Sunday, September 21st, 2014

In Tampa, claims are flying

House Speaker John Boehner addresses delegates at the Republican National Convention.
House Speaker John Boehner addresses delegates at the Republican National Convention.

It’s been a busy couple of days for former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.

As Republicans gathered in Tampa for their national convention, Crist put a little more distance between himself and the party he once commanded in Florida. Crist, now registered with no party affiliation, penned an op-ed in the Tampa Bay Times, endorsing President Barack Obama’s re-election.

"President Obama has a strong record of doing what is best for America and Florida, and he built it by spending more time worrying about what his decisions would mean for the people than for his political fortunes," wrote Crist, who backed Republican John McCain for president in 2008.

Reaction was swift and harsh from Republicans, with one Florida strategist branding Crist "the Silly Putty of Florida politics."

On ABC's This Week, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell disputed Crist’s charge that the Republican platform has veered too far to the right.

Crist was "wrong on the platform. He also missed the point," McDonnell said."What matters is getting the nation back on track, the federal government out of debt, and jobs for the American people.
   
"So on the things that really matter to voters, George, I think the records are stark, and I think that's why independent voters have a 10-point margin in favor of Mitt Romney right now," McDonnell said.

PolitiFact checked McDonnell’s claim about the polling and found it Mostly True.

We also put a claim from Crist’s column to the Truth-O-Meter.

"Look no further than the inclusion of the Akin amendment in the Republican Party platform, which bans abortion, even for rape victims," Crist wrote.

He was referring to Todd Akin, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Missouri who drew widespread condemnation for saying that "legitimate rape" rarely results in pregnancy.

But we found problems with Crist’s statement: there is no official "Akin amendment" and the platform doesn't explicitly address an exception for rape victims. We rated Crist’s claim Half True.

In the meantime, Crist took another quarter turn to the left on Monday, accepting an invitation to speak at next week’s Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.