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Governor Candidates Spend More Time Shredding Each Other than Debating Issues

October 24, 2018 - 11:15pm

The first question in Wednesday’s second and final debate between Florida gubernatorial candidates Andrew Gillum and Ron DeSantis focused on the divisive nature of the country’s political discourse.

And the opening discussion laid the groundwork for an hour of jugular attacks, with the two men accusing each other of being dishonest and unworthy of leading the state before they exited the stage with a fist bump.

The initial question from moderator Todd McDermott of WPBF-TV came following the news earlier in the day that Democratic leaders --- including the Clintons and the Obamas --- had been sent pipe bombs.

Gillum, a Democrat who is the mayor of Tallahassee, accused DeSantis, a former congressman whose endorsement by President Donald Trump helped boost him to a Republican primary victory, of running “this race very, very close to the Trump handbook where we call each other names.”

Gillum blasted DeSantis for comments the Republican made the day after the Aug. 28 primary in which DeSantis warned supporters “not to monkey this up,” referring to state success, by electing Gillum.

But DeSantis lashed back by accusing Gillum of supporting the “radical” Dream Defenders group, which the Republican accused of attacking Israel.

“So you want to talk about division. It doesn’t get more divisive than the Dream Defenders,” he said.

That drew a swift rebuke from Gillum, who said DeSantis “lied 21 times” during a nationally televised debate Sunday night.

“And now today makes the 22nd, and we just started the debate,” Gillum said.

The hostile exchange, which came less than two weeks before the Nov. 6 election, set the tone for the entire debate at Broward College in Davie.

During one of the most explosive moments, DeSantis, who was on the attack throughout the night, lost his cool after being questioned by McDermott about the former congressman’s affiliation with conservative author David Horowitz.

“Are you going to play the McCarthy-ite game?” DeSantis interrupted McDermott.

McDermott persisted, saying Horowitz had questioned the oppression of black Americans because there is not an exodus of blacks from the country. DeSantis had praised Horowitz as someone who “shoots straight” and “tells the American people the truth,” McDermott pointed out, sparking an outburst from DeSantis, a former Navy lawyer.

“How the hell am I supposed to know every single statement everybody makes?” he exploded, saying that as a soldier in Iraq “we worked together as a team regardless of race.”

DeSantis said, as a prosecutor, he “stood up for victims of every race, color and creed” and will “represent all the people” as governor.

“Everyone will get a fair shake. But I’m not going to bow down to the altar of political correctness. I’m not going to let the media smear me,” he angrily continued.  

DeSantis repeatedly hammered Gillum about recently released documents the Republican contended demonstrate that Gillum lied about who footed the bill for tickets to the smash Broadway hit, “Hamilton,” two years ago during a trip to New York.

The documents were released to the public this week by Christopher Kise, a lawyer representing Adam Corey, a Tallahassee lobbyist and entrepreneur at the heart of a federal corruption probe involving the city of Tallahassee.

Corey and Gillum were longtime friends whose global travels were part of the 150 pages of texts, emails and other documents released by Kise.

Gillum has steadfastly maintained he is innocent of any wrongdoing and has publicly severed ties with Corey. The documents show that Corey told Gillum the Hamilton tickets were provided by “Mike Miller,” an undercover FBI agent who also arranged a boat cruise for Corey, Gillum, and the mayor’s brother, Marcus.

Gillum has said he received the ticket for the wildly popular Broadway show from his brother, and that the Broadway tickets were swapped for a Jay-Z show.

“The problem I have is that I should have asked more questions … to ensure that everything was above board,” Gillum said Wednesday night.

The focus on the documents came as DeSantis tries to paint a picture of corruption around Gillum, a surprise victor in the August Democratic primary who has garnered national support as he tries to make history as the state’s first black governor and the first Democrat to capture the governor’s mansion in two decades.

“Andrew was getting things he shouldn’t have gotten, and they got a $2 million contract from the city of Tallahassee. That is what corruption is. When you get something you shouldn’t have had, and you give something to people who were trying to influence you. That is wrong, and he has not told the truth about any of that,” DeSantis said.

