Charlie Crist Betrayed Mitt Romney Before 2008 Florida Primaries, New Documentary Shows
If Charlie Crist wants to rid himself of the reputation that he's a political chameleon, willing to do anything for personal advantage regardless of who it betrays or damages -- a new documentary released over the weekend won't help his cause.
In the Netflix documentary, Mitt, which daubs the fallen Republican presidential contender as a very human, self-effacing candidate who once described himself as "flawed," it was Charlie Crist who took the biggest hit. Without ever making it actually into the camera's frame, Crist is very much in the narrative. Viewers watch as Romney and his family learn that Crist had capitulated on earlier promises to stay neutral and endorsed John McCain -- just days before the 2008 Florida primaries.
Tagg, one of the innumerable Romney boys, took it especially hard. "Charlie Crist had promised my dad multiple times that he was going to stay neutral," he says. "He talked to many people on our campaign and he promised them all he was going to stay neutral.
"And now he has announced he is going to endorse John McCain. Now it's two days before the election. This is a big deal. It's a tight race, and it's probably enough to tip it in McCain's favor."
It did. John McCain took the contests with 36 percent of the vote, while Romney snared only 31 percent, and an anemic Rudy Giuliani hobbled in with 15 percent.
See also: Who the fu*k is Charlie Crist?
When Romney learned that Crist had lied to him, a look of grief came across his face. He looked down at the carpet, and his eyes glazed over. He was angriest that Crist hadn't told him it was coming.
"You do something like this, you call and say, 'Look, I made a decision,'" Romney said.
"And by the way, we had talked to him and we said, 'Are you going to endorse somebody?' And he said, 'No.'"
Romney's disdain for Crist, who's now vying once more the Governor's Mansion, surged once more when Crist hopscotched the state in the days before the 2012 presidential election campaigning for Barack Obama.
We followed Crist in those days, watching his shock of white hair glow radioactive in stump speech after speech, as he repeatedly slammed Romney for being the candidate of doom and gloom (which was kinda right) and extolled Obama for embracing change (which hasn't happened).
But what became most clear in those days, was not the content of the speeches, but the manner in which it was delivered. Charlie Crist is a master at rhetorical slight of hand. His brow furrows. His brown eyes crinkle. He looks like he really means what he's saying.
Which is exactly why Romney was so hurt -- dude nearly cried -- when he learned Crist had betrayed him. When Crist said he wasn't going to endorse anyone, he acted like he really meant it, like he does all the time.
But of course he didn't.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Miami New Times' biggest stories.