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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

What to watch for in tonight's Senate debate




Tonight marks a critical point in the race for U.S. Senate, with a televised debate in Orlando. Here are some things to watch for:

  • Will Kendrick Meek, third in polls, focus more attention on front-runner Marco Rubio? Meek has mostly gone after Charlie Crist, who is competing for the same Democratic and independent voters but has failed to gain much traction. He needs a strong showing.
  • Social Security. Fear-mongering or not, Crist has latched on to Rubio's support for changes to the 75-year-old program, including raising the retirement age for younger workers. Will Crist land more blows, or will Rubio effectively counter that experts agree something has to happen and that Crist's plan (basically, hands-off) is not leadership?
  • Will Crist be able to make his argument that he is a different kind of politician, one who operates outside the hyperpartisan, broken ways of Washington? Can Rubio sell himself as the only one with ideas? Rubio needs to have an even performance, maintaining the safe strategy of a front-runner.
  • Will moderator George Stephanopoulos focus on national issues and not more local Florida ones, like the Republican Party credit card that could put Rubio in an uncomfortable glare?


[Last modified: Thursday, October 7, 2010 5:33pm]


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