Another tense moment came when DeSantis said Gillum’s immigration proposals would allow convicted child molesters who are illegal immigrants to remain in the state.

“That child molester will reoffend, and someone’s son or daughter will end up paying the price,” DeSantis warned.

Gillum, who tried to maintain his cool but was visibly angered, said that “would never happen,” and blasted DeSantis for distorting his proposals.

When you are running for governor “the first thing you ought to have to do is level honestly with the people,” Gillum scolded.

“You’ve got ads on television that are completely false. … How can we expect you to be honest with the people of the state of Florida if not here on this stage?” Gillum asked, adding “you are disqualified, in my opinion, from the office for governor.”

“Andrew is the one who lied to people of Florida on Sunday night (during their earlier debate) about accepting a gift from an undercover FBI agent. He’s the one who lied about the Costa Rica luxury trip,” DeSantis shot back, referring to a heavily scrutinized trip Gillum took with Corey.

“Shame on you,” Gillum said, as DeSantis noted that the documents contradicted Gillum’s explanation about accepting a Broadway ticket from his brother.

“He’s just apologizing because he got caught. He not apologizing because he did anything wrong,” DeSantis said.

“Unfortunately, the theatrics are on full display,” Gillum responded. “Mr. DeSantis can calm down. We’re not going anywhere.”

The two also tangled about their how they would deal with pollution that has resulted in an outbreak of toxic algae affecting coastal communities in South Florida.

DeSantis said he has a “very strong environmental plan.”

“The water is our lifeblood. We have to protect the environment that Floridians enjoy,” he said.

The former congressman said he proved his leadership on the issue by challenging the sugar industry during the Republican primary.

“I am the only candidate who fought Big Sugar and lived to tell about it,” he said. “They came after me in my primary with millions and millions of dollars, attacking me in every which way.”

But Gillum questioned DeSantis’ environmental credentials, noting the Republican had a low rating from environmental groups while he was in Congress and has expressed doubts about global warming and climate change.

If Gillum is elected, the Democrat said Floridians would “have a governor who believes in science” and would “hold all the major polluters” accountable “so that we can get some real (environmental) standards back into this state and clean up this blue-green algae.”


All this over a few hundred bucks... Trying to make that your cornerstone for how corrupt Gillum is shows just how desperate the Repubs have become to try to find anything to make Gillum look bad. DeSantis needs no help in trying to look bad. He blows a gasket when he is called out for his racist associations, and then says he doesn't take time to see what everyone might have said. Well Representative, perhaps you should when you are running for Governor bonehead...

The debate was clearly won by Gillum. Desantis showed he doesn't have the temperament to be governor ..unless you want a raving manic .DeSantis needs to go back to meeting with right wing extremist groups.. or maybe his buddy Trump will give him a job building a toy wall ..or reading the art of the deal to him at night before Trump goes to sleep..

Chalk it up to Newt Gingrich and his "Politics of Personal Destruction". He got the personal attack bu**sh** going in 1994 and it was increased and amplified along the way by the Radio Wingnuts, the Cheney Neocons, the Palinites, the Teabaggers, more recently by the so-called Freedom Caucus, and most recently by the person the Republicans have allowed into the White House, whose main function seems to be to incite the mobs that attend his 'pep rallies'. And, all of that currently 'legitimized' by the fascist majority leader in the U.S. Senate. The only possible move for the rest of us at this point is to totally reject Republicanism and Republicans.

Gillum is a loser: Given the chance to "rule", he will turn Florida into a "copy" of the obvious socialist leaning governments becoming pervasive in our Nation; California, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, etc., and in the smaller Democrat-run enclaves we are ALL familiar with in our own personal locations... BEWARE Voters !

You're an idiot, for that opinion.

I thought name-calling was "immature"? Oh, right, calling democrats names is immature. Calling conservatives names is "social justice". Gillum is Obama-Lite. Raise corporate taxes, businesses flee, unemployment rises, and the person of color responsible says things like "those jobs just aren't coming back, y'all", and, "what magic wand do he have?". Trust me. I've seen it before.

