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CRIST-ory Lessons: Charlie Crist Under Fire

May 27, 2013 - 6:00pm

In the latest attack on former Gov. Charlie Crist, the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) debuted the first video of a series called This Day in CRIST-ory," which promises to highlight the many failures and flip-flops of the former governor.

Crist, who left the Republicans in 2010 to run for the U.S. Senate with no party affiliation, is expected to run for governor in 2014 as a Democrat. Crist joined the Democrats at the end of December.

"'This Day In CRIST-ory' will take a hard look at all of Charlie Crist's failures and flip-flops," said RPOF Chairman Lenny Curry on Monday. "Much of this new campaign takes very little effort because Crist gives us so much material from things that come out of his own mouth. Floridians will be exposed to the fact that, at the end of the day, Charlie Crist is for himself, and not at all 'for the people.'"

Currys last attack was a stab at Crists employment as an attorney for prominent trial lawyers Morgan & Morgan, whose motto is For the People. Crists smiling face appears next to the slogan on many billboards and ads throughout Florida -- a clear sign that the former governor wants to keep a high profile as he ponders running again for governor in 2014.

The RPOFs video starts out with Crist being asked a question about raising taxes. The former governor goes on to say hes not a fan of increasing taxes and fees, which take more from our Floridians when they need it most."

Contrary to his promise, Crist signed a $2.2 billion increase in taxes and fees in his budget plan on May 28, 2009.

The video then switches to a Fox News debate between Crist and Republican opponent Marco Rubio from the 2010 U.S. Senate race. Host Chris Wallace brings up the $2.2 billion tax increase and emphasizes that the former governor broke his promise. Rubio had been bashing Crist, insisting he would not be able to stand up to President Barack Obamas agenda.

While primarily directed at Crist, other Republicans could get caught in the crossfire from the video. In 2009, when the budget the RPOF is attacking was passed, Crist was still a Republican. The budget the RPOF is attacking Crist for signing was passed in 2009 by the Republican-dominated Legislature -- including current leaders like House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, who voted for the budget plan, including raising cigarette taxes by $1 a pack and increasing a motorist fee.

The main focus of the CRIST-ory campaign, though, is that Crist is a flip-flopper -- an attack the Republicans are expected to double down on in the weeks to come. Republican incumbent Gov. Rick Scott is widely expected to run for a second term.

Rumors have been swirling about Crists potential run for governor in 2014, though other Democratic possibilities -- namely U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and former state CFO Alex Sink whom Scott beat out in 2010 -- continue to generate some hope, if not expectations. Former Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich is the only major candidate officially seeking her partys nomination, though she has gained little traction despite being in the race for more than a year. Crist says he hasnt made up his mind whether he wants to run.

Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen at

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