Florida Gov. Backs McCain as Race Turns Nasty

Crists' backing may put presidential hopeful ahead of Romney
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Jan 26, 2008 9:02 PM CST
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., stirs a large pot of gumbo at the Fishbones Restaurant after a campaign event at the Shell Factory and Nature Park in North Fort Myers, Fla., Saturday, Jan. 26, 2008. (AP Photo/Charles...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Florida's popular governor endorsed John McCain tonight, giving a major boost to the Arizona senator as his tight race with Mitt Romney took a nasty turn. Gov. Charlie Crist called McCain a "true American hero" three days ahead of the state's primary, the Miami Herald reports. The endorsement came as McCain and Romney dropped the polite act and traded serious barbs over Iraq, the Washington Post notes.

McCain struck first. "If we surrender and wave a white flag, like Senator Clinton wants to do, and withdraw, as Governor Romney wanted to do, then there will be chaos." Romney, who has said the military should consider a private timetable but not set public deadlines, angrily demanded an apology. "That's dishonest," he said. McCain responded that the only people due an apology are US soldiers, from those who would let them down.