Tags: oreilly | crist | abortion | flipflop

O'Reilly Grills Charlie Crist on Flip-Flop Abortion Stance

By    |   Wednesday, 05 February 2014 08:24 AM

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist denied to Fox News host Bill O'Reilly that he's changed his opinion about abortion, despite voting in years past to ban the procedure except in cases of rape and incest.

"In different social issues, I'm a live and let live kind of guy," Crist, a former Republican who switched over to the Democratic Party in 2012, told O'Reilly Tuesday night. "I would rather change hearts than laws."

When O'Reilly challenged him on his changing opinion on abortion, Crist said that while he's a "very fiscal conservative" who doesn't want to waste taxpayers' money, he has always been more liberal when it comes to social issues.

"I really haven't changed that much," said Crist. "My former party changed."

So have Crist's opinions on abortion through the years. He has called himself "pro-life," but in 2006,  he admitted he did not support overthrowing the Roe-Wade decision permitting the procedure.

That same year, he was quoted as telling a Catholic priest he would sign a bill banning abortions, except for those needed to save a woman's life. He clarified that statement later, saying he would want provisions for cases of rape or incest, or to protect a woman's health.
That same year, Crist said that if lawmakers passed a sweeping ban on abortion, he would sign it, but he didn't think lawmakers should pass such legislation.

Crist told O'Reilly Tuesday that in the early 1990s, as a young state senator from Tampa Bay, one of the first votes he had on the state's heatlhcare committee was for a 24-hour wait period on abortion. He voted against the bill, as a Republican, and the legislation ended in a stalemate.

But Crist denied that he's changed his opinions much. He sayd his former party changed direction, so he switched allegiances. He explained that the tea party emerged around 2009, three years after he was elected governor, and he was vilified that year when he stood behind President Barack Obama's policies.

"The sin that I created was when I was with President Obama in Fort Myers," said Crist. "He was down there to tap the Recovery Act, the stimulus, and what happened is a lot of Republicans didn't like that I literally embraced him and his policy."

Also in 2009, Crist decided to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Mel Martinez, saying he would not seek re-election for governor. But as now-U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio surged ahead in the polls, Crist decided to instead run for the Senate as an Independent candidate and lost to Rubio.

He further alienated the Republican Party when he campaigned in 2012 on behalf of Obama's re-election campaign, turning up later at a White House Christmas party, showing off a form that he used to switch his political affiliation to the Democratic Party.

On Tuesday, Crist said he also stands behind Obamacare because he thinks it is a "good idea."

"I think it had problems obviously coming out of the gate, and that's probably frustrating," Crist told O'Reilly. "That doesn't mean the idea is a bad notion. Having healthcare for people that can't afford it and making it affordable for them to have insurance is a good idea."

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O'Reilly Grills Charlie Crist on Flip-Flop Abortion Stance
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 08:24 AM
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