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Florida governor praises White House after Biden visit

By Ethan Harp, CNN

(CNN) -- Florida's Republican-turned-independent Gov. Charlie Crist had kind words Tuesday for the Obama administration after Vice President Joe Biden's visit to the Gulf Coast hours earlier.

Crist, appearing on CNN's "Campbell Brown" from Pensacola, Florida, told Brown he was "very pleased to have the vice president down with us."

Regarding recovery of oil from the massive offshore spill, Crist said, We need more skimmers so that we can get that stuff before it comes into the shore and stays off our beautiful beaches here." Adding that "it looks like we might be getting some of the red tape out of the way so we can protect our beautiful Florida," Crist also told Brown that boom to trap surface oil was needed to go along with the skimmers.

When asked about his comments calling the oil spill's impact on beaches more of a nuisance than a safety concern, Crist explained, "I can only speak for the waters off Florida and I think it is important they (the public) monitor what the local health department has to say," adding, "It is a day-by-day thing. I mean so far, we haven't had to have people not come into the water because of a health concern."

Crist spoke of the threat from Tropical Storm Alex, which has the potential to gain hurricane strength by Wednesday and could disrupt clean-up efforts by causing high waves, despite its trajectory toward Mexico, away from the spill site.

"Our hope and our prayer is that we don't have a mixture of hurricane with oil that could potentially damage the beautiful beaches of Florida," said Crist, "but if we do, we are prepared for it. Our emergency operation center is prepared for that sort of double-duty."