Governor Charlie Crist said again on Monday that he doesn’t regret accepting the stimulus money that allowed lawmakers to balance the state budget this past year. Crist has had to defend himself against U.S. Senate Republican primary challenger Marco Rubio for lobbying for the $787 billion Recovery Act.
Rubio has acknowledged he would have accepted it as well once it was passed – but said he wouldn’t have pushed for it as Crist did and opposed it in the first place.
In a round of television appearances and in talking to reporters in Washington on Monday, Crist again said he had no regrets. “It was the right thing to do, our economy was going off into the abyss,” Crist said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “And if we didn’t have those monies we would have had 87,000 people out of work today in the Sunshine State – 20,000 of those are educators….It was the right thing to do. We needed the money. That’s why every Republican governor in America took it.” Crist also defended his now heavily scrutinized embrace of President Barack Obama when the president was in Florida stumping for the stimulus. “The presidency of the United States of America deserves respect,” Crist said. “I’m not going to apologize for it.”