Bad Move, Mr. Crist

Nov 1, 2013

Kelley Mitchell thinks former Gov. Charlie Crist made a press faux-pas with his Friday announcement.
Credit Mike Cohen / Flickr/Creative Commons

The first time I met Charlie Crist, he was the state Attorney General. It was at a Florida Department of Law Enforcement news conference in their then-new digs along the Dolphin Expressway near Florida's Turnpike.

I'm fairly certain it was one of those Joint Agency Task Force announcements that had something to do with Identity Theft (Hint: "We're against it.")

So am I, by the way. It can be debilitating.

But after it was over and we newsfolk were in the parking lot, packing up our gear and getting ready to leave, I was struck by the sight of this tan, white-haired man, bouncing from news car to news car, handing out business cards.

"Hi, I'm Charlie Crist and here is my card."

It was like Exeter from "This Island Earth" had become a human PEZ dispenser.

It is impossible not to like Charlie Crist. Even though you knew he was working the crowd, you had to admire the way he worked it.

So, Charlie, you played the media card when you hopscotched from Republican to Democrat, and you played it well enough to get the call to the hall at last summer's Democratic National Convention.

You tipped your hand last Friday with your website, your video and your campaign logo, making it clear that you were going to run for Governor.

So, why the Friday Night Flight?

Why make your candidacy official late on the Friday after Halloween (and the day after an overtime-winning Miami Dolphins game) at a time that's usually reserved for trying to sneak unpleasant business past a media you hope won't ever notice?

With all due respect, Mr. Crist: With your media savvy, if you intended to reclaim "This Peninsula Florida," this was your time to shine.

You ask, "Tell me how I can help." I'll tell you who you didn't help. You.

Kelley Mitchell is senior anchor for WLRN.