October 19, 2014

'Mediscare' accusations abound in debate between Miami congressional candidates


Accusing each other of trying to scare voters, Miami Rep. Joe Garcia and competitor Carlos Curbelo appeared in a pointed live television debate Sunday, a day before early voting begins in the close political contest.

Garcia, a freshman Democrat seeking reelection, charged Curbelo with misleading voters by referring to Social Security and Medicare as a “Ponzi scheme” that might not be around for future generations.

“He talks about turning the page, but what he’s turning the page to is fear tactics and scare tactics,” Garcia said.

Curbelo, a Republican Miami-Dade County School Board member, threw the accusation back at Garcia for running advertisements that claim Curbelo would end Medicare benefits for seniors.

“That is the ultimate hypocrisy,” Curbelo said.

The exchange was one of several cutting ones in the debate on WPLG-ABC 10’s This Week in South Florida, the first one between the men in Miami-Dade broadcast in English. They faced off last week on a Spanish-language station.

More here.

'Rick Scott is betting his mansion on Tampa' --and other tidbits from the $83m ad war

@SteveBousquet and @MarcACaputo

Gov ad spendFor the past year, living in Florida has meant having Gov. Rick Scott and Charlie Crist as constant and mostly unwanted companions.

If you own a TV, you get the picture.

Ad infinitum. Ad nauseam. About $83 million since March.

For months, TV viewers have been forced to withstand a seemingly endless barrage of vicious ads from Scott and Crist as they try to trash talk their way to the Governor’s Mansion, 30 seconds at a time.

Scott and Republicans have spent $56.5 million on ads and Crist and Democrats have spent $26.5 million. Scott has bought far more ads in Tampa Bay than anywhere else: It’s the biggest TV market in Florida and Crist’s home base.

“Gov. Scott is betting his mansion on Tampa,” said Scott Tranter, a principal and consultant for a Republican-leaning data analytics firm, 0ptimus.

Using data from broadcast stations and the Florida voter file, 0ptimus has concluded that Tampa Bay viewers have seen the most negative ads from Scott about Crist, with 95 million impressions since Sept. 1.

That means a Scott ad has been seen in whole or in part 95 million times across the Tampa Bay TV market.

In a first-of-its-kind race where both candidates have been governors, voters say the two men have cheapened and demeaned the high office they seek. Their total lack of mutual respect is magnified by the fact that they refuse to address each other as “governor” and instead use “Rick” and “Charlie.”

More here

Report: Florida's tip, Cape Sable, losing ground to rising seas


From the sky, Florida’s rugged tip looks like a scrap of emerald green lace: marshes and mangroves and tree islands all knit together by ribbons of creeks and lakes.

But at Cape Sable, a remote outpost where the Atlantic meets the Gulf of Mexico, the coast is fraying.

Usually, geological change is so slow that “you never see something in your lifetime,” Audubon Florida biologist Peter Frezza said recently as he piloted his boat around acres of mud flats filling Lake Ingraham. “But we’re watching this happen.”

For more than a decade, scientists have seen the cape as the tip of the sword in climate change. Sliced open by canals dug through the marl dividing marshes from the bay a century ago by Henry Flagler’s land company, the cape is particularly vulnerable to rising seas. Flagler was hoping to drain the wetland and lure homesteaders and ranchers. Story here.  

Gov. Rick Scott promised a change at DCF but expert says 'numbers are cooked' as deaths kept off the books


In Lake County, a disfigured 2-month-old whose mother did not want him is left alone in a motel room for 90 minutes, and is later found smothered. His family had been the subject of 38 prior investigations by the state’s child welfare agency.

“It is a general consensus,” a report said, “that [the mother] was involved in the death of her child.”

In Santa Rosa County, child welfare authorities allow a “chronic and severe” drug addict to bring her newborn home, though her two older children had been removed from her care for their safety. Eighteen days later, the mother takes an unprescribed Lortab painkiller and places her baby next to her in bed. The child is found dead.

And in Polk County, a mother leaves two toddlers alone in a “kiddie pool” — and returns to find her 1-year-old daughter face-down in the water. Her 2-year-old son later discloses he pushed his sister down while she was crying. He now suffers nightmares. 

