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Charlie Crist endorses Barack Obama. Is DNC speaking role next?

On the cusp of the Republican National Convention that he helped bring to his home of Tampa Bay, former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist goes all in for Democrat Barack Obama in a Tampa Bay Times editorial.

It's looks like yet another indication that Crist, an independent, plans on becoming a Democrat and running for governor. The next sign: Whether he gets a speaking slot at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

In some ways, Obama owes Crist, who literally and figuratively embraced the president's stimulus plan in 2009 in Fort Myers when the rest of the Republican party was busy trashing it. Aside from being a political opportunist (Obama was popular at the time), Crist was being honest. He knew the Republican Legislature would have to take the money and that the state needed it to prevent deep budget cuts and state-worker layoffs. Every governor knew it. That's why they all took nearly all of the stimulus money.

But only Crist went on stage. It made for good general-election politics at the time, but bad primary politics in 2010, when Marco Rubio chased him out of the GOP and beat him in the U.S. Senate race.

From Crist's Tampa Bay Times op-ed:

I’ve studied, admired and gotten to know a lot of leaders in my life. Across Florida, in Washington and around the country, I've watched the failure of those who favor extreme rhetoric over sensible compromise, and I've seen how those who never lose sight of solutions sow the greatest successes.

As America prepares to pick our president for the next four years — and as Florida prepares once again to play a decisive role — I'm confident that President Barack Obama is the right leader for our state and the nation. I applaud and share his vision of a future built by a strong and confident middle class in an economy that gives us the opportunity to reap prosperity through hard work and personal responsibility. It is a vision of the future proven right by our history.

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