The weird Crist-Scott debate

Yesterday was a debate between Florida governor Rick Scott and his challenger Charlie Crist. It got off to the weirdest start as you can see from the video, where Scott initially refused to come out, leaving his challenger alone on the stage for about 10 minutes.

The issue seems to be a ‘no electronics’ clause in the debate agreement that did not explicitly exclude fans. I can understand the reason for it, in order to prevent the debaters from getting audio feeds from advisors and experts during the debate in order to appear more knowledgeable. But it seems Crist likely that Crist did not feel that the word ‘electronics’ applied to a small portable fan beneath the podium because it appears that Crist hates to appear sweaty and has such a fan at almost all of his appearances, especially if it is held under bright lights. He would never have agreed to a ‘no fans’ clause.

By making a big deal out of a small fan and sulking off-stage, Scott came off as really petty. When he finally showed up and was asked to explain his initial absence, his reasoning was even more bizarre and the way he delivered it comical.

Scott’s aides tried to rectify matters but it likely did not help. These kinds of silly blunders are hard to explain away.


  1. lorn says

    Welcome to Florida where anyone, even grifters, crooks, liars, and charlatans, can become governor.

    Scott made his fortune taking advantage of loopholes in oversight and billing practices in Medicare to systematically over bill the system while all the time complaining about waste and fraud in the system. He would have done serious time in jail and lost a good part of what he had stolen but for the fact that the case surfaced while Reaganism was in full swing and energetically pushing the dogma that government was the problem and private enterprise the answer.

    Coming down hard on Scott would have made a government program look like it was relatively well run while private industry was where all the waste fraud and abuse was coming from so there was no fire in the belly for strong prosecution. Scott was handled very gently, allowed to plead the fifth repeatedly, and the fine was paid by the business. Scott made a lot of connections in the GOP in that time and became something of a hero for people wanting to make see deregulation so people could make private profits by plundering government programs.

  2. moarscienceplz says

    Scott needs a dictionary. ‘Electronics’ refers specifically to circuits using transistors or other active components, not simply something that uses electricity. Unless that was a remote-controlled fan, or had some other hi-tech feature, it did not transgress the terms of agreement.

  3. kyoseki says

    Funnily enough, the rules explicitly stated:

    Candidates will be fitted with lavaliere microphones and will stand at lecterns. Candidates may not bring
    electronic devices {including fans)
    , visual aids or notes to the debate, but will be provided with a pad and pen.

    Of course, this all comes down to Rick Scott not wanting to appear sweatier (and therefore shiftier) than Crist.

  4. Mano Singham says


    I wonder if Crist’s people deliberately set this up, suspecting that Scott might freak out.

  5. kyoseki says

    I don’t know, it’s possible, but such deviousness seems a little too well thought out for Florida politics 😉

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