Former Republican Gov. Crist endorses Obama
August 26th, 2012
12:13 PM ET
10 years ago

Former Republican Gov. Crist endorses Obama

(CNN) - Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who served as a Republican but is now listed with no party affiliation, endorsed President Barack Obama on Sunday.

"As America prepares to pick our president for the next four years - and as Florida prepares once again to play a decisive role - I'm confident that President Barack Obama is the right leader for our state and the nation," Crist wrote in an op-ed published by the Tampa Bay Times.

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Crist argued the president had proven leadership capabilities during his three and a half years in office. He also charged the GOP with being out of touch. At the heart of his argument, Crist wrote Republicans had moved "so far to the extreme right on issues important to women, immigrants, seniors and students that they've proven incapable of governing for the people."

He specifically pointed to draft language in the Republican Party's platform including a call for a constitutional ban on abortion that makes no exceptions for rape or incest.

"The truth is that the party has failed to demonstrate the kind of leadership or seriousness voters deserve," he wrote.

Crist has been known to voice his criticism of the GOP and side with Democrats on certain issues in the past. Following his failure to capture the Republican nomination in a Senate battle against now-Sen. Marco Rubio in 2010, Crist ran as an independent. And earlier this month, the former governor endorsed Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson in his fight to defend his seat against Republican challenger Rep. Connie Mack.

In his op-ed Sunday, Crist also praised Obama for his role in the economic recovery following the 2008 financial collapse and ensuing recession.

"The president's response was swift, smart and farsighted. He kept his compass pointed due north and relentlessly focused on saving jobs, creating more and helping the many who felt trapped beneath the house of cards that had collapsed upon them," he wrote.

He further highlighted the president's education and health care policies, insisting "we have more work to do, more investments to make and more waste to cut.

"But only one candidate in this race has proven a willingness to navigate a realistic path to prosperity," he wrote.

Responding to the op-ed Sunday, some Florida Republicans said Crist's endorsement was nothing more than a political ploy.

"I've said it time and again, Charlie Crist is the silly putty of Florida politics, he'll bend and twist whatever direction you want and if you smash him against the newspaper he'll offer you a poll-tested, mirror version," Brian Hughes, a well-respected Florida GOP strategist, said.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Florida Republican Party described Crist's op-ed as "political opportunism."

"Make no mistake about it: This is Charlie Crist trying to shed his skin for a political comeback," Lenny Curry said in a statement. "Despite the threat Florida is facing from a severe storm, Charlie Crist has demonstrated, yet again, that his political ambition will always come before the needs of Floridians."

Curry then listed a number of quotes in which Crist attempted to bolster his conservative credentials throughout his career in Florida politics.

- CNN's Ashley Killough, Peter Hamby and Mark Preston contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Charlie Crist • Florida • President Obama
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Andre Loch Rane

    Crist is the poster child for a carousel type thinker... just like a chameleon. One minute he says white, the next it is black. He lost all credibility when he ran for the Senate and even changed affiliation so he could win. he was defeated overwhelmingly here in Florida and the best thing he can do for himself is to disappear from the political arena. Actually, if I were Obama, I would distance myself from him because he is a liability for anyone aspiring to win in politics. The big difference between him and the president is that Obama has a clue he's heading for a loss in November... Crist has NO CLUE AT ALL!

    August 26, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  2. Andre Loch Rane

    Crist is clueless in politics and is a liability for the President. I am sute the President would prefer not hearing about this chameleon type individual.

    August 26, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  3. Tv22

    Former Republican indeed.

    August 26, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  4. AJ

    Well said – I love to see his endorsement – his is telling the truth – nothing but the truth. Republicans are radical.

    August 26, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  5. Fortinbras

    When partisan politics has gotten as extreme as it now is, look to the independents for clear perspectives.

    August 26, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  6. ColoradoJoe

    1st Romney criticizes Obama on the comment about business doing well, then he himself says close to the same thing.
    2nd now R/R have amended their health care plan. What, the original wasn't correct? Question on the voucher: does this mean you no longer have to look for a doctor that will except medicare? They can charge what they want? Cost increase here we come. The voucher is to help pay for private health insurance. As we all know the premiums for reasonable insurance is high. Also insurances WILL NOT cover pre-existing conditions... therefore the vouchers are useless... especially for the elderly that usually have pre-existing conditions.

    August 26, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  7. proud conservative

    Crist is a phony and always has been. That's why Marco Rubio is the Senator from FL and not him.

    August 26, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  8. The Crist Curse

    This is bad news for Obama. Having Charlie Crist campaigning for him in Florida is as bad there as GWBush openly campaigning for Romney would be. A spectacularly bad record as governor, oblivious to how the economy works, and saddled all Floridians with a bloated, ticking time bomb in Citizen's Insurance. Obama would have been better off by convincing him to endorse his opponent.

    August 26, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  9. Kenny K

    @Robert Schmidt

    What hole has Crist buried his head in. 5 trillion more debt for our grandchildren.
    Do you mean the over $5 trillion costs of Bush's unfunded wars, tax credits during war time, etc?

    August 26, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  10. Eagleville

    Speaking truth to power – read Crist's words and know that the Republican party is completely out of touch with all that America stands for.

    August 26, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  11. John Hix

    Thanks Christ. Another true believer and one who has followed the light away from the party of greed and sleeze.

    August 26, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  12. A Kickin` Donkey

    If the President had Republican senators in office like Crist instead of MCConnell, Coryn,Shelby, Vitter, etc., or Congressmen like Cantor, Boehner or Ryan, MAYBE, just MAYBE the American public whould have seen a jobs bill that would have given a boost to the economy.

    Instead, we`ve had a senate minority leadere [McConnell] that has awaken each an every one of the last 1250 days on a mission to thwart the success of Barack Obama and hurt the American people in the process.

    Independent voters, vote a straight Democratic ticket in 2012 and 2014, then, if the Dems don`t perform FIRE them and hire the Republicans.

    August 26, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  13. tess

    this is EXACTLY the reason he lost – he bends with the wind , has absolutely no core values, is all in for himself and is so transparantly self absorbed that it makes him A NOTHING MAN! floridians saw this and threw him out – who cares now what he thinks or who he votes for – he is a loser voting for a loser. goodby and good riddance o'dumbo naricistic clone!

    August 26, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  14. steven harnack

    Well if that is the "poll tested popular decision" why are the GOP fighting the will of the people? Doesn't that PROVE that the GOP is out of touch with the common man?

    August 26, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  15. Rosa, b'ham al

    Wow, didn't see that coming! Seriously!

    August 26, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  16. Ancient Texan

    Crist was never a Republican. He has always been a wishy-washy opportunist

    August 26, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  17. Ancient Texan

    Eric- AND the Democratic party has turned so far to the Left that John F. Kennedy would be considered a Conservative Republican today.

    August 26, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
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