Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist delivers a statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee as Senate Democrats and Republicans sparred over whether voter ID laws, attempts to purge voter rolls and restricted early voting were legitimate efforts to stop fraud or Republican strategies to hold down Democratic votes, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Democratic gubernatorial candidate is doing something with his campaign that almost no other Democrat in America is willing to do: give a full-throated endorsement of the Affordable Care Act.
Crist made an appearance at the Capital Tiger Bay Club and repeatedly called the ACA “great” during his lunch speech. Crist also took aim at attack ads against him being run by a political action committee backing Republican Governor Rick Scott.
"I'm going to tell you what's great. 'Obamacare's' great," Crist said one minute into his 29-minute speech. "My opponent has spent about $6 million showing me say what's great ... Affordable health care — I think it's incredibly important and I don't back away from it, I do support it because it is great."
Republican strategists and candidates believe that the unpopularity of the ACA will be enough to give them a clear path to retaking the U.S. Senate and winning any competitive election.
In addition to the television ads, the Republican Party of Florida and Scott's campaign have also criticized Crist's position on the Affordable Care Act in at least 50 separate emails to reporters since the beginning of the year.
Crist told the group that since the television ads began running, a woman in Orlando approached him while he was campaigning and said she agreed the health care overhaul is great.
She said the woman's brothers both had juvenile diabetes and couldn't get health insurance coverage because of their preexisting condition.
"’Now they're dead,’" Crist said the woman told him. "’And if Obamacare would have gone into effect a little sooner, I could be sitting here having a beer with them, too. Now, Charlie, you know how great Obamacare really is.' So yeah, I support it.'"
The Scott campaign responded with new criticism for Crist on the issue.
"Charlie Crist is completely disconnected from the pain that Florida families are feeling because of Obamacare. This failed law's higher taxes, higher premiums and broken promises are impossible for him to defend," campaign spokesman Matt Moon said in an email.
Scott used his opposition to the Affordable Care Act in 2010 as a springboard to the governor’s mansion. He won during the tea party wave mid-term election, but recent polls show him in a dog fight with Crist this year.