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Rick Scott bashes Charlie Crist's 'hypocrisy at the highest level' over debates, but...

Gov. Rick Scott has agreed to three debates. Democrat Charlie Crist wants more. 

But against Democrat Nan Rich, the Republican-turned-Democrat-turned-independent Crist has no interest in debating.

“It’s hypocrisy at the highest level. Either one is too many. Or three is not enough,” Scott said Wednesday during a stop at TimBar Packaging and Display in North Miami. “One is too many when he’s talking about running against a woman in the primary. But three is not enough if he makes it to the general. So it’s pure hypocrisy.”

But Democrats are quick to point out that Scott, too, has Republican primary opponents. And Scott won’t debate them, including a woman named Elizabeth Cuevas-Neunder, either.

When asked about the Democrats’ likely response, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera jumped in and answered for Scott about the difference between Rich and the GOP primary also-rans.

“None of them was a minority leader in the state Senate, been a Democrat and a consistent Democrat for decades. They’re apples and oranges, here,” Lopez-Cantera said. “And also, you have to remember, when he ran against Tom [Gallagher in 2006], he asked for 12 debates against Gallagher in the primary. What’s changed as far as Charlie?

“I mean, come on, at some point you guys have got to call out his hypocrisy with what he’s doing with Nan vs. what he’s now saying about us.”

We checked Lopez-Cantera’s facts and, indeed, it’s true: Crist challenged Gallagher to 12 debates at the time.

“We could cover the great breadth of our state and together make a statement that we are both committed to a full, open and thorough exchange of the issues that affect Florida's future,” Crist wrote then.

Nowadays, Crist’s tone is different about the need to debate in a primary.

“I’m focused on Rick Scott,” he repeats when asked about debating Rich.

“Rick Scott limiting debates to three is a disservice to voters, but not surprising considering his history of refusing to answer questions to avoid going to jail,” Crist said in a statement yesterrday. “I want to do more debates with the winner of the primary campaign.”

Since we’re on the topic of 2006, it’s clear that nearly everyone has flip-flopped:

*Crist is no longer a Republican.

*Lopez-Cantera had endorsed Crist in that race against Gallagher and now has little good to say about the former governor

*Rank-and-file Republicans who are now trying to make Crist sound like he never was a left-leaner had quite the opposite tone in 2006

"We will be more than happy to debate after he's done debating himself about whether he's a conservative Republican," Gallagher’s campaign manager, Brett Doster, said then.

Today, the Republican Party of Florida announced it a new digital ad showing Crist’s changes.

“Charlie Crist is a skilled debater – that happens when you debate yourself every day because you’ve been on both sides of every issue,” RPOF Chair Leslie Dougher said in a statement.

Looks like that debate talking point hasn’t changed a bit. 

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