The children, who all perished last year, are tragically bound by more than death: Even as the Florida Department of Children & Families has promised greater openness, the three fatalities, and dozens of others like them, have never been counted among the state’s victims of fatal abuse or neglect.

No state can protect every child who is born to troubled, violent or drug-addicted parents, and even youngsters for whom child protection administrators make all the right choices can sometimes fall victim to unforeseen circumstances. To ensure that state social service agencies learn from mistakes, the federal government requires that states count and investigate all child fatalities that result from abuse or neglect.

Regulators don’t, however, strenuously oversee how the counting and investigating occurs.

After the Miami Herald published a series examining the deaths of 477 children — and Florida’s failure to protect some of them from abusive or neglectful parents — the state promised a new era of openness and more rigor in the way it investigates child deaths.

But except for abiding by a new state law that required DCF to create awebsite listing all child fatalities, Florida has continued to undercount the number of children it fails.

Continue reading "Gov. Rick Scott promised a change at DCF but expert says 'numbers are cooked' as deaths kept off the books" »

October 18, 2014

Race between Miami Rep. Joe Garcia and Carlos Curbelo comes down to the wire


The ghost of David Rivera lingers over the fierce race for Florida’s southernmost congressional district.

Engulfed in scandals, he lost the seat two years ago and came in fourth place this year when he tried to win the Republican Party’s nomination again.

But his tainted legacy is never too far from his former opponents.

The man who won this year’s GOP primary, Carlos Curbelo, is campaigning as the anti-Rivera. The man Curbelo wants to defeat, Democratic Rep. Joe Garcia, is seeking reelection without having the vulnerable Rivera to use as target practice.

Garcia’s own 2012 political advertising — hammering Rivera as corrupt — has come back to haunt him.

More here.

CDC agrees to help Florida prepare for Ebola, sort of

The federal Centers for Disease Control agreed Saturday to some -- but not all -- of Gov. Rick Scott's Ebola-related requests.

The CDC will hold a conference call with Florida hospitals next week on best practices, Scott said Saturday. The organization has also given Florida the green light to spend about $7 million in federal grant funding on protective suits for health care workers. 

"The CDC indicated that we will receive formal approval next week, but based on this preliminary approval, we have already begun using these funds to enhance our Ebola preparedness efforts," Scott said in a statement.

The governor is still waiting on the CDC to contact passengers on a plane that stopped in Fort Lauderdale after carrying a nurse who was later diagnosed with Ebola. 

He also has yet to receive 27 of the 30 Ebola testing kits he requested.

"With a population of more than 19 million people, tens of millions of tourists, and numerous ports and international airports, we must ensure Florida can rapidly test any future patients who have the potential for Ebola," he said.

The conference call with Florida hospitals will take place Monday at 3:30 p.m.

The call will provide "guidance for proper use of Personal Protective Equipment, safe handling of medical waste and effective clinical strategies within the hospital setting."

October 17, 2014

After FanGate, Scott pivots to Ebola

Two days after Florida’s gubernatorial debate turned into FanGate, Gov. Rick Scott convened a press conference in Dania Beach to talk about a more serious subject: Ebola.

The Republican incumbent assured reporters that Florida was prepared for a potential health crisis — and repeated calls for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to contact passengers on a plane that stopped at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport after carrying an Ebola patient.

"The CDC and the federal government have already failed to get ahead of the spread of Ebola in Texas and we’re not going to let that happen in Florida," Scott said.

But some observers say the news conference Friday was about more than emerging health concerns, pointing out that no cases of Ebola have been reported in Florida, and healthcare professionals consider it highly unlikely that any Fort Lauderdale passengers caught the virus.

"He’s playing politics with fear," said Charles Zelden, a professor of history, law and politics at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale. "He’s following the Republican Party playbook, which is to scare people into voting — and he’s trying his darndest to put FanGate behind him."

Read more here.

Rothenberg Political Report switches FL-26 rating to 'Pure Tossup'


Did the race between Miami Democratic Rep. Joe Garcia and Republican challenger Carlos Curbelo get a little tighter?

That's the opinion of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report, which on Friday switched its rating of the contest to "Pure Tossup" from "Pure Tossup/Tilts Democratic."

