And there's no doubt that - if polls are to be believed - that Crist's seemingly upward political trajectory has reached its apex and is heading in the other direction.
There can be lots of theories about how this happened: The reality of Florida's dismal economic situation finally catching up with the perpetually-optimistic Crist, the constant pounding of criticism from U.S. Senate rival Marco Rubio (and Crist's decision not to return fire until maybe too late), his embrace of President Barack Obama, or even the decision to run for the U.S. Senate in the first place.
But if you look closely the press coverage began to change during the summer of 2008. This is when Crist went on a trade mission to Europe and Russia where he did things like discuss climate change with the Prince of Wales. At a time when the state's economy was already souring, this was the first time that it was suggested that Crist's political radar had malfunctioned. The trip abroad came of course at a time when Crist's inner circle was hoping that he would wind up as the vice-president nominee to U.S. Sen. John McCain, so maybe there was a thought it would help offset Crist's lack of foreign policy experience.
Yet it's worth noting that no news organizations could afford to go on the trip with Crist since many of them were already laying off employees. When Crist returned, there was the first of many attempts by the Crist administration to focus on the economy, i.e. "Accelerate Florida," "economic gardening," workforce center visits, and all the way up to the recently-concluded special session on rail projects that the governor said would create "jobs, jobs, jobs."
The Monday morning quarterbacking that will eventually go on is whether enough time and energy were spent on economic issues. It's worth noting that Crist's poll numbers didn't begin to dip until 2009 when the full force of the economic downturn began to grip the state and the unemployment rate surged higher and higher. (One caveat - there's nothing to suggest that Crist can't change this trajectory next year, especially since he will be able to spend millions during his Senate campaign.)
On the jump there is a timeline of Crist's last 18 months.