Washington (CNN) – Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said Monday he has no regrets about supporting President Obama's stimulus package last year, an endorsement that has cost him precious support among conservatives in his Senate primary battle against former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio.
"It was the right thing to do," Crist said in an appearance on MSNBC. "Our economy was going off into the abyss and if we didn't have those monies, we would have had 87,000 people out of work today in the Sunshine State. Twenty thousand of those are educators, and how many people does that translate into in terms of the children they teach?
"It was the right thing to do. We needed the money. That's why what every Republican governor in the country took it. It was a common sense approach to take it."
Crist noted that he would not support a second stimulus package.
The governor also defended himself from conservative critics who continue to hector him for appearing with President Obama at a rally for the Recovery Act last February.
"I am a guy who understands that the President of the United States deserves respect, and when the president comes to my state and it's the first time he comes to Florida after he is sworn in about a month before, I am going to be there and represent the people of my state, because I am the governor of all the people, all the 20 million people who live in Florida almost, I am the governor," Crist said.
Crist said there is "no way" he will lose the August primary to Rubio despite his trailing poll numbers. "I am going to win," he promised.
Some right wingnuts think it is better to have an unemployment rate of almost 15% and do nothing, than to try to help Floridians with projects created by the stimulus. It shows that Rubio is not ready for prime time, and should be defeated.
Wow, this guy put his state before his party and now Republicans are backing away from him?
Yup, that's American politics. Too bad the American people love a good show above their own well being.
Mr Crist is smart,just drink the orange juice not the koolaid,like the rest of the republicans. I encourage most republicans, like Armey to buy a toyota.
Good for Crist. What he said is exactly right – when the President of your country comes on his first official visit to your state – you show up, show respect and show leadership.
Good for you Gov Christ! When all about you are losing their heads,I am glad to see one man standing up for whats right.
I like him as my Governor, but he is going to loose to Rubio. Anyone who supported or voted for the stimulus should not hold a federal government seat.
I am not a republican nor am I from Florida but I have alway thought Gov. Crist to be a fairly even tempered individual. I think he has the best interests of the people of Florida and isn't putting politics ahead of their interests. I think it is terrible that he is being given such a hard time for showing up with Obama. As he mentioned he is the President and regardless whether you support him or not you should show respect that the title affords that individual. This type of behavior shows that Crist is acting not only like an adult but also has a resonable mind and again isn't thinking only about his party but his state as a whole.
Well Good For Governor Crist R-Florida. I Hope That He Destroys Marco Rubio "The Great Big Boobio!"
Good for this man! He was elected to do what was right for Florida, not for the Republican party.
The notion that everything a Democrat does is wrong is so ridiculous!
I wish I lived in Florida to vote for this man..and I'm a Democrat!
He is a man who "gets" it. If he really needs the stimulus, he should go for it. That way he is truly thinking of his state and not just his party. His reasoning for meeting with the President also is admirable. We are a too divided country and I am sure that when he disagrees with the President, he will have the right words in the discourse.
Who cares which Conservative Florida votes for in the primary. One Conservative is like the other. They vote against anything that will benefit the middle and lower classes. Conservatism is class warfare. The only difference is that ordinary Conservatives say "No" to everything. Extreme Conservatives say "Hell, no and screw you" to everything. The end result is the same.
I am sure that the good citizens of Florida, who have elected some of the most disappointing candidates in history, will finally figure out that Rubio is the more incompetent of the two and will elect him. Evaluating Conservatives is like arguing over who was the better stooge, Curley or Shemp. Some like Curley for his straightforward approach. Some like Shemp for his sophistication. In the end, they are both stooges.
Why does Crist need to apologize for trying to help his state?
You go Governor Crist. The rest or the majority of the Republician party only thinking about themselves. Republician or Democrate, it the PEOPLE that you guys represent.
I'm a Democrat and a Crist supporter, I'm glad he's finally embracing the stimulus again, its saved jobs (I know it has saved mine) and because of it we are FINALLY going to have high-speed rail which will create thousands of more jobs, and improve commerce in West-Central Florida. I do have some issues with his latest budget proposal, otherwise I think he has done extremely well as Governor to the point that I'm strongly considering switching parties just so I can vote for him in the primary.
Finally, someone who tells the truth that comes from the right.
He represents ALL Floridians, and respects the office. He doesn't hgave to respect the man who holds the office, but he respects the office. Good for you Charlie. We need more representatives like you instead of hyper-partisan people on both sides
I hope Crist wins because Rubio is playing politics.