Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bill McCollum, Rick Scott face off in TV debate

Down in the polls and running out of time and money, Bill McCollum desperately needed a game-changing moment in Monday's debate with his rival for governor, Rick Scott.

It never came, though McCollum delivered a steadier performance in the first of only two matchups between the leading Republican candidates.

Referring to the stock Scott received when was ousted as chief executive officer of Columbia/HCA amid a massive Medicare scandal, McCollum said, "Rick, let's get serious. You said you took responsibility, but the only thing you took was $300 million. You took it from seniors, you took it from veterans, you took it from the sick."

It was a zinger but not a knockout, especially considering the limited audience for a debate that will be broadcast only in Spanish at 11:15 p.m. on Univisión stations in Miami, Orlando and Tampa. It will also air on WQBA-1140 AM.

Scott did not commit any major gaffes, though he stumbled a bit and awkwardly suggested that he had embraced the Hispanic community by learning to drink cortaditos and eat late dinners. Not bad for a guy who has never participated in a debate in his life.

In contrast, McCollum served in Congress for two decades before he was elected state attorney general in 2006. He ran twice unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate.

"This is what a career politician does," Scott said, referring to McCollum's attacks. "My opponent is desperate. He doesn't worry about the facts."

McCollum may have only one more chance to try to upstage Scott in person, at a debate Thursday on WTVT-13 in Tampa. Scott balked at a chance for a live debate Aug. 11 that would have aired statewide. Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association are planning to host the debate anyway to try to pressure Scott to participate.

After pouring roughly $28 million — most of it his own — into a statewide media blitz, Scott has barreled ahead in the polls. McCollum and anti-Scott political committees have spent about $9 million.

A federal appeals court dealt McCollum a potentially life-threatening blow last week, ruling that he is not entitled to public matching funds to offset Scott's free-wheeling spending in the homestretch of the campaign. Scott has argued that compensating his opponent if he spends more than $24.9 million amounts to curtailing his free speech.

Times/Herald staff writer Steve Bousquet contributed to this report.

Bill McCollum, Rick Scott face off in TV debate 08/02/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 3, 2010 3:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. What to watch this weekend: Grateful Dead documentary, 'House of Cards' returns Tuesday


    The Grateful Dead: Long Strange Trip

    Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in Season 5 of House of Cards on Netflix.
  2. Florida TaxWatch calls out $180 million of questionable spending in state budget


    Florida TaxWatch, a Tallahassee thinktank, has released its annual "budget turkey" list that calls on Gov. Rick Scott to veto nearly $180 million in special projects tucked into the budget, mostly in transportation.

    Kurt Wenner, Florida TaxWatch's vice president for research, presents the organization's 2017 turkey list.
  3. U.S. plans first test of ICBM intercept, with North Korea on mind


    WASHINGTON — Preparing for North Korea's growing threat, the Pentagon will try to shoot down an intercontinental-range missile for the first time in a test next week. The goal is to more closely simulate a North Korean ICBM aimed at the U.S. homeland, officials said Friday.

    n this May 21 file photo people watch a TV news program showing a file image of a missile launch conducted by North Korea, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea. With North Korea's nuclear missile threat in mind, the Pentagon is planning a missile defense test next week that for the first time will target an intercontinental-range missile.
  4. A breakdown of the proposed new state budget by the Florida Association of Counties.
  5. Gradebook podcast: Budgets, pre-k, achievement gap and more


    As classes let out across Florida, school district leaders continue to analyze how they're going to balance their budgets given the constraints proposed by state lawmakers.  Reporter Jeff Solochek and editor Tom Tobin discuss the concerns district finance officials are raising as they look at the budget while …