Florida Dems go into damage control as Meek quitting rumors persist

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Pasco County Democratic party head Alison Morano was also in on the call to bring good cheer to what looks like will be a dismal ending, touting Meek's solid record as a Democrat.

But when asked by Adam C. Smith of the Times that the entire tone of the call sounded extremely defensive in nature, Thurman brought out the talking point that Team Meek has espoused since their smashing primary victory over Jeff Greene, which was that he was an underdog then against the real-estate billionaire and somehow prevailed, and therefore history could be repeated.

"It's all about principal,"which if true (as certainly was the case  when Meek rejected the Sierra Club endorsement last week) doesn't exactly show how that will be enough to beat Marco Rubio.  "We're not on the defensive.  We're at this point where Kendrick Meek should not be dropping out of anything, and we want to put that to rest that Democrats are not supporting him."

Thurman also boasted about the many times that Bill Clinton has come to Florida to stump for Meek.  But the former President, who is being used throughout the country as he now polls higher than Barack Obama in public surveys, is obviously not a miracle worker.

Thurman was asked if she was concerned that Meek's continuing sluggish performance in the polls (but not on the campaign, where he had an extremely strong performance at last week's debate in Orlando) could possibly depress turn out and hurt Alex Sink.  She replied that as the party sorts through absentee and early voting results (which begins in six days), she'll have a better idea of who's turning out.

Meanwhile, Charlie Crist agreed with a reporter who asked him today if he believed that a vote for Kendrick Meek was in essence, a vote for Marco Rubio.

"It sure looks like it, yeah. Regrettably, that would be the case."

So it's come to this.

With it apparent that unless somebody drops out of the three way race for the U.S. Senate seat that it's Marco Rubio's to lose, officials with the Florida Democratic party hosted a conference call to blast rumors that it would, or should, be their candidate, Kendrick Meek, who walks away, theoretically allowing Democrats to then switch their allegiance to independent candidate Charlie Crist to stop the Rubio bandwagon.

Such speculation began last week with an absolutely bogus "think-piece" written by former Club for Growth president Stephen Moore, now with the Wall Street Journal, who wrote that "a deal may be in the works" where the Democrat would drop out of the race.  Meek denied it, but that hasn't stopped some liberal bloggers to advocate for it to happen, which then folded into both Chuck Todd and Savannah Guthrie on MSNBC Monday morning tag-teaming Meek on why shouldn't he drop out of the race?

By now it should be apparent that he's not.  But the Florida Democratic party must fear that with their gubernatorial candidate, Alex Sink, locked into a fierce battle with Republican Rick Scott and needing every vote out there, they can't look like they're not standing behind their man, and must mouth platitudes about how he can "find a path to victory" somehow, someway.

Which is why they hosted a conference call this morning doing just that.

On the call (which included celebrity strategist James Carville uttering a few inanities before he had to do something apparently more important), party chair Karen Thurman said that she sees evidence that Democrats are coming home to support Meek, who remains mired in third place in most polls with just three weeks to go before voting ends.

West Palm Beach state Senator Chris Smith labeled suggestions that Meek should drop out "offensive," and said he's been speaking with several South Florida Democrats like Nan Rich, Dan Gelber and Franklin Sands, all expressing their support for the beleaguered candidate.

Thurman followed suit, calling such calls "campaign trickery," and adding , "There have been lots of rumors, and they need to stop."  She then went on to say that Meek "has a clear path to victory," saying that his grass roots support is such that it doesn't show up in polls.

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