Entries in Charlie Crist (6)


Charlie Crist Supports Gay Marriage, Raises Gubernatorial Speculation

Larry Marano/WireImage(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) -- Ex-Florida Gov. Charlie Crist was once known for being a staunch Republican, but these days he’s better known for jumping between party lines.

Earlier this week, the Republican-turned-Independent-turned-Democrat posted a Facebook update in support of Delaware’s marriage equality legislation.

“Some great news: On Tuesday, Delaware became the 11th state to allow marriage equality. And just a few days ago, Rhode Island adopted a similar measure, which followed victories last fall in Maine, Maryland and Washington. I most certainly support marriage equality in Florida and look forward to the day it happens here,” he wrote.

Despite his support for the issue, Crist’s comments are being met with suspicion rather than applause.

In the span of his extensive political career, Crist spread himself across the full gamut of political parties, confusing the public’s understanding of his true policy alignments.

Crist’s party switching is particularly notable regarding same-sex marriage. In 2006, he opposed same-sex legislation while serving as Florida’s attorney general and even petitioned to add a same-sex ban to the Florida constitution. Six years later, in December 2012, Crist publicly stated his regret for the petition and registered as a Democrat.

“Would I do it today? No,” Crist was quoted as saying in the Miami Herald. “I think the best way to judge where my heart is, is to look at the deeds that I have done...restoration of rights, civil rights cases, things of that nature, that I think show a compassionate heart and hopefully someone who cares and knows who the boss is -- and the boss is the people of Florida.”

Crist’s reflections about his constituents and party affiliation are coming at an interesting time. Now that he is a registered Democrat, Crist is widely believed to be the frontrunner in the 2014 gubernatorial election against Florida’s incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

The change of political heart is not new to Crist. As a Republican, he announced his candidacy for the U.S.  Senate in 2009, and quickly garnered support from a number of conservative heavy-hitters, including the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, John McCain. Crist appeared to fall behind Marco Rubio after supporting the Obama-sponsored Recovery Act, and dropped out of the Republican primary to run as an independent. His campaign was ultimately unsuccessful and Crist returned to the private sector.

Crist will be a keynote speaker at the Democratic-sponsored “Kennedy-King Dinner” this Saturday in Tampa.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Obama Talks '47 Percent' with Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, Former GOP Gov. Charlie Crist

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(TAMPA, Fla.) -- While in Florida Thursday night, President Obama spent some time hobnobbing with 85 of his wealthiest supporters, including former Florida Republican Gov. Charlie Crist and Pearl Jam star Eddie Vedder.

One of the top talking points at the $20,000-per-head event:  Mitt Romney’s recent comments on the “47 percent.”

Vedder, who performed an acoustic set ahead of Obama’s remarks, cracked a birther joke as he traded his mandolin for a ukelele from Hawaii. “It has a little birth certificate in there,” he kidded.

He later offered a more serious reflection on politics of the day, presenting his personal story as an example of someone who was once among the 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay federal income tax and benefited from a government-funded job training program.

“It was that job which allowed me to keep affording guitars and microphones,” he said. “For me, it all began with that ability to get the proper training for a decent job.”

“It’s very upsetting to hear a presidential candidate be so easily dismissive of such an enormous amount of the population,” he said, referring to Romney.

Taking the stage after Vedder’s introduction, Obama said the singer’s story “captures better than anything what this campaign is about and what this country is about.”

Obama, who earlier in the day participated in a Univision “Meet the Candidates” forum, also directly addressed the 47 percent of Americans whom Romney disparaged in a recently released secret video.

“I don’t want their dreams constricted. And I also don’t want our kids to think that somehow success is reserved for them and that somehow half the country is locked out of that success,” he told the crowd of donors.

“I want everybody to be successful. Black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, able or disabled, and I want everybody to have a chance to success,” he said. “That’s what we’re fighting for in this election.”

The event, expected to raise north of $1.7 million for Obama’s re-election effort, according to figures provided by the Obama campaign, was held at the South Tampa home of Don Miggs and Lisa deBartolo, a daughter of the former owner of the San Francisco 49ers, Eddie DeBartolo Jr. Don Miggs is a singer-songwriter.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist to Speak at DNC

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former Florida Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, who endorsed President Obama in a Tampa Bay Times op-ed on Sunday, will speak at the Democratic National Convention next week, ABC News has learned.

A Democratic official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Crist’s appearance in Charlotte, N.C., would be a testament to a spirit of openness and bipartisanship at the convention.

“The Democratic convention will be about bringing people together to continue the progress we’ve made in rebuilding our economy from the middle out, not the top down,” the official said.  “Gov. Crist can personally speak to this, and contrast the president’s vision with Mitt Romney’s, which caters to the most extreme elements of the Republican Party and undermines the middle class.”

Republicans criticized Crist as a turncoat and said his endorsement would not hold much influence with Sunshine State voters.

“Gov. Crist’s endorsement adds one more vote in Florida and that’s it,” said Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, chair of the Republican Platform Committee, on ABC’s This Week.

