Charlie Crist Almost Got Democratic Challenger Kendrick Meek To Endorse Him (Thanks to Bill Clinton)

Now that Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has ditched the GOP to run as an independent, Democratic leaders have seen an 11th hour opportunity: Get former President Bill Clinton to push Democrat Kendrick Meek to drop out of Florida’s Senate race and endorse Crist to mount a heavier challenge against favorite and Republican nominee Marco Rubio. Yes, Clinton wants a former Republican to win instead of the Tea Party favorite.

It’s the lesser of two evils, but the plan would require a Democrat, albeit a weak one (he’s polling at 15 percent), to quit the race. Meek, a Clinton ally, was actually on board with the plan last week when Clinton approached him, but ultimately rebuffed the request to take one for the team. Clinton tells CNN Meek “was trying to determine what was the best thing for him to do. … He was trying to think about what was the best thing for Florida.” Had everything gone according to plan, we would’ve seen a press conference on Tuesday with Meek announcing his endorsement of Crist.

But now that’s not happening.

And Meek says it was never the plan, but rather a ploy by Crist to drum up support.

And it’s given the Rubio campaign a ripe opportunity for one last attack on Crist: “Charlie Crist truly will say and do anything to get elected and hold on to power. Secret deals to trade away principles for power is already the problem in Washington, it’s not the solution,” says an aide. Well, nobody’s ever accused Crist of sticking to his guns.

Below, Crist confirms to Greta Van Susteren the plan was indeed in place.

Here, Clinton speaks to CNN: