Florida Governor Briefly Refuses to Go On Stage for Debate

Florida politics just keeps getting weirder. Gov. Rick Scott was scheduled to debate challenger Charlie Crist Wednesday night, but he refused to come on stage because Crist had a small fan under his podium to keep him comfortable.

The debate moderators at CBS Miami seemed shocked, wondering aloud what to do for several minutes until Scott finally consented to join Crist on stage. Scott apparently told the hosts that the debate rules banned fans from the stage.

“We have been told Governor Scott will not be participating in this debate,” CBS moderator Elliott Rodriguez said. “Now, let me explain what this is all about. Governor Crist has asked to have a fan, a small fan, placed underneath his podium. The rules of the debate that I was shown by the Scott campaign said that there should be no fan. Somehow there is a fan there and for that reason, ladies and gentlemen, Governor Scott will not join us for the debate.”

The announcement was met with jeers and boos from the crowd.

When Crist began speaking, essentially turning it into a one-man forum on TV, the Scott campaign apparently realized that was really bad for them, so he came out and the debate was held. But then he suddenly changed his story on why he hadn’t come out:

Toward the end of the debate, the moderators asked Crist why he brought out the fan. “Why not? Is there anything wrong with being comfortable?” Crist replied. Scott, when asked why he delayed coming out, said, “We feared he wasn’t going to show up. So why come out until he’s ready?”

There’s just one problem: Crist was already on stage when Scott refused to come out. So they went from a really bad excuse for not showing up to a flat-out lie. Nice going, Mr. Scott. You managed to put both feet in your mouth at the same time.

POPULAR AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • D. C. Sessions

    Well, it’s a good thing that the impartial media won’t cover that “lie” accusation. Pure partisanship, can’t be allowed.

  • eric

    Why the frak is there a rule against small fans in the first place? What does that accomplish? Does he think the other guy is going blow air on him as he speaks?

  • D. C. Sessions

    Does he think the other guy is going blow air on him as he speaks?

    If you look at the photo, Cris’ fan was under the podium and blew upwards. It would have seriously interfered with Governor Voldemort blowins smoke up Cris’ ass.

  • alanb

    Rules provided by the Scott campaign Wednesday night stated “candidates may not bring electronic devices (including fans).”

    I assume that there was also a clause prohibiting electronic M&Ms.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Why the frak is there a rule against small fans in the first place? What does that accomplish?

    It is debatable whether there was. Apparently the debate rules outlawed “electronics.” I would understand this to mean communications and storage devices the candidates might use to communicate with staff or store answers; things like cell phones, walkie-talkie earpieces, tablets, etc. I would agree with Crist that an electric fan would not generally be considered an “electronic device.”

  • John Pieret

    Why the frak is there a rule against small fans in the first place?

    So, ala Larry Klayman, Crist couldn’t blow Ebola onto Scott.

  • http://adventuresinzymology.blogspot.com JJ831

    @5

    Apparently the debate rules outlawed “electronics.”

    Hey – no need for scare quotes, electronics refers to devices utilizing active components (integrated circuit, transistors, diodes etc). Which brings up the question – was the fan an electronic device at all? Most fan’s aren’t, they are electric but not electronic/b>. I’m pretty sure an electric motor doesn’t count as electronic.

  • eric

    @5 + @7: That makes sense, thanks. I won’t bash the governor for not knowing the difference between an electrical and an electronic device…it is sufficient to bash him for being a punctilious asshole.

  • D. C. Sessions

    Actually, JJ831, most AC-powered fans any more have active electronic motor controls. They’re the cheapest way to do them.

  • http://inmyunbelief.wordpress.com TCC

    Crist has used fans in the past in debates, so this shouldn’t have even been a surprise to Scott. I kind of love that (assuming that what the Scott camp has said is true) Scott tried to stop Crist from using a fan and Crist ended up using that to his advantage.

  • http://adventuresinzymology.blogspot.com JJ831

    @9 – Good to know, and makes sense – I was thinking just an electric motor connected to a blade, but it would follow that there is an IC in there for control.

