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Charlie Crist: Don't Scrap Obamacare ... But I Can't Name One Part Worth Keeping

11:35 AM, Feb 27, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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From the Palm Beach Post, this is classic Charlie Crist:

Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican U.S. Senate candidate, told The Palm Beach Post editorial board on Friday that, unlike many Republicans in Washington, he didn’t think President Obama should scrap his health care reform proposal:

“There may be parts of it that you don’t have to scrap. There are three parts of it that I would like to see scrapped: It would raise taxes significantly, it would raise rates significantly and it would take half-a-trillion dollars out of Medicare.

“I think the real issue here, as it relates to health care, is that people want it to not cost so much and people want to have access to it. I think there is a consensus of agreement that the health care that is delivered in America is good. But it’s not easy to get it and it’s too expensive when you do get it.”

Asked if there were any parts of the bill he liked, Crist said:

“I don’t think a whole lot. Watching the discussion yesterday (Thursday) you get a chance to sort of see more of it be ferreted out. You know, I’m the kind of guy … I’m pragmatic. The stimulus is a great example. We needed the money. Every other Republican governor took it, too. I was just maybe a little more honest and straight forward about it. Well, shame on me for being honest. But, you know, as it relates to health care, if there are good ideas, I’m willing to look at them. And I would take that same approach to any issue in Washington.”

Asked again if there were any parts he liked he said:

“Not at present. No.”

Not one good idea?

“There may be. There may be. You know, I’m pretty focused on Florida right now. I mean, after the session I’ll be more focused on the issues in Washington. But I’ve got to do my first job first.”

Does Crist not understand how the legislative process works? Of course Congress would have to start over on a new bill if it's going to get rid of the tax hikes and Medicare cuts. But Crist has to have it both ways even on a Democratic health care bill that Republicans and independents hate. This hemming and hawing has to top Crist's flip flop on the stimulus, which did significant damage to his campaign in 2009.

Crist's blunder comes just as someone who had his interests very much in mind leaked records of Marco Rubio's Florida Republican party credit card to the Miami Herald. (Earlier in the week, two polls showed Crist trailing Rubio by 18 points and Jeb Bush called Crist's backing of Obama's stimulus "unforgivable.")

Over two years, Rubio charged $100,000 to the party card, including some personal expenses for which he reimbursed the party at the time. This is a common business practice, as Ed Morrissey notes, but potentially problematic for a politician. The leaked records revealed one oversight: Rubio had double-billed for some flights, so he wrote a $3,000 check to the party this week. This character attack on Rubio seems like the first story that has the potential to do him damage.

Charlie Crist became so emboldened by the news that he had taken to brazenly mixing metphors. His message to Rubio: "welcome to the NFL. If you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen."

But now, with his Obamacare straddle, it looks like Charlie just dropped the ball. Or cooked his goose. Or whatever he did, metaphorically speaking, to help ensure his own defeat in the Florida Senate race.

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