More than 600 beltway elites gathered tonight in white tie at the Renaissance Washington for the 129th anniversary dinner of the Gridiron Club and Foundation. Along with skits from the journalists, the closed event featured Texas Sen. Ted Cruz speaking for Republicans, Sec. of State John Kerry speaking for the White House and Charlie Crist for Democrats.
The Gridiron Club, which funds college scholarships and journalism organizations, allows no live tweeting of the dinner, let alone TV cameras or recordings. But at least we can give you Charlie Crist's remarks as prepared for delivery:
I know what you’re thinking—why Charlie Crist?
Simple— The Gridiron wanted someone of color.
It’s an honor for me to have been invited to this legendary event, one that has such a great tradition.
The Gridiron always pokes fun at candidates from both parties. You could have saved time and just invited me.
A lot of you may not know that much about me so let me give you some background.
I’m a guy with a healthy ego. But every time my ego gets a little out of control my wife reminds me that John McCain
considered me and Sarah Palin for Vice President and decided Sarah was more qualified.
I’m running for office again. Bottom line, I want my old job back. It’s the same reason Hillary is running for President.
One of the things I plan to do in my campaign is attack Rick Scott on the fact that he has let immigrants cross into Florida
to commit crimes, but enough about Justin Bieber.
Have you ever seen Rick Scott? He looks like James Carville’s evil Republican twin.
As I join you here in the nation’s capitol, I’m struck by the biggest difference between Florida and Washington DC. We
have shark attacks; you have books by Bob Gates.
I ran for Senate in 2010. Back then Ted Cruz was big fan of Donald Trump. Now Ted is saying, “lighten up on all that
born overseas birth certificate stuff.”
Ted you really are an amazing guy.
I mean to filibuster for 21 hours straight. As lawyers, we both know that’s about 63 billable hours.
Since I’m following Ted I also had a breakfast speech prepared.
I know it’s odd to see a guy like me follow Ted. Usually Ted’s followers have tri-corner aluminum foil hats.
I was trying to estimate how many people are here tonight but you know how much trouble Floridians have when it comes
to counting. All I know is it is more people than watch CNN.
You know things are bad at CNN when they say they may go to a print edition.
Sorry Candy, go easy on me tomorrow.
Yes, you in the press play a critical role in our society.
One of the important jobs all of you do is shine a light on Washington.
People get the wrong idea about politics when they see TV shows like House of Cards. People in DC aren’t nearly that
ethical. Or good looking. Or articulate.
There are a lot of reporters here representing our most prestigious papers.
And from Colorado and Washington State, there are a couple guys representing rolling papers. This could be the first year
High Times wins a Pulitzer.
The big criticism I face is that people don’t know where I stand. So it’s time to let you know once and for all what I
I believe in President Obama and I’m not going to say anything bad about him for two reasons. I like him and he has
I believe what unites us regardless of party is our realization that we all have a ruthless common enemy willing to attack
our way of life – Mark Leibovich.
I believe politicians should come to Washington with a goal.
For some it is to change America for the better. For Paul Ryan, that goal was to bench press 275.
I believe that if something is important, you should put it in writing. Just don’t let Edward Snowden near it.
I believe in freedom of speech. Even if that speech is reading Dr. Seuss in front of congress – Ted.
I believe that John Dingell’s retirement opens up a chance for young members to move up in the ranks – young upstarts
like John Conyers and Charlie Rangel.
I believe that the GOP presidential campaign will come down to Chris Christie versus Ted Cruz. They represent the two
wings of the GOP—the shutdown bridges faction versus the shutdown the entire government faction.
I believe that there is still a big tent in the GOP. With room for far right conservatives like Rand Paul and extreme liberals
like Marco Rubio.
And most of all I believe that government should care for those struggling to get by, those without hope – print reporters.
If you want to know more about what I believe in you can read my new book, The Party’s Over: How The Extreme Right
Hijacked the GOP and I Became A Democrat. If you read it backwards it sounds like the Joe Lieberman story.
One thing I don’t address in the book are the rumors about me. So I’ve decided it’s time to address them once and for all.
Confession is good for the soul and I’ve decided to admit to things about my past.
I admit I have done a few endorsement deals: [PHOTO: Just for Men Touch of Grey]
I am not ashamed to admit how much I admire John Kerry.
He’s been a mentor to me, a guy I try to emulate. [PHOTO: Windsurfing]
For years I’ve been hiding the fact I have a long lost twin. [PHOTO: George Hamilton]
I have a strange hobby. I collect fossils. [PHOTO: Newspapers]
It’s true I meddle in foreign policy. In fact I told the President I will go to Moscow to negotiate with Vladimir Putin
because Putin will be intimidated by me. [PHOTO: Bear Meme]
Of course there’s a lot of rumors going around Tallahassee about who I’d pick as my Lieutenant Governor, but I’ve got
the perfect guy who fits right in… [PHOTO: ROB FORD], especially during spring break.
But now the big one, I admit to the rumor going around about me for years—for I did in fact have a relationship with a
man… a loving relationship…a relationship that some people objected to… [PHOTO: Obama Hug]
I want to sincerely thank Clark Hoyt and the Gridiron members for inviting me to speak.
Tonight is a chance for those of us who run for office and those who report on what we do, to relax together, have some
fun and to carry on a tradition that has been part of life in Washington DC since 1885.
The Gridiron is unique—it’s an opportunity for press and politicians, Democrats and Republicans, to show that despite
our differences, we also have a lot in common.
We all want our country to be stronger. We all want it to be better.
We could use a little more of that cooperation. We could use more of that friendly dialogue. We could use more of that
attitude — in Washington DC and in Florida.
[STORY: Adam Christodoulos, Governor Crist’s grandfather, who immigrated to the USA from Cyprus in 1912.]
Once again thank you for inviting me, God Bless all of those in our military who keep us safe strong and secure and
God Bless the United States of America.
Also, the Rick Scott campaign felt obliged to offer this:
"Charlie Crist and President Obama have decided to trade places this weekend. The President is on another golfing trip in South Florida while ignoring the crisis in Venezuela, and Charlie Crist is hobnobbing with the Washington elite crowd while ignoring over 1 million Florida seniors who could be harmed by Obamacare’s cuts to Medicare Advantage.” - Greg Blair, Rick Scott for Florida spokesman