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Florida's Crist got push from Schwarzenegger before leaving GOP

May 3, 2010 |  1:30 pm

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist made headlines last week when he announced he was leaving the Republican Party and continuing his run for the U.S. Senate as an independent. Now, it appears Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was among those who encouraged Crist to make the move.

The St. Petersburg Times reports on Crist's "final 24 hours as a Republican," quoting the Florida governor about his conversation with Schwarzenegger just hours before announcing his decision.

The sequence of events includes this, at 11:20 a.m.  Wednesday:

Tennis great Chris Evert drops in before a physical fitness news event. Crist consoles her about her divorce from golfer Greg Norman. The discussion turns to politics. "Any advice?" Crist asks.

"Go independent," Evert replies. "When people ask me, 'What are you,' I can't say I'm Democrat or I'm Republican. I like a little bit of each."

"I talked to Arnold last night about it and he had the same advice," Crist says. "Schwarzenegger. Arnold. The Gubernator."

Actually, Mr. Crist, the correct spelling is "governator."

-- Anthony York in Sacramento