Published: Aug 16, 2010 4:44 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 16, 2010 1:44 PM EDT

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (AP) - There's been no hugging, but Gov. Charlie Crist did get a pat on the shoulder from President Barack Obama.

Crist greeted the president Saturday when the First Family arrived for a one-night stay at Panama City Beach to help boost the Florida Panhandle's tourism economy that's sagging after the Gulf oil spill.

The governor joined local officials and business people for a private meeting with Obama but stood well off stage when the president later made a public statement.

Crist's embrace with Obama during a visit promoting the stimulus program eventually led the governor to divorce the Republican Party to run for the U.S. Senate as an independent.