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Charlie Crist disses idea of debate with Nan Rich


Charlie Crist dismissed the idea of debating former state Sen. Nan Rich in a Democratic primary for governor.

Here’s part of the transcript from a press gaggle at a Crist fundraiser at Greenspoon Marder law firm in Fort Lauderdale today:

Q: “Will you be debating Nan Rich and if so do you think that will be in Broward and how many times do you expect to debate her?”

Crist: “I don't.”

Q: “You don't expect you'll be debating her?”

Crist: “I'm not even thinking about it right now to be honest with you Tony [Man, Sun-Sentinel reporter.] I am focused on doing everything I can to help the people of Florida. And this is not a race really about candidates this is a race about people of our state -- about teachers, about law enforcement officers, firefighters, people that in my opinion have not been honored in the way they deserve to be honored....”

Q: “The folks at Broward Days though think you should at least give it a shake to debate her. Especially Broward County is such a Democratic stronghold. They said they heard back from her campaign that she’d be willing to talk to you in a forum like that but no plans for that?”

Crist: “No.”

Crist was later asked about his stance on gay marriage, medical marijuana and Gov. Rick Scott’s proposed education budget.

Crist: “Like the president, let’s start with that, I always supported civil unions. But I thought about it just as President Obama thought about it and I have come to the conclusion as the pope said himself ‘who am I to judge?’ I’ve always been a live and let live kind of guy that’s what’s in my heart....”

Q: Did you ever publicly express your support for civil unions?

Crist: “Yes.”

(See Marc Caputo's analysis of Crist and civil unions here.)

“On the issue of medical marijuana I am delighted that it is going to be on the ballot. I will vote for it. I think it is the right thing to do . If you have a physician who wants to prescribe medical marijuana for a patient who is suffering or has loss of appetite why would you be opposed to that?...”

Q: "What’s your thought on Common Core and on Scott’s education budget proposal yesterday . If you were governor would you fund education any differently than what he proposed yesterday?"

Crist: “Yeah and what he proposed when he first got there. Cutting education by $1.3 billion first year your first year as governor in state of Florida is ridiculous. It seems to me that trying to make some conversion in the election year and acting like you really care about education is laughable. I’ll just be straight up on this I just don’t think we can believe what he’s doing....,” he said, before slipping in a mention of the $1.7 billion Medicaid fine paid for by Scott’s former health care company. “If I get the opportunity because of the kindness of people of Florida to be involved in crafting an education budget....I’m a friend of education, always have been, always will be.”

Q: "Are you a supporter of Common Core?"

Crist: "I am. I am."