The second gubernatorial debate between Florida Governor Rick Scott and Democrat Charlie Crist got off to a very awkward, yet kind of funny start.When debate moderator and CBS 4 news anchor Elliot Rodriguez introduced the two candidates, it took a while for either of them to actually walk out on stage.
As Crist, who was the first to take the stage, Rodriguez announced that Scott “would not be participate” in the debate because Crist apparently violated debate rules that both campaigns first agreed upon.
What was the debate rule that was violated?
Apparently, it was agreed upon that Crist’s infamous ‘fan’ was not allowed on stage, but was still plugged in at the base of his podium prior to the debate.
I, like everyone else watching thought this was a joke that the two candidates were pulling on TV viewers and debate attendees, but it turned out to be true.About 3 minutes after the debate started, and after Crist had taken the stage and was jeered for not following debate rules, Rick Scott came out from the back of the stage and took his place behind his podium.
So what really happened?
Well, it depends on who you ask.
Rick Scott’s campaign says that Crist clearly violated debate rules by using ‘other’ electronic devises, which would include the use of his fan on stage during the debate.
Charlie Crist’s campaign contends that use of a fan was agreed upon.State Senator and Crist campaign advisor Dan Gelber told reporters that this in fact was the case and furnished a letter he signed on behalf of the campaign, which outlined debate rules that both men apparently agreed upon.
The letter Gelber furnished only stated that neither of the two campaigns could use any audio, film or video footage of the debate publically on any media platform, including internet, TV, radio, etc.
No where on the letter does it state that a fan could or could not be used.
Wait, Gelber’s letter did have a little handwritten note on it just below his signature, which read:
I am not sure that Gelber’s little handwritten note constitutes an agreement by both camps for the use of a fan, or any other electronic devise on stage.
“With the understanding that the debate hosts will address any temperature issues with a a fan if necessary.”
There was no word from debate officials if there was a “temperature issue” in the building.
Gelber later jokingly told reporters that they had a back up fan that they were ready to offer Scott, and doubled down that the use of a fan was agreed upon. Another staffer joked that the Crist’s fans are purchased at CVS or Walgreens, depending on who offered the best price.
Here is the actual debate letter Gelber sent to reporters. You decide for yourself if it makes Crist’s case.
Senator Marco Rubio was in attendance and told reporters that Crist’s fan “was distracting” and that it could “clearly” be heard in the microphones, and “certainly in the hall”.Rubio added that Crist was “all talk, all show, and no work,” and the Crist’s “lies were distracting” during the debate.
Rubio also told reporters that he was told upon arriving to the venue that “multiple sources, including organizers of the debate” told him that Crist was the one that was going to cancel the debate “because unless there was a fan on that stage, he would not come out”.
Then Rubio reminded us all about a similar incident four years ago when Democrat Senate nominee Kendrick Meek “complained about the fan because of how distracting it was.”
Watch Rubio’s debate spin here.