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. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    Dear God, what have we become? A Nation of people who judge and condemn a friendly gesture? Hugging someone is now considered ...... wrong?! When I saw Obama & Crist hug, like friends would, I thought, 'thank God, maybe we can put the angst of the '08 campaign to rest!'

    But no. Yesterday on CNBC, I watched a Townhall with Bush's Sec. of Treasury Hank Paulson, who once again told America, that had the 2008 Tarp bill not passed we would have had a financial disaster!

    And then Paulson said that the Stimulus Bill & Recovery Act brought our Nation back from the brink of another Depression! So what IF Crist hugged Obama, and thanked him for helping Florida?

    How I wish we could get past the angst and hate promoted by the far-right-nuts and move on to a time when Congress & indeed all of our government worked TOGETHER FOR THE GOOD OF OUR NATION!

    February 10, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  2. joeb

    Hey, Otter. Good post, made me spit coffee all over my keyboard!

    February 10, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  3. Real American

    Republicans who think this way are despicable knuckle-dragging sub-humans. When a super-hurricane caused by global warming wipes Florida off the map, will this be counted as God's punishment for voting Republican?

    February 10, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  4. Guest

    Why are the people that are voted into office by the citizens of the United States showing how petty and ignorant they can be, all of this that is going on between congress,senate and the president is showing that you may be educated and in good positon in this country but ignorance has no limits, the disrespect being showed on tv shows are very annoying and upsetting trying to let your kids look at programs to help them learn about politics and our country makes you want to turn them off they show disrespect and bigotry rather than teaching kids that we may not agree on everything but we do respect each other opinion as well as care about the message we are sending. In any case you don't have to agree but don't let your ignorance show clearly.

    February 10, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  5. Average American

    Let's get back to civility, please.

    February 10, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  6. Scott in Atlanta

    Crist would do well to embrace the President and not distance himself from a "hug". If he tries to distance himself, then he just looks like an opportunist. If he embraces it, then he looks genuine, and the American people like genuine. Plus, you'll see that the country likes our President and those who work WITH him.

    Don't find out the hardway like Gore did when he distanced himself from Clinton...

    February 10, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  7. Voice of Reason

    You mean he actually (gasp!) TOUCHED a Democrat!!??


    I find this absolutely disgusting. Have we brushed aside civility and common courtesy – instead replacing them with such intolerence and hatred that people cannot greet each other openly (let alone carry on a productive dialog across the ever-widening aisle) ?

    What next? Shall we spit on people who disagree with us? Hiss at them as they pass? Hatred, intolerence, fear, disrespect, vitriol and poison – welcome to the new standard of American politics.

    February 10, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |

    All of you Prez OBAMA haters are still jealous of him....most of you are all hat and no cattle....a bunch of racist and bigots

    February 10, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |

    Funny... lots of hypocrisy here today. Dems, with their requisite hate, saying how Repubs shouldn't hate a fellow Repub for not hating a Dem. Strange...

    February 10, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  10. Buy a Clue

    Dave February 10th, 2010 10:22 am ET

    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.

    Oh Really?? So it is OK to covertly seek out and accept funds for your state, have ribbon cutting and ground breaking ceremonies as long as you publicly trash the stimulus? The list of Republicans that have done that is as long as your arm. They are complete and utter hypocrites.

    February 10, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  11. Perusing-through


    At a time when other states are dealing with negative economic issues from job losses to brutal economic catastrophe, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has successfully managed to guide the 4th most populous state through perilous times – – – without fanfare or ballyhoo. This is no surprise because Crist was also successful and accomplished as Florida's State Senator, Attorney General, and Education Commissioner.

    Yet, because he showed a 2008 presidential candidate Obama a "state courtesy hug", the insane GOP hypocrites and stupid Palin-Limbaugh ditto-heads would rather destroy one of their brightest, smartest, and accomplished stars in the Republican Party, than acknowledge Gov. Crist's success as a Party Pragmatist.