Curbelo's campaign touted the change in a news release.

Congressional District 26 is one of two competitive races in Florida, and the most competitive in the country among districts where a majority of voters are Hispanic.

Rothenberg switched the rating in the state's other close race -- FL-02 -- to "Pure Tossup" from "Pure Tossup/Tilts Republican," benefiting Democrat Gwen Graham, who is challenging Republican Rep. Steve Southerland in the Panhandle.

Loophole allows Miami congressional candidate Carlos Curbelo to keep firm clients secret


As a member of the Miami-Dade County school board, Carlos Curbelo has voted on education policies and schools contracts for four years. Now, running for a congressional seat, he’s looking to have a say in far more consequential government decisions.

For most of that time, Curbelo has been drawing a six-figure salary to represent government and public-relations clients.

Yet the Republican candidate refuses to disclose who the clients are.

Some of them are political candidates who have hired Curbelo as a campaign strategist or Spanish-language media spokesman. Those clients are publicly known. But the others aren’t, raising questions as to why Curbelo insists on keeping them secret.

“He’s violating the spirit of the rules,” said Adam Rappaport, senior counsel for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, a liberal watchdog group. “Technically, he is exploiting a loophole that allows him not to disclose.”

More here.

Florida Democratic Party releases new ad featuring the 'Fan'

A portion of the Florida Democratic Party press release:

Today, the Florida Democratic Party is releasing “Absent," a new TV ad holding Rick Scott accountable for refusing to debate Charlie Crist over something as trivial as a fan.


780k absentee ballots cast and GOP still leads. 'Here is what they don't tell you'


Absentee ballots are still pouring in, with 778,876 cast of this morning. As yesterday, Republicans still hold the lead in returns over Democrats, 48-35 percent.

Here's a look at the top counties where ballots have been counted by party:

 Ballots cast  Party County % of total
      37,601 REP PIN 43%
      32,407 REP LEE 55%
      31,867 DEM PIN 37%
      28,281 REP DAD 47%
      22,126 DEM DAD 36%
      18,812 REP HIL 42%
      17,315 DEM HIL 39%
      16,353 DEM ORA 42%
      15,792 REP ORA 41%
      14,332 REP BRE 54%
      14,146 DEM LEE 24%
      14,119 REP DUV 55%
      14,087 REP VOL 48%
      14,058 NPA PIN 16%
      13,971 REP CLL 63%

Republicans have been crowing about their lead. But Democratic consultant Steve Schale says in a new memo that there's more than meets the eye:

[H]ere is what they don’t tell you.

Only 73 percent of people who have returned an absentee ballot voted in 2010. The other 27 percent – they didn’t vote in 2010. They are the so-called “irregular” or “Presidential” voters.

Let’s repeat that: Of the ballots cast to date – by the voters who are seemingly most interested in voting, 27 percent of the ballots have been cast by voters who did not vote in 2010. And Democrats have an edge, with 32 percent of their votes coming from voters who did not participate in 2010, compared to 20 percent of Republicans.

Republicans have long held an advantage in terms of absentee ballot voters. In fact, among the nearly 1.5 million voters currently holding an absentee ballot in their hands who voted in 2010, the GOP holds about an 180,000 voter advantage. They have more voters who always vote by absentee - so they will win among people who always vote by absentee.

But more importantly, the comparison of where were then (2010) versus now. In 2010 – on today’s day in the campaign, Republicans held an 18.5 percent advantage among returned ballots. Today it is less than 13.5 percent – and is trending Democratic. We’ve dropped the gap from 20% to 13.5% in just 10 days, and again, that is with reports that there are many ballots in three south Florida counties that have yet to be processed.

Again, the GOP advantage among people voting to date is almost exclusively from voters who voted in three of the last three races. However, the difference between their 18.5% advantage on this day in the campaign in 2010 and the 13.5% advantage today is due to the increase in returned ballots from non-2010 voters.

Sure Republicans will win absentees. They always do. But the margin will be tighter.

And keep in mind, Scott won by 61,000 votes in 2010.

Schale memo here

Chamber funds Crist attack in GOP markets: He's a trial lawyer

 The Florida Chamber of Commerce is out with a new television ad in several GOP-heavy media markets today predictably crediting Florida's job increases, which happened as the national economy improved, to Gov. Rick Scott and blaming the job losses, that occurred in the global economic meltdown, to Charlie Crist. 

