When President Obama last visited Florida, he walked Pensacola's white-sand beaches with Governor Charlie Crist to talk about the Gulf oil spill. Photos of the two leaders strolling through paradise looked like a campaign ad for Crist, the Republican turned independent running for the Senate.
Now, irritated Democrats, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus, are demanding that Obama do more to aid Democrat Kendrick Meek. "Come on down and show me that you mean it," says Florida Representative Alcee Hastings. Although Meek already has Obama's endorsement, Hastings says, "I need to see him say it."
But a photo op may not save Meek. After a weak start, he's in a primary fight with billionaire Jeff Greene. Meanwhile, Crist is leading in the polls. And some cagey political hedging is at work, as two key Democratic advisers have joined Crist's team. Democrats quietly hope that if Crist wins, he'll vote with them in the Senate a possible bright spot in an otherwise dismal election year.