The Rachel Maddow Show | November 27, 2012
>>> on tuesday you're going to choose a path for our nation. down one road is extremism where roe vs. wade is overturned. that's the road sarah palin and mario rubio want to take us down. it's a dangerous road. the polls say i'm the only one who can stop them. if you're sick of the gridlock, join our fight for common sense . i'm charlie crist and i approve this message. don't forget to find me online nine on your ballots.
>> urging voters to avoid gridlock during his run for senate. but notably having to close with a reminder he's going to be nine spots down on the ballot. because he was running as an independent. that race did not go his way. nobody thinks charlie crist 's role in politics is over. especially not now. joining us now for the interview tonight is the former republican governor of florida charlie crist who is now an independent. governor, thank you for being here.
>> good to be with you, rachel. thank you.
>> republicans have not stopped the process of purging moderation from their ranks. not even after their results from the last election. in the couple years since you fell victim to that process in your former party, how has it affected them?
>> badly. i think that the notion of continuing to put forward people that are more extreme rather than moderate and to continue to push out people that want to talk about common sense solutions to problems that affects people's lives every single day is not a recipe for success, it's a recipe for disaster. if they continue on that path, that's what we're going to continue to see. less and less gains in elections and it's unfortunate for the republican party , but if that's the path they decide to go down, that's the fate that they will enjoy.
>> is this one of the things you see it happening in both parties. there's a mirror image it's happening on both sides or is this unique to the republican party that they are going through a process that the rest of american politics is not going through?
>> it seems that way to me. i don't see the democrats doing this sort of purging, if you will. do you see the republicans doing it? i'm not really sure why. i don't know what has stimulated it. i suspect part of it began with the economic downturn. people get frustrated, they get depressed, unhappy. ones to blame are not going to be them. it's going to be some other entity or individual and it's got to be -- someone's got to be held accountable. whether in fact the person held accountable is the one who deserves it is almost meaningless, it doesn't matter. but that's what's happening. and you know, reasonable people like richard lugar and others that did not survive a primary challenge , which would have happened to me if i would have stayed in the primary with senator rubio. and i wish him the best. i want him to do well because i want my state to do well. but i'm sorry about the fact that it seems that the republican party , or some in the republican party . but the leadership in the party, at least so far, seems bent on continuing down this path. that's unfortunate for our country.
>> let me ask you about a policy matter that we have been reporting on. because of this election season. "the palm beach post " said during your term, they approached you as governor talking about changing early voting in order to suppress democratic voter turnout . how do those conversations go? when republicans -- you were a republican at the time -- they were having those conversations. was it about doing it for partis partisan gain?
>> there were indications that was occurring. they knew better than to confront me. it was well known how i felt about being more fair, more open, more inclusive and making sure that we had a government, a state government here in florida that would continue to reach out and work with democrats across the aisle at the time and work with all people. usually goes to somebody in my administration saying can you run this by the governor. whenever somebody would come to me with that kind of
>>> and i just think it's wrong and why i ended up signing the executive record to expand the early voting hours back this 2008 and it really did displease a lot of republican, but you know, when you're elected governor of your state, you're not elected governor of the republicans or democrats, you're elected governor of the people and you have a duty and obligation, at least that's what i felt, to look out for all of the people and you're not supposed to be partisan when carrying out the right to vote, something people have fought and died for and i just felt partisan ship at that level was absolutely wrong.
>> i feel like because of your position and where you were governor and because of how recently it was, i feel you're in this unique position to shed light for us about what's in between these two parallel tracks we've got. it seems what's going on with these restrictions on the ability to vote, putting these new hurdles, whether test shortening, early voting , restricting voter registration , it seems clear it's being done for partisan purpose. then republicans say oh, no, it's only about voter fraud . it is about voting integrity. is it clear to you that is just bunk? just a story that's being told to cover up?
>> it's crystal clear to me. you couldn't be more right in my humble opinion and you know, certainly, we can say this about all these roadblocks that are put in the way of people exercising their right to vote and we saw it in dramatic fashion this last election day in florida . my home state. how do you think that makes me and my fellow floridans feel when msnbc is able to call all these other states and the one that's lingering for so long is the sunshine state . there's a lot of good people here in florida and it's very discouraging to see that kind of black eye put on us when it's not necessary at all and the fact there's some massive fraud has the excuse of the red herring to do that, is laughable. why else would you take 14 days of early voting and condense it down to eight days and make that more difficult or make it even harder for people to do absentee balloting here in florida ? certainly, it's not voter encouragement to say the least. it is voter discouragement and i think absolutely the wrong thing to do is as i saidier, make this precious right more difficult to exercise than easier. this ought to be something we push as hard as we can to make sure that every floridan, every american has the tount vote their will and to exercise their right to elect their leaders in the most convenient way possible and people who stand in the way of doing that should be held accountable for doing so. it is unprincipled, wrong and shouldn't happen. here's the irony. florid floridans took care of business. they stood in line even after the presidential election had been called nationally, they stayed in those lines because they wanted to cast that ballot. they were told in essence, this is what you cannot do. when you tell people that, they're like, really? who are you to tell me what to do, and so, they were determined. they became infuriated and they absolutely made up their mind they're going to exercise that precious right and cast that ballot no matter what and god bless them for it.
>> r charlie crist , former governor of florida , demonstrating tonight why republicans are so freaked out about you entering politics, sir. thank you very much for being with us. coming up, something you may not know about john boehner 's office. today, it was clothing optional. that's