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Politics / Issues

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist Endorses President Obama

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Former Florida Republican Gov. Charlie Crist is endorsing Democratic president Barack Obama this fall, according to an op-ed in the Tampa Bay Times.

Crist said he is supporting Obama because of how he responded the the economy after taking office, including pushing for a federal stimulus bill to pay for infrastructure and schools. From the piece:

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 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.

The announcement elicited a collective eyeroll from Republicans, who believe Crist is eyeing a gubernatorial run as a Democrat. Here's Florida House Speaker-designate Will Weatherford:

Crist left the Republican party to become an independent in 2010 when a U.S. Senate primary would have meant taking on Marco Rubio. Rubio eventually was elected to the seat.

In 2009, Crist was photographed hugging Obama during a visit to Florida to promote the federal stimulus plan. Crist acknowledges the political damage of that photo:

Pundits looking to reduce something as big as a statewide election to a single photograph have blamed the result of my 2010 campaign for U.S. Senate on my greeting of President Obama. I didn't stand with our president because of what it could mean politically; I did it because uniting to recover from the worst financial crisis of our lifetimes was more important than party affiliation. I stood with our nation's leader because it was right for my state.