Charlie Crist Spotlights Independence in New Ad

Florida Senate Candidates: Marco Rubio (left), Kendrick Meek (center) and Charlie Crist (right) CBS/AP

Two of Florida's three U.S. Senate candidates are out today with their first TV ads of the general election.

Florida Governor Charlie Crist is embracing his new independent status after changing parties during the primary when Republican Marco Rubio challenged Crist from the right.

In the ad, Crist walks down the middle of the screen between red block letters that spell out "Republican" on his right and blue block letters spelling out "Democrat" on his left. Crist says the way to get results for Florida and improve the economy is by "putting aside our differences and putting people ahead of politics."

"As an Independent, I will take the best ideas of Democrats and Republicans to get things done," Crist says while rearranging the letters. "Because at the end of the day, there's only one party I work for," Crist says,  finishing his work to reveal that he moved all the letters around to spell "Americans."

The ad ends, of course, with Crist saying confidently "I'm Charlie Crist, an Independent, and I approve this message."

National Republican Senatorial Committee spokeswoman Amber Marchand sent out a statement to reporters this morning mocking the advertisement.

"Charlie Crist only cares about his own interests, and his misleading claim to 'put people ahead of politics' simply does not match reality," Marchand said. "The only candidate in this election who will fight for smaller government, lower taxes, and fiscal responsibility in Washington is Marco Rubio, and that's why we're confident that he will be elected Florida's next U.S. Senator this November."

The Democratic candidate, Rep. Kendrick Meek, also hit the air today with a creative ad of his own. Set to bouncy music, Meek opens the ad by getting into the back of an air boat and introducing himself. "I'm Kendrick Meek, the Democrat for Senate, and with three of us running, you should know what makes me different," he says.

As the music continues, Meek starts listing the ways.

"I'm the only one who's fought against developers draining the Everglades," Meek says as he speeds through the water.

"The only one against offshore oil drilling before and after the BP spill," Meek yells as he shoots through what looks like the Gulf of Mexico on a different boat.

"The only one against privatizing Social Security," he says riding on a bus with senior citizens cheering for him.

Then Meek says he's the only one who's pro-choice, who's stood up to President George W. Bush and who voted against high credit card fees.

The ad is interesting because it clearly defines Meek and sounds very positive, but at the same time Meek gets jabs in on both Crist and Rubio.

Television viewers can expect an onslaught of political advertisements like these from now until November. With Labor Day over, campaigns know that voters are back from vacation and those who weren't paying attention before will start to tune in.


Jill Jackson is a CBS News Capitol Hill Producer. You can read more of her posts in Hotsheet here. You can also follow her on Twitter.

  • Jill Jackson On Twitter»

    Jill Jackson is a CBS News senior political producer.

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