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Charlie Crist

Big Issue in Fla. Gov's Debate: Who's More Like Crist?

Charlie Crist 44%

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Florida Governor Charlie Crist’s decision to run as an independent didn’t just change the state's Senate race: A debate Monday night between his two possible successors showed it’s had an effect the state’s hotly contested gubernatorial battle.

Democratic nominee Alex Sink and Republican candidate Rick Scott both spent part of their final debate, a confrontation marked by nearly non-stop arguing between the two, trying to tie each other to Crist.

A year ago, when Crist remained a Republican, it might have been implausible for the GOP Senate nominee to distance himself from him. But the governor’s party switch appears to have opened the door for Scott to play the anti-incumbent card.

Scott contended that Sink, despite coming from a different party than Crist, represents a continuation of his government spending policies. The next governor, he said, needs to cut taxes and reduce government’s scope.

“Charlie Crist and my opponent did none of those things,” said Scott. “All they did is grow the size of government, and its killing jobs.”

Sink, the state’s chief financial officer, shot back that Republicans controlling Florida government  -- and now backing Scott's campaign -- supported the very policies he's denouncing.

“It’s been the governor and Republican-controlled legislature,” she said. “I’ve been the outsider in this; they’re the ones who passed those taxes and those fees. They’re the one who created this environment that Rick Scott is so critical about, members of his own party.”

The debate opened the last week of a race that's too close to call. After trailing earlier this month, Scott now leads by a narrow margin in many polls. Last week a CNN/Time poll and an Ipsos/Reuters survey put him ahead of Sink by three percentage points.

When not linking Sink to Crist, Scott repeatedly called her an “Obama liberal” -- a charge that could be damaging in Florida, where the president's ratings among likely voters are underwater. In the CNN/Time survey, 55 percent disapproved of his performance.

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By Alex Roarty



October 26, 2010

Read full article: www.nationaljournal.com

26.10 .2010

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