WEST PALM BEACH (CBSMiami) — An awkward political moment between state Lt. Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera and former governor Charlie Crist was caught on camera.
During a speech at the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches on Monday the Republican-turned-Democrat heaped criticism on Gov. Rick Scott on virtually every area of his leadership.
“Florida doesn’t have an economic plan unless you count flying around in your private plane and holding press conferences and giving away taxpayer money to your buddies,” Crist told the crowd.
Scott’s campaign dispatched Lopez-Cantera to rebut Crist. Talking with reporters after Crist’s speech, the lieutenant governor said most of it was divisive and untrue.
“Charlie is willing to say whatever you want to hear to get elected but when it comes down to the facts, the record, when it was time to stand up and make a difference, he left,” said Lopez-Cantera.
Just then Crist walked up to him.
“Carlos, Carlos, good to see you, how are you, everything well,” Crist asked a visibly stunned Lopez-Cantera as he patted him on the back and shook his hand.
As Crist walked away he told Lopez-Cantera to “Say hi to your family for me.”
When asked by reporters how he felt about the Lt. Governor’s remarks that he lied, Crist dismissed Lopez-Cantera governor as not good enough to debate.
“Give me Scott,” he declared.
Scott said Crist’s call out was “laughable,” because he still has to run against Nan Rich in the Democratic primary and he’s yet to have a debate with her.
On Tuesday, Lopez-Cantera said he had the opportunity to watch the video of the interaction and didn’t see why some people were making such a fuss about it.
“Well you know, uh, I’ve come to expect stunts from Charlie. I’ve known him for almost 20 years. He’s all about what looks good on camera and dramatic actions. The most important thing that I think should be the focus of this is leadership,” said Lopez-Cantera. “When the state was basically on fire, unemployment was almost at 12-percent and we had lost almost 800,000 jobs, Charlie Crist abandoned the state of Florida to pursue his own personal, political interest.”
Lopez-Cantera added he’s surprised at the reaction the video has gotten.
“I saw it once. I didn’t see anything very entertaining about it or dramatic about it. But hey, when things go viral, they go viral,” said Lopez-Cantera.
Crist is considered the front-runner for the Democratic nomination to face Scott in November.