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What They're Saying: Florida's Media Analysts Sum Up the GOP Primary Gubernatorial Debate

For Immediate Release: Aug. 6, 2010
What They’re Saying: Florida’s Media Analysts Sum Up the GOP Primary Gubernatorial Debate
Last night, disgraced executive Rick Scott and career politician Bill McCollum faced off in a less than epic showdown that came down to arguing over which one is MORE wrong for Florida.  Because Scott and McCollum could not put their partisan pandering aside for one moment to come together for a  serious discussion of the issues facing Florida, we wanted to give Floridians who could not watch the debate a synopsis in case they did not already know just how embarrassing both Republican candidates for Governor are. 
The St. Petersburg Times said, “In substance, the hourlong event was disappointing. Despite glancing references to job plans and illegal immigration, the back-and-forth revolved around the same two topics that have dominated in Scott and McCollum’s paid attack ads: McCollum repeatedly evoked the $1.7 billion fine Scott’s former hospital company, Columbia/HCA, paid for Medicare fraud. Scott dismissed McCollum as a career politician who was accepting tax dollars under the public campaign finance program.” [St. Petersburg Times, 8/6/10]
According to the News-Press, “McCollum spent a good part of the 56-minute debate thrashing Scott about his tenure as president of HCA, which was fined almost $2 billion for Medicare fraud. The constant theme was this: Mr. Scott, how can you run the state as governor when “HCA committed fraud when you were CEO.”  Each time McCollum brought up that issue, Scott never wavered in his response: I was never charged. Scott said he was never questioned by the FBI, and he learned many lessons that will benefit him in the statehouse.” [News-Press, 8/6/10]
The Naples News said, “The head-to-head rehashed many of the issues spotlighted in the ubiquitous campaign ads blanketing the state, mostly from Scott’s stratospheric spending. However, the difference Thursday was the candidates were sitting directly across from one another, allowing them to openly challenge each other, and occasionally get deadlocked in back-and-forths that resembled more schoolyard fight than sit-down debate.” [Naples News, 8/5/10]
Mike Bender at the Palm Beach Post said, “Republican gubernatorial candidates Bill McCollum and Rick Scott occasionally sparred Thursday over taxes, job creation and illegal immigration, but spent most of their hour-long debate name-calling and questioning the other’s character.” [Palm Beach Post, 8/5/10]
And in case anyone needed more evidence that both candidates are panderers whose only principle is getting elected, the Gainesville Sun noted, “Both candidates deftly sidestepped the question of which college teams they support — which was asked by a Florida State fan. McCollum, a University of Florida graduate, said he supported the Tampa Bay Bucs, while both he and Scott said they supported the Republican ‘team.'” [Gainesville Sun, 8/6/10]
While we’ll leave who won the debate up to the pundits, but the one thing Floridians can take away from the debate is that with either  Scott or McCollum as governor, we’re the  losers.

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