President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are coming to Tampa this Thursday, the day after President Obama’s State of the Union address, and while the White House is not divulging the reason for the visit, there is a lot of speculation and hope that the reason for the visit will be to announce funding for Florida’s high-speed rail project from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The funding could bring $2.5 billion towards the project’s rail line between Orlando and Tampa, which would also create 23,000 construction jobs to boost Florida’s struggling economy, and elected officials are optimistic:
“It is likely our efforts to create thousands of new jobs for Floridians have paid off,” said U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa. “Our state is hurting and in great need of a significant boost from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.”
Several states are in competition with Florida for portions of the $8 billion that the President has committed towards rail projects.
With such fierce competition for billions to help Florida’s economy and create all those jobs, you would think that Gov. Charlie Crist would be scrambling to do everything possible to meet with Obama in the hopes that he makes such a commitment to Florida, wouldn’t you?
Well, you would be wrong. For the second consecutive Presidential visit to the Sunshine State, Charlie Crist will be a no show:
The Republican governor does not plan to attend Thursday’s event, which is even more high-profile because Vice President Joe Biden also is attending. Crist’s office said he will be “elsewhere” in the state unrolling the proposed state budget.
Florida’s frequently “elsewhere” governor is probably more likely avoiding President Obama for his own political interests. He’s running for a U.S. Senate seat and how would that look to his GOP and Tea Bagger supporters if he were to “dare” to seem interested in pursuing stimulus money for Florida?
No, he wants supporters to forget that he was for President Obama’s stimulus before he was against President Obama’s stimulus. He would also just love it if his supporters were to forget about his famous “man hug” photo-op with President Obama back in February when he thought it was good for his reputation at the time.
So with potentially billions of dollars coming to Florida, while Florida’s economy continues to tank, and it’s 11.8 percent unemployment rate is one of the highest in the country, Florida’s habitually “Elsewhere Governor” will be absent, like the jobs that have disappeared under the watches of both Crist, and former Gov. Jeb “Recession Magnet” Bush.