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PolitiFact Florida's Flip-Flops on Charlie Crist

In two words, He's baaaack. But then again, did Charlie Crist ever really leave us?

After all, he's the eternal candidate. Crist has run for everything from education commissioner to to attorney general to governor and Senator.

Now, Charlie says he's ready to run again - this time for Congress. That is, if a upcoming redistricting mandated by the Florida Supreme Court shifts the district now held by David Jollyto the south to include his St. Petersburg home.  Jolly's running for the Senate seat being vacated by Marco Rubio.

Crist said in a Twitter post: "If the new district map includes my home, I intend on running to serve the people again."

So that brings him back full circle in the realm of PolitiFact Florida. Crist has been somewhat of a "trampoline," with PolitiFact Florida giving him a bunch of flip-flops on the issues. Here's a few:

On support for the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare):While Crist initially supported repealing the law as governor, his opinions changed over his subsequent campaigns. Wanting to keep the law while running for another term earned him a Full Flop.

On support for same-sex marriage: After voting for a ban in his first gubernatorial campaign, Charlie Crist now backs same-sex marriage. We rated this a Full Flop.

On adoption by gay couples: During his 2006 race for governor as a Republican, Crist repeatedly supported the state’s ban on gay parents adopting, but that changed once he became an Independent. By the time he was a Democrat, he fully supported adoption, a Full Flop.

On oil drilling off Florida’s coast: Crist has been against drilling, although he did wobble in 2008 by suggesting it could be discussed. Ultimately he went back to his original position, so we rated this No Flip.

On the economic stimulus: Crist initially supported the stimulus when it was passed in 2009 before softening his support of it in 2010 in an attempt to win the Republican primary for U.S. Senate. Now he supports it again. We called that a Half Flip.

The recession and economic turnaround

Crist’s position on the federal stimulus has come up many times since 2009. During the 2014 campaign he disagreed with Scott’s condemnation of the package, saying that if Crist had refused the money, it "would have led to the firing of 20,000 teachers."

It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact number of teachers who would have been laid off statewide, since districts would have had discretion in how to handle their own budget cutting. The Education Department did identify 19,166 full-time equivalent jobs -- not just teachers -- affected by the stimulus money. We rated the statement Mostly True.

And while the Great Recession was in full swing during Crist’s term, he took credit for overseeing the start of Florida’s recovery. He told CNN’s Candy Crowley the "turnaround started at the end of my term."

During Crist’s last year in office, Florida’s economy experienced notable gains in personal income and industrial production, and more marginal improvements in the unemployment rate and in payroll employment . But GDP didn’t grow again until Scott took office.

Economists said he deserved some credit for the economic turnaround because he accepted federal stimulus dollars, but they added a lot of the recovery was beyond any single state’s control. We rated Crist’s statement Half True.

Copyright 2020 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7. To see more, visit WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7.

Steve Newborn is WUSF's assistant news director as well as a reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.