    February 10, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  12. stefan paul odziemek

    What a group of whiners, they mostly don't even hug their own children! tea baggers have no sense and they'll leave much of you into a greater distrubing land of choas. Common sense to some is riding a horse or sitting in a buggy, never mind the federal government sets safety standards for our roadways.It has been a while since I drove in Florida, it was a pleasure living there.Flying out of airports, I was happy to know the FAA had trained professionals to keep the skys safe. Passenger trains in the days of Henry Flagler build a way for travelers to vacation and to infuse money into the economy. The waterways of Florida are America's Riveria.
    Like it or not the Tea baggers, or my own name for them, is the Horse and Buggy crowd. They can hitch or put on there own tack, because without a prudent mind to govern that's where they'll set Florida or any other state backwards. Take a hug from the President or elect a fool to lead you all back to nothing. As I see your accomplishing the republican goals for this decade," do nothing and have nothing."
    Goodluck riding your ponies the tea baggers are phonies.

    February 10, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  13. Michael in Houston

    Everyone!! Pause for just a moment and reflect on this. Two men, a Governor and the President share a stage and for a brief moment they have a casual embrace out of mutual respect and this has become news.
    We should all be embarrassed at how mindlessly juvenile we have become in our politics.

    February 10, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  14. Have they really lost thier minds?

    Oh, it gets better. In Ft. Myers, Fla tonight they are holding a rally for Rubio entitled "The Hug – One Year Later" held at Harborside Center on the 1 year anniversary of "The Hug". According to them, I better sleep in the spare bedroom tonight. I am an Independent who voted and campaigned for President Obama and my hubby is a Tea Bagger!

    February 10, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  15. Independent One

    What the repubs doesn't realize is...Rubio will lose in the general election....We are tired of extremism and partisanship on both sides

    February 10, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  16. Darth Cheney

    It's mindboggling to think that:
    a) Purity tests and taboos against fraternization with the enemy have become the GOP way
    b) Elected GOP officials, who should know better, refuse to stand up to this fascistic idiocy
    c) Conservatives don't understand why liberals call them haters
    This kind of hate belongs in the antebellum and segregationist South, it has no place in the 21st century.

    February 10, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  17. SocialismBad

    Crist will get what he deserves. Obama has been the Kiss of Death to anybody that was stupid enough to associate with him or believe in and support his insane policies. Add Crist to the list of Democratic candidates that Obama deep sixed!

    February 10, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  18. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Floridians know who Charlie Crist is politically and one hug doesn't define him. The other guy will be Florida's worst nightmare and will never gain the respect in Washington, look at him.

    February 10, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  19. j

    Geez, Florida is way too hard on Crist. He's the better GOP candidate. Of course, a Progressive is always to be preferred. Vote Democrat 2010!

    And remember it was 8 years of Republican DEFICIT spending that put the country in the mess it's in now.

    February 10, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  20. Hall for Obama

    If you find some thing wrong with a hug you need to grow a set. What is wrong is every one looking for something to complain about. I for one wish every one would take their balls and go to hell home.

    February 10, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  21. Angie in PA

    Has anyone checked out all the Republicans who voted against and trashed the stimulus and then turned around and took credit for new Jobs or Jobs saved from the stimulus? In their districts? Yes they are taking credit for the positive things it brought their states GOOGLE IT!


    February 10, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  22. Mindsett

    I ,for one think "all things happen for a reason", so mark my word when I say all this Republican obstruction will come back to haunt them. Never has there been a human been ask to fix such a bad situation so soon. Which leaves nothing but the fact that this is all about race and payback for the lost election. It would not surprise me one bit if the downfall of America(land of people from all over the World) happens because of the actions of racists, greedy, warmongers.

    February 10, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  23. The Unsub

    I kissed a girl and I liked it.....

    February 10, 2010 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  24. Steve (the real one)

    I agree is it silly! I would say to the finger wagging liberals here, go ahead and challenge the hate in the GOP. Hate does exist in the GOP. Just don't forget to challenge the hate in YOUR party as well. As sure as the sun is hot, much hate exists there as well!

    February 10, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  25. Lisa P

    Mr Joshua February 10th, 2010 11:05 am ET
    Crist is toast. Thanks to Obama and the Liberal leadership Reagan Conservatives are on the rise. Deny it if you like

    I don't know where the hell you come off calling people who go nuclear over two politicians hugging "Reagan Conservatives." I never cared for the man or his policies but one thing Reagan never had was a problem with making cordial or friendly gestures to the other side. You hate and vitriol filled supposed "Reagan Conservatives" should be ashamed of yourselves! Go study some history instead of wasting our time junking up these boards.

    February 10, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
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