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Charlie Crist Says He Became A Democrat Because Of GOP Racism

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AP Photo / Phil Coale

It was partly for that reason that Crist, the former Republican governor of Florida who's now trying to reclaim his old job as a Democrat, broke with his former party.

“I couldn’t be consistent with myself and my core beliefs, and stay with a party that was so unfriendly toward the African-American president, I’ll just go there,” Crist told Fusion's Jorge Ramos. “I was a Republican and I saw the activists and what they were doing, it was intolerable to me.”

Crist ran unsuccessfully as an independent for U.S. Senate in 2010. He stumped for Obama in 2012 before officially joining the Democratic Party shortly after the election that year.

Crist was savaged on the right when, as governor in 2009, he hugged Obama. He said earlier this year that racism motivated the outrage over the embrace.

“I think another part of it was that he was a Democrat, but not just a Democrat, an African-American,” Crist, who's challenging Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), said during an appearance on “The Colbert Report.”