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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Sink calls Scott a cheater, Scott calls Sink a slacker in Univision debate



The debate has ended and the spinning continues but here are some more highlights from the Univision debate in Miami today between Republican Rick Scott and Democrat Alex Sink (courtesy of Miami Herald reporter Pati Mazzei.) Some themes: both candidates took their shots, Sink had more quotable lines, and both evaded answering solid, pointed questions. Only Scott attempted to speak Spanish, although Sink says she understands it.

Scott never answered why he choose to invoke his 5th Amendment right 75 times in a deposition, implied it was a witchhunt by lawyers and that it was a long time ago. Instead of answering, he used the exchanges to take shots at Sink, continuing to paint her as inept in her job, failing to be an vigilant fiscal watchdog. His strongest line: "She calls herself the fiscal watchdog. Under her watch, after auditors told her many times there were risky investments, that pension fund lost...She won't take responsibility for any of it.''

Sink also took some tough shots at Scott, accusing him of never telling the truth. Her strongest line: "You do say that you lived the American Dream. The reason that you were able to walk away from that company with $300 million and live the American Dream is because you were cheating." Scott appeared unfazed.

Sink also never answered why she didn't call out the excessive expenditures for a new district court of appeals building in Tallahassee, derogatively referred to as the Taj Mahal, when her office signed the checks. Instead she called for an audit only after it was uncovered by the media and Friday blamed the Republican-led legislature and the governor for failing to veto it.

Moderator to Scott: "If you have nothing to hide why did you refuse to answer," in your deposition, invoking the Fifth 75 times?

SCOTT: "I started the company from scratch with my wife's savings of $125,000 dollars. We did a great job of reducing health care inflation, improving patient satisfaction and outcomes. We could have done a better job. When youre CEO, you take responsibility and I do. I would have loved to have done better at that...That deposition, that was years after I left HCA. It was the same trial lawyers that are supporting my opponent. Theyre doing a fishing expedition." Sink laughs. "When I'm governor, we're going to do tort reform."

SINK: "I would like to respond to that. It's hard to know where to start because, obviously, Rick Scott doesn't take any responsibility. I had a sheriff tell me the other day, if he went to a deposition and took the Fifth Amendment, he would be fired. People in this country don't take the Fifth amendment, unless they're trying to hide something...

"You didn't start this company from scratch. That’s not starting a small business the way we here in Florida of starting a small business..."

SCOTT: "Ms. Sink, if you want to talk about fraud, why do you allow convicted felons to sell insuarnace in this state?...Your bank did similar things."

MODERATOR to Sink: "You requested an audit of'' the $48 million building that has been called the Taj Mahaul. "Why audit only after media reports surfaced?" Could the money have come from state funds "without your knowledge?"

SINK: "This building that is called the Taj Mahal -- trust me it looks like the Taj Mahal -- it is an outrage. The legislature approved it, the governor approved it...In our state, it's the governor and the legislature who approve the disbursement of funds. Part of that money was coming from our workers compensation trust funds -- which we testified vociferously to the legislature not to raid, and yet the Legislature overruled us...It's probably going to result in increased taxes with Florida business. That's exactly what's wrong with Tallahassee. I'm going to clean up that mess in Tallahassee."

SCOTT: "My opponent takes no responsibility for anything. She talks about fraud. Why is she allowing convicted felons to sell insurance to our citizens? At NationsBank, her employees were paid kickbacks for getting elderly consumers to move from safe deposits, safe bank deposits, to risky investments...She calls herself the fiscal watchdog. Under her watch, after auditors told her many times there were risky investments, that pension fund lost...She won't take responsibility for any of it.''

SINK: "Rick, the people of Florida cannot trust you at all. You've just proven it right now. You don’t know what you're talking about.''

[Last modified: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 5:45am]


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