Whether critically-thinking voters buy this faulty logic is yet to be seen, so they've thrown in what might be a more persuasive pitch -- at least for right-leaning independents and those who make up the 7 percent of those still undecided. It's that Crist is a trial lawyer. 

The ad is running in the I-4 corridor from Daytona to Tampa, Jacksonville, parts of the Panhandle as well as Southwest Florida.

Here's the transcript:

Rick Scott added over 600,000 jobs. 
Trial lawyer Charlie lost over 800,000 jobs.
Rick Scott has Florida’s economy headed in the right direction.
“I’m a trial lawyer,” says Charlie Crist.
Trial lawyers like Crist hurt our economy.
But Florida’s on the right track with Rick Scott.
The last thing we need are more trial lawyers. 
So give Charlie a call and let him know.
Oh, and if he’s out suing someone, leave him a message.

Teachers union honors influential religious leader who blasted its lawsuit

The statewide teachers union on Friday will honor Bishop Victor T. Curry with its Human and Civil Rights Leadership Award.

That's the same Bishop Victor T. Curry who last month blasted the union's lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the school voucher program.

Members of the Florida Education Association's Human and Civil Rights Committee said they chose Curry, an influential religious leader in Miami who also has a popular radio show, for his "unwavering dedication to the less fortunate, the overlooked and the disenfranchised."

"His involvement in local, state, and even national issues, that affect civil rights of so many have made a difference in the advancement of people, not just of color, but of all races and gender background," United Teachers of Dade President Fedrick Ingram said in a statement. "Bishop Curry believes in and stands up for what is right and fair for all people."

Last month, Curry decried the FEA's efforts to end the school voucher program in a letter to The Miami Herald.

Other influential ministers, including the Rev. H.K. Matthews, asked Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist to take a similar position on the lawsuit. Crist refused -- a move Matthews said could hurt Crist's standing among black voters.

The FEA is supporting Crist's bid for re-election.

Curry was scheduled to be honored Friday during the union's annual Delegate Assembly in Orlando. 

A Florida Education Association spokesman said the faith-based leader would not be able to attend the event.

Scientists offer up solutions on climate change, now ask Gov. Rick Scott to hear them

 Gov. Rick Scott asked for solutions and so they brought them.

Scientists, business leaders, local elected officials came up with a lengthy list of ways Florida could help to address climate change and on Friday delivered a letter to the governor and asking him for, yes, another meeting.

This comes as the governor's silence on climate change, his campaign's receipt of millions from the utility industry, and his failure to create a state energy policy in the face of rising sea waters has become a vulnerability in his race for governor.

NextGen Climate, the political committee founded by California billionaire Tom Steyer to target climate change skeptics, has spent more than $12 million in Florida for a campaign to defeat Scott's re-election bid. They are running television ads in the crucial Tampa Bay media market, have opened 21 offices, and say they have more than 500 staffers, canvassers and volunteers across Florida. They also built an ark and trucked it across the state to get TV time. 

Scott won't say if he believes that humans, fossil fuel or other factors contribute to the earth's warming but he did agree to meet with five scientists Aug. 19 in his office. Before the meeting, he said he was a less interested in causes than he was in addressing them. During the meeting, he asked no issue-related questions but said he was a "solutions guy." 

The scientists took that as a call to action. They joined with elected officials and business leaders and convened the Climate Science & Solutions Summit at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg last week. It was a standing room only crowd.

A summary of the suggestions that emerged was written up for the governor and signed by 50 of the participants, delivered to the governor's office today with a request for a in-person meeting. 

Continue reading "Scientists offer up solutions on climate change, now ask Gov. Rick Scott to hear them" »

Miami-Dade commissioners lash out at mayor


Tension between Miami-Dade commissioners and Mayor Carlos Gimenez is hardly a novelty, but the tone of a Thursday committee meeting seemed unusually harsh. 

The commission's Economic Development committee convened to consider a batch of grants the Gimenez administration had recommended for approval. But on the eve of the hearing, Gimenez announced he wanted to change course and shift the dollars to larger projects,  including Miami's planned SkyRise observation  tower. 

