(CNN) – Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said Friday he "misspoke" when he told a television interviewer that he would have voted for President Obama's health care reform package.
Crist, engaged in a three-way Senate race against Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Kendrick Meek, had previously said he would have voted against the bill were he in Washington at the time.
In an interview Friday with Orlando TV station Central Florida News 13, Crist was asked: "Health care bill, how would you have voted on that?"
Crist responded, "I would have voted for it but I think it can be done better. I really do."
The remark was highlighted by Rubio advisers eager to paint the governor as flip-flopping opportunist. They called it the governor's "fifth position on ObamaCare."
A spokesman for Crist, Danny Kanner, quickly sent along a statement from Crist clarifying his comments.
"Apparently, based on an interview this afternoon, there may be some confusion regarding my position on health care," Crist said. "If I misspoke, I want to be abundantly clear: the health care bill was too big, too expensive, and expanded the role of government far too much. Had I been in the United States Senate at the time, I would have voted against the bill because of unacceptable provisions like the cuts to the Medicare Advantage program.
"But being an independent, I have the freedom to be an honest broker for the people of Florida without regard for political party, and the reality is this: despite its serious flaws, the health care bill does have some positive aspects."
The positive aspects, according to Crist: protecting people with pre-existing conditions, closing the prescription drug donut hole for seniors, and letting parents keep their children on their insurance coverage until the age of 26.
"This debate must not be about political posturing; it must be about protecting the people of Florida and America, and I intend to do that hard work when I get to the United States Senate."
Since capturing the Democratic nomination on Tuesday, Meek has also been taking aim at Crist's shifting positions, hoping to peel off Democratic voters who have been in Crist's camp since he decided to run as an independent in April.
Meek's campaign is distributing old Crist press releases, verbatim, from his time battling Rubio for the GOP nomination.
On Friday, the Meek campaign sent reporters Crist's statement from the day the health care bill passed in March. In it, Crist blasted the legislation, calling it "a direct affront to the American people."
Freudian slip, Mr. Crist. You're a career politician who changes positions like the wind.
All across the country, people are angry with what Obama and the Democrats have shoved down our throats like Cod Liver Oil - take your Socialist medicine, it'll be good for you.
We The People reject their liberal agenda. That's why so many new conservatives are rising to the occasion, like Marco Rubio. We want people in Washington who will reform the federal leviathan.
In November, there will be a landslide victory for conservatives and Republicans the likes this country has never seen. And then, Obama will nothing more than a lame-duck mistake, who can then spend the remainder of his term golfing and vacationing.
Wake up people! Vote American, vote Republican.
Stand tall Charlie, don't let that rube Rubio box you in.
Vote NO in NOvember to the party of NO.
Adios, Charlie....when Marco Rubio becomes the next Senator from Florida you can hop on up to NYC and go help try and get that Mosque bulit.
Now there's a surprise – Crist did not check his poll first. He is a classic government official that has caused this great nation to begin its decline. Do you want the same ole' politician then vote for this chameleon. If you want TRUE conservatism then vote for Marco Rubio. GO MARCO!!
He is in the middle now as an independant which means he is going to give the answer based ont he group he is speaking to. In this case he just got it mixed up. Classic example of why the independant party, with a few exceptions, doesn't get elected often. There is no gray in our black and white society.
had they caught him stumbling out of one of those gay bars he frequents in Tampa?
GASP! A republican flip-flopping on issues based on latest poll numbers? What a shocker!
Ooops! A republican spoke before consulting his staff about what an issue is all about. Do these people keep up with current events at all? This is what happens when you only read prepared speeches prepared by others and never actually bother to learn what the words you say actually mean.
Poor guy pulled a "McCain"!
Florida needs all the healthcare they can get,they have most of the boomers living there,rich and poor,thats why the companies want to steal all their money.
Typical of Charlie.. I "misspoke" really means I supported it then but now I see how mad the voters are so I dont support it ......... hessuch a weasel....
Vote Rubio...the only one who wont back Obamas radical agenda
sorry charlie .. thats you m. o. alwaya changing your mind
i will vote for crist
Spoken like a true politician. This man swaps sides more than a set of wipers in a thunderstorm.
Cannot blame Christ too much for the flip flop - many Democrats are just now waking up to the fact that the health care bill was a mistake and was a blatant back alley deal-- Medicare is changing when Obama said it would not -- rates going up for small business when Obama said they would not - people cannot keep their current plans when Obama said they could; Seniors losing their prescription drug plans and have to find a new one when Obama said this would not be touched –. It is a travesty piece of legislation crafted in the bowels of the Capitol Building behind shuttered and locked and guarded doors by Obama (Emmanuel) Pelosi and Reid -a MESS and a FRAUD in Americans
NotwChairman of the DNC is crying wah wah wah because of a Palin-beck rally in DC, Newsflash for the Democraps - neither Beck or Palin is running in the mid terms elections.
It is time to toss these tax cheating tax and spend secretive scoundrels out of office
At least he's not stupid enough to call for the repeal of hcr.
"Just this Tuesday, for example, the CBO released a letter saying that Obama's health-care-reform legislation would "reduce the projected budget deficit by $30 billion over the next 10 years,” while repealing the law would generate "an increase in deficits ... of $455 billion ... over that [same] period."
These 3 provisions of the bill are a BFD. Parents being allowed to keep their children on their insurance up until 26 has already taken effect. That specific provision and closing the donut hole is why you see a positive change in view of the bill.
Sounds like an Obama democrat. lie, flip flop, do whatever and say whatever. words mean nothing. disgusting. plus, rubio will win on cuteness alone. he is caliente!
Crist is a turn coat. Believe nothing the man says. He doesn't even know what he stands for anymore. He is as confused as a sterile rabbit.
Okay, Crist, get it together because we Democrats are supporting you.
Let me be clear, this guy is a blend of flip-flopping ("I was for before I was against it") Kerry and "let me be clear" Obama. Doesn't seem too independent to me, just another liberal trying to hide the real self, after he let the truth slip.
no problem, Gov. Crist still more decent than rubio.....
What are the crackers so scared of, you white folks fill very imtimidated by President Obama as well you should be . You crackers are not gonna be on top forever your bread and butter has to stop somewhere. cnn is worst than fox.
He's a fraud people. This guy is ALL for anything and AGAINST nothing for a vote.
Nah.......he woulda voted for it.
Now he knows it is a hot button issue, so he's back peddlin'.