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CNBC TRANSCRIPT: CNBC’S CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT JOHN HARWOOD SPEAKS WITH GOVERNOR CHARLIE CRIST, FLORIDA SENATE CANDIDATE, TODAY ON CNBC

US President Barack Obama and Florida Governor Charlie Crist.
Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images
US President Barack Obama and Florida Governor Charlie Crist.

When: Today, Friday, October 29th at 8:15am ET

Where: CNBC’s “Squawk Box"

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Governor Charlie Crist, Florida Senate Candidate, on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” today, Friday, October 29th at 8:15am ET.

All references must be sourced to CNBC.

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BECKY QUICK: JOHN HARWOOD IS IN THE SUNSHINE STATE THIS MORNING WITH ONE OF THOSE CANDIDATE, FLORIDA GOVERNOR CHARLIE CRIST. JOHN, GOOD MORNING TO YOU.

JOHN HARWOOD: GOOD MORNING, BECKY, AND GOOD MORNING GOVERNOR CRIST. THANKS SO MUCH FOR BEING WITH US FROM PANAMA CITY. I UNDERSTAND YOU'RE BEGINNING A BUS TOUR THIS MORNING.

GOVERNOR CRIST: I AM. WE'RE GOING ON A THREE-DAY BUS TOUR, JOHN. IT'S FRIDAY, SATURDAY AND SUNDAY ALL OVER THE STATE OF FLORIDA LOOK FORWARD TO IT. ONLY FOUR DAYS TO GO UNTIL ELECTION DAY AND WE'RE EXCITED ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEND SOME COMMON SENSE TO WASHINGTON, D.C.

HARWOOD: NOW, GOVERNOR, OBVIOUSLY THE STORY THAT BROKE LAST NIGHT IS DOMINATING THE NEWS OF THIS RACE RIGHT NOW. COULD YOU DESCRIBE THE CONVERSATIONS THAT YOU AND YOUR REPRESENTATIVES HAD WITH PRESIDENT CLINTON AND WITH THE WHITE HOUSE ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY THAT REPRESENTATIVE MEEK WOULD DROP OUT OF THE RACE?

CRIST: WELL, THIS IS SOMETHING THAT'S BEEN REPORTED FOR WEEKS. YOU'VE PROBABLY FOLLOWED IT, JOHN. I THINK IT INITIALLY BEGAN IN A STORY IN THE "WALL STREET JOURNAL" AS A MATTER OF FACT SEVERAL WEEKS AGO--

HARWOOD: BUT I'M TALKING ABOUT YOUR SPECIFIC INVOLVEMENT.

CRIST: NO, I UNDERSTAND. I THINK THAT THE CONVERSATIONS THAT BEGAN BETWEEN PRESIDENT CLINTON'S PEOPLE AND US WAS ABOUT WEDNESDAY, TUESDAY OR WEDNESDAY OF LAST WEEK, AND YOU KNOW, I THINK THEY MADE A VALIANT ATTEMPT TO TRY TO DO WHAT THEY THOUGHT WAS RIGHT FOR THE COUNTRY. THE PRESIDENT SPOKE ABOUT IT LAST NIGHT, AND I THINK WE'LL LEAVE IT AT THAT. I'M GOING TO FOCUS ON THE DECISION FLORIDIANS HAVE TO MAKE. THEY HAVE TO DECIDE IF THEY WANT TO HAVE A UNITED STATES SENATOR--

HARWOOD: DID YOU SPEAK DIRECTLY -- DID YOU SPEAK DIRECTLY TO PRESIDENT CLINTON ABOUT IT?

