Charlie Crist talks to CNN, MSNBC about switching to Democratic party
Charlie Crist is one of the state's most interesting politicians, now reaching for a second life by joining the Democratic party, presumably positioning for another run at the governor's mansion in 2014.
But in interviews with MSNBC's Chris Matthews and CNN's Piers Morgan Monday -- conservative stalwarts Fox News were noticeably left out -- Crist seemed to sidestep questions on his positions regarding more left-wing Democratic ideals such as relaxing enforcement on immigration rules or opposing school vouchers.
Instead, the former Republican governor noted friends told him he was moderate enough to be a Democrat all along -- those of us who remember his early days as "Chain Gang Charlie" supporting a revival of labor gangs for prisoners, might chuckle at that. And he also used a line he has mentioned many times in stumping for Obama before the 2012 election: "I didn't leave the Republican party, the party left me."
True enough, Crist has been a moderate in many ways, supporting a streamlining of the process for restoring rights to felons who have served their time and other civil rights issues. He also visibly embraced the need for stimulus money from the Obama administration while other Republican governors derided the program in public, but accepted the money for the their state, anyway.
It's a sign of how far rightward our political process has lurched that even those moves seem liberal. And it may be a sign of how dysfunctional our current governor's office has become that Crist, who received a fair amount of criticism during his time in the job, seems to have a shot at getting it back.
Check out the interviews below: