Bush Rift With Crist

Mission accomplished in Florida. Not quite.

President Bush is in the Sunshine State and irritated that the Republican candidate for governor, Charlie Crist, is keeping a lot of distance between himself and the president.

You'll recall that Bush flew out to an aircraft carrier shortly after the invasion of Iraq and spoke on deck with a big banner behind him declaring “Mission Accomplished.''

Because the war has dragged on longer than World War II and the flag-draped caskets of troops keep coming back home from Iraq, many Republican candidates, including Crist, apparently don't want to be seen with Bush.

The White isn't mincing words when it comes to expressing irritation of Crist keeping his distance. On a tarmac in Texas where the president boarded Air Force One for the trip east, Bush political strategist Karl Rove mockingly questioned what kind of alternate rally Crist could put together that would rival the expected 10,000-person crowd that Bush is expected to draw at the Pensacola Civic Center Monday afternoon.

Crist was in other parts of the state.