CRIST: NO, I DID NOT. I SPOKE TO PEOPLE CLOSE TO HIM. I DIDN'T SPEAK DIRECTLY TO PRESIDENT CLINTON. BUT I THINK WHAT'S IMPORTANT HERE REALLY IS THE DECISION MY FELLOW FLORIDIANS HAVE TO MAKE. THIS IS A FLORIDA DECISION, AND THEY HAVE TO DECIDE WHAT THEY WANT IN THEIR NEXT UNITED STATES SENATOR. DO THEY WANT SOMEBODY THAT'S MAINSTREAM OR DO THEY WANT SOMEBODY THAT'S EXTREME LIKE MARCO RUBIO? DO THEY WANT TO HAVE SOMEBODY WHO WANTS TO SUPPORT A WOMAN'S RIGHT TO CHOOSE, OR SOMEBODY WHO WANTS TO LITERALLY OVERTURN ROWE VS. WADE AS MARCO RUBIO WANTS TO DO. SOMEBODY WHO SUPPORTS STEM CELL RESEARCH AS I DO, THAT WOULD HELP PEOPLE WITH ALZHEIMERS, CANCER, HEART DISEASE AND DIABETES. MR. RUBIO OPPOSES THAT. I DON'T THINK THOSE ARE THE VIEWS OF FLORIDA. THAT'S WHAT THIS CAMPAIGN IS ALL ABOUT. I LOOK FORWARD TO THE NEXT FOUR DAYS AND THE NEXT THREE DAYS ON THE BUS TOUR TALK TO FELLOW FLORIDIANS ABOUT IT.

HARWOOD: I WANT TO GO BACK TO ONE SPECIFIC THOUGH. WHO IN THE WHITE HOUSE DID YOU SPEAK TO ABOUT THIS OR DID YOUR CAMPAIGN PEOPLE SPEAK TO ABOUT IT?

CRIST: WELL, THERE WERE A COUPLE OF CONVERSATIONS. I'M NOT GOING TO DISCLOSE WHO THEY WERE WITH AT THE WHITE HOUSE. BUT WE DIDN'T ASK THEM FOR ANYTHING AND THEY DIDN'T VOLUNTEER ANYTHING. JUST WANTED TO KEEP UP WITH WHAT'S GOING ON IN THE FLORIDA RACE.

HARWOOD: YOU TALKED ABOUT THE DECISION FACING FELLOW FLORIDIANS. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE PICTURE FLORIDIANS ARE DRAWING FROM THESE CONVERSATIONS? YOU KNOW, MARCO RUBIO LAST NIGHT WAS TALKING ABOUT THIS AS ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF BACKROOM POLITICAL DEALS WE DON'T NEED. DOESN'T HE HAVE A POINT THERE? DON'T PEOPLE LOOK THAT THIS MANEUVERING A FEW DAYS BEFORE THE ELECTION AND SAY, WHAT KIND OF SECRET DEAL MAKING IS GOING ON THERE?

CRIST: WELL, NONE. THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT PEOPLE ARE TIRED OF. YOU KNOW, THERE'S GOING TO BE THREE CANDIDATES ON THIS BALLOT. THE PEOPLE OF FLORIDA ARE SMART ENOUGH TO MAKE A GOOD DECISION.

HARWOOD: YOU TRYING TO GET A DEAL DONE.

CRIST: I WASN'T TRYING TO GET A DEAL DONE. WHAT WAS HAPPENING IS PEOPLE HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT IT FOR WEEKS, AS I SAID AT THE OUTSET, JOHN. THEY'RE JUST LOOKING AT THE MATH. THAT'S ALL THAT WAS HAPPENING HERE IN FLORIDA.

HARWOOD: LET ME ASK YOU A QUESTION ABOUT THE PRACTICALITY OF THIRD PARTY OR INDEPENDENT BIDS. WE'VE SEEN GOVERNOR SCHWARZENEGGER TRY A VARIANT OF THIS IN CALIFORNIA. IT HASN'T GONE VERY WELL. DOESN'T THE EXPERIENCE YOU'VE HAD IN FLORIDA, TRYING THIS AS A POPULAR GOVERNOR, TELL YOU, AND NOW WE SEE MARCO RUBIO'S GOT A SIGNIFICANT LEAD. YOU NEED KENDRICK MEEK TO DROP OUT IN ORDER TO WIN THIS RACE. DOESN'T THAT TELL YOU THAT DESPITE THE DISGUST FOR THE TWO PARTIES INDEPENDENT CANDIDACIES OR THIRD PARTY CANDIDACIES JUST DON'T WORK IN THIS COUNTRY?