Lynda Bell, the outgoing commissioner who chairs the committee, refused to let Gimenez deputy Jack Osterholt brief commissioners  on the new grant plan. (Gimenez didn't attend.)

Bell was already steamed at Gimenez for softening his formerly hard-line on union contracts during her losing reelection campaign against a union-backed challenger, Daniella Levine Cava.  

"I was not pleased to read in the newspaper that the mayor has once again changed his mind," Bell said at the start of the debate, which ended with most of the grants being recommended to the full commission. "It's inappropriate to have the mayor's office call each of us [to] sponsor these items... now the mayor changes his mind.

"It's almost schizophrenic," she continued. "I'm not going to put up with it." 

(We should note that Bell did her own about-face on these grants, too. She sponsored a $5 million request for a commercial complex backed by her top campaign donor, Wayne Rosen, then dropped the sponsorship when the grant program sparked controversy during the campaign. Bell returned as Rosen's sponsor after she lost the election. In her comments, Bell said the mayor's office asked her to sponsor Rosen's project.) 

Osterholt sat silent throughout the meeting, but left during Bell's concluding remarks,  which continued her broadside against the administration.

"We either have a process, or we don't," Bell said after the meeting. "I'm tired of the nonsense."

The mayor's office said it had no comment on the meeting.

Read the story here.  

Scott calls on CDC to help prevent Ebola in Florida

Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday called on the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reach out to passengers on a plane that apparently carried an Ebola patient the day before it stopped at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

"The CDC has already admitted that they have been slow to respond to developing cases of Ebola, and we do not want to take any risk of Ebola coming to Florida," Scott said in a statement. "Their immediate action to contact all these passengers is essential to explaining any potential health risks to themselves and their family."

The CDC did not respond to emails from the Herald/Times.

There have been no cases of Ebola reported in Florida.

Read more here.

Marco Rubio name-dropped in ad for Miami-Dade property appraiser candidate


It's not every day that a U.S. senator makes an appearance in a relatively lowly property appraiser's race.

But there's Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, being name-dropped in an advertisement for state Rep. Eddy Gonzalez's bid for Miami-Dade County appraiser.

The Spanish-language radio ad, by a political group backing Gonzalez, notes Rubio has endorsed his fellow Republican in the nonpartisan contest. It also mentions an endorsement by County Mayor Carlos Gimenez.

The other candidate, former appraiser Pedro J. Garcia, is also a Republican. He held the appraiser job before losing two years ago to Carlos Lopez-Cantera, who earlier this year was appointed Gov. Rick Scott's lieutenant.

"Pedro Garcia had his chance and failed us," says the ad, paid for by Conservative Principles for Florida. The political action committee is chaired by state Rep. Jose Oliva, a Hialeah Republican like Gonzalez.

Garcia, who won endorsements from several powerful county labor unions, has campaigned much as he did in 2012, as a professional appraiser fighting politicians looking for their next elected gig. Lopez-Cantera ran after being term-limited as a state lawmaker. Gonzalez is doing the same, though unlike Lopez-Cantera, he has no background in real estate.

In a five-way contest Aug. 26, Garcia garnered the largest percentage of votes, with Gonzalez coming in second.

Comedy writers of America pledge allegiance to Florida

Florida, you did it again.

Just when we thought you had maxed out on becoming a national punchline, you do something like Wednesday’s gubernatorial debate at Broward College in Davie.

Now known as FanGate, the legendary moment in Florida political history did the full Ginsburg on Thursday night’s late night comedy shows.

First up in its 11 p.m. time slot, the Daily Show with Jon Stewart played the escapade for some startling “can they say that on pay cable?” low brow laughs.

Jon Stewart started by lamenting at the top of the show that it had been a miserable last few weeks of bad news.

“But keep fighting because as Frodo taught us, if the world is horse----, if you dig around long enough, there’s a pony in there somewhere,” Stewart said. “It turns out ladies and gentlemen, I found a pony, last night, in Florida.”

Cue footage of Wednesday night’s surreal opening of the debate.

Rick Scottt, our incumbent governor and the Republican candidate for governor, is also in the building,” said Eliott Rodriguez, CBS4 anchor and debate host. “We have been told Gov. Scott will not be participating in this debate.”

