Rubio hits Crist caucus question in new web ad

posted at 3:37 pm on July 7, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

It didn’t take long for Marco Rubio and his campaign to seize on Chris Matthews’ remarks from yesterday and turn it into an argument over Charlie Crist’s political sympathies.  In a new web ad, Rubio points out that while Crist refuses to this day to declare which party’s caucus he would join if elected, Crist showed no such reticence three months ago when challenged on his loyalties:

The choice of music is classic, both literally and figuratively, for a candidate who keeps dancing on this rather basic point. Crist has to caucus with one of the two parties, or opt to go it alone and lose any influence for his state in committee assignments. Does Crist have a set of principles in mind that will inform that decision, or will he just go with whomever can give him the best deal?

We haven’t heard much from the Rubio campaign lately, and that’s apparently by design. As Crist maintains his position in the polls, however, some have criticized the Rubio campaign for suspending its television and radio campaign in the early summer, allowing Crist to consolidate his position.  The Shark Tank is among those expressing frustration at the strategy:

Crist is on record of saying that he is ‘content’ with the response of the Obama Administration in responding to the spill. Content??Content with the fact that it has taken over two month for Obama to effectively respond to this disaster?

Let us not forget that Governor Crist  has completely flip-flopped his position on offshore oil drilling.  He now opposes drilling and is threatening to hold a special Legislative session in hopes to garner enough votes to prohibit offshore drilling.

Again, why isn’t Rubio ripping him on this?  Crist’s gyrations on the issues present Rubio with a target-rich environment, and yet is not constantly hammering Crist on all his flop-flops and broken promises. …

Time will tell if and when Marco Rubio will put on his trousers and gain back the momentum he has lost over the last couple of months.  It’s fair to say that the momentum he has lost can accurately described as a major ‘buzz kill’- the question is will he regain it?

The strategy may be more clever than Javier Manjarres believes.  Traditionally, few people pay attention to politics in the summer; the media doesn’t call this season “the doldrums” for nothing.  Spending money on advertising while TV viewership declines and voters focus on vacations and family events saps strength and precious funds for only middling benefit.  Plus, the departure of Crist from the primary removed all of the drama of this summer’s contest, and so it’s much less newsworthy and interesting.

Furthermore, Crist has to spend money now in order to raise money, thanks to his switch to independent status and the lack of an organization to support him.  Crist’s campaign will raise less money with a higher burn rate, in all likelihood, which means that Rubio can keep his campaign coffers stuffed.  By the time people are paying attention to the race in September and October, Rubio will have a lot of money to spend, and will use it to blanket the airwaves when people are actually watching television.  Crist presumably won’t be able to keep up at that point and will face a serious disadvantage in the crucial final weeks of the election.

Is there risk in this strategy?  Of course.  Crist could capture more momentum and force Rubio to play catch-up over the final eight weeks of the general election.  But Rubio has done that before anyway — and by that time, Democrats will probably start coming back to Kendrick Meek or Jeff Greene, leaving Crist with no money and minimal support.

Rubio doesn’t need to win this race today.  He needs to win it in November.  He’s employing a rational and wise strategy to make his money count.

Update: Javier makes a good point in a response (same link):

I am offering constructive criticism not about the Rubio campaign’s paid media strategy, but about his earned media strategy, or lack thereof.  Rubio should take a page out of Senator LeMieux’s playbook and do what he is doing except out in the field- off the coast and on the beaches.

I completely agree with that.  Rubio may be focusing on fundraising and building an organization, but there’s no doubt that he has a big opportunity for some earned media coverage in the Gulf.  If he’s missing it, Javier’s right to call him out on it.


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I believe Rubio will defeat Crist by a couple points as the right wing base will provide just enough to get him over the top.

rob verdi on July 7, 2010 at 3:39 PM

this is the way to go! make effective, snarky, funny internet ads and let the news cycles pick them up for their creativity. Holds the base and it’s almost free. Keep the cash for later in the race.

lm10001 on July 7, 2010 at 3:41 PM

Rubio is smart…attacking him early people will get tired of hearing how weak Crist is.
Come out with both guns blazing when it counts, during the debates.
Crist will be known as an untrustworthy candidate, and Americans don’t like “sneaky”.

right2bright on July 7, 2010 at 3:42 PM

Heh.

