Charlie Crist: Exit Interview

By: Troy Kinsey Email
By: Troy Kinsey Email

Tallahassee, FL - "So help me God..."
Charlie Crist took office four years ago vowing to be 'The people's governor'... A man who would put populism over politics. And by his own account, he's done exactly that. In an exclusive interview, Governor Crist says he's most proud of his fiscal conservatism - historic for its reach.

Gov. Charlie Crist says, "I signed the largest tax cut in the history of the state, reduced government spending more than any governor in the history of Florida, about 7.4 billion dollars in reductions, and I'm very pleased for that, and I think it's what the people wanted and needed, particularly in this economy."

And yet, he was defeated in his bid for the U.S. Senate, with his old Republican friends calling Crist a 'political chameleon'... A man who abandoned his GOP principles in the name of winning higher office.

Q: Why the criticism, do you think?
A: I think it's because I was kind to President Obama.

At a stimulus rally in February 2009, Crist may well have sealed his political fate with 'the hug'... An enthusiastic embrace of Obama and his policies at around the same time the Tea Party was gaining strength.

Q: I know you've made the argument that you would have left regardless of whether or not you trailed Marco Rubio by 30 points in the U.S. Senate race, but I have to tell you, governor, a lot of people find that very hard to believe. What would you tell them?
A: Well, it was pure and simple. The hard right part of the Republican Party really had taken hold. You know, I was anti-tax, pro-life, wanted to do the kinds of things that generally Republicans embraced, but it wasn't pure enough, and I'm not sure what that meant, but it made me uncomfortable, so I became an independent. It's not about one club or the other!

In the end, the governor's move to the middle may be his legacy in the history books. But, Crist points out he's a young man - only 54 years old - with a name recognition few politicians in Florida can match. Not that he'll make any promises about returning to the political stage... Just a wish.

Crist says, "I hope that Charlie - me - will be remembered as a nice person who cared about others and tried to work hard for the people of his state."

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by RM Location: Tallahasse on Dec 21, 2010 at 01:19 PM
    God Bless you wherever you will be. You were a great governor. I hope presedent Obama will assign you a big possition.
  • by Wakulla Boy Location: Crawfordville on Dec 21, 2010 at 11:35 AM
    Charlie, I love you man, wish you were going to DC for us. I believe you're a sincere person and that you had the best intrest for FLORIDA at HEART. God bless you in what ever you decide to do in life. I really wish we could keep you in government in some capacity. We need someone with compassion defending us. Again best of luck and I love you're a good man.
  • by State Worker Location: Tallahassee on Dec 21, 2010 at 11:01 AM
    Governor Crist I hope you plan to allow state worker's the days off that Mrs. Vasalinda has requested. State worker's have not had a raise in over five years. Can we at least get this as a parting gift? If it helps, I wished Kednrick Meeks would have dropped out of race, this way most democrats would have voted for you. Thanks for your service and upset the republicans again on your way out...LOL
  • by working too on Dec 21, 2010 at 08:47 AM
    @jobless pray for a job and stop being bitter at those of us who have them....We are working. It's called multitasking!!! Maybe thats a skill that you should learn to help in your job search.
  • by working on Dec 21, 2010 at 06:20 AM
    What about Michelle Vasalinda's request for the state workers leave for the holidays? That would be a nice departure gift you could give us Governor... since we have had nothing in the last 5 years or more.
  • by JB on Dec 21, 2010 at 06:11 AM
    Thank you Charlie for serving as our Governor. You served the citizens of Florida extremely well. I will vote for you again because you stood up against your former Republican colleagues and made great decisions FOR the people, not AGAINST them. Thanks again!
  • by Steve Location: Florida on Dec 21, 2010 at 04:59 AM
    The first 3 people that commented on this article make me embarrassed to call myself a Floridian. You all just need to get over it. He is leaving office, so let it be. I'd say they are sore losers, but based on their comments, they are sore winners, cause I'm 100% sure each of them voted for Rubio and Scott.
  • by GOP Proud on Dec 21, 2010 at 04:25 AM
    Charlie, you switched parties because you knew you had zero chance at winning the republican primary. You can claim it was a moral decision all you want but, the people know it was purely a political move and they were not fooled. Good luck,turn coat.
  • by George Location: Tally on Dec 21, 2010 at 04:09 AM
    Hey Charlie!!!!!! The "hug" had nothing to do with me voting against you. It was your turn coat history of screwing things up. Don't forget to clean out your closet.
  • by Anonymous on Dec 21, 2010 at 02:43 AM
    Crist lost because he was sorry Liberal that supported Obama and was never a real Republican! Hit the road Crist along with Allen Boyd!!!!!!!
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