As hurricanes threatened Florida last week, Gov. Charlie Crist's political advisors pleaded with him to fly to Minnesota and give his prime-time speech introducing John McCain to the Republican National Convention.
Crist wouldn't do it. A trio of storms was brewing in the Atlantic. The media-savvy governor turned his attention home.
''I'm focused on [Hurricane] Ike,'' Crist told reporters. He called another press conference, repeated the line, then flew to Miami to monitor the storms.
The Republican governor's biggest shot at political fame had been deflated as fast as a red, white and blue balloon.
After months of rumors he was on McCain's short list of vice presidential contenders, Crist now returns his energies to Florida where he must deliver the state for McCain and work to revive the state's economy.
It's a tricky assignment made worse not just by storms but by economic data. Florida's unemployment rate continues to rise along with the cost of living. Wages remain flat, job growth is stagnant, and the state faces a $3.5 billion revenue hole in next year's budget.
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