In May, I enjoyed attending the Tiger Bay Club meeting where Charlie Crist was the guest speaker.
During the Q&A session, I asked Crist the following: “In 2006, you ran as a Jeb Bush Republican. When you ran for the US Senate you tried to convince voters you were more conservative than Marco Rubio and in 2008 you were angling for the Republican Vice Presidential nomination. If you had been successful and were either the Republican Vice Presidential nominee or an incumbent GOP Senator, can you honestly tell everyone in this room you still would have switched parties? Furthermore, what do you say to those critics who believe you’ve elevated getting elected to your highest principle.”
Then the predictable happened. Charlie Crist proceeded to not answer my question and speak in platitudes. And I won the “coveted fang and claw” award for asking the toughest question.
Here’s what Scott Maxwell had to say about the encounter in a column, “Charlie Crist takes direct hit – then thanks the guy who hit him“:
“One member of the audience absolutely blistered Charlie with a question, essentially accusing Crist of being a human weather vane, void of core beliefs and willing to change his political stripes for convenience.
It was a fair question and observation … one I’ve raised and made before, as well.
But Charlie not only took it in stride, at the end of the meeting, when the questioner received the club’s “fang and claw” award for asking the toughest question of the day, Crist leapt out of his seat to shake his hand. Crist actually congratulated him … for skewering him.
Call it shtick if you will. But considering we are in an age where many politicians hide from the public, duck tough questions and demonize their critics, it was also refreshing.”