Obama invokes Charlie Crist in news conference
President Obama, giving a news conference at the White House, just mentioned "Charlie Crist down in Florida" in making a point about the blow back Republicans get for working with him.
Crist was pilloried for embracing Obama's stimulus (and, literally, the president) in 2009. The controversy gave a foothold to Marco Rubio in the 2010 campaign against Crist. With Republicans turning against him, Crist instead ran as an independent. He's now a Democrat, signing the papers during a recent White House reception.
What Obama said today:
"I think there are a lot of Republicans at this point that feel that given how much energy has been devoted in some of the media that's preferred by Republican constituencies to demonize me, that it doesn't look real good socializing with me. Charlie Crist down in Florida I think testifies to that. And I think a lot of folks say, well, if we look like we're being too cooperative or too chummy with the President that might cause us problems. That might be an excuse for us to get a challenge from somebody in a primary.
"So that tends to be the challenge. I promise you, we invite folks from Congress over here all the time. And when they choose to come, I enjoy their company. Sometimes they don't choose to come, and that has to do with the fact that I think they don't consider the optics useful for them politically. And, ultimately, the way we're going to get stuff done -- personal relationships are important, and obviously I can always do a better job, and the nice thing is, is that now that my girls are getting older, they don't want to spend that much time with me anyway, so I'll be probably calling around, looking for somebody to play cards with me or something, because I'm getting kind of lonely in this big house. (Laughter.) So maybe a whole bunch of members of the House Republican caucus want to come over and socialize more."