Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, version 2.0

Facing a tougher-than-expected primary campaign, the governor tacks right


Alex Koppelman
December 21, 2009 9:10PM (UTC)

If you just compared it to the sentiments being expressed by other Republicans, the statement that Florida Gov. Charlie Crist released in response to a Senate vote in favor of a Democratic healthcare reform proposal wouldn't seem that unusual.

"I am thoroughly disappointed that votes on an issue affecting 1/6 of the American economy were traded in for sweetheart deals and a rushed vote in the middle of the night," Crist said. "The plan will cripple state economies and add half a trillion dollars in new taxes on top of half a trillion dollars in Medicare cuts. All of this translates to increased health costs on the backs of American taxpayers and decreased benefits for our seniors: That is not reform."

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Again, nothing out of the ordinary. But it is an interesting contrast with where Crist was less than a year ago. Back in February, he was supporting the Democrats' stimulus package -- even helping President Obama sell it.

Obviously, the two issues are different. But there's a bigger difference, one probably more responsible for the shift in the governor's thinking. At the moment, he's running for Senate; he was expected to win the seat easily, but has been plagued by his primary opponent, former state House Speaker Marco Rubio, who's been surprisingly successful hitting Crist from the right.


Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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