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.