Contrary to rumors and published reports, the White House and senior Democrats aren't retracting their pledges of support for Rep. Kendrick Meek, their favorite Democrat running for Senate in Florida. Gov. Charlie Crist, now running as an independent, let it be known that Sen. Harry Reid, the majority leader, had telephoned him, leading to a rush of speculation that Democrats didn't want to alienate someone who could potentially caucus with them.
That's true, to a point, but Reid's aides insist the call was perfunctory. "There is no secret plan being hatched to support Crist," a Democratic political official said. "Just because Republicans dumped their candidate doesn't mean we have any intention of doing the same."
The sentiment was echoed by a White House official, who said that neither Crist nor any member of his team had spoken with chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, deputy chief of staff Jim Messina, or political director Patrick Gaspard, the man who's in charge of the Meek account these days.
Perhaps nervous about being seen as supportive of the White House's agenda, Meek's campaign released a statement supporting Elena Kagan's Supreme Court nomination last night hours before White House officials confirmed that she was the pick. Meek faces a primary challenge from Jeff Greene, a billionaire who made his money by shorting the housing boom. Greene begins his television ad campaign today.
Open questions: how much money does the DSCC commit to helping Meek, and when? How early does President Obama campaign for Meek -- Obama's not that unpopular in Florida. How long does Crist's announcement bump last?
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