As an Independent, I am glad I did not succumb to the early voting itch. Yesterday's very recent events exposing Gillum as a lair, cheat and a fraud prevented me from mis-casting my vote for a charlatan, as I hoped it did for other "undecided".

spell much?

considering every comment you have ever made is strongly partisan Repub., you are Independent in title only. You would have voted for DeSantis no matter who the Dem choice

It seems that the rest of the 'bocaboomers' are probably very likely to vote for Gillum, so whether you vote early or late will be of little consequence. (?)

The reporter failed to mention DeSantis hammering Gillum for his close relationship to Dream Defenders, whose co-founder is Ahmad Abuznaid, son of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) ambassador and former Yasser Arafat advisor, Dr. Nabil Abuznaid. DeSantis should feature upcoming media buys with ads highlighting Gillum's chummy ties to this radical crew.

DeSantis got torched!

The problem Gillum has is that he lied several times afterwards about ‘who , what , when ...gave me the ticket ‘ about the Hamilton ticket . It’s the cover up that always gets them . A simple ‘ let me know what I owe you for the ticket ...’ and the man probably walks in as Governor . Now .....he has been exposed as a fibbing cover up artist ( ‘ I did not have sex with that woman ‘.... . Just tell us you did her in the closet and it was great . We can handle the truth . It’s the lies that bother us ....)

He said, he thought he got the ticket from his brother... Why would that be so hard to believe from 2 years ago? I can't even remember who paid for drinks 2 weeks ago...unless of course you were a Repub grasping at straws. How come none of you are concerned about DeSantis' $145,000 in unresolved travel on the tax payer dime? Now that is some serious cash for corruption...

If you voted for and still support Trump ... then habitual, compulsive lying should be of no consequence to you. Trump is clearly the "Liar-in-Chief". And, of course, as you say, and as we all know, the "Liar-in-Chief" has repeatedly denied having sex with 'Stormy Daniels' and many others (don't know, however, if it was usually in a closet or not?)

Glad Mr. DeSantis finally located his long lost testicles and said what Gillums opponents in the Democratic primary were afraid to say. So now all you lefty liberal loons that love to rant your nonsense have only those 3 other gutless Democratic candidates for not attacking Gillum on his corruption and taking him out of the race way back then. As it stands now Florida has a 100% probability of a Republican Governor and Democrats have only themselves to blame for keeping silent on Gillum's known corruption. Great job shooting yourselves in the foot you overly PC leftist liberal loons. You children really need to grow up, clean your own house from dishonesty/corruption, and be honest with yourselves if you ever want to win another important election.

yeah, I'm so glad you cleared up all that corruption that occurred with Gillum over $500 bucks. No worries about the $145,000 in unverified travel that TreSantis made for all those trips to FoxNews and elsewhere on the tax payer dime. Those don't matter you see. Those pail in comparison to that $500 bucks in devastating corruption that Gillum was involved in... and what they say about Repubs appealing exclusively to almost 99% of uneducated, white males, it is all just speculation, except you just confirmed that it is 100% dufus...

Oh damn my bad; I just told you leftist liberal loons how to win elections. Please ignore everything I said in my above post and keep on being the petulant dishonest whiny diaper babies that you are. Yeah keep on keeping on leftists!!!!!!!

Oh damn my bad; I just told you leftist liberal loons how to win elections. Please ignore everything I said in my above post and keep on being the petulant dishonest whiny diaper babies that you are. Yeah keep on keeping on leftists!!!!!!!

Too late! Already voted!

No you told us how you think elections are won. We are about to show you how this election is won. And believe me we want "monkey this up." You are pathetic this issue has been investigated and he was cleared. You are grasping at straws. You guys are desperate and it is funny. You are down almost 8 points in the latest polls. Truth be told you can Thank Trump for this victory. His theatrics made all this possible. Letting the other side destroy itself is how you really win elections.

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