Rubio and Crist Set to Debate on Sunday

"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."

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  • by Judy Location: St. Petersburg on Mar 28, 2010 at 01:09 PM
    It was mentioned in the article that national polls show Rubio in the lead. Please forgive my ignorance, but are they referring to polls conducted by firms outside of Florida, and/or are people outside of Florida being polled? And, hear, hear, Gary. I agree with you 100%. I'm an independent and a moderate, proud of it, and I won't cast my vote for an incompetent or a scoundrel. Those politicians who absolutely refuse to reach across the aisle and work with other parties are obviously more concerned about their own political power than about the well-being of their constituents, and those are the ones who need to be voted out of office.
  • by Jay Location: Gainesville, FL on Mar 26, 2010 at 10:23 PM
    I think Rubio is indeed a right-wing nut job, a product of the Cuban-American right who see all taxation of themselves as leading to Communist rule. My parents lived through Soviet Russia, but they also lived in Israel and experienced firsthand the issue of socialized medicine. Israeli pharmaceutical companies are thriving because of hard work and innovation, and the free market is alive and well there. Germany also has socialized medicine, and a majority of Brits, Canadians, French and Spanish would not trade their system for ours. Crist is the opposite of Rubio. It's not so much that he reaches across the aisle. He does what he thinks is popular, like cutting property taxes that are eroding Florida's public schools. And the Democrats have no first-tier candidate.
  • by David Wussler Location: Tallahassee on Mar 26, 2010 at 06:46 PM
    Marco Rubio is a joke. Seriously, who gets a $134 haircut and back-wax (whatever that is) on the "company" dime? And $120K in two years? He has the same sense of entitlement that those bumbling Bush brothers have. And you see where they got us. We'll be lucky if we ever fully recover. Let's be honest, approximately 30 percent of Americans are right-wing religious zealots who would love to add another name to the Roberts, Thomas, Alito, Scalia Christian Theocracy Supreme Court, giving them a majority. Goodbye Roe v. Wade. And they'll stop at nothing to succeed. Rubio is a card-carrying member of that child raping, sodomizing corrupt organization known as the Catholic Church. An organization so sadistic that even his "holiness" the pope himself is involved in the coverups and corruption. We have enough right-wing religious nutjobs in the U.S. Senate already. Rubio would just be adding one more scary number to their ranks. -David Wussler
  • by Sgt. Rock Location: Tallahassee on Mar 26, 2010 at 09:34 AM
    Vote against ALL incumbents.
  • by gary Location: tallahassee on Mar 26, 2010 at 09:15 AM
    I say that the state races should be non partisian. But of course, then most wouldn't know who to vote for would they??? All you republicans that are down on Democrats and all you Democrats that are down on Republicans, do you really know the the person on the other party that is running?? I think you are just voting for the party that you think should be in office instead of the person. Please, forget the parties and look at the person running, their backgrounds, their experince, their views and what they believe in. Don't vote just on party, sex, relegion or skin color. Your vote should be used for the best candicate. But then again, most people have such little minds and are so ignorant that if you take the (d) and the (r) off the ballots beside the names, who would you vote for.
  • by nflnative on Mar 26, 2010 at 06:02 AM
    Birds of a feather flock together. Why don`t most of the Republicans in Florida move to Texas so they can be "with their own kind" and maybe we can have a Democratic majority in Florida once more in my lifetime.
  • by unrepresented Location: in Repuborida on Mar 26, 2010 at 05:08 AM
    Crist does show more tendency to be a moderate and I might think of voting for him if he changed affiliation to Independent. That won`t happen - he needs GOP financial backing. Rubio has to be a "vote against" for his strong conservative position and will be just a faithful party follower when voting on bills that will be detremental to many poor and middle class of this nation. I share the view that all incumbents must be voted out - but I want to see the qualifications of who else is in the race besides these two.
  • by Jean Location: Northwest Florida on Mar 25, 2010 at 09:17 PM
    I want to say that I have had the priviledge of watching both of these men while in the Florida House and have seen them in action. Marco Rubio always stood out above the rest. He made a wonderful House Speaker and State Representative and will continue that excellence as our U.S. Senator. He isn't afraid to answer tough questions and actually loves answering them because he's honest and has no hidden agendas. Marco Rubio is a man who values his family and your's more than anything. He is a man who has worked his way to the top, and it wasn't given to him. It hasn't always been an easy road for Marco Rubio but I have no doubts that the road ahead will lead him to his devine purpose in life and that is to continue to speak for the people of this Great State in the U.S. Senate. May God Bless you Marco Rubio as you continue your campaign across Florida so that the people of this Great State will see that you are the absolute best man for the job ahead and of that I am certain.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 25, 2010 at 06:53 PM
    Charlie Crist is a homosexual that has been in the closet for a long time! Don't vote him in as a senator! All voters need to know about Crist hiding behind the closet! He is a democrat hiding behind the Republican smile!!!!!!!1
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