Florida Gov. Charlie Crist will not attend President Obama's town hall-style meeting in Tampa Thursday, aides to the Republican governor told Fox News.
Crist has a previously scheduled event at the University of South Florida where he will roll out his higher education budget plan for the next fiscal year, according to the aides. Crist aides were reviewing the governor's schedule within the past 24 hours to see if he could squeeze in an appearance, but that apparently won't work out.
Still, the GOP governor is not completely snubbing the president. Crist is expected to meet up with Obama when he lands on the tarmac in Florida Thursday.
Any appearance with Obama could be politically difficult for Crist. Throughout his Senate Republican primary campaign, Crist has been hammered incessantly by conservatives for what's now become known as," The Hug." Nearly a year ago, when the newly minted President Obama visited Florida to tout his stimulus package, Crist appeared with him on stage in a show of support, and they embraced.
Crist has since denied supporting the stimulus package and has sought to distance himself from the president as he battles against Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio for the GOP nomination.
Jake Gibson is a producer working at the Fox News Washington bureau who covers politics, law enforcement and intelligence issues.