A range of people turned out to listen to former Gov. Charlie Crist, including friends and people who would never support him for anything.
In the non-support category is Karin Hoffman of Lighthouse Point, founder of the tea party group DC Works for Us.
She said she wanted to hear first hand what kinds of things he’s saying.
“Any time you have an opportunity you want to hear right from the horse’s mouth,” she said.
What is Crist up to?
“Charlie has always done everything by strategy. Everything is purposeful. Nothing is happenstance. Where he goes. When he speaks. Who he meets,” she said.
Jack Shifrel, an area leader of the Broward Democratic Party, said Democrats have a range of opinions about the former governor.
“I’d call it mixed reviews. Some people love him. Some people hate him. Some people are ambiguous. I think it’s pretty much equally divided,” he said.
“The question is how do you read somebody’s heart? How do you know that somebody truly believes in the principles of the Democratic Party and didn’t switch to win an election,” he said. “As far as Charlie, I don’t know the answer.”
Of Friday’s speech, Shifrel said Crist “said all the right things.”
Bob Butterworth, former attorney general and former Broward sheriff, was appointed by Crist to run the Department of Children and Families. Butterworth is a Democrat and Crist was a Republican at the time.
“He loves people. He knows what the people of Florida want. He’s a populist,” Butterworth said.
Butterworth, who lives in Hollywood, wouldn’t say if he thinks Crist should run for governor as a Democrat.
“That’s a very personal decision,” he said, adding that “If Charlie runs, I think he’s gong to do very well.”
Butterworth said it’s tough to assess how vulnerable Gov. Rick Scott will be, despite polls showing his continued unpopularity. “He’s trying to redefine himself. He’s trying to make a second first impression. Some people can do it,” he said. “It comes down to likability.”Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times