Crist On GOP: ‘I Think The Party Left Me’ (VIDEO)

Gov. Charlie Crist (I-FL) sounded a familiar line last night during an appearance on Tavis Smiley’s TV show on PBS, saying that the Republican Party left him, with its demands and accusations that he wasn’t pure enough for them.

Smiley asked Crist whether he had felt forced to leave the party. “Well, in some ways yes,” said Crist. “But you know, I’m not a guy who really reflects and blames others for things. I really have been asked the question in several ways, and one is, you know, did I leave the party or did the party leave me? I think the party left me.”Crist said that he had been proud to be a member of a party of “compassionate conservatism,” which he attributed to Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan and Teddy Roosevelt. “And when it got to the point where the party said, well you’re not conservative enough, and then took it a step further and said, well maybe you’re not pure enough. And you know I’m like, what, wait. This is not something I recognize or necessarily want to embrace,” said Crist. “And I want to be careful here, because I don’t think that’s where all Republicans are. I think that’s more where some activists in the party are. And I think that most Republicans, particularly most general election Republicans, as opposed to primary election Republicans, take that more civil view — as do most Democrats, as do most independents in this country. So I think it was an evolution.”

The TPM Poll Average of the Florida Senate race has Crist leading Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Kendrick Meek in the Florida Senate race by 36.0%-33.8%-16.8%, and Crist leading Rubio and Democrat Jeff Greene Greene by 38.0%-33.9%-15.9%.