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Crist now supports DADT repeal compromise

Charlie Crist, who previously opposed repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell when he was a Republican but has since been under pressure to take a stand on current repeal efforts, will now support the repeal compromise, his spokesperson confirms to me.

Until recently, Crist had been saying that the current policy works. But with the repeal compromise moving forward in Congress, both Republican Marco Rubio and Dem Kendrick Meek, each for their own reasons, have been pressuring Crist to take a stand on the compromise.

Now Crist is coming out for it. His spokesperson, Michelle Todd, emails a statement from him:

"Ultimately, as in all military matters I defer to the Pentagon and to the Generals and what the Senate is doing today is giving them the ultimate authority to do what is best for our military. So, I would be inclined to support the Senate's action on this."

Crist's claim that the measure gives "ultimate authority" to the commanders appears to be a reference to the fact that the compromise mandates that the Pentagon complete its study before repeal is implemented.

Nonetheless, Crist's support for the "Senate's action" is equivalent to support for repeal, because that's what the compromise does.

Crist's backing of repeal is a reflection of how much his political situation has shifted since being driven from the GOP: He now needs to compete with Meek for Dem votes, while simultaneously battling with Rubio for moderate Republicans. He needs support from both camps -- hence his backing of repeal, even as he hedges a bit by suggesting he's merely deferring to the commanders.

By Greg Sargent  |  May 27, 2010; 3:11 PM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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How many 180 degree flip flops does this now make in the last 2 months.


Vote for Kendrick Meek in November.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 27, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

"We are a nation at war. The governor believes the current policy has worked, and there is no need to make changes,"

~ Charlie Crist, through spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg in FEBRUARY 2010

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 27, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

"He now needs to compete with Meek for Dem votes, while simultaneously battling with Rubio for moderate Republicans."

I disagree with this statement Greg. The moderate Republicans were always with Crist, he has no reason to actually compete with Rubio, really. Rubio's base is pretty much a fixed number I reckon. This is all about luring away Meek's voters without alienating who he already has in his stable.

Posted by: holyhandgrenaid | May 27, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

well, holy, that's saying the same thing, really -- rubio is making an appeal to Crist moderate Republicans, he has to hang on to them, therefore they're competing for them...

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 27, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

It has amazed me that when national polls put repeal of DADT at close to 80% and yet so many within the GOP are STILL willing to cling to that hopelessly outdated social relic.

Crist apparently noticed which way the political winds were blowing. Isn't it amazing how liberating it can be when one is freed from the shackles of the GOP?

Posted by: Gasman1 | May 27, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, and watch Meek get all those Dems back in the fold and watch the race turn into Crist and Rubio scrambling for what's left while Meek hits his stride.

This race is FAR from over.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 27, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Maybe I didn't articulate it right. I don't think Crist was EVER at risk of losing those voters; they were still going to vote for him in the GOP primary. I frankly think that Rubio has a fixed vote percentage- no movement either up or down, and that the outcome of this race is all about how much Crist pulls off Meek or vice versa.

Posted by: holyhandgrenaid | May 27, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

For more on-the-ground coverage of Crist vs. Meek vs. Rubio, please visit

Posted by: saintpetersblog | May 27, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Crist is COMING OUT for it? interesting choice of words.

Posted by: BlueSquareState | May 27, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

interesting, holy, thanks -- you don't think rubio can cut a bit into Crist's support once he starts sounding all moderate and reasonable and paints Crist as an opportunist?

I really am asking -- I don't have a great feal for that race...

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 27, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Crist is COMING OUT for it? interesting choice of words.

Posted by: BlueSquareState | May 27, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Heck Greg, what do I know, I live in Canada. Rubio is nuts though, and has 2 opponents to throw is nuttery right back at him.

Posted by: holyhandgrenaid | May 27, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

What we got here is another Arlen Specter.

No wonder he was kicked out of the Republican party.

It was an act of political hygiene.

Posted by: battleground51 | May 27, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

The Kentucky race is starting to look kinda competative:

Paul 44
Conway 40

Rand's favorables are slipping among indies. (Gosh, who coulda guessed?)

Posted by: suekzoo1 | May 27, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Thinking more about the Sestak issue, why doesn't the GOP realize why Jon Huntsman is the Ambassador to China?

