Crist was rumored to be on the GOP Veep short list in 2008, but McCain ultimately went with Palin. Then he wanted the GOP Senate seat in Florida, but lost to Marco Rubio when he ran as an Independent when Rubio showed too much juice as a Tea Party candidate. The big knock against Crist at the time was he took Obama stimulus funds.

Well, the times have changed and Crist is backing Obama in the Sunshine State.

From Tampa Bay Times:

I’ve studied, admired and gotten to know a lot of leaders in my life. Across Florida, in Washington and around the country, I’ve watched the failure of those who favor extreme rhetoric over sensible compromise, and I’ve seen how those who never lose sight of solutions sow the greatest successes.

As America prepares to pick our president for the next four years — and as Florida prepares once again to play a decisive role — I’m confident that President Barack Obama is the right leader for our state and the nation. I applaud and share his vision of a future built by a strong and confident middle class in an economy that gives us the opportunity to reap prosperity through hard work and personal responsibility. It is a vision of the future proven right by our history.

Could this be a boost for Obama in Florida? Only time can tell, but since Crist got 30% of the vote in the Senate election as an Independent, he’s likely to pull a lot of those voters along with him.

Here are some more reasons why Crist is going with Obama…

As Republicans gather in Tampa to nominate Mitt Romney, Americans can expect to hear tales of how President Obama has failed to work with their party or turn the economy around.

But an element of their party has pitched so far to the extreme right on issues important to women, immigrants, seniors and students that they’ve proven incapable of governing for the people. Look no further than the inclusion of the Akin amendment in the Republican Party platform, which bans abortion, even for rape victims.

The truth is that the party has failed to demonstrate the kind of leadership or seriousness voters deserve.

Pundits looking to reduce something as big as a statewide election to a single photograph have blamed the result of my 2010 campaign for U.S. Senate on my greeting of President Obama. I didn’t stand with our president because of what it could mean politically; I did it because uniting to recover from the worst financial crisis of our lifetimes was more important than party affiliation. I stood with our nation’s leader because it was right for my state.

This reasoning clearly harkens back to the picture I share above, but do you think it’s sour grapes? Sure. Of course it does.

But do note that statement about “women, immigrants, seniors and students.” Because Crist said something very similar after the 2008 election…

This party can no longer hope to reach Hispanics, African Americans and other minority groups – we need to just do it. Embracing cultures and lifestyles will make us a better party and better leaders. This desire for inclusiveness is near and dear to my heart…. Last week, the American people made a choice and this week, if we choose to call ourselves leaders, if we truly endeavor to serve with a servant’s heart for the people who count on us, then we too must work together, listen to one another and learn from the leaders who made the kind of history the American people deserve.

So this ultimately all speaks to the reality of a politician who has had enough of the partisan-baiting politics that would allow the Tea Party to take hold in DC. To a party that would allow Todd Akin a foothold on their platform.

So what do you think? Can Crist bring indies back into the Obama fold and secure Florida?

Politics Former Florida Gov Charlie Crist Endorses Obama, Lambasts GOP