Former Republican Governor Charlie Crist today announced he is endorsing Barack Obama for President noting his former party’s “extreme” positions have made the GOP “incapable of governing.” Citing “the failure of those who favor extreme rhetoric over sensible compromise,” Crist, 56, withdrew from the GOP in his 2009-2010 post-gubernatorial run for the U.S. Senate seat that now belongs to Marco Rubio. In a Tampa Bay Times op-ed today, Charlie Crist calls out “an element” of the Republican party that 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.”
Look no further than the inclusion of the Akin amendment in the Republican Party platform, which bans abortion, even for rape victims.
The truth is that the party has failed to demonstrate the kind of leadership or seriousness voters deserve.
And pointing to the many Americans who “have already forgotten how deep and daunting our shared crisis was in the winter of 2009, as President Obama was inaugurated,” Crist notes President Obama’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 knew we had to get people back to work as quickly as possible — but he also knew that the value of a recovery lies in its durability. Short-term healing had to be paired with an economy that would stay healthy over the long run. And he knew that happens best by investing in the right places.
President Obama invested in our children’s schools because he believes a good education is a necessity, not a luxury, if we’re going to create an economy built to last. He supported more than 400,000 K-12 teachers’ jobs, and he is making college more affordable and making student loans, like the ones he took out, easier to pay back.
He invested in our runways, railways and roads. President Obama knows a reliable infrastructure that helps move people to work and helps businesses move goods to market is a foundation of growth.
And the president invested in our retirement security by strengthening Medicare. The $716 billion in savings his opponents decry today extended the life of the program by nearly a decade and are making sure taxpayer dollars aren’t wasted in excessive payments to insurance companies or fraud and abuse. His opponents would end the Medicare guarantee by creating a voucher that would raise seniors’ costs by thousands of dollars and bankrupt the program.
In June, Crist was accused of allegedly paying off men to hide his homosexual affairs, according to discovery documents in an investigative report.
Former Governor Crist’s favorability/unfavorability rating is split evenly 41-41. His endorsement is seen by some as an entry into Democratic politics. Peter Schorsch notes:
“Even though Democrats are the most enthusiastic about Crist becoming a Democrat–56% of them think he should, versus 31% of Republicans and 32% of independents–and though they like Crist (50-31 favorability) a lot more than they do Scott, Scott still slightly outperforms his approval numbers across the aisle when pitted against Crist. He gets 16% of their vote, versus 13% approval. He was only getting 7% of Democrats against Rich.
Crist does get a bit more crossover support than Scott does, at 19% of his former party. But Scott leads 43-40 with independents. When we last polled the two head-to-head eight months ago, Crist wholloped Scott by 23 points (55-32), thanks to Crist’s 25% of Republicans and a 20-point lead with independents (52-32).
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