At capital book-signing, Crist says veto pen would be mightier than GOP disdainby John Kennedy | February 13th, 2014
Near the midpoint of a three-week tour, former Gov. Charlie Crist came to Tallahassee to sign copies of his new book Thursday for a few dozen fans about three miles from the state Capitol.
Maybe it was the location. But questions from reporters soon had the ex-Republican-turned-Democrat theorizing about how he would lead in a state Legislature dominated by the GOP and where many from his former party detest him.
Asked how he’d work with the Legislature, Crist responded:
“I think very effectively,” Crist said. “One of the very first things I did when I was elected governor before was reach out to the other party….You reach out. You cooperate. You keep the conversation going. It’s amazing what good things can happen.”
Crist also shrugged off the depth of the hard feelings among Republicans. If elected, the governor gets the wield the power of his veto pen and that can change everything, he said.
“Well, if we’re fortunate enough to win, those difficult feelings have a way of warming,” Crist said. “Because, if you win, then you have a pen. And that can warm their feelings.”
The Tallahassee Books-A-Million stop was Crist’s fourth on an nine-city tour that is scheduled to bring him to the Classic Bookshop in Palm Beach on Wednesday, promoting his new, ““The Party’s Over: How the Extreme Right Hijacked the GOP and I Became a Democrat.”
He’s also been on national TV talking about his conversion to the Democratic Party and emergence s the frontrunner in this fall’s governor’s race against Republican Rick Scott.
In Tallahassee and along his tour, bad feelings between Crist and Republicans aren’t hard to gauge. They are manifested in Florida Republican Party Chairman Lenny Curry, who showed up at the Thursday evening book-signing, just as he has at all but one other of the stops.
“We just have to set the record straight,” Curry said. “He clearly will say or do anything this election cycle to get elected. But what’s notably absent from his message is job creation or what he would do for education. Charlie is the self-proclaimed happy warrior…but he’s attacking like a party chairman would attack.”
Crist did declare that “education is a very keen interest of mine.” But he sidestepped a question about the level of funding for charter schools — which acknowledging that he supported them when he was in the Legislature. He also said he wanted to know more about House Speaker Will Weatherford’s call for sharply expanding a corporate voucher program.
As a Republican, Crist used to support the Tax Credit Scholarship Program started by former Gov. Jeb Bush.
“I’ll have to look at it, to be honest with you. They change things around pretty fast,” Crist said of his former Republican colleagues.