Amy Sherman at PolitiFact Florida had the unenviable task today of poring through debate rules to determine if Democrat Charlie Crist broke the rules of Wednesday night's debate when someone from his campaign put a fan at his lectern.
Was it a clear violation of the rules? Depends.
"By Monday night, there were two separate signed agreements: one by the Scott campaign that excluded fans and one by the Crist campaign that had a handwritten addition allowing the fan. There was no follow-up, either written or in conversation, about who would get to decide if a fan was necessary.
There were two sets of rules, in July and then in October. And each campaign operated under different assumptions.
In July, the rules said no "electronic devices." In most debates, this means no smartphones and the like. That way, candidates can't get instant pointers. In the October rules, something changed. The word "fans" was added. Why? Maybe it had something to do with Scott's camp insisting Crist not use his fan and the fact that a debate sponsor, Leadership Florida, has ties to the Florida Chamber of Commerce, which backs.... Scott. It should be noted the debate was co-sponsored with the Florida Press Association, a news-media lobby group.
Scott's team signed the rules quickly. Crist's team delayed until late Monday, when it signed the rules with an addendum in which it essentially stipulated that it might use a fan.
Two campaigns. Two sets of rules. And one state known as Flori-duh.
Gov. Rick Scott was sure to bring allegations that Charlie Crist has changed positions to Wednesday night’s debate in Davie, including the new Democrat’s stance on raising the minimum wage.
After former Gov. Crist said he supported raising the minimum wage to $10.10, echoing a plan by President Barack Obama, Scott attacked the newly minted Democrat.
"He voted against minimum wage when he was in the Senate," Scott said. "He didn’t think it was the right thing to do, so he voted against it." Turn to Joshua Gillin's full fact-check from PolitiFact Florida to see what we found.
Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday released his 2013 tax returns "in the interest of full transparency’’ with just weeks to go before the election.
Scott, a multi-millionaire who files his annual return jointly with his wife Ann, reported that he and his wife have adjusted gross income of $8.2 million and paid $2 million in taxes. They filed their returns on Wednesday, the final day allowed by the IRS for taxpayers who sought the six-month extension.
The release of Scott’s tax return, however, left unresolved many questions that have emerged about the accuracy and completeness of his financial disclosures since he filed his 2013 state financial disclosure reports as required to run for re-election.
The governor reported a net worth of $132.7 million, and put many of his assets in a blind trust managed by his long-time investment advisor, Alan Bazaar. The goal of the blind trust, the governor said, was to shield him from any conflict of interest when the companies in which he holds stock do business with the state.
Excluded from his reported assets, however, are investments held by his wife, or held by his family’s Scott Family Partnership Trust. The Herald/Times reported last week that documents filed with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission show that Scott has a history of dividing his assets into those and other multiple trust accounts and he remains the “beneficial owner” on some of the stock.
According to the reports filed with the state, Scott may only be disclosing the assets held in his newly-formed personal blind trust, not the assets for which he is the beneficiary, raising questions about the completess of his reports. Download Rick-Scott-2013-Taxes-Searchable
The left-leaning American Bridge is following Gov. Rick Scott with a fan.
"Whether we're canoeing behind candidates or welcoming them home on secret fundraising trips with digital billboards, American Bridge is always a pioneer in the field of tracking," the group wrote in a press release Thursday. "So today, we are proud to unveil our newest technology: Fancam. Wherever Rick Scott goes, Fancam will be there to help him keep his cool and avoid further campaign meltdowns. See you out there, governor!"
See the video below from a campaign stop in Vero Beach.
One sign Rick Scott might be reeling from FanGate: the Republican governor will be doing a live interview Thursday afternoon with CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
Scott, who has never been keen on live interviews, is scheduled to appear on the Situation Room at 5 p.m., the network reports.
CNN snagged a good sound bite of Scott earlier Thursday.
The explanation Scott gave the network: "Charlie was throwing a fit, saying he wasn't going to go on stage, so we waited to see if he was even going to show up. Eventually, he did. I think he was probably worried about his track record. He had a tough debate last Friday night. He didn't want to talk about the 832,000 jobs that were lost when he was governor. I think he should have a new campaign slogan. It should be: 'Charlie Crist, powerless for the jobless.' So, he was sweating and he needed a fan. I'm surprised he didn't try to ask for dry ice. I came. We had a great debate. It is too bad there wasn't more conversation about his job losses and his cutting education, but that's the way it works."
More than 683,000 absentee ballots were cast as of Thursday morning, and Republicans continue to hold a solid lead over Democrats in returns, 48-35 percent.
That's not huge news, in that Republicans typically overperform in absentee-ballot casting while Democrats do the same when it comes to early in-person voting. But Democrats have been expected to close the gap with Republicans in ballots cast. Instead, the margin has increased, to 13.7 percent.
"As Charlie Crist likes to say, facts are stubborn things. Here’s a particularly stubborn fact for Charlie: Election Day is already here – and Rick Scott is winning," Gov. Rick Scott's deputy campaign manager. Tim Saler, says in a fundraising memo to donors (the entire memo is below).
