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Crist looks to his future, reflects on past

Gov. Charlie Crist dropped new hints about his future Thursday, saying he's in "serious" talks with trial lawyer John Morgan about joining the Morgan & Morgan law firm that backed his failed bid for the U.S. Senate. He said that when his term ends in a few weeks, he'll divide his time between his hometown of St. Petersburg and Miami, where his wife Carole owns a home.

Crist, who will leave office Jan. 4, said he would attend a future New York meeting of the fledgling national political group No Labels, which opposes what it calls "hyper-partisanship" in national politics.  

In a half-hour Q-and-A session at the Governor's Mansion, he declined to offer any specific advice to his successor, Republican Rick Scott. "It's a little unfair. He hasn't even been sworn in yet," Crist said.

The governor said he had no regrets about his decision to forgo re-election as governor to seek a U.S. Senate seat -- a move that ended in dramatic defeat for Crist and totally reshaped the statewide political landscape. "It was time," he said. 

Crist burst out laughing when a reporter said he has become a "toxic" figure in Florida politics after renouncing the Republican Party. "A defeat doesn't mean that everything went wrong," Crist said. "I think it means that the people made a different choice, and I think we're in a much different climate today than we were four years ago."

Clarifying his views that his former party has moved too far to the right, he said: "Some of it. Some of it. There's still some reasonable Republicans, like my parents, And my wife."

-- Steve Bousquet