Former Gov. Reubin Askew said Monday that politics today is “meanness and money,” and a Constitutional amendment is needed to allow limits on campaign spending.

“The system we have for financing campaigns is obscene, and I don't use that word lightly,” he told a University of Florida audience.

Askew, 83, served as governor from 1971 to 1979. He spoke to a crowd of more than 200 at the UF center named for his successor, the Bob Graham Center for Public Service.

As governor, Askew helped defeat a measure that would have allowed casino gambling in Florida. With the state again considering the issue, he said that he never liked the Lottery and opposed the idea of further expanding gambling.

“I just think it's sort of sad, to tell you the truth, how much we already have,” he said. “And (that) we have to look toward exploiting the weaknesses of our own people to finance our economy. I really don't buy it.”

Askew was considered to be one of the first “New South” governors because of his support of busing to end segregation in schools. Read more