Holger on July 7, 2010 at 3:43 PM

Rubio doesn’t need to win this race today. He needs to win it in November. He’s employing a rational and wise strategy to make his money count.

I hope he knows what he’s doing. The choice for Floridians seems like a no-brainer. But those sound like famous last words.

Anyone know if Crist and Rubio have agreed to any future debates? I wouldn’t be surprised if Chuck decided to avoid another one given how their previous encounter with Chris Wallace went.

Doughboy on July 7, 2010 at 3:43 PM

I believe Rubio will defeat Crist by a couple points as the right wing base will provide just enough to get him over the top.

rob verdi on July 7, 2010 at 3:39 PM

That combined with the fact that people are now sick and tired of Charlie Crist and his antics.

pilamaye on July 7, 2010 at 3:44 PM

Chuck Crist?

Maybe Chuck is a verb.

Steve Z on July 7, 2010 at 3:50 PM

Crists phony Gymnastics are getting tiring. Can’t Floridians see through this fraud?

When are Floridians going to have their “Jetboy” moment?

portlandon on July 7, 2010 at 3:50 PM

It’s at the point where anything Crist says could be the opposite tomorrow. He’s proven that. Rubio is smart to let Crist’s blunders speak for themselves…save the money until the 11th hour, as peoples attention span these days is extremely short.

I was bamboozled by Crist…I fully admit. And still think Rubio will be no conservative golden child. But Crist really sank to the lowest level a politician can possibly sink to.

And we don’t need that kind of tool in the US Senate.

JetBoy on July 7, 2010 at 3:50 PM

Crist embodies everything that is wrong with politics in America. That’s something else he shares with Obama.

ProfessorMiao on July 7, 2010 at 3:52 PM

When are Floridians going to have their “Jetboy” moment?

portlandon on July 7, 2010 at 3:50 PM

lol

JetBoy on July 7, 2010 at 3:52 PM

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if Florida voters actually elect this prime example of a “me-first, screw everyone else” politician who will say ANYTHING to get elected…then they deserve anything they get.

search4truth on July 7, 2010 at 3:55 PM

I completely agree with Rubio’s strategy at this point. The new fundraising numbers are not out for the 2nd Qtr and I expect that Rubio may have trounced Crist in that department.

As for Crists flip-flopping on Drilling? Lets see how he feels about the details of his pandering positions come election day.

I chronicled his flip-flops on drilling complete with screen captures from his “old” website and it is obvious that Crist is a wind sock on many other issues as well.

I titled it Charlie Crist Wins Gold in Flip-Flop-Flip Drilling Debate

Nelsa on July 7, 2010 at 3:55 PM

But Rubio has done that before anyway — and by that time, Democrats will probably start coming back to Kendrick Meek or Jeff Greene, leaving Crist with no money and minimal support.

When is the Dem primary? Once they hold the primary, the Democrats will probably coalesce around the winner, depriving Crist of some support. Then it’s up to Rubio to hit him in the flip-flops.

Steve Z on July 7, 2010 at 3:56 PM

Where’s the “Donate to Chahlie!” ad that was so prominent a couple weeks ago? Did Cha-Cha run out of Google cash already?!

I’ll be campaigning for Rubio in the fall. I’m considering it “training” to campaign for President Palin in the 2012 election.

ornery_independent on July 7, 2010 at 3:57 PM

Does Crist have a set of principles in mind that will inform that decision

Laugh of the day. Thanks, Ed.

rbj on July 7, 2010 at 4:00 PM

Rubio is on Cavuto NOW!

ornery_independent on July 7, 2010 at 4:03 PM

The choice of music is classic, both literally and figuratively, for a candidate who keeps dancing on this rather basic point.

I woulda gone with “The Hokey Pokey”

alexwest on July 7, 2010 at 4:04 PM

I love the ICANHAZCHEEZBURGER font!

desertdweller on July 7, 2010 at 4:05 PM

We haven’t heard much from the Rubio campaign lately….

