TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Charlie Crist tweeted out a new video advertisement on Tuesday taking aim at Governor Ron DeSantis pro-life track record. The ad begins with two unnamed women staring out the window before beginning with voiceover comments from ICU registered nurse Michelle Bell.
“Helping women during pregnancy or through difficult decisions about abortion – that’s my job. And I’ve never needed the government or some politician to come into the room and make that decision for my patients,” Bell says, pointing at herself.
“But that’s what Ron DeSantis has done, pushing through a law that outlaws abortion even in the case of rape or incest, and makes criminals of doctors and nurses like me,” registered nurse Tina Schmidt says in response to Bell.
“Charlie Crist believes women should decide, not government,” Schmidt adds. “That’s all I need to know and that’s why I’m voting for Charlie Crist.”
As Schmidt is speaking, the video shows clips of Crist speaking with two women on a sidewalk and then three women in scrubs at a hospital desk. Presumably, Crist is not telling them what they should do if they find themselves pregnant.
“Ron DeSantis is a radical, anti-choice governor who has already signed an abortion ban into place, one that does not include exceptions even for rape or incest, but we can’t and won’t let that happen,” Crist said Tuesday at a press conference in Fort Lauderdale.
CHANGING HIS TUNE
Crist served as the state’s governor from 2007–2011 as a Republican. He became a Democrat in 2012, saying, “I didn’t leave the Republican Party; it left me.” Crist lost his first bid for a second term when he failed to unseat incumbent Republican Governor Rick Scott in the 2014 gubernatorial race.
The flip has provided fodder for conservatives to paint Crist as an insincere opportunist, having flipped on virtually every major issue on which the two parties disagree. The former governor’s previous views were broadcast on national television in September when The View replayed of a 2006 robocall in which Crist’s voice can be heard stating the following:
Hi, this is Charlie Crist calling to set the record straight.
I’m pro-life. I oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants.
I support traditional marriage and I have never supported a new tax or big spending program.
I support a constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage and I oppose adoption by gay couples and I worked to ensure the right to display the 10 Commandments in public places
Floridians need a consistent Conservative governor that they can trust.
I would appreciate your vote on Election Day.Thank you so much, and God bless you and God bless Florida.
After the clip played, Ana Navarro-Cárdenas asked Crist: “What would you say to skeptics, like me, who think you’ve changed parties because you’re a political mercenary and it was out of convenience. How should we trust you?”
“I changed parties because my party changed,” Crist said before pointing to the rise of the Tea Party movement and calling DeSantis “anti-minority.”
Navarro-Cárdenas pressed him again on the key issues saying, “It’s not about the Republicans. Actually, you were embracing a lot of the policy issues back then that Republicans still embrace now. So, what has changed?”
Again, Crist refused to acknowledge his own shift, repeating his preferred line: “I think the party’s changed dramatically, like I said before. I really believe that, I’m not just spit-balling here.”