Posted by: suekzoo1 | May 27, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

@Ethan I hear ya brother but as a Floridian I have to confess that I'm an ANYBODY BUT MARCO before I'm a Dem. In fact I'm registered as an I. When it gets down to it I like Meek but if he isn't within 2 points of the lead and Crist is the best shot at beating Rubio, Charlie gets my vote.

@Greg Again as a Floridian who will probably end up voting for Crist I have to tell you Rubio is a certifiable sleezy pol.
The Florida R's are in the midst of a HUGE credit card scandal that could literally still result in tax evasion charges.

More importantly Marco more that quadrupled his income from 82,000 to over $400,000 during his tenure in the House.
As Speaker he gave out numerous tax breaks, tax money,and other favorable treatment to special interests..including a juco in his hometown where he took a six figure "teaching" position shortly after directing millions of tax dollars their way. His "consultancy" and "law firm" has also received hundreds of thousands of dollars in business from special interests who benefited while Marco was Speaker.
His handpicked successor was forced to resign over the same type of political favors on a quid pro quo basis.

Only the Tparty crowd refused to connect those dots.

@Gasman "Isn't it amazing how liberating it can be when one is freed from the shackles of the GOP?"

Exactly Gman. Charlie is a decent human being who is open to the charges of political expediency. But what politician isn't political. Personally I hoping for more independents to make it to the Senate.

LIEberman, Sanders, and now Crist..that's many more would it take before we could have an independent caucus to break up the stupid seniority system in the Senate which is now controlled by just two parties.

Posted by: rukidding7 | May 27, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Crist admitting he is gay would be pretty cool. Republicans wouldn't be able to help themselves from resorting to anti-gay rhetoric. They are beholden to the christian right and must denounce all gay behavior as sin.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 27, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Are you aware Mike from A that Charlie has actually had to deal with those rumors his entire career. He recently married yet many speculated his rich wife Carol was just a beard so he wouldn't be knocked out of consideration for the VP selection.

Of course now with Palin getting that nod, Rubio and the Tea Party..that all seems like ancient history.

But I agree it would be excellent if Charlie got elected and then decided WTF I have 6 years I'm going to come out of the closet. That would put some new perspective on the entire absurdity that has arisen out of people's sexual id's.

Posted by: rukidding7 | May 27, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

There's no way Rubio will pull votes away from Crist. He's got all the votes he's getting. He can't come back as a more moderate candidate because he's gone off the deep end for the tea party. Any time he tries to be more moderate they call him out until he changes his position - like on the AZ immigration law. Initially Rubio said he didn't support it - he got a lot of backlash for that from the tea partiers, so he changed his position and he now supports the AZ immigration law.

Crist is going to continue to try and bleed votes from the real Democrat in the race because he has nowhere else to go. He's saddled with a huge RPOF credit card scandal and he's flip flopped on every single issue in the last 3 years - including DADT, oil drilling (which he signed a bill for last year and now apparently opposes), etc.

Meek is the best candidate in the race and over the next few months he will rally the Dem base and move to a win in November.

Posted by: queenofbabble | May 27, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

queenofbabble I hope you are correct but I'm not sure I share our optimism.

But then I hail from Charlie's hometown.
Crist has always been a moderate until the possible VP selection and the advent of the Tparty forced the ENTIRE Republican party to the right of Attila the Hun.

Yes he has flipped flopped back and forth during all of that, but here in Florida one senses his most recent flops are closer to his centrist leanings than his earlier flops to counter Marco's conservative cred.

Posted by: rukidding7 | May 27, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

OT, but here's a nice update on the efforts to plug the leak. They've already gone through one barge of mud, working on second with another on standby. They're thinking of adding in some junk, rubber and presumably golf balls (round spheres) to help plug the leaks on the BOP. They seem to be worried that the volume of leakage is so high and how much cement is it going to take?

Posted by: lmsinca | May 27, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

For those interested in this story (aka not me)

First Read:

To follow up on the president's promise to release an "official response" into the matter of whether Joe Sestak was offered a job by the White House to keep him from challenging Arlen Specter, sources say the "official response" is a reference to an official report currently being prepared by the White House counsel's office.

