Florida Tea Partiers Akin to Angry Bulls, Charging at Gov. Crist's 'Moderate Apostasy'

Right from the start, Trip Gabriel's accounting of Newt Gingrich's campaign ride through Florida cast a overdramatic and condescending color on conservatives: 'Gingrich Tries to Lure Tea Party Support in Florida.'

As he moved to consolidate the conservative base behind him, Newt Gingrich waved the red cape of a former Florida governor who quit the Republican Party and lost to the Tea Party favorite Marco Rubio -a line that got a big reaction from crowds who have not forgotten that act of moderate apostasy.

At event after event on Tuesday on Florida's southwest coast, Mr. Gingrich boasted that his state campaign manager had run Mr. Rubio's 2010 Senate race, whereas Mitt Romney had hired 'the people who ran Charlie Crist's campaign.'

The line drew boos at the mention of Mr. Crist, who in pre-Tea Party days was one of the most popular Republican governors in the country.

And even more popular among Times reporters. Reporter Damien Cave's April 22, 2010 valentine to the embattled, independent-minded Crist was summed up in the text box: 'A G.O.P. favorite becomes a pariah as a moderate.'