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The PJ Tatler

Bridget Johnson


February 4, 2014 - 6:48 am

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, a onetime Republican who’s angling for the job again but as a Democrat this time, said this morning that he can’t pinpoint just one thing that drove him away from the GOP.

“The party just really changed or I should say the leadership of the party primary. I mean, Jeb Bush said it better than I can say it. He said, ‘Today’s Republican party is perceived as being anti-women, anti-immigrant, anti-minority, anti-gay couples, anti-environment, anti-education’ — I mean, pretty soon, there’s nobody left in the room,” Crist said on MSNBC.

“And so, I mean, you know, when the party goes in that direction and the leadership guides it that way, really hijacked by the tea party, that’s what happened to the Republican Party in our country.”

Crist bolted from the GOP during the 2010 Senate race in an unsuccessful effort to beat Marco Rubio.

He called the tone of today’s Republicans “a bit harsh, frankly.”

“And I lived it. I mean, I saw it. You know, when I was running for the Senate in 2010 Carol and I, my wife, we went to some events where I had recently been with President Obama in Fort Myers, hugged him right after I introduced him and, you know, that was like a sin to some in the Republican Party,” Crist continued.

“So I would go to events and people would yell out from the back of the room, ‘why don’t you go hug Obama again?’ And I’m like, wow, what’s up with that? And, you know, it continued to get more harsh as the campaign progressed.”

About that hug: “This man is the president of the United States of America and the way my mom and dad raised my three sisters and me, you respect people. You respect others, especially if the other happens to be the president of the United States of America.”

“And so I went and when I got there, he asked if I would introduce him and I said I would be honored to do so, of course. So I went up to the podium and said a few words. And said that we need to support the president, the recovery act, the stimulus as it’s commonly known because it’s the right thing to do,” Crist said. “I mean, I was governor at the time. And the economy was in the tank.”

Crist is on the trail plugging his new book, The Party’s Over: How the Extreme Right Hijacked the GOP and I Became a Democrat.

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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All Comments   (5)
All Comments   (5)
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Frankly I couldn't give a flying eff what Crist thinks.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A garden variety of polls here in Florida have Crist slightly ahead of Gov Scott.
I knew there were some low information voters here, but Holy Frijoles, how can Chuckles be ahead of anyone for even dog catcher?
Oh, yeah, the Florida MSM have been bashing Gov Scott since before his inauguration.
Of course, if he gets in, you can bet we'll start the Tampa/Orlando/Miami bullet train. It would be cheaper for the state to just burn a pile of money every day, than to try to restart that boondoggle.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
“This man is the president of the United States of America and the way my mom and dad raised my three sisters and me, you respect people."

So if I walk up to some random woman on the street and hug her, she'll feel respected?

Doubt it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So according to Charlie, you show your respect for someone by hugging then? Allrighty, then. Everyone in Florida knows they hugged because they are both members of the "boys club" IYKWIMAITYD. "Not that there's anything wrong with that."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Cristie, Crist and Obama. Birds of a feather.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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