Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

In speech, Crist says he's the same guy — with a new political party

Former Gov. Charlie Crist shares his thoughts during a forum on leadership Wednesday at the University of Tampa. He shared examples of how his agenda often coincided with Democrats while he was a Republican.

CAROLINA HIDALGO | Times

Former Gov. Charlie Crist shares his thoughts during a forum on leadership Wednesday at the University of Tampa. He shared examples of how his agenda often coincided with Democrats while he was a Republican.

TAMPA — Charlie Crist, the former "Ronald Reagan Republican" who now looks like the Democratic frontrunner for governor in 2014, says he's pretty much the same guy he always was.

"I know what Floridians care about. People generally are not hard right. Nor are they hard left. They just want to get the right thing done for most people," the former governor said Wednesday during a forum on leadership at the University of Tampa.

"They want good education. They want to be able to start a business in an economy. They want appropriate regulation, but not too much," Crist said. "They want the kind of government that stays out of your hair, thank you very much, and lets you be successful and doesn't burden you too much but does have appropriate regulation to make sure people on Wall Street act right and do right and that banks are fair with people."

Crist made no mention of his potential campaign for governor in 2014 during the forum, which was coordinated by former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio. Iorio is now the leader-in-residence at UT's TECO Center for Leadership at the Sykes College of Business.

But Crist took every opportunity to tout areas where his agenda often coincided with Democrats — environmental protection, better-funded schools and teachers, voting rights and immigration reform that embraces people eager to move to America.

His convictions, he said, stem from the values his parents taught him and essentially boil down to common sense approaches to doing the right thing.

He never mentioned Republican Gov. Rick Scott, but gave a scathing critique of voting law changes embraced by Scott and Republican lawmakers that he said led to long lines and hindrances to many Florida voters in November.

"You have Americans who in our past and in our present are literally willing to give their very life so that you can exercise this precious right to pick your leaders yourself. And yet there are some in public policy-making positions that try to impede that right. To me that's astonishing, and it's unconscionable," he said.

Crist did not mention his campaign mailers in his 2006 GOP gubernatorial primary stressing his opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage but noted that when asked about social issues during that primary he often described himself as a "live and let live" man.

He also recounted how in 2006 he publicly supported allowing nonviolent felons who had completed their sentences to have their voting rights automatically restored.

"I huddled with my Republican advisers, and they said, 'Charlie you've lost your mind. Why would you say that?' And I said because that's how I was raised, it's what I believe. I believe in forgiveness."

Former Gov. Bob Graham kicked off Iorio's leadership lecture series late last year, and former Gov. Bob Martinez is scheduled to speak next month.

Adam C. Smith can be reached at asmith@tampabay.com.

In speech, Crist says he's the same guy — with a new political party 02/20/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 11:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Cooking challenge: Making homemade edible Christmas gifts

    Cooking

    Should I infuse this vodka with bacon?

    That's not a question I expected to ask myself on a Sunday morning, but here we are. This Christmas, I'm giving homemade gifts: infused liquor and chocolate fudge. But I didn't realize it would be so hard to find an appetizing recipe for infused alcohol.

  2. Tyre McCants, USF's brawny bruiser of a receiver

    College

    TAMPA — Having spent 11 games watching Tyre McCants in the flesh — all 236 pounds of it — USF coach Charlie Strong seems convinced his team's leading receiver down the stretch could be someone's leading rusher down the road.

  3. To test for climate disasters, like hurricanes: build stuff, then blow it apart

    Hurricanes

    WEST GLOCESTER, R.I. — In the backwoods of Rhode Island, a team of researchers spends whole days trying to destroy things: setting boxes on fire, shattering chunks of ice, hurling debris through the air at hurricane speed.

  4. From the food editor: How to make perfect, hot Crispy Roasted Potatoes

    Cooking

    Sometimes, you just want a hot, crispy potato.

  5. Kathy Fountain, from anchor chair to therapist's chair

    Business

    A knowledgeable voice and familiar face beamed into Tampa Bay homes when Kathy Fountain delivered the 5 o'clock news and chatted with talk show guests on WTVT-Ch. 13. She created some news of her own as co-anchor of the first female team in the Tampa Bay area, "so radical at the time," she says.