“He can’t not participate!” Stewart chimed in. “A debate must have two parties to be considered a debate. Otherwise it’s known as a," well, you get the point.

It only got classier.

Dubbing Scott the “hairless, serpentine incumbent,” Stewart said he must have gotten sidetracked looking for a snack.

“It was the reason for Scott’s absence that reminded me why life is so beautiful," Stewart said.

Cuts to footage showing that former Gov. Charlie Crist had a small fan at the lectern.

“For that reason, I’m being told, Gov. Scott won’t be joining us for the debate,” Rodriguez tells the audience in the footage.

Cut back to Stewart.

“Gov. Rick Scott of Florida has refused to debate former Gov. Charlie Crist because former Gov. Crist has a fan that appears to be providing a small amount of respite for his presumably sweaty balls,” Stewart said.

A light from above shines on Stewart, who looks up and says: “Thank you Jesus.”

The segment, dubbed “The Last Perspiration of Crist”, lasted eight minutes.

“There’s a humid environment in Florida,” Stewart said. “Crist’s boys got sweaty so the former governor pops down and picks up a fan at, what do you call it there, Beds, Balls and Beyond, what’s the issue?

“I’m sorry, we could have delved into all the terrible, actual answers Rick Scott gave in the debate about  his horrifying policies for Florida, but that’s not nearly as fun as him missing four minutes of a debate because his opponent had a fan pointed at his balls.”

Stewart then asked Daily Show correspondent Samantha Bee to provide analysis.

Standing before a map of phallic-looking Florida, Bee explained that Florida politics has a “long history of electoral ball coolery.”

If testicular humor is your bag, check it out.


Next up, on the Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert led with a segment on the discovery of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

But after a commercial break, he led with FanGate.

Continue reading "Comedy writers of America pledge allegiance to Florida" »

October 16, 2014

After fangate, blowback for Rick Scott

Gov. Rick Scott’s sudden absence at the start of a statewide TV debate reshaped the governor’s race Thursday as event sponsors accused Charlie Crist of breaking the rules and Scott’s side fretted over whether he damaged his re-election prospects.

At the center of the storm was a $20 fan that viewers couldn’t see, quietly whirring at Crist’s feet as he stood alone on stage Wednesday night at Broward College in Davie.

Scott denied that he refused to go on, even though viewers saw his empty podium for seven chaotic minutes. Crist’s campaign and debate organizers gave contradictory accounts of what led to “Fangate” and pundits had another reason to make fun of Florida politics as the fan flap drowned out talk on jobs, education and health care.

“He was sweating and he needed a fan,” Scott told CNN. “I’m surprised he didn’t try to ask for dry ice.”

That’s what worries many Republicans.

“It was a missed opportunity. It was very odd,” said Fort Lauderdale lawyer Ed Pozzuoli, a Scott ally and former Broward County GOP chairman who echoed numerous Republicans. “Gov. Scott has a record that he needs to extol at every opportunity, and the only thing being discussed now is the fan.”

More here

Scott tells Wolf Blitzer he never saw the fan during debate, or the amended rules before

