- (Photo: Reuters/Joe Skipper)
Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist said in a recent interview that God should bless President Barack Obama for his efforts with the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Crist, who switched from Republican to Democrat in 2012, told CNN's Candy Crowley on Sunday that the president is doing the "right thing" for the American people by offering them healthcare, saying people getting healthcare is "like a civil right." Crist is currently running for the state's 2014 gubernatorial election as a Democrat, previously having served as the state's Republican governor from 2007 to 2011.
When asked by Crowley on "State of the Union" what he thinks of Obamacare and its effect on Florida residents, Crist replied: "I think it's been great. The roll-out was difficult. I'm sure the president feels that way, too."
The former governor went on to say that he visited with Obama and the First Lady in Miami on Friday, adding: "I just know that he has a compassionate heart, he cares about people. People getting healthcare is like a civil right. I mean people need to have shelter. They need food. They need water and they need healthcare and they deserve it."
"We're the richest country in the world. We ought [to] provide it and God bless him for doing it." Crist also addressed the GOP party during his CNN interview, calling the political party "fractured" after a straw poll at this weekend's Conservative Political Action Conference named Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) as the most-supported presidential candidate.
"I don't think they know exactly what they want to do," Crist said of the GOP. "The leadership of the party has really gone astray. It really is the reason that I became a Democrat. I feel much more comfortable. I feel at home."
Crist's political history has been criticized by some who describe the former governor as an opportunist who left his GOP party for the Democrats because it was the most politically expedient thing to do. "I don't trust him, he's an opportunist," Wendy Sejour, the Precinct Committeewoman for precinct 909 in the Miami-Dade area, told Talking Points Memo in October 2013.
"I mean he switches party affiliations at the drop of a hat. He hasn't really espoused any great change in political philosophy. It's just that it's more expedient for him to change now and I just don't feel it's appropriate to have a Republican at the top of the Democratic Party which is what he will be when he becomes the nominee," she said, referencing the 2014 gubernatorial election.
Crist's comments on Obamacare come nearly two weeks after President Obama congratulated volunteers pushing Obamacare on doing "God's work." The president made his comments to volunteer members of the Organizing for Action nonprofit organization, the group that originally helped with Obama's re-election and now helps push enrollment in the Affordable Care Act.
The president encouraged OFA volunteers to enroll as many Obamacare participants as possible before the program's March 31 deadline, saying: "I can talk, my team can talk here in Washington, but it's not going to make as much of a difference as if you are out there making the case. The work you're doing is God's work. It is hard work."
Some have found the president's comments to be ironic, as several religious groups are currently in the process of suing the Obama administration for imposing a "birth control mandate," or forcing them to provide birth control insurance coverage to their employees regardless of their religious beliefs against contraception.