Charlie Crist turning up ‘happy warrior’ pitch

Charlie Crist
'I'm an optimist. And I'm hopeful. And I'm a happy warrior.'

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rep. Charlie Crist turned up his “happy warrior” Friday, seeking to draw contrasts in character with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Speaking at the Tiger Bay Club of Central Florida, Crist also sought to create contrasts with DeSantis on issues including property insurance, affordable housing, expanding Medicaid, abortion access rights, elections, supporting public education and teachers, gay rights, protecting the environment and “being good to Disney.”

For some time now, Crist has been trying to play up his “nice guy” image while trying to characterize DeSantis as ambitious, angry, and aloof. He pressed for that contrast repeatedly in his remarks to the Tiger Bay Club.

“I can’t believe what we’ve been under for the past three and a half years. And if you’re for him, God bless you,” Crist said, trying to be critical of DeSantis yet still project a nice guy image at the same time.

“My concern about the current Governor is it seems to me he goes to bed every night thinking about: ‘What group am I going to pick on tomorrow?’ You know, LGBTQ. Women and the right to choose. African Americans who want to vote and want access to drop boxes. Senior citizens like my parents who like to vote by mail,” Crist said.

“I’m running because I love this state. And I’m an optimist. And I’m hopeful. And I’m a happy warrior,” Crist added.  “And I think you deserve to have a Governor who really gives a damn about you, instead of his own political career and his designs on running for President in 2024.”

The audience mostly accepted Crist warmly, though he did make a few uncomfortable. Occasionally someone in the bipartisan lunch crowd could be heard to murmur objections or even cough “bullsh–” into a fist.

“I love you,” Crist told them at one point. “Some in varying degrees. But I do.”

The former Republican Governor and three-term Democratic Congressman from St. Petersburg also tossed in a bit of campaign contrast with his two Democratic Primary Election opponents, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Sen. Annette Taddeo, though he did not explicitly mention either of them.

Crist sought the lunch crowd’s agreement that what Democrats need in the General Election is an Interstate 4 corridor ticket, and pointed out they would have one with Senate candidate Rep. Val Demings and himself at the top. Fried and Taddeo are both from South Florida.

“What I-4 does, wins elections,” Crist said. “I am not here (in Orlando) by accident.”

On the issues, Crist kept his focus on DeSantis. Among them:

— On property insurance reform: “We had that Special Session, after I got sworn in (as Governor in 2007). And we lowered property insurance rates for you by 10%. That’s what I did, as your Governor. We’ll find out next week what he’s going to do.”

— On the Reedy Creek Improvement District battle: “Who goes after Mickey Mouse? … Our Governor of Florida is giving them crap. I don’t understand it. I really don’t. Because they did not like a bill that he signed that said, ‘Don’t say gay.'”

“To me it is a revered icon,” he said of Walt Disney World. “That’s how I see it.”

— On Medicaid expansion: “We ought to be a compassionate state. We ought to have empathy for those who can’t afford it (health care coverage). And we should expand Medicaid,” he said. “That’s one of the first things I want to do if I get elected Governor.”

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


  • Itold Usoh

    May 20, 2022 at 4:18 pm

    ” “To me it is a revered icon,” he said of Walt Disney World. “That’s how I see it.”

    WEIRD! It’s an entertainment business. Fun and entertaining and a big taxpayer, but “revered icon?” His values are a tad off.

    And DisneyWorld’s parent is a $250 billion multinational. They care about Florida only to the extent the state helps them make money. Revered my eye.

    • Nancy

      May 21, 2022 at 8:54 pm

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  • Tom

    May 20, 2022 at 4:26 pm

    This article is as pathetic of a rear end kiss job as possible. What a crock of Adam Schiff in a Nancy Pelosi nap sack. My gosh.

    This Bull Jive of false effort on the day that Florida’s economy reported a decline of some 50,000 jobs and an unemployment of 3.0% from 3.2%. Are you kidding me? How bout $20 billion in state financial reserves? Talk bout sucking up towards the chameleon flip flopper.

    As carville says, it’s the economy stupid. Oh yeah, did he mention the support of Schumer’s abortion til birth! The Senate Dems short it.
    Just atrocious, flip flopper chameleon.

    • Orlando

      May 21, 2022 at 6:55 am

      I was at this event. This is an accurate reporting of the event. No one brought up Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, unemployment, financial reserves, or any of the other topics you mention. And no he did not mention Schumer’s abortion stance.
      The article is not a rear end kiss job. It is an accurate reporting of the event.

      • Tom

        May 21, 2022 at 7:16 am

        Orlando, I didn’t say it didn’t happen, or that it’s not accurate. I said f p and chameleon is a joke, f p ignores $21 billion in reserves and 3.0% unemployment rate.

        FP ignored and a produces a B S narrative for chameleon, so he can attack the Gov. Save it Orlando, crispy chameleon is a loser, Biden’s 36% Florida approval gives him, Dum Dum Demings no chance.

        Floridians will vote, freedom, liberty, jobs, opportunity, happiness, education, all for America’s Gov. Not chameleons lies and darkness.
        America’s Gov, rising tide for all.

        • Jason Johnson

          May 26, 2022 at 8:51 am

          Point: missed.

  • Brandon

    May 20, 2022 at 4:44 pm

    Scott, Chain Gang Charlie is going to lose again. When are you going to realize it?

    • Tom

      May 20, 2022 at 5:18 pm

      Who is who? Brandon.
      I don’t need you to tell me that.

      I’m talking about FP’s knee bend with lips smacked, towards this pathetic chameleon. And withholding lower unemployment and new jobs. On top of the $20 billion in reserves.
      Just pathetic.

  • Rand Rip Off

    May 21, 2022 at 5:33 am

    Charlie’s “Happy Warrior” BS isn’t even original. It’s a rip off of a far more historically important politician, Hubert Horatio Humphrey. These Democrats are just old sauce from Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin. The don’t realize history has left them behind. Hunter Thompson, the gonzo journalist, described Humphrey as “a treacherous, gutless old ward heeler who should be put in a g– d— bottle and sent out with the Japanese current.” And that’s Charlie’s role model. Right.

  • Claude Kirk the younger

    May 21, 2022 at 2:30 pm

    Time for Charlie to slink off into a retirement of perverted bliss. Because his political days are behind him.
    Lets all hope he really did not latch too hard onto the left’s grooming of childern and do anything perverse in that area of all leftists sexual desires to embarrase the Great State of Florida.
    Happy retirement Charlie and stay far away from our childern.

  • Tom

    May 21, 2022 at 10:25 pm

    He ain’t a happy warrior, period.
    Chameleon crispy critters is a flip flopper!
    He’s constantly hating on America’s Gov.
    Perennial loser. No agenda, no vision, no chance. DeSantis is up 8 to 11 pts.

    I’d run the culture club song, “karma chameleon”
    He has no core, total weather vane pol!
    Go figure!

  • Walter Cronkite

    May 22, 2022 at 7:51 pm

    OMG lets all just hope “Happy Warrior” is not some sort of LGBTQ+++ code word for a personal preversion of a sexual nature like their code word “Unicorn”.
    Good Bye Charlie!!!
    And Thats The Way It Is.

Comments are closed.


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