The report will be released in the next few days. All parties are cooperating with this report, including Sestak.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 27, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse


Imsinca: Fingers crossed re GOM. Please make it stop.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 27, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Ethan I'm with you on the non-story of Sestak. Here's Digby's take after the presser.

"Unfortunately, the president just validated the idea that this is a huge deal by making it sound like it requires an "official response" and then allowing it to fester rather than releasing this "official response" immediately. Now the press can really get worked up. Look for Sestak to hold a press conference soon, ratcheting up the "scandal" even more. If we're really lucky maybe he can be forced out of the race over this ludicrous non-story before Toomey even has to spend any money. However, he should probably agree to don a hair shirt and walk through the streets of Philly flagellating himself with a cat-o-nine tails for having the temerity to suggest that the White House might have made a perfectly legal and commonplace offer which he declined. It's the least he can do for making the horrible mistake of bucking the party establishment when it insisted the Democrats must back Republicans they loathe."

Posted by: lmsinca | May 27, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse


I understand you not wanting Rubio in but the truth is in a practical sense voting for Crist is pretty much the same thing. Crist WILL caucus with Republicans when he gets in, there's no doubt at all in my mind about that. And neither would be chairing any committees. So just like Rubio would vote lockstep with Repubs so will Crist. The only difference is maybe Rubio makes crazier floor speeches.

Do you realize that Crist on Monday of this week was against repeal? He refused to say yesterday, after the military had already backed the compromise for repeal, if he was for repeal. In fact it was only today, after Dems said they have the votes for repeal, that he says he defers to the military leadership. He will say and do just about anything to get in the Senate right now but he has less integrity than Mitt Romney and that's saying something. The best you could expect is that he'd be a worse Joe Lieberman but I think even that is a fantasy. Really if Meek doesn't get in we are screwed regardless. And I can only hope folks start to see that.

Posted by: sgwhiteinfla | May 27, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

I agree with SG's comment entirely.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 27, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

It's not working.

"HOUSTON — BP had to halt its ambitious effort to plug its stricken oil well in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday afternoon when engineers saw that too much of the drilling fluid they were injecting into the well was escaping along with the leaking crude oil."

"A technician at the BP command center said that pumping of the fluid had to be stopped temporarily while engineers were revising their plans, and that the company hoped to resume pumping by midnight, if federal officials approved."

Posted by: lmsinca | May 27, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

All, my take on Obama's presser:

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 27, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

SG & Ethan I'm with you as far as my preference for Meek. But alas this really is an election where there is a possibility to waste a vote. Kendrick has to become far more competitive to get my vote. He has time and if any pollsters call in the meanwhile I'll say I'm voting for Kendrick.

But I don't believe Crist elected as an independent will have to march in the same lockstep as Rubio. Yes he'll caucus with the R's for seniority and leadership positions but it will be really hard for him to forget what they've done to him.
In the span of 18months they've gone from considering him for a V.P. slot to telling him to get out of the race where he was the early and dominant favorite so that an unknown crook could take his place. I certainly don't disagree that he'll caucus with R's but I think he'll definitely feel free to vote his conscience.

Meanwhile Kendrick has to get on the stick. Thank goodness his Liberty City Scandal came out early in the campaign. At least he still has some time remaining.

Posted by: rukidding7 | May 27, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse


One thing I'll say about repubs is they have supreme party discipline. If you agree Crist will caucus with them then you' gotta admit that no matter what he's gonna vote lock step. It's the only way he'll survive in their caucus. I can't say how you should vote but please don't be surprised at him voting like Demint if he wins. Look at the few real moderates in Senate like Lugar Snowe Hatch etc. If they are all voting like wing nuts then there's zero chance Crist won't do the same. Zero

Posted by: sgwhiteinfla | May 27, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Crist is gay. Of course he will agree to this, but only after everyone else does, because he will not admit that he is gay.

Crist will not lose because he is gay. He will lose because he is not honest and not the best person to represent FL.

Posted by: letscheck | May 29, 2010 4:34 AM | Report abuse

I have always said, "Don't trust a turncoat!"

FL knows Crist's color and it is 'yellow.'

Voting in Marco Rubio is the better choice.

Posted by: imaginemore | May 30, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

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