Charlie Crist, Florida's former Republican governor, threw his support behind President Obama in a Tampa Bay Times op-ed on Sunday, thumbing his nose at his former party.
Citing the president’s work on the financial crisis and Medicare, Crist dismissed the far right of the Republican Party, which he says favors “extreme rhetoric over sensible compromise.”
“As Republicans gather in Tampa to nominate Mitt Romney, Americans can expect to hear tales of how President Obama has failed to work with their party or turn the economy around,” he writes. “But an element of their party has pitched so far to the extreme right on issues important to women, immigrants, seniors and students that they've proven incapable of governing for the people.”
Crist lost a bid for Senate in 2010, running as an unaffiliated candidate after losing the Republican nomination to now-Sen. Marco Rubio. During that race, a photo of Crist hugging President Obama was used to challenge the former governor’s conservative credentials. Crist is now officially registered as an independent.
“President Obama has a strong record of doing what is best for America and Florida, and he built it by spending more time worrying about what his decisions would mean for the people than for his political fortunes,” Crist wrote in the op-ed. “That's what makes him the right leader for our times, and that's why I'm proud to stand with him today.”
The Florida GOP pounced on Crist’s op-ed, calling it a “repugnant display from a self-centered, career politician."
“For Crist to pull this Obama stunt while Florida faces a hurricane only proves Charlie Crist cares about just one thing: Charlie Crist,” Florida GOP Chairman Lenny Curry said in a statement, according to Politico.