Tags: Rick Scott | Charlie Crist | fan | debate

Gov. Rick Scott: I Didn't Blow Off Debate Start Over a Fan

Gov. Rick Scott: I Didn't Blow Off Debate Start Over a Fan
Florida Governor Rick Scott. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 16 October 2014 01:53 PM

The start of Wednesday night's long-awaited Florida gubernatorial debate didn't really come down to whether Republican-turned-Independent-turned-Democrat candidate Charlie Crist could have a small electric fan at his feet, Republican Gov. Rick Scott said.

Instead, Scott claims that former Gov. Crist was "throwing a fit" before the debate, and that he just wasn't sure if Crist was going to show up for the debate, reports The Week.

But Crist and the nation's media are playing up Scott's decision to stay off the stage for the first few minutes of the debate, nicknaming the tiff "Fangate" and throwing some more scandal into a campaign already marked with mud-slinging just weeks before the November election.

According to The Tampa Tribune, the candidates' camps have widely different stories about how Crist ended up standing on stage alone at Broward College Wednesday night.

Crist's camp says that it learned after an event last week that the stage was uncomfortably
warm, and debate organizers said they would fix the problem, including adding a fan if needed.

Former state Sen. Dan Gelber signed the debate agreement for Crist, writing in that the debate hosts would add a fan if needed.

But Scott's supporters, including Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, said Crist threatened to cancel the debate if there were no fan.

"When I got here today for this debate, I was told that Charlie Crist was going to cancel the debate, because unless there was a fan on that stage, he would not come out," Rubio told the Tribune. "So I think that Gov. Scott was waiting to see if Charlie would actually pull that off or not."

This isn't the first time Crist has insisted on having a fan on stage — and that fan has been memorialized by a joke Twitter account of its own, with a profile description that says it is "Tanman's only friend. I go wherever he goes. I keep him calm, cool and sweat-free."

And this isn't Crist's first "Fangate," said Rubio, noting a "similar incident" occurred in a debate between himself, Crist and former Democratic Congressman Kendrick Meek, who complained about Crist's fan.

But the fan gave both camps some more spin on for their campaigns.

"Charlie Crist can bring his fan, microwave, and toaster to debates — none of that will cover up how sad his record as governor was compared to the success of Rick Scott," said Scott campaign manager Melissa Sellers said in a statement issued after the debate. “Crist should buy a fan for the 832,000 Floridians who lost their jobs while he was governor."

And Crist's campaign fired back at Scott, saying he's afraid to answer issues but not to fight against a fan.

"I think it’s outrageous that he’s worried about that when he’s not worried about a million Floridians without health insurance, he’s not worried about teachers, he’s not worried about my kid who goes to a public school," said Crist's running mate, Annette Taddeo. "That’s what he should be worried about, not about a fan."

Crist defended his fan at the end of the debate, the Tribune reports.

"Is there anything wrong with being comfortable?" he said. "I don’t think there is."

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The start of Wednesday night's long-awaited Florida gubernatorial debate didn't really come down to whether Republican-turned-Independent-turned-Democrat candidate Charlie Crist could have a small electric fan at his feet, Republican Gov. Rick Scott said.
Rick Scott, Charlie Crist, fan, debate
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Thursday, 16 October 2014 01:53 PM
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