Charlie Crist: I "Misspoke" When I Said I Would Have Backed Health Care Bill

Florida Governor Charlie Crist is embroiled in a tough three-way Senate race with Tea Party star Marco Rubio (who CBS rates the probable victor of the contest) and Democrat Kendrik Meek. Just last week, the race heated up as the allegation emerged that former President Bill Clinton had asked Meek to drop out of the race in order to improve Crist's chances. AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

Florida governor and Republican-turned-independent Senate candidate Charlie Crist said in an interview on an Orlando television station today that he would have voted for the health care overhaul passed earlier this year - and then promptly claimed he "misspoke" and actually opposes the bill.

"I would have voted for it, but I think it can be done better," Crist said in the interview, the relevant portion of which which you can see at left. The comment seemed to reflect a change in position by the governor, who had stated previously he would have opposed the bill.

Not long after the video started making the rounds, Crist's campaign put out a statement from the governor saying "there may be some confusion regarding my position on health care."

"If I misspoke, I want to be abundantly clear: the health care bill was too big, too expensive, and expanded the role of government far too much," he said. "Had I been in the United States Senate at the time, I would have voted against the bill because of unacceptable provisions like the cuts to the Medicare Advantage program. But being an independent, I have the freedom to be an honest broker for the people of Florida without regard for political party, and the reality is this: despite its serious flaws, the health care bill does have some positive aspects."

Florida Senate Candidates: Marco Rubio (left), Kendrick Meek (center) and Charlie Crist (right)
CBS/AP

Crist went on to back the "repeal and replace" stance of many Republicans when it comes to the health care bill.

Crist's two opponents in the Senate fight, Democrat Kedrick Meek and Republican Marco Rubio, quickly jumped on Crist's apparent change of heart.

"Charlie Crist has six different positions on ObamaCare because he doesn't actually care about health care, he only cares about getting himself elected," Rubio said.

Added Meek Communications Director Adam Sharon: "The diagnosis is in: Governor Crist has a pre-existing condition -- political amnesia. From day to day, hour to hour, his grasp on the truth has escaped him."

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Crist dropped out of the Republican primary earlier this year after it became clear that Rubio was likely to defeat him, and his independent run has left him someone vulnerable on both the left and the right. Meek has insisted to Democrats who might consider voting for the governor that he is essentially a Republican; Rubio has maintained that Crist is actually much closer to being a Democrat.

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