Meike LeMieux, George LeMieux (center), Charlie Crist

George LeMieux, center, stands with his wife, Meike, and Governor Charlie Crist as Crist prepares to speak to the assembled crowd as he announces that he has named George LeMieux to the US Senate, taking the seat vacated by Sen. Mel Martinez at the Fort Lauderdale City Hall.Photo by Josh Ritchie (Josh Ritchie / Sun Sentinel SoFlaShare / August 28, 2009)

Charlie Crist and George LeMieux were once the partners in a political marriage that benefited both greatly.

But that was when both were Republicans.

Now Crist is attempting to win back his old job as a Democrat.

And LeMieux, a former Broward Republican chairman and former top Crist aide who lives in Lighthouse Point, is an opposition force.

When Crist announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination on Monday, the Republican Party of Florida arranged for LeMieux to offer up the party’s response.

Here are extended excerpts of what he said in a conference call with reporters:

“With today’s announcement Charlie Crist has done something which is really in my mind breathtaking, not only in Florida but in the country.

“In my view this is the largest change of position by a leading American political figure in as quick of a period of time as we’ve had in recent American history.

“I heard one commentator say today that Charlie Crist has had more positions than a gymnast, and I think that’s right. He’s been in three parties now in a little more than three and a half years, and has been on at least two sides if not three sides of every issue. The Charlie Crist that I knew and had the opportunity to work with called himself a Reagan conservative. He extolled the virtues of less taxing, less spending, more freedom. He said that Sarah Palin for example would be a great vice presidential candidate for John McCain.

“And as many of you know talked about the values of being a conservative and of the Republican Party, of Reagan’s party of Lincoln’s party his entire career.

“Now he’s running from the Democratic Party and while it is a different set of ideals, it’s not just that, it’s that he’s extolling virtues and values that literally three and a half years ago he was condemning and was on the opposite side of.

I” think anyone who wants to be in high political office has to have a guiding set of principles upon which they can make decisions. And those principles are certainly in question here. As [Florida Republican] Chairman [Lenny] Curry said, the ad today cites leading Democrats including former presidential candidate Al Gore, who said it was unusual to have someone flip flop then flop flip.

“I wasn’t at the press conference today that Governor Crist gave, but I did hear some of the, read some of the commentary. And nowhere in that commentary did I see why he wants to be governor, or what he would do as governor. Just a lot of criticism of Governor Scott.

“This election is going to come down to credibility, and it’s going to come down to believability and values that the people of Florida can look at and say this is where that person stands. And I think as this election sorts itself out, the people of Florida will realize that there’s only one person running for governor who has a set of core values that that person is willing to act upon, and that’s Governor Scott.

“The people of Florida are very smart. And they know Charlie Crist. And they’ve seen him as a Republican his whole career. And they are not going to be fooled by the fact that he’s now running as a liberal Democrat, now someone who’s embracing Obama and not Reagan like he was just a few short years ago.”

Question about whether it’s unseemly to attack Crist since he did so much for LeMieux.

“My points about Charlie Crist today are not personal. My points are about his viewpoints and why he’s running for governor. It is still possible in this state and in this country to look at the professional aspects of someone and not make it personal. And my comments are about where are his values and issues as someone running for public office. That’s what’s really important for the people of the state of Florida.

“We’ve had a very difficult recession. This has been the worst recession in 70 years. We are just fighting our way out of it, and thanks to good work that Governor Scott has done in creating with the people of Florida more than 365,000 jobs we’re on the way back. But we can’t walk backward, we can’t fall backward. The people of Florida are depending upon this governor to continue the good government that’s leading to job creation.

“And that’s why I’m speaking for, it’s not out of any personal animosity. It’s because I believe that Rick Scott has been a good governor and will be a good governor for the next four years if he’s reelected, and why I’m speaking out today.”

Question about assessing the state of play.