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What Is Rubio Asking Us To See?

Florida Governor Charlie Crist officially announced this morning that he is running for the U.S. Senate. Minutes later, the National Republican Senatorial Committee endorsed him over Marco Rubio, a former speaker of the state house. Rubio has sought already to cast himself as the more conservative of the two candidates. Most notably, on his campaign website, Rubio has posted an ad linking Crist to Obama. (Crist took some heat from vocal members of the right back in February for strongly supporting Obama's stimulus package.)

The ad is interesting not only for its depiction of the Crist-Obama connection--which, according to recent polls, isn't hurting the governor's approval ratings in his state--as a nefarious union. (In Rubio's telling, Crist would become a Floridian Specter.) The ad is also notable for its imagery. Watch it carefully: The two men's faces swirl around each other, seemingly touching at times as they come into focus, then (stop it at about 21 seconds) there is an intimate shot of Obama and Crist looking at each other.

Call me crazy, but is it possible that Rubio is channeling the rumors that Crist is gay? Stories have been circulating for years, even after Crist got married in December. Most recently, filmmaker Kirby Dick focused on the governor in Outrage, a documentary about closeted gay politicians. In any case, it should be instructive to see how Rubio handles questions surrounding Crist's sexuality as the campaign stretches on.

--Seyward Darby