WGCU Radio Staff
Thu April 24, 2014
Fact-Checking Charlie Crist's Past
Charlie Crist was once a Republican governor of Florida. He wants his old job back - as a Democrat. And that means - to make a strong case among Democratic voters - he has some explaining to do. But some analysts say Crist is having a tough time spinning his Republican record.
For instance, the Republican Party of Florida tweeted this month that Charlie Crist "raised taxes in 2009 and won't rule out raising taxes again."
"We rated that mostly true," said Josh Gillin of PolitiFact. "Back in 2009 we're in the middle of the great recession and then-governor Crist signed a $66.5 billion budget that included a ton of new taxes and fees to cover a budget short fall. Interesting, though, the thing to remember about that is that it was supported by the Republican legislature."
The Republican Party of Florida is also taking aim at Charlie Crist's stand on immigration.
Crist has hammered current Republican Governor Rick Scott on his record there -- for his support of an Arizona-style immigration law in 2010 and his veto of a bill that would have given driver's licenses to the children of undocumented immigrants.
But Republicans have fired back saying that "in 2006, Crist opposed in state tuition for illegal immigrants" - something Rick Scott is backing.
"We rated it true," said Gillin. "Now we're going back to 2006 here. Crist was attorney general at the time and we only got one article from the Republican Party of Florida in which Crist said that state lawmakers who were trying to decide on sort of in-state tuition for illegal immigrants did the right thing, that was his quote, they did the right thing when they rejected the bill."
It's not just Republicans dragging out Republican-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist's record as a Republican.
An outside group called Progressive Choice claims that - among other conservative ideas - Crist backed Jeb Bush's A+ plan which got the whole FCAT - school grading system going in Florida.
"We rated that one true, also," Gillin said. "Of course, Charle Crist has held many, many, many offices in his time here. Before he was governor and before he was attorney general, he was education commissioner from 2011 to 2003. So he was in charge of implementing that plan as education commissioner. As for whether he actually approved of it, he was a pretty vocal proponent of the whole thing."