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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio, Meek, Crist have combative televised debate

15

October

Times political editor Adam C. Smith reports on today's U.S. Senate debate in Tampa:

Republican U.S. Senate frontrunner Marco Rubio may be leading Charlie Crist by double digits but he didn’t pull his punches as he ripped the governor as a phoney opportunist in a combative televised debate Friday.

“This notion, governor, that you switched to become an independent because you’re some kind of a centrist who’s looking out for the betterment of our country quite frankly is a fairy tale that only you believe,’’ Rubio said after nonpartisan Crist promised to put Floridians ahead of party politics. “You’re running as an independent not because you took a principled stand on issues; You’re running as an independent because you took a poll.”

Crist in turn cast former House Speaker Rubio as a political insider who can’t be trusted.

“When he was Speaker of the house he steered millions of dollars to a university and to a hospital, and after he left public office he got two jobs — not one, but two jobs — at $165,000 a year. The last guy who did that as a speaker is now indicted and facing trial,’’ the governor said. “I mean it’s unconscionable.”

The dynamic in a three-way debate with Crist, Rubio and Democrat Kendrick Meek is much different from a traditional two-person faceoff, and on Friday each candidate over and over again claimed to be “the only candidate,’’ who will do this or that. The WTVT-Fox 13 Tampa debate moderated by anchor John Wilson was the third of six.

Read the full story here.

[Last modified: Friday, October 15, 2010 7:20pm]

    

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