[UPDATE] 1-5 11:00AM --
In his first public remarks since handing over power to Gov. Rick Scott, former Gov. Charlie Crist focused more on national politics than the state government he was leaving behind. Appearing on CNN's "Situation Room" show Tuesday, private citizen Crist talked about whether his predecessor, Jeb Bush, could win the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 – Crist says he can. He was also asked whether there was a viable independent candidate to run that year – he suggested New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg. But despite not naming himself as a possible independent contender, Crist hinted that he would not be returning to his political roots in the Republican Party, which had been his home for two decades before a very public, very messy split during his U.S. Senate campaign last year. “I’m a very happy independent,” Crist told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. "I'm very comfortable as an independent. I think it's very important when you run for office and you state what the reason is that you're doing what you're doing, that you stay true to that." Crist knocked down the possibility he would join the Obama administration, despite the fact that it was his support for Obama’s economic stimulus package that did him in with the GOP base. As for advice for Florida's new governor, Crist said only that Gov. Rick Scott should "follow his heart." "These are tough times to be coming into office and it's a tough economy," he said. "He is laser-focused on trying to get job creation moving more readily and more forward in Florida and I applaud him for that. He gave a great talk today."
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) --
Charlie Crist's political life is on hold for the time being as he looks toward his future.
The outgoing governor said "stay tuned" when asked about his
future plans as he worked his way through well-wishers following
Gov. Rick Scott's Tuesday inauguration on Jan. 4.
Crist decided against seeking a second term as governor in May
2009 and ran for the U.S. Senate. That set off a chain reaction
that led to him leaving the Republican Party and losing to GOP
nominee Marco Rubio in a three-way general election.
And with the governor's office being vacated, Scott -- a virtual
unknown in political circles just nine months ago -- got into the
Crist said he leaves office hopeful, happy and a little