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Chameleon Crist visits Maher, switches position on U.S.-Cuba embargo

By   /   February 10, 2014  /   News  /   No Comments

By William Patrick | Florida Watchdog

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — It’s no secret former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist loves the spotlight.

REAL TIME?: Charlie Crist now supports lifting the U.S. economic embargo against Cuba.

True to form, Crist appeared on HBO‘s “Real Time with Bill Maher” on Friday night to discuss his recent political conversion with one of Hollywood‘s most acerbic liberal comedians.

A longtime Republican, Crist ran as an independent during a failed 2010 U.S. Senate bid against GOP endorsed — and Cuban-American leader — Sen. Marco Rubio.

Crist wants his old job back at the governor’s mansion, but this time as a Democrat.

The nine-minute sit-down was a nationally televised opportunity for Crist to promote his new book, “The Party’s Over: How the Extreme Right Hijacked the GOP and I Became a Democrat.”

After an exchange that touched on racism and the infamous Crist-Obama Stimulus hug, the conversation turned to the United States‘ economic embargo of Cuba.

“If we had done the right thing years ago Cuba would now be St. Bart‘s and all the kids going on spring break would be there next month having a great time and drinking mai tais,” Maher said.

Crist agreed and said lifting the embargo is “the right thing to do.” He previously supported it.

“The embargo has been there 50 years now. I don’t think it worked. It is obvious to me that we need to move forward and I think get the embargo taken away,” Crist said.

Lifting the embargo would create jobs and stimulate South Florida’s economy, he said.

Members of Cuba’s American exile community weren’t amused.

“In another unsurprising example of his flip-flopping positions, Charlie has switched gears and now says he opposes the Cuban embargo. It’s a shame that a former governor of Florida, whose state is comprised of many freedom loving individuals, wishes to promote policies that only benefit the Castro tyranny and not the people of Cuba suffering under the dictatorship,” said U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a moderate South Florida Republican.

The Miami Herald reported Crist’s book doubles as a campaign document with instances of rewritten history. The liberal news magazine, The New Republic, wasn’t as kind. A blistering review calls Crist’s tell-all “a dishonest and boring memoir” and “a self-justifying account of why Crist switched parties.”


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William Patrick is Watchdog.org’s Florida reporter. His work has been featured by Fox News, the Drudge Report, and Townhall.com, as well as other national news and opinion websites. He’s also been cited and reposted by numerous state news organizations, including Florida Trend, Sunshine State News and the Miami Herald, and is a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Florida Press Association. William’s work has impacted discussions on education, privacy, criminal justice reform, and government and corporate accountability. Prior to joining Watchdog, William worked for the James Madison Institute in Tallahassee, Fla. There, he launched a legislative news website covering state economic issues. After leaving New York City in 2010, William worked for the Florida Attorney General’s Office where he assisted state attorneys general in prosecuting Medicaid Fraud. William graduated magna cum laude from Hunter College, City University of New York. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife and three young children.