Yesterday, it looked as if Democrats were starting to really pull ahead in Hillsborough, remaining close in Miami-Dade. But now Republicans are widening the gap.
But after the 2012 elections, when President Obama was supposed to have left a solid campaign infrastructure behind, Democrat Charlie Crist should probably be doing better. This is a measure of voter interest in a campaign and a campaign's ground-game turnout operation. So far, Scott is winning on both counts.
Democrats can still pull even, either with an improved ballot chasing program or an early-vote operation. Early voting starts Monday. Here's a top 10 list of ballots cast by county and party:
|Ballots cast||Party||County||% of total|
The organizers of Wednesday's statewide TV debate between Gov. RIck Scott and Charlie Crist released a statement Thursday saying that Crist's insistence on having a portable electric fan was a violation of debate rules.
The statement from Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association reads in part:
"Both campaigns received a letter in advance from the debate organizers (FPA and LF) stating the format, logistics and other detailed information relating to the debate. The letter also specified that 'candidates may not bring electronic devices (including fans), visual aids or notes to the debate, but will be provided with a pad and pen.'
"The Scott campaign signed and returned the letter on Thursday, October 9. The Crist campaign signed and returned the letter on Monday, October 13, but with the added hand-written note '*with understanding that the debate hosts will address any temperature issues with a fan if necessary.' Dean Ridings, FPA President, received and reviewed the note and told the Crist campaign that the partners want all candidates to be comfortable, but that he expected that Bailey Hall, the newly renovated-facility at Broward College where the debate was to be held, would be maintained at a comfortable temperature, and if there was a temperature problem, the partners would deal with it appropriately."
The statement said the temperature at Bailey Hall at Broward College was 67 degrees at the time of the debate.
"Between 6 and 6:20 p.m., someone from the Crist campaign placed a fan under Charlie Crist’s podium, and they were again told that no fans would be permitted," the statement said. "Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association did not anticipate or plan for the possibility that a candidate would not honor the Debate rules. In retrospect, the Debate Partners should have been better prepared for this possibility. In addition, we regret that one candidate was allowed to take the stage and allowed to talk before the fan issue was resolved."
Republican Gov. Rick Scott is a fan of attacking former Gov. Charlie Crist’s record on jobs.
At an Oct. 15 debate between the candidates -- the second debate of the campaign -- Scott repeatedly said 832,000 Florida jobs were lost during Crist’s term. (We’ve previously rated that claim Half True.)
Crist swatted away Scott’s critique, arguing that the recession was to blame for those job losses. He said he took federal stimulus money that "helped us make sure we didn’t have to fire 20,000 school teachers." (We’ve rated that claimMostly True.)
Scott retorted by saying Crist was responsible for killing thousands of teacher jobs as he focused his attention on other career opportunities.
"He spent all his time trying to be vice president and then running against Marco Rubio for the Senate," Scott said. "3,000 teachers lost their jobs when Charlie was governor."
When Scott used the same statistic in a June ad, we rated it Mostly False. Here, we will review the evidence on whether 3,000 teachers were laid off under Crist and, if so, whether he was to blame. Turn to PolitiFact Florida for the rest of our report.
In what had to be the strangest start of a gubernatorial debate, Gov. Rick Scott initially refused to participate because Democrat Charlie Crist insisted on a fan to keep him cool.
The Republican governor finally emerged six minutes late as flummoxed moderators struggled to figure out what to do with only a bemused Crist standing on stage at BrowardCollege.
Here’s the transcript:
Eliot Rodriguez, CBS4 anchor and debate host: “Ladies and gentlemen we have an extremely peculiar situation right now…. We have been told that Gov. Scott will not be participating in this debate…. Gov. Crist has asked to have a fan, a small fan underneath the podium….
“The rules of the debate that I was shown by the Scott campaign say that there should be no fan. Somehow there is a fan there. And for that reason, ladies and gentlemen, I’ am being told that Gov. Scott will not join us for this debate.”
Boos fill the hall.
Rosemary Goudreau, Sun-Sentinel editorial page editor and moderator: “Do the rules of the debate say that there should be no fan?
Crist: “Not that I’m aware of.”
Goudreau: “So the rules that the Scott campaign just showed us that says not electronics can be used, including fans…”
Crist: “Are we really gonna debate about a fan? Or are we going to talk about education, and the environment and the future of our state. I mean, really.”
Rodriguez: “This is not a platform for one candidate. We’re hoping that Governor Scott will join us on the stage. And I am told that Gov. Scott will join us on the stage. In all fairness to Gov. Scott, I was shown a copy of the rules that they showed me that said there would be no fans on the podium.”
Frank Denton, Florida Times Union editor: “This is a remarkable, sort of a trivial issue no matter what side you believe you’re on.”
Scott walks on stage. Cheers follow.
Rodriguez: “Ladies and gentlemen, that has to be the most unique beginning to any debate. Not only in Florida, but I think in the country.”