Charlie Crist says ‘I’ll just go there,’ plays race card again in explaining party switchby George Bennett | May 7th, 2014
Republican-turned-independent-turned Democrat Charlie Crist denied he left the GOP because he was trailing Marco Rubio in a 2010 Senate primary and said “a big reason” he bolted was the way some Republicans treated “the African-American president.”
Crist’s remarks in an interview with Fusion TV’s Jorge Ramos echo his claims to Stephen Colbert in February that his infamous Fort Myers stimulus hug of President Barack Obama angered GOP activists in part because Obama “was a Democrat, but not just a Democrat, an African-American.”
Then-Republican Crist was initially the frontrunner for the party’s 2010 Senate nomination, but fell far behind Rubio and left the party to become an independent in 2010. He became a Democrat in December 2012.
“You left the Republican Party because you were going to lose to Marco Rubio,” Ramos said.
Crist said he left because the party’s leadership “went off the cliff” and “I couldn’t be consistent with myself and my core beliefs, and stay with a party that was so unfriendly toward the African-American president, I’ll just go there.”
He referred again to “the African-American president” and said the way “some” in the party treated Obama was “a big reason” he left the GOP.
RNC spokesman Izzy Santa responded to Crist’s remarks in an e-mail to Fusion: “Being a flip-flopper is bad enough, but playing the race card to win over voters is pitiful.”