‘Do you still identify as pro-life?’ Charlie Crist has scripted BS ready to explain abortion flip-flop

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist had to face the music when he was grilled on CNN about his past political rhetoric, specifically about his seeming reversal on the issue of abortion.

The Florida Democrat, who once ran the state as its Republican governor, was asked by “CNN Newsroom” anchor Pamela Brown to “square” his past pro-life stance with his current insistence that he is pro-choice on the abortion topic.

Crist may find he is increasingly going to be pressed to clarify his rhetoric as he looks to face off against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis after winning the Democratic primary last week.

Attempting to unseat the popular GOP governor for his old seat, Crist will be facing scrutiny over his infamous party-hopping after his tenure as governor when he switched his GOP party affiliation to independent after he lost the senatorial race to Marco Rubio. He switched again to Democrat and failed in his bid against Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) in 2014 before securing the 2016 Congressional seat.

In kicking off the CNN segment, Brown confronted Crist with the reality that DeSantis has “a record war chest for a governor.”


(Video: CNN)

“As one fundraiser told CNN, ‘Charlie has a better chance at getting a large check from the tooth fairy under his pillow than he does from national donors,’ making the point that Florida is not viewed by Democrats as a winnable state,” she said, asking the gubernatorial nominee how he planned to turn things around in such a short time.

“I think our chances are very good,” Crist responded, acknowledging that some polls showed him behind DeSantis but adding, “I know I’m on the right side of history on the issues that matter to Floridians like a woman’s right to choose.”

“I am pro-choice. He is not,” he continued, criticizing the incumbent governor for signing an abortion ban that he finds “unconscionable” and “barbaric.”

Crist pressed the women’s choice issue again when Brown noted that Florida has recently seen the number of Republicans increase in the state.

He contended that GOP voters are outnumbered by Democrats and Independents in the Sunshine State and, “plus, let’s not forget there are some moderate Republicans that still live in Florida that I think we have a great chance to get their vote,” adding that Republican women “don’t like some white guy in a governor’s mansion in Tallahassee telling them they don’t have a right to choose and make their own decisions about their body, their reproductive rights.”

Crist vowed that if elected governor, he will “sign an executive order on the first day of the Crist administration to protect a woman’s right to choose,” arguing that it is “the right thing to do.”

But Brown did not let him spew his rhetoric unchallenged.

“Do you still identify as pro-life?” she asked.

“I’m pro-choice and that is why I have a hundred percent rating by Planned Parenthood, by NARAL,” Crist insisted.

“In the past, you have said you were pro-life. Have your views on this changed over time? Has your perspective evolved into how you look at it now?” Brown pressed.

“No, they’ve only gotten stronger,” he replied.

“As I said, that is why as a Republican governor of Florida I vetoed an anti-abortion bill. That bill was calling for an ultrasound to be taken before a woman could make that decision, and would have to pay for it at the same time. I thought it was mean-spirited. I thought it was inappropriate. I thought it was wrong as a Republican governor. I’ve already done that. I’ll do it as a Democratic governor, and I look forward to–” Crist continued before Brown interjected to get him to answer the question.

“In the past, you said you were pro-life. Now you’re saying you are pro-choice. You said your view has only gotten stronger. Help us square that if you would — saying in the past you were pro-life, now saying your views have gotten stronger to be pro-choice,” she said.

“Deeds are the most important part of this discussion,” the now-Democrat lawmaker replied. “As a young state senator, I voted against an anti-abortion bill and in health care committee, killed the bill on a 3-3 tie and it never went to the Senate floor. As a Republican governor I vetoed an anti-abortion bill.”

“My record’s crystal clear,” Crist insisted, as he touted endorsements from Planned Parenthood and NARAL. “Nobody in this race — because it is only me and Ron DeSantis now — has a better record on protecting women and standing up for them, and fighting for their choice, and making their own decisions for themselves. They’re not going to find a better defender than Charlie Crist of their right to choose.”

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