"It really has been a remarkably fierce contest when you consider the primary isn't until August. I keep thinking of the line Keith Jackson used to use before a big football game," said moderator Chris Wallace of FOX News, "These guys just don't like each other and I suspect my biggest job on Sunday will be trying to keep the two apart."
Question: Last summer Governor Crist had a dominating lead, people were almost saying it was a one person show. Rubio has closed the gap and evened things out. Is it a case that Rubio has done so much good or Crist so much bad, or a combination of both?
"I think it's a combination. In most of the national polls, Rubio leads by double digits. Some by 20 or even 30 points. Rubio is the new "it" boy of the Republican conservative movement, the tea party movement."
Unemployment is at 12 percent, the health care bill is a hot topic, do you think the candidates will talk about that or will they shy away from that?
"Oh no, I think they'll talk about everything and explore their differences. I think one of the interesting aspects, when you look at Governor Crist, he talks about common sense conservation and in the State of the State speech, he said we have convictions and we try to get things done. And rule by consensus. He's very much a politician who reaches out to the other side."
How much is the perception of who wins during the debate going to change the numbers on Monday?
"It depends. Various debates have different reactions. I've seen debates with one sided reactions. I was around covering the 1980 debate with Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan when they faced off and Reagan said there you go again President Carter. That ended the log jam. You tell me what happens on Sunday, and I'll tell you the effect it'll have on the race."