Former Gov. Charlie Crist took his book tour to “The O’Reilly Factor” on Tuesday to try to convince Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that he hasn’t really changed his position on abortion just to suit his new political aspirations.
When O’Reilly asked Crist about how he’d flipped on the issue, Crist responded “Not really.”
“What I said in 2006 was, I’d rather change hearts than laws,” Crist told O’Reilly.
But a news release the Republican Party of Florida blasted shortly after the appearance showed how Crist mostly changed what he said to suit his audience.
Included was a June 4, 2006, clip from the St. Petersburg Times headlined “On abortion, Crist’s position is a moving target.”
The clip noted that:
- Crist had described himself as “pro-life,” though not in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade;
- That Crist had told a Catholic priest during a north Florida campaign swing that he would sign a bill banning abortion except to save the life of the mother;
- That he later clarified that to include exceptions for rape and incest;
- And that he later clarified that to say taking into account a woman’s health might be OK, too.
In a word, whatever.
Most tellingly, the Times also noted what Crist said he would do if the Legislature passed a sweeping ban on abortion:
“I would sign it, but I don’t think that’s where we have to go,” he said, according to the Times. “I think what we need to do is, as [President Bush] has said, ‘Encourage a culture of life.’”
That was when he was playing to Republicans.
If Crist were asked today, in front of an audience of Democratic primary voters, what he would do if the Legislature passed a sweeping ban on abortion, it would be interesting to hear him say, “I would sign it, but I don’t think that’s where we have to go.”
At least he wouldn’t be changing his position on abortion just to suit his new political aspirations.
Nan Rich’s people are probably working on that now.
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