The two candidates who say they feel Floridian's economic pain, but don't know what the minimum wage is

Sink did have some good moments.  One was when Scott criticized Charlie Crist and Sink for failing to lead Florida.  The CFO came back and said (taking several seconds to prepare her thought) "Let me be clear who's been in charge.  One party.  Rick Scott's party.  It's been the Governor and a Republican controlled Legislature.  I've been the outsider in Tallahassee...they're the ones who passed those taxes and fees...the reason they're supporting Rick Scott is, they want the status quo."  For those Florida voters who actually get that state policy is run in Tallahassee and has been by Republicans, and not by Democrats in Washington, those angry as all hell voters might actually learn something from that line, since it's absolutely true that Tallahassee has been Republican dominated since 1998.

Rick Scott didn't always answer the questions that he was asked, such as what he learned from the BP oil spill.  Scott talked about how he dealt as a hospital company executive back in 1992 when Hurricane Andrew tore up a hospital he owned in South Florida, and he deal with that fallout.

When talking about the environment, Sink incorrectly said that Scott wanted to dismantle the Department of Community Affairs. Scott has talked critically about the state agency, but has never explicitly said that.

Sink several times brought back up that she had been endorsed by 16 newspapers, earning laughs at one time from the audience.  As we've written before, newspaper endorsements aren't nearly as significant as the candidates who get them think they are.  If so, Bill McCollum would be the GOP nominee.

When Adam Smith asked both candidates if they disagreed anything that the conservative Florida Legislature has votes on recently, Scott was mum.  Sink took up plenty of issues, such as the education reform bill SB 6,  and their failure to pass an ethics reform bill.

The funniest moment came near the very end, during a lighting round of quick questions.  Trying a bit of a gotcha question a la George H.W. Bush and the price for a gallon of milk, Smith asked these two business types what the minimum wage was.

Scott said "$7.55." Sink nodded.  Smith replied, "$7.25."

On the issue of abortion, Scott said he'd be up for changing the current federal laws in terms of when an abortion is legal by saying he would support a new Nebraska law to make abortion only viable during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.  Pro-life advocates are hoping the bill will spread nationally, and Scott said he couldn't wait to sign up for it.  Sink said she preferred keeping the laws as they are set up right now.

John King then followed up with a question that had absolutely nothing to do with Florida, but everything to do with the culture wars when he asked the two if NPR had screwed up in canning commentator Juan Williams last week.  They both agreed.

In her body language, Sink at times seemed a little more rattled, and was more deliberate in responding, which stood out in the fast-paced environment.

In what was at times an awkward debate, Alex Sink and Rick Scott engaged in their third and final one-on-one forum at the USF Tampa campus Monday night.

On style points, Scott was more the aggressor, while Sink at times seemed to struggle, perhaps because she wanted to be more formal than either Scott or the two aggressive moderators, CNN's John King and St. Pete Times Political editor Adam C. Smith, preferred to run the hour long event.

Realizing that this would be the last time that they would have the attention for the entire state (and the nation, as the debate was broadcast nationally), Alex Sink had a game plan: to refute Rick Scott's repeated attacks that she was an "Obama liberal," and that she wants to raise taxes.  On offense, she wanted to make clear to everyone watching that Scott has ethical issues, and that she's been endorsed by 16 newspapers.

Sink got the opportunity to separate from Obama during the initial question, when both candidates were asked what they approved or disapproved of in the President's record.  Scott said he was okay with what's happening in Afghanistan, while Sink said she disagreed with the President on preserving the Bush tax cuts for everyone, including the top rate which the administration wants to let expire later this year.  And she said that she didn't think much of the federal response to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill earlier this year.

But Sink's frustration erupted quickly when Scott once again came up with his $12.5 billion in increased spending that he has charged the Democratic with proposing, though no such numbers exist anywhere.  (The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported that $9 billion might be for supporting the Orlando-Miami high speed rail line).  Sink was equally dismissive when Adam Smith asked her how she would pay for her plans.

After being hit over the head about his issues over at Columbia/HCA since he got into the race this past spring, Scott realizes that most voters have already heard about it, and either care about it and won't vote for him, or don't care.  He's clearly not worried about it, and tried to put Sink on the defensive by bringing up the issue about tellers being paid kickbacks that occurred at NationsBank while Sink was still running the bank's operations in Florida.  Sink reacted by smiling, which Scott immediately pounced upon, saying, "You think it's funny for these seniors? You were sued and you paid fines.  That's called fraud."

The issue came up later in the debate, with Sink saying that an attorney who was involved in the civil suit had absolved her (that was Tampa Jonathan Alper).

The two at times showed their contempt for each other in their own ways.  At the end of one commerical break, Scott busted Sink for getting a message on "her IPod or IPad." (Later Adam Smith reported on that message).

On the critical issue of creating jobs, Scott boasted that he had done that in running his hospitals.  Sink interrupted him by saying that his whole campaign was based on "9 or 10 sound bites."  She said (for the first time that I can recall) that she actually invested in  a biotech company and had to make a payroll a few times,  but "he didn't build a company, he was a corporate raider...he left as a disgraced corporate executive.."


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