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In this Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012 file photo, President Obama, left, talks with former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist at a campaign rally in Seminole, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara, File)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist defends his evolution from a Republican to Democrat in a memoir discussing how an appearance with President Barack Obama helped change his political future.

“The Party’s Over: How the Extreme Right Hijacked the GOP and I Became A Democrat,” co-written by Crist and Ellis Henican, awaits scheduled February release.

Florida’s governor from 2007 to 2011, Crist defends a decision to give a hug to the Democrat Obama at a 2009 event though it alienated GOP voters. The Republican turned independent in 2010 and became a Democrat in 2012.

“I didn’t think a thing about it about it as it was happening,” Crist writes. “But that simple gesture ended my career as a viable Republican politician.”

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the book Wednesday.

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