Tags: Rick Scott | Charlie Crist | debate | Florida

Florida Debate: Gov. Scott Slams Charlie Crist for Flip-Flops

By    |   Tuesday, 21 October 2014 09:31 PM

Florida Gov. Rick Scott blasted Democratic challenger and former Gov. Charlie Crist on Tuesday for saying whatever he thinks will score political points, in their third and last debate before the Nov. 4 election.

"The only thing that's changed is Charlie's position," Scott said in response to Crist's voicing support for building ties with Cuban President Raul Castro. He opposed such moves when he was governor.

"I wouldn't be going to Cuba," Scott said. "We need to stand with the people of Cuba."

The debate took place in Jacksonville and was televised on CNN, moderated by anchor Jake Tapper. Libertarian candidate Adam Wyllie, who has been polling in the high single digits in some surveys, was not included.

Scott and Crist — often through bitter, highly personal attacks — spent the hour sparring over which was the more believable candidate and who would best serve the state's middle class.

Defending his switch from the Republican Party, Crist — who was once an independent before turning Democrat — said he left the party because GOP leaders had become too far to the right and were no longer consistent with his beliefs.

"I don't enjoy saying that," Crist said.

But Scott retorted that his answer proved Crist could not be trusted.

"Charlie, you are a divider. You're a mudslinger," he said. "Florida is the biggest melting pot in the world, and you want to try to divide people."

He added that Crist has taken inconsistent positions on taxes, education, and abortion.

Throughout the debate, Crist also said Scott was not believable. He pointed out that the governor ran a hospital chain that paid $1.7 billion in fines for Medicaid fraud.

"But you left a $3.6 billion deficit," Scott countered, "and you borrowed $9 billion."
He also noted that Florida lost 832,000 jobs during Crist's years as governor.

"You don't take action to create jobs," Scott said, adding that Crist "doesn't know how economic development works."

Scott said his administration lured GE Oil & Gas to Jacksonville, where the company plans to build an advanced manufacturing facility, creating 500 jobs over three years.

"You had this job," Scott charged. "Why didn't you take action? You didn't because you're all talk, no action."

The debate kicked off on an acrimonious note, with each candidate seeking to portray the other as out of touch with Sunshine State voters.

Crist charged that Scott grew up rich — "flying around on a private jet" and "living in an oceanfront mansion" — which rendered him unable to understand the needs of lower-income state residents.

He said he and his family lived in a small apartment while his father was in medical school in Atlanta — "and he delivered papers to make ends meet."

"Charlie grew up with plenty of money," Scott countered, noting that he and his family also experienced tough times when he was a child.

"We lost the family car," he said. "I went through that."

"Charlie is out of touch, while you have somebody on your side," Scott said.

Scott and Crist also squared off over immigration reform, climate change, and whether ex-convicts deserve voting rights after they are released from prison.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott blasted Democratic challenger and former Gov. Charlie Crist on Tuesday for saying whatever he thinks will score political points, in their third and last debate before the Nov. 4 election.
Rick Scott, Charlie Crist, debate, Florida
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2014-31-21
Tuesday, 21 October 2014 09:31 PM
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