Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist
TAMPA, Florida -- Just in time for the Republican National Convention, former Governor Charlie Crist endorsed President Barack Obama in an op-ed in the Tampa Bay Times.
While the announcement is not a surprise, the timing might be. But it does give the former governor an opportunity to kick some mud onto the GOP as it tries to shine in the spotlight.
When we told Republican Chairman Reince Priebus about the Crist endorsement, he wasn't surprised. Meanwhile, the Democrats seem ready to welcome Crist to their party.
Democratic political consultant Ana Cruz says, "Everybody likes Charlie."
Cruz thinks former Governor Crist's endorsement of the president is a good thing. "I think it will certainly help the President."
It is clear not everybody likes Charlie, though, including the chairman of the Republican Party, Reince Priebus, who says, "I don't really care what Governor Crist l has to say about our nominee or President Obama, but I'm not surprised."
Crist started his downward spiral in Republican circles when he warmly greeted the president as he was trying to sell his stimulus package. The images of the governor hugging Obama helped to eventually pushed him out of the party and into an independent bid for Senate.
At his announcement as an independent candidate, Crist said, "I haven't supported an idea because it is a Republican idea or Democratic idea, but because it is good for the people."
While Crist has been working for the people, so to speak, at law firm Morgan and Morgan since his Senate loss, some see the endorsement as another step to register as a Democrat and run for governor against Rick Scott in 2014.
And while Crist had been a lifelong Republican, and would have in the past been warmly welcomed at the RNC Convention in Tampa, many say not only did he leave the party, the party left him.
According to Cruz, "The most profound part of all this is the extreme right has hijacked the Republican Party and there is no place for moderates to go."
Crist wrote in his endorsement of the president, "An element of their party has pitched so far to the extreme right on issues important to women, immigrants, seniors, and students that they've proven incapable of governing for the people."
State GOP Chairman Lenny Curry issued a statement saying, "Today, we have seen a repugnant display from a self-centered career politician."