CHARLOTTE. N.C. -- Charlie Crist lost his bid for the U.S. Senate but he hasn't lost his touch as a glad-handing politician.
I ran into the former Florida governor Thursday afternoon in the lobby of a fancy hotel in Charlotte where many delegates to the Democratic National Convention are staying. And from the looks of it, Crist is still a pol through and through, and I mean that in a good way. He was trim and tanned in a dark blue suit as he shook hands with well-wishers and grinned as one stranger after another volunteered that they would support him in his future political pursuits.
It's widely believed that he is preparing another run for governor.
But Crist is likely to run as a Democrat the next time. He originally was elected governor as a Republican but he lost the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate to Marco Rubio in 2010 because Republicans didn't think he was conservative enough. Crist proceeded to stay in the campaign as an independent but he got nowhere.
He is scheduled to address the Democratic convention Thursday night to urge support for President Obama, especially in the critical battleground state of Florida. And he told me he met privately with First Lady Michelle Obama Thursday and she thanked him for his endorsement. He declined to discuss his political plans but said his experience with the Democrats at the convention has been "great."
Like the convention itself, Crist has been on a merry go round of networking, schmoozing and generating goodwill. That's a big reason why the pols enjoy these events so much.