After abandoning his bid for Florida’s Republican Senate nomination, Charlie Crist gave an interview to National Review in which he gushed about life as an independent candidate. “[Connecticut Sen. Joe] Lieberman told me that [going independent] is the most liberating thing,” Crist said. “He was right. I’m much happier now, to be perfectly candid.”
The admission — that Crist felt constrained by the need to hew to party doctrine — may not have been particularly wise, but there’s no question that being eclipsed by Marco Rubio’s star has freed Crist to take stands that can be perilous within the GOP firmament. First Crist spoke out against the Arizona immigration law and offshore drilling. Now, as the Rubio campaign is gleefully pointing out in an email blast, he’s scrubbed a page touting his “Pro Life/Family” credentials from his website. “When he was a Republican trying to win the Republican primary, Crist repeatedly stated he was pro-life and even said he would ‘fight for pro-life legislation if he’s elected to the Senate,’” wrote Rubio spokesman Alex Burgos. “However, now that he has left the Republican Party in order to win an election and is trying to attract liberal votes, the Crist campaign yesterday removed the “pro-life/family” issue page of its website.”
If you’re desperate to see the page in question, not to worry: the Rubio camp has you covered. They also point out that back when Crist was a Senate candidate in 1998, he defended a woman’s right to choose. Over the years, as the St. Petersburg Times reported last month, Crist has found a number of ways to parse this hot-button issue.