Chris Matthews Claims Oil Spill Sews Up Win for Crist Over Rubio for Fla. Senate

It was bound to happen and no one can really blame them for doing so, but someone eventually had to determine who the political winners and losers are for the tragic circumstances surrounding the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Looking forward to the upcoming election cycle, MSNBC “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough determined the time was right to take a stab at it, although reluctantly on his June 2 broadcast.

“[W]e will stay with BP for one second but talk about presidential politics and I know this will be offensive to some people but it's just a reality that there is somebody in the White House, somebody in the Democratic Party, somebody in the Republican Party that's trying to figure out the political impact of this environmental tragedy. And we were talking with Chuck Todd last hour about how it ramps up when the oil starts washing on Florida shores, Chris. That makes this a much bigger political event in terms of presidential politics, like it or not.”

Conventional wisdom might suggest this is bad for the Democratic Party, with a Democratic president, Barack Obama at the helm of the federal government. By default, the advantage would go to a Republican candidate for that reason. But not so according to MSNBC “Hardball” host Chris Matthews. Matthews argued Charlie Crist had an advantage, since his Republican opponent Marco Rubio wasn’t eager to condemn all forms of offshore drilling immediately following the incident. And Scarborough, a former Florida congressman, agreed.

“Well, I think in the first instance, I think Charlie Crist will probably be elected governor [senator],” Matthews said.

“I agree,” Scarborough replied.

Matthews cited Crist’s language in recent days suggesting pause should be given to drilling off the coast of Florida. However, Crist didn’t interject the politics into it like Matthews did – praising Crist for not being an “ideologue.”
“I think he's going to be tough on offshore drilling, absolute ban on it,” Matthews continued. “He's very quick off the spot. He's not an ideologue. And maybe this is one of the opportunities in the country to see the advantage of non-ideologues, people who are quick at just responding to new things and doing the smart thing.”

Crist’s opponent, Rubio was asked by Fox News “Your World” host Neil Cavuto on his June 1 program about Crist’s and Obama’s handling of the oil spill situation, as his senatorial opponent is the sitting governor. Rubio was hesitant critique the administration, similar to the way the Bush administration was attacked following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

CAVUTO: Marco, your quick thoughts on, not only your governor, but how the president has handled this Gulf oil spill?

RUBIO: Well, it’s unfortunate, first of all, that our technologies have not advanced enough to deal with issues like this. And I think we’re dealing with the sad consequences of it. I think the White House, as weeks go by, we’re going to learn more and more about what was done wrong in this regard. But this is — understand, this is a party and — and folks in this administration who spent a lot of time attacking the Bush administration’s reaction to Katrina, which is an unforeseen thing. This one happened, and nothing happened for weeks thereafter. And, so, I think, as time goes on, we’re going to learn more and more about what should have been done. And — and let’s wait for that to start coming out a little bit more.

Rubio was asked by Cavuto what his thoughts were about Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder failing to extend an invitation to Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum in a meeting on June 1 with the attorneys general from Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. And Rubio, unlike Matthews’ “ideologue” assessment wasn’t as quick to pass judgment on the Obama administration.

CAVUTO: I know you have got to skedaddle here, but Florida’s attorney general was left out of this Eric Holder powwow with AGs and legal types on — on looking at criminal actions against those who — who brought the spill on. What did you make of that?

RUBIO: Well, I hope it’s not a partisan thing, and I hope it’s not electoral politics coming into play. The truth is, Florida has a huge stake at play in what is happening in the Gulf region. It impacts tourism in our state. And — and so, we’re — we’re — we’re deeply involved and care a lot about it. And I hope General McCollum is included in future conversations.

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