.

    February 10, 2010 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  7. Laurie

    Sad political nonsense

    February 10, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  8. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    Having been bought and paid for by the the big businesses, Rubio will never be able to vote in favor of the people of Florida.

    February 10, 2010 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  9. CHIPS

    When 9/11 happen no one was concern whether you were hugging a Dem. or Rep. We all pull together. The Rep. are sicking.

    February 10, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  10. Dean

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

    February 10, 2010 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  11. Jim in Florida

    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.

    February 10, 2010 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  12. Rick McDaniel

    Perhaps we should not worry about someone being gracious at a public event, especially when we are looking for bipartisanship, in running the country.

    February 10, 2010 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  13. DP

    Where were all of these "fiscally conserative republicans" when
    G.W.Bush took a surplus he was left by the Clinton administration
    and turned it into the biggest defecit in american history?
    Fact: G.W.Bush spent more money than ALL the OTHER PRESIDENTS COMBINED!..............look it up.Now that Prez.Obama
    is spending to try to get us out of the mess left by Bush/Cheney,
    they are falling all over themselves to condemn him.
    Hypocrites,.plain and simple.

    February 10, 2010 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  14. Charlie Crist is toast......

    voters are leaving him like the plague.......love it.....go Tea Party.....

    Obama is ONE and DONE.

    February 10, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  15. Sniffit

    You know...because when people who have different ideas about the way the world works and the way we should govern our society, they should never EVER be civil, cordial, respectful or, heaven forfend, [said in a shocked and conspiratorial whisper] FRIENDLY towards one another. That's just plain old disgusting. Everyone knows our differences rightfully divide us and should be the basis for lambasting and ostracizing all those who do not believe as you do. The root of all evil is the fact that there are people out there who do not think and believe and behave exactly as you do. It's the downfall of our civilization that we flirted with the ideal of unity in diversity instead of brutally enforcing homogeneity of thought, culture, behavior and belief. Showing someone who believes differently than you do any measure of human kindness and familiarity is an implicit endorsement of their differing beliefs...when what you should really be doing is sparing no effort or energy in seeking ways to destroy them. It's all a fundamental truth of the universe. Isn't it?

    February 10, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  16. natale from mass.

    more like the kiss of death

    February 10, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  17. Dave

    He isn't taking heat for his APPEARANCE. He is taking heat from true fiscal conservatives, the ones taking back the Republican party, for agreeing with the disasterous economic policies of this President.

    No true fiscal conservative wanted any of the bailouts or buyouts and Crist was on board for them. Now he WILL be voted out.

    The 7 year run of big government big spending republicans is over. They will be voted out just like the bigger government and bigger spending democrats.

    Time for real change:
    less taxes, less spending, less government, strong defense.

    It is amazing, but every time that has been the republican crede, and they actually followed it, they have won elections. It is simple, basic economics: Spend only what you have and keep the government SMALL and out of the free markets way (for the most part, everyone understands there must be some regulation so don't get all in a hissy fit libs))

    February 10, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  18. Rcik in OP

    I live in Florida. Charlie Crist is toast.

    February 10, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  19. Tim

    There is something frightening about the fact that a moderate conservative can be so vulnerable to working with a president who has cut taxes and is an advocate of small business, but who just happens to be a Democrat. I would personally love to see the electorate reward politicians who can rise above party ideology and work for the people.

    February 10, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  20. Brad

    Seriously? Our politics is this pathetic?

    February 10, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  21. Albert R., L.A., CA

    The high speed rail Florida is getting is worth more than a symbolic embrace but actually it was a good symbilic way of showing that during these hard times the two parties better get along if jobs are to be created. Maybe too many Florida Republicans don't need jobs because they are rich, retired, radical reactionary, religious right-wingers. I could think of more "R" words to describe them.

    February 10, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  22. Hayes Simmons

    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.

    February 10, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  23. Bryan

    How are we as Americans supposed to believe or have faith in bi-partisan politics when it is widely discouraged by both parties? So the guy hugged the president. Big deal.

    February 10, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  24. Willa-PA

    Stupid tea partiers...as a liberal I find this one of the most stupid reasons for repubs to go against one of their own and as a liberal I don't feel embarassed to to say that I like Christ. Anyone following the tea partiers will be sorry one day because they will not be taken care of in the long run, only corporations and the rich. Most tea partiers are just normal mainstream people. Nothing like having blinders on.

    February 10, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  25. Aunt Bea and Opie

    Crist is ok,better than that "I want to be king of cuba,but florida will do for now"Rubio.

    February 10, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
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