Crist: There's Only One National Leader, 'His Name Is President Obama'

In a half-hour segment on "Meet the Press" on Sunday, the varying threads of the GOP political id came into sharp contrast. On one side sat Charlie Crist, the moderate governor of the state of Florida, who not only openly campaigned for the president's stimulus package but also sent some very public plaudits the Obama's way.

"I think there is a national leader, his name is President Obama," he told host David Gregory when asked if his own party had national leaders. "The people elected him. And I'm willing to give him a good shot and try to help make this work. We're in a tough time, as we talked about before. I think we do need to be bipartisan. We need to be, in fact, nonpartisan. We're all Americans. Our country is at a dire point and we need to do everything we can to work together to get America through this."

Pressed as to whether he thought "the president has the right prescription to ease this recession," the Florida Republican replied, without pausing: "I think he's on the right track." Asked if he thought it was a mistake for "the Republican Party to define itself by opposition to the stimulus," he said: "It may be."

The show's other guest, Bobby Jindal, did not offer such willing praise for the president. The Louisiana Governor, known superficially as the conservative Obama, pledged that the party would and should work in a bipartisan fashion. But his pitch was one of philosophical defiance, especially on matters like the stimulus.


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