MIAMI--Independent Senate candidate Governor Charlie Crist tried out a new campaign strategy Tuesday night, eagerly distancing himself from President Barack Obama's health care act throughout the forum, calling it "probably unconstitutional," and derisively referring to it as "Obamacare."
This approach strays from his approach the last couple months where he positioned himself as the alternative to Republican front-runner Marco Rubio, primarily at the expense of Democrat Kendrick Meek, by targeting Democratic voters in Florida. H
"I think 'Obamacare' was off the charts; it was wrong," Crist said Tuesday during the fourth debate by the three Senate hopefuls in Davie, Florida.
"It taxed too much. It has mandates that are probably unconstitutional and it's not the way to go, and it was rammed through."
Meek, who has been fighting off Crist's efforts to peel off voters from his base, was openly incredulous over Crist's usage of the term "Obamacare, " an apparent move to appeal to Florida's Republican voters, who are fervently against Obama's health care plan.
"I'm just shocked to hear, you know, now the new lingo from the Governor talking about "'Obamacare'. I wonder if he said that to the president when he was walking with him along the beach?"
Meek said, describing the photo-op between Crist and the president after Obama came down to Florida's Gulf beaches during the BP oil spill to encourage potential tourists to visit the region---a moment that the Crist supporters enthusiastically touted at the time.
"It is really mind-boggling to me how you, governor, you can stand there and start throwing out accusations and saying ' oh, Obamacare.', "Meek said.
"You will say anything. Bottom line."
Rubio said that the Obama administration, and Congressional Democrats had mishandled the massive health care law.
"It has broken every promise that they have made," Rubio said." We were told that it would make Medicare more solvent and stronger, we know that's not true. And in fact people now losing their Medicare advantage plans.
Crist countered that his stance on 'Obama-care" showed his centrist perspective that does not adhere to either party.
"You need to send an independent to U.S. Senate because you are either gonna end up with hard right Republican or hard left Democrat who can't find middle ground if it stared them in the face," Crist said.
More aggressive than he had been in the previous three debates, Crist went after Rubio on other several facets, including social security, and Rubio's pro-life stance.
"I am running against an extreme right wing candidate who believes in taking away women's rights, punishing seniors."Crist said. "And that is just not right."
"The governor has repeated something that is an old political trick in America and that's let's go out and scare seniors...about Social Security," Rubio said.
Rubio again cited his mom, who he says depends on her Social Security check.
"I would never support any changes to Social Security that would adversely impact her or people in her demographic," Rubio added.
With less than two weeks until the November 2nd election, Rubio holds a 12.5 point lead over Crist, according to the latest average of recent polls by Realclearpolitics.com.