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Fla. GOP tries to defeat Crist before he can run

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About these ads

The idea is this: defeat Crist before he can re-emerge as a political candidate with a D next to his name. The unusual part is Crist isn't a candidate and the attacks began before the 2012 election was decided. It breaks traditional election strategy for a party to begin airing campaign ads for the next election cycle while in the middle of another.

"I don't recall it ever being done," said David Johnson, a Tallahassee-based Republican political consultant. "It is unusual and it is unprecedented, but so is Charlie Crist."

After Crist endorsed Obama and was preparing to speak at the Democratic National Convention, the state GOP paid for a statewide television ad to knock him down. The ad showed video of Crist praising prominent Republicans like former Gov. Jeb Bush, former President George W. Bush and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. It also showed Crist saying he is pro-life and pro-gun, and ends with him saying, "I'm as conservative as you can get."

Crist agrees that level of attention he's receiving from his former party is unusual.

"I've never heard about people running television ads against a non-candidate, just to put it in perspective," Crist said.

But despite his denials, Crist is acting like someone getting ready for a run by remaining in the public eye and building political favors.

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