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Be a ‘fly on the wall’ when Crist, Obama talk business

In February, Floridians witnessed their first visit from our new president as he attempted to explain the economic stimulus plan and billions of dollars earmarked for industry bailout. Many of us cringed and tried to ignore the magnitude of the dollars being spent with no accountability. Worse yet, we learned about the need for more bailouts that could have been avoided.

I noticed our governor joined the president during his trip to Fort Myers, smiling as if he finally found a long-lost friend. It was interesting to see how fond our Republican governor was of our new Democratic president. We can only imagine why Gov. Crist was so delighted to see our nation’s “financial savior.” Or can we? Perhaps the fly on the wall could explain Crist’s “cheshire” grin during dinner that evening.

C: “It’s a pleasure finally meeting you, Mr. President.”

O: “Please, call me Barack.”

C: “Well, Barack, I’ve been wanting to tell you for the longest time how impressed I am with your stimulus plan, and how right you are to use taxpayers, hard-earned dollars to bail out that nasty insurance company.”

O: “Well, Charlie that would make you the first Republican in my corner so far. I’m pleased to see you’re on my side.”

C: “Of course, Barack. We can’t let the poor decisions of those who should know better, ruin our economy.” Yes, it could have been avoided with better leadership and communication but hey, what’s the federal government for? Here for the people, I say.”

O: “I don’t know if I follow you Charlie. What’s your point?

C: “I’ve been meaning to give you a call. I was wondering if I can make a reservation for some of that bailout money.”

O: “Good grief, Charlie, is Florida in trouble?”

C: “Well, no but then again, maybe. Possible is a better way to look at it.”

O: “Go on.”

C: “The insurance carriers are withdrawing from our state just because I want to regulate them more. I mean, who do they think they are? So what they don’t like the way I run their business. I showed them and grew our state carrier, Citizens, to compete and told them we don’t need them anyway.”

O: “Sounds a bit childish, Charlie.”

C: “Well, they started it.”

O: “I rest my case.”

C: “What?”

O: “Go on.”

C: “Well, Citizens is so big now and I guess it’s underfunded and can’t afford to pay if a catastrophic storm hits the state.”

O: “You guess?”

C: “You’re right. I’m in a pinch. Can you help me if the big one hits?”

O: “I don’t know Charlie, what are we talking about here?”

C: “Nothing like the other bailouts, just $5, $10, $50 billion let’s say? I’ve never really been good with numbers. It’s probably why I’ve never run a business or owned real estate. I’m sure you can identify.”

O: “Easy Charlie, I can balance my own check book. Couldn’t this have been avoided? Have you ever heard of diplomacy? You know I’m going to get blamed if I have to come to your rescue. Your poor decisions run up hill. You thinking about reelection?”

C: “Of course. The people love me. My popularity is at an all-time high.”

O: “Do you think Floridians understand the magnitude of your decisions?”

C: “Heck no. I don’t even understand the magnitude. How could they?”

O: “I wouldn’t count on that reelection.”

C: “Got any Cabinet jobs left? I hear the Federal Reserve job may be up for grabs.”

O: “Let me get back to you.”

C: “Thanks, Barack.”

O: “That’s Mr. President to you.”

Andy Gregory is a co-owner and president of Des Champs & Gregory, Inc., with offices in Bradenton and Lakewood Ranch. He specializes in commercial property and casualty insurance and holds the designation of certified insurance counselor. He can be reached at (941) 748-1812 or by e-mail at