11/16/2012 03:35 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2012

Charlie Crist Effusive About Barack Obama At Tampa Press Banquet

Once-Republican Florida governor Charlie Crist had some glowing words about Barack Obama at the Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists' awards banquet on Thursday.

"I've looked into the soul of this man, and what I've seen is a man who is deserving of all our prayers and all of our support," Crist remarked about the recently reelected president.

During his 2010 senate campaign, Crist abandoned his GOP affiliation to become an Independent, leaving Marco Rubio to win the seat. He has since endorsed Obama for president and spoke at the Democratic National Convention.

Thursday the former governor was effusive about the Democrat president calling him "the real deal" and his 2009 Recovery Act a "godsend."

He also acknowledged the blowback he received after hugging Obama while in office as a Republican governor: "I have caught more grief from my party for simply being decent to the president of the United States of America, and I'm sick of it. It's not right. It's not fair."

Crist, who recently called current Governor Rick Scott's refusal to extend the state's early voting "indefensible," made a point to call out Florida's voting debacle: "…two things bring me close to anger, and it is arrogance and unfairness. And with this issue, we saw the merger of both."

Listen to Crist's comments on the University of South Florida news site.