CRIST: WE WON'T KNOW THAT UNTIL TUESDAY NIGHT. I THINK IT'S GOING TO WORK BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE FED UP WITH THE POLITICAL PARTIES AND PARTY BOSSES TELLING PEOPLE IN WASHINGTON WHAT TO DO. YOU KNOW, IF EITHER OF MY OPPONENTS FRANKLY GET ELECTED THEY'RE GOING TO GO UP TO WASHINGTON AND JUST ADD TO THE FINGER POINTING, THE GRIDLOCK, THE NEGATIVITY, THE FIGHTING INSTEAD OF DOING WHAT'S RIGHT FOR THE PEOPLE FIRST AND THAT'S WHAT MY CAMPAIGN IS ALL ABOUT. WE'RE STARTING THE BUS TOUR THIS MORNING. IT'S THE PEOPLE'S EXPRESS. WE WANT TO GIVE THE PEOPLE AN OPPORTUNITY TO SEND AN HONEST BROKER TO WASHINGTON, D.C., TO DO WHAT'S RIGHT FOR THE PEOPLE OF THE SUNSHINE STATE. I KNOW IT IS WHAT THEY WANT AND I LOOK FORWARD TO EARNING AND HAVING THEIR VOTE ON TUESDAY.

HARWOOD: ONE MORE QUESTION BEFORE I LET YOU GO. I WONDER IF YOU LOOK BACK AT THE RECENT HISTORY OF OUR POLITICS. LOOK AT THE SUCCESS RONALD REAGAN HAD IN CUTTING TAXES. GEORGE W. BUSH IN PRESSING THE WAR IN IRAQ WITH MIXED RESULTS IN THE BEGINNING, BETTER NOW. PRESIDENT OBAMA GETTING HEALTH CARE THROUGH. DOESN'T THAT TELL YOU WHAT SUCCEEDS IN AMERICAN POLITICS ARE POLITICIANS, LEADERS WITH CONVICTION WHO GET THEIR PARTY AND MAYBE SOME OTHERS TO GO ALONG WITH THEM AND WHY SHOULDN'T FLORIDIANS LOOK AT YOU AND SAY, THAT IS NOT A CONVICTION POLITICIAN?

CRIST: WELL, SOMEBODY WHO'S STRAPPED TO THE PARTY, IF THAT'S A CONVICTION, MY CONVICTION IS TO THE PEOPLE, NOT TO THE PARTY. I KNOW THAT'S WHAT THE PEOPLE OF FLORIDA WANT. GEORGE WASHINGTON WARNED US ABOUT THIS IN HIS FAREWELL ADDRESS WHEN HE SAID IF WE ALLOW THE POLITICAL PARTIES IN ESSENCE TO GAIN TOO MUCH POWER, TOO MUCH STRENGTH, WE MAY CRIPPLE THE COUNTRY WE HAVE JUST CREATED. WE'RE THERE. THEY'RE CRIPPLED IN WASHINGTON. THE PEOPLE ALL OVER THE STATE OF FLORIDA KNOW THAT. THEY WANT FREEDOM, THEY WANT INDEPENDENCE. I DECLARED MY INDEPENDENCE LAST APRIL. I HOPE FLORIDIANS FOLLOW ME ON THIS JOURNEY AND DO WHAT'S RIGHT FOR OUR STATE AND COUNTRY.

HARWOOD: GOVERNOR CRIST, THANKS FOR JOINING US. GOOD LUCK ON THE BUS TOUR. GOOD LUCK NEXT TUESDAY.

CRIST: GOOD TO BE WITH YOU.

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