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PolitiFact Calls Out Some Florida Flip-Flops

May 14, 2013

Credit politifact.com

Politicians take positions on issues all of the time. It's part of their job.

And while reasonable people might say that times change, so positions can change, too -- well, politics is not always reasonable.

When a politician changes a position, their opponents are more than likely going to claim they "flip-flopped."

So, holding politicians to the same standards they hold each other, PolitiFact Florida is citing some notable flip-flops this week.

First, there's U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, who backed the idea of moving up Florida's presidential primary date as long ago as 2006 when he was a young Florida legislator.

The idea was to focus lots of attention on Florida and make it a real mover and shaker when it came to the Republican presidential race.

But moving the primary date violated Republican Party rules and with that came with penalties -- including a reduction of delegates and, at last summer's national convention in Tampa, a delegate hotel far away from the action at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Now, after two accelerated primary dates -- in 2008 and 2012 -- Rubio supported a move in the most recent legislative session to put the primary back to a date that fits within the rules of the major political parties.

PolitiFact's Angie Holan said that's a flip-flop.

"Yes, it gets a full flop on our 'Flip-O-Meter," explained Holan. "Now I should add we use this tool just to document changes of position. It's up to voters whether the politician had a good reason for changing position."

Holan said, based on the experts PolitiFact talked to, the reasons for obeying party rules about primary dates are pretty solid.

"In the case of Florida, the penalties have become increasing harsher," Holan said. "Looking forward to 2016, Florida's delegate count would have been reduced by 87 delegates, down to about 12 delegates, which would make it the equivalent of a small state. And, some of the experts we spoke with said this was actually a good move for Florida to follow the schedule, to get its full delegate count, so it could maintain its influence as one of the largest states."

Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist has gotten a PoltiiFact flip-flop, too.

Crist was a Republican who has now become a Democrat.

But what Crist received a flip-flop for was his stand on same-sex marriage.

"He did support a state constitutional amendment that said marriage should only be between a man and a woman," Holan explained. "Now, even back then (2008) he said that he was a 'live and let live' kind of guy, so it's not as if he made it one of his main issues.  But now he has had this notable change in position. He went on his Facebook page last week and said he supported same sex marriage and marriage equality, so that is definitely a change of position."