The Corner

To Explain His Veto, Crist Cites Honest Abe?

Yesterday, Gov. Charlie Crist (R., Fla.) soaked up the applause at a Tallahassee high school following his veto of a merit-pay education bill. The Lincoln-speak comes around the 2:50 mark:

So will Crist, Honest Abe aficionado, stay in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate against Marco Rubio? The veto signals that he probably will not, at least according to most observers. Still, when Crist spoke with National Review Online in February, he brushed off the idea of a switch. It’s worth remembering what he said then:

During his CPAC speech, in a shot at Crist, Rubio declared that the Senate “already has one Arlen Specter too many.” Specter, a longtime moderate Republican, switched parties last spring instead of facing conservative Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania’s GOP Senate primary. A prominent Rubio backer, Sen. Jim DeMint (R., S.C.), has published a Web ad hinting at a similar possibility in the Florida, asking: “Will Charlie switch parties?” The ad appeared on the Drudge Report and other traffic-heavy websites. Soon after, liberal bloggers like Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos sang a siren song, saying that the Democratic Party would “welcome” Crist and that a switch remains his “only hope.” So, has Crist ever considered switching parties or running as an independent?

“I have not considered it,” Crist says. “People approach me about all kinds of things, and I’ve gotten all kinds of political advice, but I’m staying on the path of a true Republican, tried and true. My record speaks for that fact. That’s why Connie Mack, the former senator, is one of my co-chairs. I’m proud to be from the party of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, and Senator Mack. These people are my heroes. I’m very comfortable here.”

Mack, of course, resigned as Crist’s co-chair this week. Crist will need to make a decision by April 30, the last day to submit qualifying papers as a Senate candidate.

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