Introduced by a Democratic state representative at a gathering of hundreds of senior citizens at a condo complex in heavily Democratic Broward County on Wednesday, Florida governor and U.S. Senate candidate Charlie Crist thanked God that he was no longer a Republican.
"You know, I used to be a Republican," Crist told the adoring crowd after an introduction by Democratic state Rep. Ari Porth. When a woman in the audience yelled out, "Thank God!" Crist immediately said, "Yeah, thank God. Right — used to be!"
The statement came the same day Washington Examiner columnist Timothy P. Carney revealed that former senator and Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole contributed $1,000 to Crist's Senate campaign against GOP nominee Marco Rubio. Carney provided the Federal Election Commission record documenting Dole's cash donation.
During Bill Clinton's first term as president, Dole as Senate minority leader was instrumental in stopping HillaryCare from becoming law. But after retiring from the Senate, the Kansan became a highly paid Washington lobbyist with the law firm of Alston & Bird, which counts the National Association for Home Care and Hospice as a client.
Last fall, Dole backed the Democrats' big government healthcare reform legislative efforts, which became law in the spring.
Addressing the seniors, Gov. Crist lived up to a big-spender reputation that was buttressed by his eager acceptance of President Obama's stimulus money last year by promising the status quo on the fiscally troubled Social Security system.
Crist wowed the crowd by saying, "I'm the only candidate in the race who says he will protect Social Security forever."
In a Newsmax interview earlier this year, former Republican Florida Gov. Jeb Bush called Crist's acceptance of the Obama stimulus "unforgiveable."
Rasmussen Reports last week placed the Cuban-American Rubio in the lead against Crist with 38 percent of the vote over 33 percent for the independent Crist, if Rep. Kendrick Meek is the Democratic nominee.
If billionaire Jeff Greene faces the two, Crist leads Rubio by a hair, 37 percent to 36 percent, according to Rasmussen's polling. Both Crist and Rubio lead the Democrat by a sizeable margin in both scenarios.
In an interview with Newsmax TV's Kathleen Walter, Rubio reflected on liberal Democratic pollster Mark Penn's fundraising efforts for Crist, which are widely seen as an attempt to get Crist to caucus with Senate Democrats if elected. Rubio said it shows that Crist is part of a Democratic strategy "to try to get as many votes as they can in the Senate to promote the Reid-Pelosi-Obama agenda."
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