Crist appears on CNN Sunday morning

In today's St. Pete Times, political columnist Adam C. Smith says it's time for Gov. Charlie Crist to forget about any vice presidential aspirations he might still be harboring, citing the "return $50,000 of suspicious campaign donations [to John McCain] funneled through Charlie Crist's pal and top fundraiser, Harry Sargeant III of Boca Raton."

Earlier today, Crist appeared on CNN's Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer and probably did little to boost his chances in McCain's veep-stakes. Right out of the gate, when Blitzer asked Crist if he'd been through the vetting process for vice president, the governor said he was unable to comment. Blitzer then said, "I'll take that as a 'yes.'"

After a brief, awkward pause, Crist responded, "You can take that anyway you want to."

The balance of the interview consisted of Crist giving his support to McCain, calling him a "maverick" (where have we heard that before?) who opposed President Bush's 2005 energy policy while Barack Obama voted for it. As he spoke, Crist looked and sounded like he was on autopilot.

When the topic of nuclear energy and Crist's support for it came up, the guv smarmily pointed out that Blitzer's mother is a Florida resident. It was a meaningless, patronizing reference (and one that Blitzer quickly moved past) in an otherwise Stepford Wives-like performance. Crist didn't embarrass himself, but he also didn't do anything to steal the limelight from Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.

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