Gov. Charlie Crist (R-Fla.) is going to such lengths to distance himself from the president that he apparently didn't even know Obama was in the Sunshine State yesterday.

"First I've known of it," Crist told a reporter today when asked why he didn't appear with the president.

Crist appeared with the President back in February, even appearing alongside Obama to campaign for the stimulus package. That stance has cause him no end of trouble in his increasingly tough Senate primary against conservative Marco Rubio, and Crist is in no effrot to appear cozy with the Democratic commander-in-chief.

The Palm Beach Post teases out the excruciating awkwardness of the situation:

[Crist] said he couldn’t make Obama’s event in DeSoto County today because of a Cabinet meeting. Asked why he canceled a Cabinet meeting in February when Obama was in the state, Crist said, “I don’t recall that. But I’ll check it for you.”

We checked it for him, and here’s the cancellation notice Crist’s office sent the day before the Cabinet meeting.

As for Obama’s event Monday, Crist said he didn’t know about it. “I didn’t know his itinerary. That’s all,” Crist said.

It’s worth noting that Crist has well-paid staff in place to give him briefings on a daily basis. Asked if he would expect staff to inform him about the president’s visit, Crist said, “If they want to.”