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The Charlie Crist conundrum: lots of choices, none of them good

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist was a rising star in the Republican Party. Now, he appears to have backed himself into a political corner in his bid to be a US senator.

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist talks with the media in Tallahassee on March 24. Governor Crist trails opponent Marco Rubio in the polls ahead of the Republican primary for Florida's open US Senate seat.

Phil Coale/AP

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Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, once a rising Republican star with credible ambitions of national office, sits on the brink of political oblivion.

His centrist profile – crystallized by his now-infamous embrace of President Obama (and his economic stimulus plan) last November – made him ripe for a challenge from the right in his bid for Florida’s open US Senate seat. Former state House speaker Marco Rubio – young, charismatic, and conservative – has executed his challenge nearly flawlessly, taking advantage of "tea party" movement energy and the backlash against Mr. Obama’s policies.

In just a few months, Governor Crist has gone from a towering lead over Mr. Rubio in the primary to being 20 points down.

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