A sure sign that an election is a year away: Gov. Charlie Crist is changing again.
The populist Republican governor is trying to convince people he’s a conservative now that his opponent in the Republican primary for Senate, former House Speaker Marco Rubio, has cut considerably into Crist’s lead in the polls with a conservative message.
In the most extreme example of Crist reinventing himself, the governor denied endorsing the $787 billion federal stimulus and put out a radio ad in October criticizing President Barack Obama for trying to spend his way to prosperity. Crist clearly did endorse the package in February, saying it would help re-ignite the economy.
Choosing or changing positions based on what’s politically popular is nothing new for Crist. Whether it’s abortion laws, oil drilling or even the politicians he associates with, Crist can be a political chameleon.
“I do see him as a populist because he does sort of at the moment in time reflect what people are thinking and then moves with the public,” said Susan MacManus, a University of South Florida political science professor. “The true base conservatives think he’s a Republican one minute and a Democrat the next.” Read the rest of this analysis from the AP here.