Florida GOP chairman Lenny Curry said, “Crist has demonstrated, yet again, that his political ambition will always come first.”

In 2010, Crist lost the Florida Republican primary for U.S. Senate, switching affiliations to run as an independent in the general election.  He lost that race to the young, Tea Party-backed state representative, Marco Rubio.

“[A]n element of their party has pitched 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,” Crist wrote in the Times, explaining his support for Obama.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bill Clinton Encouraged Democrat to Withdraw from Three-Way Fla. Senate Race

Photo Courtesy - Donate dot Kendrick Meek dot com(MIAMI) -- The Florida Senate race was thrown into turmoil Thursday night when it became clear that President Bill Clinton had encouraged the Democrat, Rep. Kendrick Meek, to drop out of the race.

Meek has been locked in a three-way race with Republican Marco Rubio, a Tea Party favorite, and independent Gov. Charlie Crist, a moderate who left the Republican party early in 2010 rather than face Rubio in a primary.

Two sources confirmed to ABC News that Clinton had encouraged Meek to drop out of the race. Politico reported that Meek was close to agreeing to drop out. To the contrary, Meek’s spokesman issued a statement after reading the Politico report that denied he was ever ready to withdraw.

"The article is not true. Kendrick Meek was never dropping out of this race, is never dropping out of this race, and will never drop out of this race. Kendrick Meek will always stand up for the middle class and will not leave Floridians a choice between two lifelong conservative Republicans who only stand with the special interests. Kendrick is the Democratic nominee so if anyone should drop out, it's Charlie Crist,” said Meek campaign manager Abe Dyk.

Rubio has led in polls recently, followed by Crist and then Meek. Crist is thought to have a better shot at defeating Rubio in a two-way race because he could pull Democratic and independent votes.

Crist has tried to appeal to Democratic voters, arguing he has a better shot to defeat Rubio and head off conservatives in Washington. But the argument has taken some political yoga by Crist, who was on John McCain’s short list for Vice President in 2008 and has moderated his positions on social issues like abortion.

Clinton had been an ardent supporter of Meek’s, campaigning several times for him. Meek had supported Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid in 2008.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Florida Senate Candidate Focuses on Tea Party 'Extremism'

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(FLORIDA) -- A new campaign ad by a Florida Senate candidate aims to turn the November elections into a referendum on the Tea Party. In the ad, Independent Charlie Crist, who trails in the polls against Republican Marco Rubio, turns the focus to Sarah Palin and Tea Party “extremism.”

“Down one road is extremism,” said Crist. “That’s the road Sarah Palin, Marco Rubio and the Tea Party want to take us down. It’s a dangerous road and the polls say I’m the only one who can stop them.”

In recent days, Crist has likened Rubio to a “Sarah Palin fellow,” telling voters that they are responsible for choosing a path for Florida and the rest of the country on Election Day.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Florida Senate Debate Gets Tough

Photo Courtesy - WFTS-TV | ABC Action News(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- An aggressive debate took place Wednesday in Orlando, Fla. between the three candidates running for Senate in Florida.  While the debate produced fireworks and some great one-liners, in the end, neither Gov. Charlie Crist (I) nor Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) was able to knock frontrunner Marco Rubio (R) off his game.

Rubio’s message – which he diligently stuck to throughout the one-hour debate – was pretty simple: I’m the anti-Washington, D.C. candidate.  Calling the health care bill and the stimulus “disaster[s]”, Rubio said, “If you like Obama care, if you like the stimulus” then vote for Crist or Meek. Rubio also fought back charges by Crist that he was supportive of privatizing Social Security, saying that it was “off the table.”

Meek, who represents a heavily Democratic district in South Florida, embraced his support of the Obama agenda, including his votes for the stimulus and health care reform.  He also worked to lump Crist and Rubio together as conservative Republicans, saying that both support “trickle-down economics” and would take the country back to Bush-era politics.  In response to Crist’s explanation for his change of position on gay adoption, Meek called Crist the “Governor Wallace of gay adoption,” arguing that he stood in the way of the issue for years.  The most recent polls show Meek essentially splitting the Democratic vote with Crist. The best way for him to consolidate that base is to call Crist out as a Republican. 

Crist, meanwhile, tried to thread the needle.  Calling himself a “live and let live kind of guy,” Crist labeled himself a “fiscal conservative and a social moderate,” while tagging Rubio as “far right” and Meek as “far left.”  Even so, he saved his strongest attacks for Rubio, calling him out as captive of the Tea Party.  “You haven’t been drinking Kool-Aid,” said Crist, “you’ve been drinking too much tea.”  He also tried to label the former Speaker of the Florida House as a serial earmarker. “I understand what it means to veto earmarks,” said Crist, “I had to do it to Rubio all the time.” With the most recent polling showing Rubio ahead among Republicans and independents, Crist needs to find a way to appeal to both, without alienating either – or losing support among Democrats. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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