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[UPDATE] Meek: Crist Suggested Quitting Florida Senate Race

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

[UPDATE] 10-29 3:05pm

WASHINGTON (AP) --

Former President Bill Clinton says he didn't ask Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek to drop out of the FloridaSenate race, but says the two spoke about the race and its challenges.

Clinton issued a statement on Friday, October 29 in which he called Meek a close friend. He said he and Meek spoke last week after a rally in Orlando. Clinton said he told Meek that how he goes forward in the
race was his decision to make.

Clinton said he still believes Meek could be the best senator
for Florida.

Meek trails in a three-way race with Republican Marco Rubio and
Gov. Charlie Crist, who abandoned the GOP to run as an independent.
Meek went on TV to swat down reports that he had told Clinton that
he would drop out to improve Crist's chances of defeating the
front-runner Rubio.

--------------------------------

[UPDATE] 10-29 1:39am --

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) --

Independent Florida Senate candidate Charlie Crist confirms that he spoke with Democratic rival Kendrick Meek this week about the possibility of Meek dropping out of the race.

Crist isn't saying who initiated the chat -- saying it "doesn't
matter."

Meek this morning went on national TV shows to deny that he had
told former President Bill Clinton that he would drop out so that
he could improve Crist's chances of beating the front-runner,
Republican Marco Rubio.

Meek says it was Crist who raised that possibility, and that
Crist had also called Clinton's office, hoping to get Clinton to
persuade Meek to drop out.

Polls indicate Meek is badly trailing Crist and Rubio and has
little chance of winning on Tuesday.

Clinton, meanwhile, acknowledges that he discussed with Meek the
possibility of withdrawing, but he didn't say he had asked Meek to
quit.

As for Rubio, he says the story is a "great reminder" of what
he calls "backdoor deals" that represent "what's wrong with
American politics today."

------------------------------------

[UPDATE] 10-29 9:21am --

MIAMI (AP) --

Florida Democratic Senate hopeful Kendrick Meek has been spending the morning denying claims that former President Bill Clinton had advised him to drop out of the race.

Meek has been holding morning interviews to dispute suggestions
that he plans to drop out to help an independent rival, Gov.
Charlie Crist, who trails the front-runner, Republican Marco Rubio.

Meek says it is Crist who has been suggesting that he get out of
the race. Meek says Crist also called Clinton's office with the
suggestion. Meek says he did talk to Clinton during campaign
appearances but that the former president merely asked him about
the rumors.

Meek told CNN's "American Morning" that Crist should
"consider getting out of the race." A Rubio strategist accused
Crist of attempting to do anything to win.

Polls indicate Meek has little chance of winning on Tuesday.
Some analysts say Crist is unlikely to win without support from
those backing Meek.

--------------------

[UPDATE] 10-29 7:10am --

MIAMI (AP) --

Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek says it was his independent opponent -- not former President Bill Clinton -- who suggested he drop out of Florida's Senate race.

Meek told CNN early Friday, Oct. 29, that Florida Gov. Charlie Crist
previously had talked to him about abandoning his candidacy. Meek
said he told the governor that he should drop out instead.

Crist bolted from the Republican Party to run for the Senate as
an independent. Experts say he would need the Democrats backing
Meek to have any chance of beating Republican front-runner Marco
Rubio.

Meek is denying reports published Thursday that Clinton advised
him to withdraw. He told CNN that such reports are "a part of the
Crist strategy."

Polls indicate the Miami congressman has little chance of
winning Tuesday.

------------

Miami, FL (AP) -

Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek is denying reports
that he agreed to drop out of the Florida Senate race under
pressure from former President Bill Clinton.

Politico reported Thursday that Clinton, while campaigning with
Meek in Florida last week, tried to talk him into quitting. It says
that Meek agreed twice to drop out and endorse independent
candidate Gov. Charlie Crist.

In a statement, Meek campaign manager Abe Dyk says the
congressman is staying in and never agreed to give up.

A Crist campaign spokesman says the story is accurate.

Polls show Meek badly trailing Crist and front-runner Republican
Marco Rubio.

Clinton has been campaigning all over the country, trying to
keep the U.S. House and Senate in Democrats' hands.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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