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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Charlie Crist: I'd 'probably' accept a speaking slot at Dem Convention, but haven't been asked



Chatted with Charlie Crist by phone a few minutes ago about his Obama endorsement.

"It was a big decision, but not a hard one," Crist said, recounting "all that he did for Florida" while Crist was governor, including $700-million in "Race to the Top" funding to enhance education innovation, Recovery Act stimulus funding that helped keep teachers and emergency workers employed, and $2.4-billion in funding for high speed rail - money rejected by Gov. Rick Scott.

"I lived through a time when this Democratic president was willing to work with a Republican governor on issue after issue after issue," he said, adding that he's been stunned at how Republican U.S. House leaders have been unwilling to do the same with Obama.

"What's happened in today's Republican leadership is the words compromise and cooperation aren't welcome any more," he said. "If you're that rigid and that doctrinaire, you can't get anything done."

Crist said he has no plans to change his party affiliation to Democratic or to speak on Obama's behalf at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte next week.

Would he be receptive if asked? "Probably," he said, adding that he just wanted to be helpful to Obama's re-election. "This will be a very close election and I just couldn't sit by."

The former self-described Reagan Republican insisted his core beliefs have remain unchanged.

"There are things about Reagan that I admire greatly, just as there are about Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. But I also admire Harry Truman....I havent changed. The republican party has changed."

[Last modified: Sunday, August 26, 2012 7:45pm]


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