Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (D) said Sunday that President Obama’s controversial healthcare law has been “great” for residents of his state.
Crist has sharply criticized the healthcare law in the past. But the former Republican governor and 2008 GOP vice-presidential short-lister is running for his old post this year as a Democrat.
Crist said during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” that he would have no problem running on the healthcare bill, which is known colloquially as ObamaCare, as he seeks to regain his former office.
“I think it’s been great,” Crist continued. “I know the rollout was difficult; I’m sure the president feels that way too. I had the opportunity to visit with him Friday in Miami … I know that he has a compassionate heart. People getting healthcare is like a civil right. People need to have shelter; they need food; they need water, and they need healthcare, and they deserve it. We’re the richest country in the world, and we ought to provide it and God Bless [Obama] for doing it.”
Crist is seeking his former post this year against his successor as Florida governor, Rick Scott (R), who took office in 2011, after Crist left office after one term to run an unsuccessful Senate bid. The Crist-Scott race is expected to be one of the most closely watched gubernatorial races this year, and it is also shaping up to be one of the most expensive.
Crist said Sunday that Republicans in Florida and other states that have large elderly populations were unfairly criticizing ObamaCare for its potential impact on programs like Medicare, which is historically very popular with senior voters.
“People on the other side are using that as a fear tactic, and it’s wrong,” Crist said. “That’s why we have the Affordable Care Act, exactly why. To make sure that they don’t lose it in the future, that they have some place that they can, that they can get healthcare, and it’s more affordable than what they may have had before. That’s the whole idea, and that’s why I think at the end of the day, this is going to be a very popular program because it’s doing the right thing for the people of our country and my state.”
Crist said other Democrats who are running away from Obama and the healthcare “ought to strengthen up.
“The president’s a smart guy, and he’s doing the right thing,” he said.
Crist endorsed Obama’s bid for reelection in 2012, and he announced his conversion to the Democratic Party during a visit to the White House after the election that year.