CNN fanGov. Rick Scott appeared on Wolf Blitzer's The Situation Room Thursday and was asked about the single most important thing in politics in Florida today -- the fan.
The news organization led its politics page with a story and headline that read: Florida Gov. Rick Scott stalls debate over opponent's fan.
Here's the transcript from CNN:
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST:  And the Florida governor, Rick Scott, is here in THE SITUATION ROOM right now.  He's joining us.
Governor, thanks very much for joining us.
All this over a fan.  I guess the key question, what were you thinking?
GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA:  Hard to believe, isn't it?  I was anxious to get out there.  I wanted to talk -- you know, we did a debate last weekend.  He didn't like talking about 832,000 jobs lost.  So I think he was just -- he was just worried he was going to sweat.  I'm surprised he just didn't bring some dry ice with him or something to keep himself cool, because he worried so much when I keep -- kept bringing up that he'd lost 832,000 jobs.  But we -- I came out and we did the debate.  He -- you know, he didn't want to talk about jobs.  We talked about jobs and education.
You know what's too bad -- ?
BLITZER:  Let me interrupt.  Quick question on the fan.  
What's the big deal?  
Why wouldn’t you let him -- if he needs a fan, what's the big deal?  Let him have a fan.
Why was this even an issue going into the debate between your staff and his staff?
SCOTT:  I have no idea.  I was sitting in the back.  I was told he wasn't going to show up, and so I was sitting back there waiting for them to tell us to come out.
And they didn't tell us to come out.  And then he went out there.  So we came out --
BLITZER:  He does have a long history of requesting that a fan be there for whatever reason.  And in that document that the Florida gubernatorial debate put out, it explains all the rules.  
But he wrote -- or somebody wrote that there can be no fan with the understanding that the debate hosts will address any temperature issues with a fan, if necessary.  So that was clearly written into this document, which I'm sure you've seen.
SCOTT:  No, I haven't seen the document.  I mean, I was out there to talk about jobs.  We've added 643,000 jobs.  But I was waiting to go on.  I was anxious to go on.
BLITZER:  So who told you not to go out there?
SCOTT:  The organizers.  They said that he wasn't going to show up.  He was balking without his fan.  So I didn't even know he was going to have a fan.
BLITZER:  So he had a fan.  So eventually you went out and the fan was operating, I guess, throughout the debate, right?
SCOTT:  Yes, I didn't see it.
BLITZER:  So it was not -- it was not a factor after that.
But are you surprised by all this commotion over a fan?
What's been --
SCOTT:  It was too bad.  This debate ought to be about jobs, ought to be about education.  That's what Floridians care about, the -- what's the future going to be like?
So it's too bad they're talking about fans.  But look, I'm out on the campaign trail every day, talking about how we've added 643,000 jobs.  We have 261,000 job openings.  We have a record funding for K-12 education, state colleges, universities.  
That's what I talk about every day.  So but it's sort of -- you know, remember last time I did the CNN debate, my opponent cheated during the debate.  So hopefully nothing will happen next Tuesday when we do the CNN debate.
BLITZER:  There's going to be another debate.  I take it there won't be a fan for him at that debate, is that your understanding?
SCOTT:  You know, I don't care if he brings a microwave, if he brings a humidifier, whatever he wants to bring, if it makes him feel better, he ought to bring his microwave, humidifier, toaster, whatever he wants.
BLITZER:  CNN rules are no fan.  So I guess, unless -- he won't show up without the fan, but I've been told definitively by CNN, no fan at that debatenext Tuesday night, 7:00 pm --
SCOTT:  We'll see what happens.  I hope we talk about jobs and education.
BLITZER:  So anything you -- if you had a do-over, what would you have done differently?
Because the criticism of you is you refused to debate the guy because he had a fan.
SCOTT:  I never did.  I was waiting -- I was -- I was told he wasn't going to -- he wasn’t going to come out.  He wasn't going to do the debate.
BLITZER:  Well, once he's out there on the stage, you knew he was on the stage.
SCOTT:  No.  No.  No, we -- because they had us in -- well, at least they had me -- I was in a trailer just waiting to go out.
BLITZER:  And so who said to you, wait?   The staff?
SCOTT:  Yes, the whole team, they said just wait until we're ready to take you out.
BLITZER:  And the staff said the organizers didn't want you to go out there?  Is that what --
SCOTT:  Yes, because --
BLITZER:  The moderators, they were all stunned.
SCOTT:  Because what -- the others I've done, you walk out at the same time.  So and that's why I think they were trying to organize.
BLITZER:  So are you alleging that Chris broke the rules?
SCOTT:  Look, I just want to do a debate, I wanted to talk about jobs and education.  I don't know why he did what he did.  But I'm, look, I think it's crazy that that's what they're talking about.  We ought to talk about jobs and education.  I don't care if he has --
BLITZER:  You don't want to make that flat accusation that he actually broke the rules of the debate?
SCOTT:  Well, he clearly broke the rules, but that's not the point.  The point is we should talk about jobs and education, what people care about in their state.  That's why I got elected the first time.
BLITZER:  Because he says he didn't break the rules because he saw this little addendum that was handwritten on this agreement.
SCOTT:  No, I don't know.
BLITZER:  So you don't buy that?