Charlie Crist: I Left GOP Because Racism Fuels Its Opposition to Obama
Charlie Crist, formerly the Republican governor of Florida, became President Obama's biggest booster and switched parties. Now, as a Democrat, he says his switch had its genesis in his belief that Republicans are against Obama because they are racists.
In an interview with the Fusion cable network's Jorge Ramos, Crist went further, saying that the accusation that the GOP hates women, gays, and minorities is also true and that now that he's a Democrat he feels "liberated."
"I couldn’t be consistent with myself and my core beliefs, and stay with a party that was so unfriendly toward the African American president; I'll just go there," Crist said. "I was a Republican, and I saw the activists and what they were doing. It was intolerable to me."
Crist has drifted from the GOP to being an independent to finally becoming a Democrat--all in search of his next election. If the current polls are any indication, his flailing around for any party that will get him elected is bearing fruit. Crist is running for governor of Florida once again, this time as a Democrat, and he currently has a double-digit lead over Republican incumbent Rick Scott.
During the Fusion interview, Crist said that his 2012 party switch was not a response to his run for the U.S. Senate in 2010 as a Republican, a race he lost to Senator Marco Rubio.
Ramos asked Crist about a series of issues that Crist opposed when he was governor, issues that are of interest to Hispanic Americans. The former governor explained his previous opposition to those issues as an example of his efforts to be a "good team player" with who, in his opinion, are the anti-Hispanic Republicans. Since becoming a Democrat, Crist has flip-flopped on all of them.
For instance, Crist was against in-state tuition for illegals when he was governor. Now, he is for it. He said he has changed his mind on immigration, too. Additionally, Crist was once in favor of the embargo against Castro's Cuba, but now he opposes it. Crist also said that he now "fully embraces" Obamacare.
Crist tried to echo Ronald Reagan with his claim that he didn't really leave the Republican Party but that the GOP left him. The GOP leadership "went off the cliff," Crist claimed.
He went on to say that he felt Jeb Bush would be a "good president," but that Hillary Clinton would be "a great president."
The former Republican and former independent also assured Ramos that he is now a "Democrat for life."
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com.