Former Fla. Governor Left GOP Because of Race-Based Hostility Toward Obama

Former Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican-turned-Democrat, says in an interview that he felt that his former party was not reflecting him or his core beliefs. 

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Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist visits SiriusXM’s Book Club With Michael Smerconish to discuss his new book, The Party’s Over: How the Extreme Right Hijacked the GOP and I Became a Democrat, on Feb. 6, 2014, at SiriusXM Studio in Washington, D.C. 

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Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist called out the GOP in a Tuesday interview with Fusion, saying that he defected from his former party because of its aggressive opposition to the president because of Obama's race.

"I left the Republican Party because Republican leadership went off the cliff. They're so hard right now, they won't cooperate with the president on anything," he told Fusion's Jorge Ramos. "I couldn't be consistent with myself and my core beliefs and stay with a party that was so unfriendly toward the African-American president, I'll just go there. Because I was a Republican and I saw the activists and what they were doing; it was intolerable to me.

"My mother and father taught my three sisters and me to treat everybody well; we're all children of God," he added. "And I saw how the party, some of them, were treating the African-American president and I couldn't take it anymore. That's a big part of why I left the party."

Crist, who is running again for his old office against current Republican Gov. Rick Scott, said that he was "liberated as a Democrat" when he switched sides, freeing him to express opinions that he often compromised to be a team player.

The newly minted Democrat has been on the receiving end of a lot of scorn for "flip-flopping" on issues such as in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants, the Affordable Care Act, and the U.S. embargo against Cuba, Fusion notes.

Crist quoted Jeb Bush, saying the prospective presidential candidate said it best—that the GOP is viewed as "anti-women, anti-immigrant, anti-minority, anti-gay."

"I am liberated as a Democrat, my true soul is able to be seen, and I couldn't be happier about it," Crist told Ramos.

Read more at Fusion.