Charlie Crist Makes it Easy for Republicans to Link Him to Obama

By: Jeff Henderson | Posted: August 20, 2014 3:55 AM
Charlie Crist and Barack Obama
Barack Obama won’t be on the ballot come November but Florida Republicans want to make the election a referendum on his presidency -- and Charlie Crist apparently is willing to play that game. 

Crist told the Tampa Bay Times on Tuesday that he hopes Obama will campaign with him against Rick Scott. Of course with a primary next week against Nan Rich, saying that should only help Crist who has been a Democrat for barely a year and a half after years as a Republican.

Polls continually show Obama remains popular with Florida Democrats and he did carry the state twice. But polls also show other voters have turned away from him. Most Republicans have been against Obama since 2008 but independents are shifting away from him even if they are not fully on board with Republican efforts against him.

Obama’s not exactly an asset on the campaign trail and it helps explain why he was conspicuously absent from Alex Sink’s efforts to win an open congressional seat in a special election earlier this year. But now Crist is saying he wants Obama to campaign with him in Florida.

Republicans will relish the opportunity to follow Marco Rubio’s game plan from 2010. Rubio used Crist’s support of the Obama stimulus to catch him in the Republican Senate primary, eventually chasing him out of the GOP. Republicans are generally more likely than Democrats to come out in off-year elections which helps explain why 2010 was so bad for Obama and his allies. With independents suffering from Obama fatigue, Scott and his camp hope to reap the same results come November.

Still, Crist has reasons to say he would campaign with Obama. Crist should beat Rich next week but a strong showing from her will raise questions as to how much support he has from liberals and stalwart Democrats. Tying himself to Obama should help Crist reassure Democrats that, despite making two changes in party affiliation in recent years and having spent most of his time on the campaign trail as a conservative Republican, he is one of them.

But this will come back to hurt him. Republicans are salivating at the possibility of linking Crist to unpopular Democrats in Washington and the former governor just gave them enough material to do exactly that. Republicans want to keep Scott out of the picture as much as possible. Some of the governor’s most recent commercials don’t even feature him. Scott’s also nowhere near as charismatic and personable as Crist. But by saying he will campaign with Obama, Crist is setting himself up to be linked more and more to the increasingly unpopular president.

Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis exclusively for Sunshine State News.

Comments (1)

3:35PM AUG 20TH 2014
I am very pleased that Adrian Wyllie will be a part of the debate. Floridians deserve to hear from all the candidates to be well informed. Adrian Wyllie deserves my vote and yours too. He is a honest average Floridian just as you and I , that is willing to stand up and do something for the interest of all of us here in Florida. The other candidates both Republican and Democrat are owned and controlled by special interest, like puppets and will lie to your face to gain your vote, then continue the same old agenda that we complain about year after year. Time to get off this merry-go-round, election after election, thinking it will be any different. Take a stand, vote for the candidate that loves this state and is willing to take time out of his life, effort and money to SERVE the people of Florida and stop voting for these 'paid for' career politicians that are only out for money and fame and have zero interest in us Floridians. Even if it's just for honesty alone, vote for Adrian Wyllie instead of the other two (Scott/Crist) which are proven liars. The choice is yours and yours alone, if you want the same old corruption and slap in the face, go ahead and vote for one of the two puppets (Scott/Crist) OR do what is right for our (yours and your children's) future and vote for Adrian Wyllie. Support him by donating to his campaign, spreading the word and contribute to the super brochure program which I think is very powerful. Visit his website today

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