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Nancy Smith

DeWorst Debate

October 25, 2018 - 1:00pm

If you watched the World Series Wednesday night, you had a better time than I did. The Florida gubernatorial debate was a stunning waste of time.

The hour-long event was nearly nonstop nastiness. U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum opened with the traditional handshake, but there the cordiality ended.

There were only brief reprieves of policy discussion, which soon devolved back into a contentious affair, even as the candidates had to balance their attacks with flashes of geniality before the Broward College audience.

And no wonder. The whole thing was poorly organized and poorly executed. I expected better of the Florida Press Association and Leadership Florida.

The mostly unoriginal questions let DeSantis and Gillum off the hook. Call it the deja vu effect. So samey were the questions that all the candidates had to do was parrot back the same answers they gave CNN on Sunday night.

Why didn't the organizers see pandemonium coming?

Thirteen days before the election -- when Democrat Gillum's job was to shake the bushes and drive his voters to the polls, and Republican DeSantis was scrambling outside the pocket, looking to throw a Hail Mary -- moderator Todd McDermott of WPBF-TV decides to start with an incendiary question on divisiveness in politics. What did he think was going to happen?

He was like a zookeeper poking a couple of bears with a stick.

After that it was all race, ethics and accusations.

McDermott couldn't control the candidates, couldn't control the audience, couldn't control himself -- the man is an air hog. His questions carried on so long and were so loaded with explanation that at one point, as McDermott was in the middle of a question about DeSantis' connection to accused racist David Horowitz, DeSantis began answering before the question finished getting asked. "I wish you had waited for the question ... the question is not what you think it is," McDermott told DeSantis after the candidate had finished.

Certainly I don't blame Gillum for crying foul over the 30 seconds he was given to answer, compared to the minute DeSantis took because he was allowed to spin out of control. Nobody's fault but the moderator's and the organizers' for failing to adequately plan ahead.

Policy be damned.

Did anything go right Wednesday night? Yes. Panelists Isadora Rangel from USA Today and Anthony Mann from the South Florida Sun Sentinel -- were pertinent, succinct and their questions effective. But given the chaotic debate format, their duty was limited.

Nevertheless, the debates are over. And neither Todd McDermott nor Jake Tapper of CNN asked candidates my No. 1 question: What qualities would you look for in a Supreme Court justice? 

Too bad for me, I guess.

Reach Nancy Smith at or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith


Gillum was OK. It was hard to watch DeSantis come unglued like he did. Not a good look...

I agree the moderator wasn't great. But DeSantis was worse. I thought Gillum torched him.

I agree completely. It was horrible. I do blame the Moderator and the format. How can anyone answer questions in 60 seconds or worse 30 seconds unless of course you talk over the moderator who frankly used more time than anyone - and yes the debate started negative by the Moderator - and when important issues were discussed the Moderator should have let the candidates go over their time since these moments were rare. Over all the worst run debate I have ever watched in all of my adult life.

About what I expected. The moderater reminded me of Ted Baxter. Ron De racist, as your resident bigot Leslie Wimes calls him, missed a lot of opportunities I thought. Andy Killum did his best Bathhouse Barry Obama impersonation with lies, playing the race card and forever whining and crying that somehow he was getting the short end of the stick. Killum has done an excellent job of camouflaging his obvious radical leftist ideology and if Florida voters fall for it, they will pay dearly as their state is transformed into New Jersey.

Now, we know why Gillum never directly answered the question about who purchased the $1,000 Hamilton tickets. He would have perjured himself, now it is just partial perjury because he said his family always pays its own way and the FBI undercover operation tweets reveal that the agent bought the tickets. This coupled with his alignment with the anarchist group "Dream Defenders" makes him the worst possible candidate.

As debates go, this was par for the course, with each candidate talking past each other when they weren't calling each other a liar. Since most TV viewers were watching "Wheel" and "Jeopardy!," it's unlikely many fence-sitting voters were motivated to jump off in one direction or the other.

You know, Gingrich started this divisive, hyper-partisan, politics of personal destruction back in '94 ... and the Republicans have embraced it more-and-more since. The Cheney neocons, the Palinites, the Teabaggers, the Freedom Caucus and, now, the childish, nasty, demeaning, denigrating *** in the White House has brought it all to its apex. He incites his 'pep rallies' to respond to his ad hominem denigrations as an out-of-control mob ... has given tacit approval to sexual assaults, white nationalism, and racism ... and has undoubtedly inspired the current 'mad bomber'. So ... what do you expect? Eventually, the tribal bullying by the GOP is going to engender the same kind of response ... the opposition is simply going to begin giving out what they've been getting. DeSantis has the same confrontational, dislikable, disagreeable attitude that Trump has ... and even the most sanguine person is going to get p*ssed off at some point and dish it back. The Republican Party needs to select better candidates and nominees!

I agree with truthbetold. You seem adept at using adjectives to get your point across--but when I finished reading your RANT, I found myself wondering what your point is. However, since you do seem to understand what "partisan, politics of personal destruction are," you may want to take another look at the DNC--Maxine Waters, Hilary Clinton, and Eric Holder, just to name a few. Now there are some really, mean folks for you. Oh, and BTW, this is 2018--almost a quarter of a century AFTER your point--whatever it is.

Shari, if you don't remember him, look up Brian Atwater.

I think you mean Lee Atwater, Newt Gingrich’s mentor. See “Boogie Man, the Lee Atwater Story”, a good movie.

This is true. It started with Atwater and Gingrich, whose personal behaviour would have disqualified him in another era.

Why don't you just Blame the British for losing the Revolutionary war, and letting the Colonist go WILD? What a FOOL!!

Were we to go back that far, you would realize the Tories were the conservatives of their day, who opposed independence from England, while the revolutionaries who wanted to establish this country would have been considered wild liberals at the time.

One need not look far to find the origins of the vile divisiveness that permeates politics today. The party of JFK has been hijacked by socialist-progressive type with their inflammatory rhetoric embraced by their darling offspring, Occupy Wall Street, Antifa, Black Lives Matter et al. The video footage certainly documents their complete contempt for orderly protest to the extent of creating bodily harm and property damage to innocent citizens. It's hard to fathom any of these miscreants had any parental influences growing up. They seem totally devoid of basic core values such as inability to obey lawful commands of law enforcement, having respect for rights of others , compassion and understanding amongst others. Seems to be just their radical ways or nothing, comrade.

Yeah, I know, why can't they be more like Trump and just talk about grabbing them by the pus&#, and calling people idiots, stupid, liars and the like. He is such an ethical ambassador for the country and the Republican party... Baahaaahaaahaaa. No one in the history of politics has been more divisive or profane bocadufus...


Nancy, I agree with you on EVERY was a lackluster debate because there was little back and forth of any substance...thanks!

What did you really expect when you use a member of the media as a moderator?

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nancy smith


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