Alex Sink needed a memorable moment from this week's debate, but this is not what we had in mind. The Democrat's momentary indiscretion when she looked at a text message on a phone handed to her by a makeup artist has been blown out of proportion. Now Republican Rick Scott is airing a radio ad calling Sink a cheater for breaking debate rules and the Republican Party is calling her a liar for sticking to her reasonable explanation.
What they don't say: Sink acknowledged the rules were inadvertently violated, never heeded the advice in the text message, did not initially know who sent it and later fired the aide who did.
But the timing could not be worse, coming in the final week of a deadlocked race for governor. Sink's campaign reviewed the debate tape Wednesday and disputed claims that the makeup artist told her the source of the text before she read it.
Let's not lose perspective. Sink unintentionally violated the rules and gained no advantage. Scott led a hospital company that paid $1.7 billion in fines for systematically defrauding Medicare, left with a $300 million severance package and has spent more than $60 million in family money to try to buy the Governor's Mansion.
Who is the real cheater?