CHARLIE CRIST’S SHORT MEMORY…. In February, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) in a rare display of bipartisanship, endorsed the White House’s recovery efforts and stood alongside President Obama at an event intended to generate support for the depression-preventing stimulus. It was the kind of gesture that positioned Crist, at the time, as a different kind of Republican, focused more on problem solving than partisan nonsense and rooting for failure.

And now Crist would really appreciate it if we all forgot about it.

The Florida governor suddenly finds himself in a competitive Senate primary against former state House Speaker Marco Rubio, who’s far more right-wing, and appeals much more to the party’s far-right base. Because Republican activists have convinced themselves that the stimulus fell short, Crist is pretending he didn’t support the Obama initiative, even though reality shows otherwise. Evan McMorris-Santoro reports:

Facing a primary challenge from the right, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is suddenly attacking President Obama for stimulus spending just six months after backing the stimulus package.

Crist defended his new radio ads slamming President Obama over his economic policy this afternoon, claiming that he joined the president at a pro-stimulus rally in February because, “I think it’s the right thing to do to honor the office of President of the United States.”

Yes, as far as the governor is concerned, he appeared alongside Obama as some kind of courtesy. The president came to Florida, so the governor felt compelled to be there.

That’s a nice try, but Crist didn’t just honor the office of the president, he specifically endorsed the recovery plan — in a speech and in writing. And better yet, Crist was right — the recovery plan was the right thing to do.

But Republican primary voters don’t want to hear that, so Crist is scrambling, hoping voters forget what happened in February, when Crist did the right thing.

It’s a shame what GOP primaries do to some people.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.