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Crist on defensive in final Senate debate

ORLANDO -- The portable fan that Gov. Charlie Crist insists on at every public appearance could be seen and even heard during Tuesday's televised debate, but it didn't keep the independent U.S. Senate candidate out of the hot seat.

In Crist's last chance to chip away at frontrunner Marco Rubio, with only one week left before the Nov. 2 election, the governor frequently found himself playing defense in response to tough questions from debate moderator David Gregory of NBC`s Meet the Press.

In three separate lines of questioning, Gregory pressed Crist to explain his defection from the Republican party, unwillingness to say which party he would caucus with in Congress if elected, and his changed positions on issues like adoption by same-sex couples, which he now favors.

Holding up a copy of the Republican party platform, Gregory asked, ``Were you unaware that was an entrenched part of the Republican party, or did somehow you change for political expediency?''

``I haven't changed,'' Crist said. ``What changed is the Republican party, particularly the right wing of the Republican party.''

Full story here.