  • Jordan Genso

    If only Mr. Crist had a pacemaker, and Gov. Scott refused to debate him unless he removed it – that would have been spectacular.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    “I’m sorry, but I’ll have to bow out. I have a Satanic RFID microchip embedded in me that broadcasts ‘666’”

  • Sastra

    Was Scott being punctilious … or superstitious ??

  • John Pieret

    Florida politics just keeps getting weirder.

    Want weird?

    Michael Anthony Peroutka, a Anne Arundel County Council candidate who gained attention for his membership in a Southern secessionist group, said this week he’s no longer a member of the League of the South.

    Peroutka, a Millersville Republican, said he left the group prior to Labor Day because he discovered statements members made on the subject of being opposed to interracial marriage were “contrary to my beliefs.” He would not elaborate.

    http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/michael-peroutka-leaves-league-south-shocked-discover-racism-neo-confederate-group#sthash.Z01j5cxs.dpuf

    If he ever has a movie made about him, we’ll have to resurrect Claude Rains to give the “I’m shocked, SHOCKED” line.

  • http://en.gravatar.com/mrupright Mr. Upright

    The rules Scott said that candidates can’t bring “electronic devices (including fans)”. There’s no doubt that was stuck in because it has been known for quite some time that Crist always uses a fan and Scott’s campaign was hoping to throw him. The purported reason is that the fans cause an audible hum, but it has never been picked up by the TV audio in any debate, speech, or studio visit Crist has attended.

    Anyway, the Crist campaign threw in a little ju-jitsu. Because the rules said “candidates can’t bring” a fan, they demanded organizers provide one if necessary. The organizers agreed. On debate night, the organizers said they felt the temperature was fine and they wouldn’t provide one, the campaign said they thought it was necessary and put it out themselves.

  • corwyn

    In Maine, the Governor went to the debate, and instead of going on stage, stayed in his car, and eventually drove off, without going inside.

  • lofgren

    I’ll admit it. I heard some politician had been caught with an illegal fan under his podium to keep him comfortable, and I immediately assumed we were talking about Bill Clinton.

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com tommykey

    When I read the headline, I thought it meant a person who was a fan of Crist’s was in Scott’s podium. I started to think of that scene from the first Police Academy movie.

  • http://www.pixelated-reality.com Alareth

    Coworker: Do I have to vote?

    Me: No. You don’t HAVE to vote, but you should.

    Coworker: Ok. I’m voting for Rick Scott. I like his commercials. Wait … Is he running for governor or mayor?

    Me … Maybe you shouldn’t vote after all.

  • dan4

    At another site reporting on this, one of the comments indicated that Crist indicated that HE would not show up for the debate if a fan wasn’t provided for him. Anybody know if this is true? If it is, then it certainly takes some of the sting out of the criticism Scott has been getting for this.

  • carlie

    At another site reporting on this, one of the comments indicated that Crist indicated that HE would not show up for the debate if a fan wasn’t provided for him. Anybody know if this is true? If it is, then it certainly takes some of the sting out of the criticism Scott has been getting for this.

    Not really. It’s entirely understandable for someone who does a lot of public speaking to know what makes them the most comfortable and ask for it. It’s another thing entirely to make your own appearance dependent on refusing to let the other guy have what he’s asking for.

  • dan4

    @22: That’s not much of a “reply,” since it ignored the question I asked. Again, if the answer to said question is “yes,” then it’s Crist who looks as ridiculous as Scott.

  • John Phillips, FCD

    Dan4, since apparently the organisers thought the temperature fine and so refused the fan, at which point Christ’s team supplied their own, I think your point is moot, but do keep digging.

  • carlie

    dan4 – It is a reply that indicates your premise is faulty – he doesn’t look “as ridiculous”, because it’s ridiculous to try to control someone else’s environment but not ridiculous to try to control your own.

  • colnago80

    Re dan4 @ #4

    Another site which ole Dan4 doesn’t bother to link to. Fascist News Channel perhaps?