Florida’s gubernatorial debate between current Republican Governor Rick Scott and Democratic opponent and former Florida Governor Charlie Crist got off to a rough start on Wednesday night.
Governor Scott refused to come out to begin the debate because Crist had asked for, and received, a fan to be set up under his podium. The CBS Miami debate moderators were quite surprised and seemed somewhat confused as to how to go about handling the situation.
Finally, Governor Scott joined Crist on stage and pointed out that the agreed upon debate rules banned fans from being used on the stage during the debate. CBS moderator Elliott Rodriguez said they were told that Scott would not participate in the debate because of the fan. The rules of the debate, which the Scott campaign specifically referred to, explicitly stated that fans would not be allowed on stage.
The crowd responded to the announcement with jeers and boos. Rosemary Goudreau, the debate panelist from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper, asked former Governor Crist if he was made aware of the rule.
Crist responded by asking if they were really going to have a debate about the fan or talk about the issues concerning the future of Florida. Crist then laughed and said that if Scott was going to allow him to speak unopposed he would be happy to take advantage of the opportunity.
Shortly afterward, when Crist began speaking, moderator Rodriguez announced that Governor Scott had relented and agreed to join in the debate.