NRSC says it's not exactly ready for Senator Joe; Update: That's not what they told me, says Joe

I actually might oppose this for all the wrong reasons.  Shouldn’t MSNBC have at least one host that isn’t nuts?

Republicans in Washington are trying to recruit Joe Scarborough to run against Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) next year.

Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), who heads the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), told The Hill on Thursday that he has talked to Scarborough a couple times about a Senate bid. And he indicated he’s still working on persuading the MSNBC host to run for the upper chamber.

“I’d be delighted to talk to him a third time,” Cornyn said.

That was The Hill’s take last night.  This morning, as Jim Geraghty reports in an update (via Allahpundit), the NRSC says The Hill got this “dead wrong”:

This story is 100% false.  They had a casual conversation last cycle about Joe possibly running for the New York Senate seat.  That was the context of the Senator’s comments yesterday – not Florida – and unfortunately The Hill got this dead wrong.  We already have plenty of great candidates looking at the Florida Senate race and the NRSC is neutral.   We’re confident any one of them can beat Bill Nelson in 2012.

Cornyn has apparently learned from his disastrous recruitment of Charlie Crist.  In that case, Cornyn both recruited and endorsed Crist through the NRSC, and then watched as Crist flopped in the primary and then bailed out of the GOP to make an independent run against Marco Rubio — and utterly embarrassed himself and Cornyn in the process.  Scarborough’s independent pose at MSNBC would have put another recruit in the same position, and this time starting off with one foot out the door.

George LeMieux did a credible job as interim replacement for Mel Martinez, and he wants to run again for Bill Nelson’s position.  Jeb Bush appears at least open to coming off the bench to do the same.   State Senate leader Mike Haridopolos is also mulling a run, hoping to emulate Rubio’s success in 2010.  More candidates might arise as well without recruiting any more, and the entry of a celebrity independent by national organizations might act to push better candidates out of the race.

Scarborough does a good job just to survive in MSNBC’s poisonous atmosphere, and he offers a decent forum for conservatives on a network that is mainly allergic to the Right.  For that, he gets a lot of grief from all sides, but I’d say he’s more valuable where he’s at than in the US Senate.  Unless both LeMieux and Bush are planning to sit this out, I’m unclear why anyone would seriously attempt to recruit candidates from network news shows, including the former Congressman at MSNBC.

Update: Scarborough says he loves his current job and has no desire to run for office again, but that Cornyn and the NRSC aren’t being truthful in their denials:

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough on Friday said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) has asked him about running against Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) in 2012.

Scarborough said in an interview with The Hill, “John suggested last month that I consider running for the Senate against Bill Nelson. His intent was clear and unambiguous and echoed his quotes in The Hill. However, I love the job I have and have no intention of running for the Senate.” …

In his tweet in response to The Hill’s initial story, Cornyn wrote, “Rumor control: Last cycle, Joe and I talked about his interest in NY, not FL Senate race, so this story is wrong.”

Is it that easy to believe that the NRSC didn’t learn their lesson from Crist?  Well, yes, it is.

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