He’s not in hiding…Watch Fox News in the daytime, like now for example. I am seeing Rubio at least weekly on there, like now for example.

ornery_independent on July 7, 2010 at 4:05 PM

ps: Crist and Meek declined to come on Fox opposite Rubio.

Advantage -> Rubio

ornery_independent on July 7, 2010 at 4:06 PM

When you opponents are imploding, stand back and let them.

jukin on July 7, 2010 at 4:07 PM

I gotta go Go with Ed’s take that keeping your powder dry is the smart play at this juncture. The real battlescape has yet to even really taken shape yet, will Meeks or Greene be the Dhimmi opponent? And how will either differntly shape the playing feild for Crist and what constituency, and how much support will peel off the Dhim side the aisle for him towards Nov?

The nature of the opponent is net yet clear and these are the elements that formulate your message around and hone your attack ads against. Why waste dollars fighting a fight that may not materialize and leave you less room to manoeuver against threats not yet identified?

The best use of time for Rubio right now is to consolidate his base, raise money + endorsements, and find a way to capitalize on free media to stay fresh and relevent. The last is the most difficult and the most important as the repore between campaign staff and the press must be cultivated prior to the heavy guns of mud-slinging come out that will determine how you are presented going down to the wire.

Archimedes on July 7, 2010 at 4:10 PM

Smart politics — let Crist have his fundraisers with Democrat trial attorneys and other Democrat groups and then hit him in September. The lead Crist has in polls that over sample Dems will disappear in a flash. The more Crist talks the more people get angry at him so let him have the stage as Rubio attends functions all around Florida with huge crowds. Rubio is visiting the people around the State of Florida and asking for their votes which is exactly the strategy for the summer.

PhiKapMom on July 7, 2010 at 4:18 PM

Steve Z on July 7, 2010 at 3:56 PM

The Florida primary is August 24th. Meek is up against a self-funded Billionaire named Green.

Last time I checked. Meek was tied with “undecided”. However,Bill Clinton stepped up to support Meek so that should help him win the primary.

Nelsa on July 7, 2010 at 4:21 PM

Ok, two pictures of Chrissy on the home page is more than one person can stomach! BTW: as a resident of Florida we all know that Crist is only out to take care of Crist. Not voting for him!

milwife88 on July 7, 2010 at 4:26 PM

principles? what are they?
/crist

cmsinaz on July 7, 2010 at 4:33 PM

I woulda gone with “The Hokey Pokey”

alexwest on July 7, 2010

Great idea. You should suggest it to the Rubio campaign. I’m sure they can find a slot for it in future ads.

Extrafishy on July 7, 2010 at 4:41 PM

You can follow Rubio on Twitter or facebook – a lot of grassroots campaigning. With the kids which is nice.

Marcus on July 7, 2010 at 4:46 PM

It was a great choice of music. “Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies”, appropriate on several levels.

Not that there’s anything wrong with it.

rogersnowden on July 7, 2010 at 5:50 PM

You can follow Rubio on Twitter or facebook – a lot of grassroots campaigning. With the kids which is nice.

Marcus on July 7, 2010 at 4:46 PM

Correct. Team Rubio posts regularly on Facebook with appearance announcements, policy papers as well as potshots at Crist. And he’s getting plenty of free press, such as this new cover of National Journal

Sorry I missed him in St PEte on July 4rth. What a good-looking family.

ornery_independent on July 7, 2010 at 6:36 PM

Trying that again…National Journal

ornery_independent on July 7, 2010 at 6:40 PM

It was a great choice of music. “Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies”, appropriate on several levels.

Not that there’s anything wrong with it.

rogersnowden on July 7, 2010 at 5:50 PM

Heh.

I’m waiting for the Hillbuzz boys to drop their drag queen bomb in the middle of the Florida senate race.

Terrie on July 7, 2010 at 8:32 PM

The Austin Powers music would work too. *chuckle*

Mojave Mark on July 8, 2010 at 1:15 AM