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Politics

Crist plans to say 'nice things' about Obama at DNC

TBO.com
Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 11:18 AM

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist puts his toe in Democratic waters tonight, addressing the party's convention shortly before President Barack Obama's nomination acceptance speech.

Crist, an independent from St. Petersburg who was elected governor as a Republican, was a controversial addition to the Democratic convention's finale night in Charlotte, N.C.

Crist will come to the podium at the Time Warner Cable Arena between 8 and 9:30 tonight. Vice President Joe Biden is expected to speak about 9:30, followed by Obama in the 10 o'clock hour.

Crist told a CNN reporter he "will say nice things about the president."

Crist endorsed Obama in a newspaper editorial before last week's Republican National Convention in Tampa. In it, he wrote the Republican Party "has failed to demonstrate the kind of leadership or seriousness voters deserve."

Since then, he has been criticized from both sides of the aisle, with Republican leaders calling him a turncoat opportunist and skeptical Democrats concerned about his sincerity and past record as a pro-life, pro-gun, anti-tax conservative.

Crist ran as a conservative in the 2010 Senate primary against Marco Rubio. Instead, he left the GOP, faced Rubio as a no-party candidate and lost. Afterward, went to work for the law firm of John Morgan, a friend and supporter of Obama.

Before and after Crist's DNC appearance, state GOP leaders plan to release a series of radio ads rehashing Crist's image as a moderate. The ads will include Crist quotes from 2009 criticizing Obama's policies.

Meantime, some members of the DNC's Florida delegation aren't happy with the decision to add Crist to the speaker lineup. Anne Gannon, Palm Beach County's tax collector, told the Miami Herald that Crist's speech might provide "a good time to go to the bathroom."

The DNC's final night was moved to the 15,000-seat indoor venue from 74,000-seat Bank of America Stadium due to weather concerns.

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