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Crist's run-from-the-past run continues (gay-marriage edition)

From Republican to independent to Democrat, Charlie Crist has run the gamut of major political affiliations since 2010. As a statewide office-seeker since 1998, the former Republican governor became an independent when he couldn't beat Marco Rubio in a GOP Senate primary. So Crist became an independent.

Crist now sees a good shot at unseating unpopular incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott in 2014.

But he needs to be a Democrat to do it. And he needs to explain some of his past conservative positions.

Today, Crist officially became a Democrat when he registered with the party before posing for pictures with several Pinellas County elections workers. "You know what I will call you three? Charlie's angels," he told three of the staffers.

Get ready for more of that, voters: Crist's treacly one-liners vs. Scott's aloof awkwardness. It's gonna be a helluva battle of style, with a little substance thrown in. Of course, Crist needs to run and win in what could be a crowded Democratic primary.

Crist said he has no time line for deciding about running for governor (no one believes you, Charlie), but he acknowledged people in the Obama administration - though not the president himself - have encouraged him to run. He also spoke of his displeasure with Gov. Rick Scott.

"I am disappointed. It started with rejecting the high speed rail. When I was governor we had several special sessions to try to tee that up to the us dept of transportation, working on Sunrail. We were successful I think in proving that Florida needed it, wanted it and was ready for it. So I think that was disappointing. De-funding education - $1.3-billion the first year. As a public school kid that really bothered me and disappointed me. The way the environments being treated. The disabled. We could go on, but I won't," Crist said, adding that public servant need to be compassionate.

"That's a big reason I'm a Democrat now - because they care, and they're compassionate."

Asked if he regretted any decisions or positions he made as a Republican over more than two decades, Crist said, "There probably are a few," but everyone grows.

How about his signing the petition in 2006 to enshrine a ban on gay marriage into the state constitution? "Would I do it today? No," Crist said. "I think the best way to judge where my heart is is to look at the deeds that I have done, whether as attorney general, governor -restoration of rights, civil rights cases, things of that nature that I think show a compassionate heart and hopefully someone who cares and knows who the boss is - and the boss is the people of Florida."

But Crist didn't just sign the petition. The Republican Party under him helped fund the gay-marriage ban. And he boasted about voting for it.

"I voted for it," Crist told the Tampa Bay Times outside the polling place at the time. "It's what I believe in."

This post substantially borrows from Tampa Bay Time's Buzz blog.

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