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Club for Growth Set to Air Anti-Crist Ads in Florida

The powerful anti-tax group the Club for Growth said Thursday that it is set to air a new television commercial in Florida that hits Gov. Charlie Crist (R) for endorsing the stimulus bill — one day after the governor denied in a CNN interview that he ever backed the $787 billion spending legislation.

The club’s new ad uses video from a Crist appearance with President Barack Obama in February during which the governor talks about the importance of passing the stimulus package.

“Since Charlie Crist helped pass Barack Obama’s spending program, nearly 200,000 Floridians have lost their jobs. Unemployment is the highest in decades. Personal income’s down. And the deficit in Washington is three times larger,— a narrator says in the ad. “Tell Gov. Crist to work on fixing Florida’s economy, not passing more debt to our children.—

Crist has worked to distance himself from Obama and the stimulus bill as he comes under increasing fire from his right flank in his Senate primary against conservative former state Speaker Marco Rubio (R). Earlier this week, Rubio launched a new Web page that featured Crist’s appearance with Obama at the February event.

Crist said on Wednesday that while he didn’t endorse the bill earlier, he knew that the spending measure was going to be passed by Congress and wanted to use it to benefit Florida.

“Yesterday, Charlie Crist said he never endorsed the stimulus, but that’s simply not true,— Club for Growth President Chris Chocola said in a news release Thursday. “Crist embraced the stimulus, and Florida’s economy has suffered for it. The Club for Growth’s ad sets the record straight.—

The club has yet to endorse a candidate in the Crist-Rubio primary, which appears to be tightening, according to the latest polls. But if the group endorses at all in the race, it is certain to cast its lot with Rubio, who is picking up support from key conservatives across the country.

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