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Extra Crispy Crist

Let's forget the Dems' steelcage death match for a moment and turn our attention to something more serious: Florida Governor--and possible McCain runningmate--Charlie Crist's tan. Florida Democrats have made fun of it in the past, and Crist has cleverly countered by crying racism. As the then-state AG marveled to a radio host in 2006:

"It's sad. I mean, my goodness--because I happen to have Greek heritage and if I go out in the sun for a half hour and it looks like I've been out there for four hours because I have a darker complexion than somebody--honestly, Jim, I thought we were at the place in this country where the color of somebody's skin or the complexion that they have is not something that's an issue of political debate anymore. I've been fighting for civil rights for all of our people as attorney general, and for the Democratic party to kind of poke fun of something like that was really beneath a lot of Democrats that I know that don't feel that way."

Now, I got an up-close intro to Crist at the annual press-prom Saturday night, and, with all due respect to the guv's Mediterranean genes, that tan ain't the product of any half-hour in the sun. Crist's skin is baked. Dangerously baked. Damaged-beyond-its-years baked. Makes-Minority-Leader-Boehner-look-like-Conan-O'Brien baked.

So I'm wondering: How will Crist's megatan play on the national stage? I mean, voters in South Florida kind of expect their pols to look like they just came from some fun in the sun. But how about pasty factory workers in Detroit or Scranton? Will they be turned off by Crist's man-of-leisure look?

Yes. Yes. I realize American voters are far too substantive and serious-minded to let anything so shallow as a candidate's appearance significantly impact their views. I'm just saying. 

(Then again, maybe I'm just bitter b/c it's once again cold and rainy in DC.)

--Michelle Cottle