TALLAHASSEE -- A memoir by former Gov. Charlie Crist defends his evolution from a Republican to Democrat, while taking swipes at such rivals as U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Gov. Rick Scott.
"The Party's Over: How the Extreme Right Hijacked the GOP and I Became A Democrat" is scheduled for early February release. It was co-written by Crist and Ellis Henican.
The book comes out as Crist, who was governor from 2007 to 2011, begins mounting a campaign to oppose Scott in the 2014 governor's race. Crist was elected as a Republican, but switched to an independent in his final year in office. He became a Democrat at the end of 2012.
The memoir describes Crist's upbringing and political career, while also giving
some behind-the-scenes details of Crist's political and personal life. He also spells out in the final chapter his campaign platform for this year's election.
Some moments are glossed over quickly, such as the criminal conviction of former Republican Party of Florida chairman Jim Greer. Greer had been hand-picked by Crist to run the party.
In the book, Crist criticizes Scott and "his band of right-wing extremists" and said "he's been a terrible governor." He wrote that Rubio changed his political stances to become more in line with the tea party movement.
One chapter details how close Democratic nominee Kendrick Meek came to dropping out of the 2010 U.S. Senate race at the urging of former President Bill Clinton. That decision could have helped Crist as an independent defeat Rubio.
Crist writes about having a face-to-face conversation with Meek where Meek told him he would "give it some thought." A joint rally between the two men was planned, but Crist says that at the last minute Meek decided against it and said he didn't want to seem like a quitter.
Other incidents recalled in the book include how he was considered -- but then not picked to be John McCain's running mate in the 2008 presidential election. Crist recalls campaigning that year with vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. He said she campaigned "different from anyone I'd ever campaigned with" and that she sat alone on the campaign bus. Crist said he offered to help her, but she barely talked to him and did not want "engage in conversation."
Crist also calls Karl Rove a "jerk" for yelling and cursing at Crist after Crist decided to bypass a Florida event with then-President George W. Bush in 2006.
"In government, don't we have to balance our personal beliefs with an understanding that other people have a right to theirs?" Crist wrote.