The three U.S. Senate candidates found something they can agree on: giving Social Security recipients a $250 bonus to make up for a lack of cost of living increases.
Independent Gov. Charlie Crist told the Associated Press Managing Editors annual conference on Thursday that he "absolutely" supports the idea Democrats are now proposing in Washington.
"Especially in this economy, our senior citizens deserve it," Crist said.
Meek, who also spoke to the group, said if Washington is going to help banks and businesses through tough times, it should also help seniors.
"Seniors are in a situation where food prices have gone up," Meek said. "Any respectable official who represents a state like Florida would be hard-pressed not to be for it."
Rubio didn't attend the event, but a campaign spokesman later said he supports the bonus as long as it doesn't add to the federal debt.
"Marco supports this and believes it should be paid for with unspent stimulus funds or other savings," said Alex Burgos.
Meek and Crist, both trailing Rubio in polls, also agreed on another point: Each said Rubio is too extreme for Florida and voters need to unite to defeat him. They just differed on which candidate they should unite behind.
"If they want a radical, right-wing extremist U.S. senator," Crist said. "He's their guy — radical right, Sarah Palin fellow."
He specifically said it's important for Democrats to say "enough is enough" and support him if they don't want Rubio. Crist was a Republican until deciding to run without a party. He's now having some success pulling Democratic support away from Meek.
Meek and Crist criticized Rubio's proposal to gradually increase the age of eligibility for Social Security to 70. His proposal would make anyone 55 and over exempt.
Meek acknowledged Rubio's charisma, but said voters need to see past that.
"Mr. Rubio is a very extreme candidate and I think is a very dangerous candidate," Meek said. "He is an individual who has a nice smile; has a good, nice, soft voice and can do a great 30-second ad talking about what he believes America should be, but what he's not telling Florida is the fact that he believes Medicare should be privatized, that Medicaid should be privatized."
Earlier in the event Crist also explained "the hug" — the now infamous embrace of President Barack Obama during a 2009 rally to push for passage of the $787 billion federal stimulus. The image cost him support when he was still running as a Republican.
Asked if he regretted not shaking Obama's hand instead, Crist said, "I did shake his hand and when I did, he pulled me close and I didn't pull back because I'm a gentlemen. He does it to everybody."
"I don't regret it one bit. Not one bit," Crist continued. "I'm very proud of the fact that I was decent to the president of the United States of America."