Sorry, Charlie (Crist) ...

... but we're not buying this one either.

It never fails: When Charlie Crist is going for a higher political office, he gets a girl first. And now that he's vying for vice president of the United States, he's got a doozy: a divorced, cosmetically enhanced socialite from the Hamptons whose family, no joke, made its fortune in Halloween costumes. Here's the happy couple:

cristrome.jpg

The relationship between Crist and Carole Rome was first reported in the New York Post more than six months ago (and followed by the St. Petersburg Times). This morning, the Sun-Sentinel gets into the act, spurred by the fact that Rome accompanied Crist to McCain's ranch (can this country abide another president who hangs out at a damn ranch?) over Memorial Day weekend.

Tim Collie, one of the newspaper's most serious and accomplished reporters, does a yeoman's job in his puffy gossip game debut. Crist tells Collie he loves Carol (of course, being a good Christian he loves everyone, right?), that it's a "serious, close relationship" (his relationship with Steve Geller also fits that description), and the gov intimates he might even marry her. And I believe we have a first: The Sentinel mentions controversy about his "sexuality."

Great. Now let's get real. Crist has a long string of "serious, close relationships" and they usually come when he's running for higher office. Remember his run for governor? Then it was a divorced banker named Kathy Pemble. The mainstream newspapers reported they were dating and repeatedly called her his girlfriend. As soon as he was elected, Pemble vanished, never to be heard from again.

There have been others. Charlie, who is 51, even took a stab at marriage once back in college. He married Amanda "Mandy" Morrow in 1979 and it lasted all of seven months. By all accounts, the marriage was a horribly depressing debacle.

Where is Morrow today? Living with her partner of many years, a woman named Mildred Harrison, in Ponta Vedra. Here's a recent photo of Morrow:

morrow.jpg

She looks all ready for the LPGA tour. Now let's see another pic of Rome (with former husband, Bluestar Jets CEO Todd Rome):

cristrome6.jpg
Sort of has a Susan Lucci vibe. Has Crist's type changed or what?

But this is so Crist. He's a guy who just loves to hobnob -- and he's always had a thing for the Hamptons (ask Jennifer Faga). That's what drives him to be in politics -- I don't believe it's policy or any core beliefs, if he has any. The man most adores rubbing shoulders with the wealthy, powerful, and fabulous.

And just think of all the golden doors a VP nomination would open! But most political observers don't think that's going to happen -- and if it doesn't, we'll see how long it takes for Ms. Rome to disappear.



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