TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Democrat Charlie Crist's released a Web ad Monday that says it's ridiculous to blame him in his time as governor for Florida's economic downturn and that instead the recession was caused by "guys like Rick Scott."
The ad is in response to a Republican Party of Florida Web ad released last week that blames Crist for high unemployment rates, a big drop in property values, Florida leading the country in home foreclosures and more. Crist, then a Republican, served as governor from 2007 to 2011, when the state's economy took a tumble.
During the 30-second ad, Crist looks at the camera and says, "Rick Scott is blaming me for the financial crisis? That's ridiculous. Here's the truth, the recession wasn't caused by me, or by you. You know who caused it? Greedy Wall Street bankers and corporate takeover artists. In other words, guys like Rick Scott."
Just as Crist can't be blamed for Florida's bad economy during an international financial crisis, it's also not fair to blame Scott for the same recession.
Scott partially built his wealth through corporate mergers and acquisitions. He was also the CEO of the Columbia/HCA hospital chain. Crist makes an indirect reference to Columbia/HCA paying a $1.7 billion settlement for Medicaid fraud.
"His company committed outright fraud. So when you see his ads, remember it was guys like Rick Scott that crashed our economy," said Crist, who left the Republican Party in 2010, registered as a Democrat in December 2012 and announced he would seek his old job with his new party last November.
Scott's campaign said the ad shows Crist is incompetent.
"He continues to take no responsibility for the economic disaster that occurred under his watch, and pretends that as governor he was helpless to fix the situation. Things got so bad he ended up running away but now he wants his job back," said Scott campaign spokesman Matt Moon.
The Republican Party of Florida was criticizing Crist for well more than a year before he entered the race. Crist's response to last week's Web ad is a clear indication he will also go negative in what's expected to be one of the most closely watched gubernatorial races in the country.