Crist defends views on “Meet the Press”

By Bruce Ritchie

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist on “Meet the Press” Sunday defended his support of the federal stimulus package. But there was little mention of growth and environmental issues until Crist appeared on the program’s “Take Two” segment on the Web.

During “Take Two,” Crist said the Republican Party’s approach is perhaps too narrow on the stimulus package and other issues.

His comments came after host David Gregory compared Crist to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who like Crist is a Republican governor who supports imposing limits on greenhouse gas emissions to prevent climate change. Crist responded that the Republican Party should have a “big tent” and welcome everyone in.

The GOP was the party of President Theodore Roosevelt “who cared so much about the environment,” Crist said.

We should “get back to the roots of the Republican party, which understood it is important to protect our environment (and) be good stewards of the land,” Crist said. “Climate change is the current issue as it relates to that.”

He also said lack of growth in Florida caused by the housing market collapse “is a concern.” (See Dec. 24 news story)

“We still are a growth state,” he said. “That’s a good thing. It helps our economy significantly.”

And he added, “Florida is still sunny and warm.”