GALLAGHER'S OFFENSE IS TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE
Just about everyone agrees this morning that state Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher was clearly on the offensive last night in the Republican gubernatorial debate with opponent Attorney General Charlie Crist. Gallagher took aim at Crist, accusing him of being more of a liberal on social issues such as abortion, civil unions for gays and lesbians, and amnesty for illegal immigrants. Crist tried to duck the allegations but in most cases did not directly answer the questions. However, the AG presented a confident face throughout the hour debate, which was broadcast statewide on public radio and television stations and nationwide on C-SPAN. It was actually a bit more entertaining that I originally believed it would be.
Here are links to newspaper reports this morning on the debate:
St. Petersburg Times (Steve Borsquet): GOP candidates take off the gloves
Tampa Tribune (William March & Michael Fechter): Crist V. Gallagher
Orlando Sentinel (John Kennedy): Crist, Gallagher square off in free-swinging TV debate
Miami Herald (Beth Reinhard & Gary Fineout): Gallagher, Crist throw hard jabs in debate
Palm Beach Post (Brian E. Crowley & Michael C. Bender): Gallagher paints Crist liberal; Crist brushes him off
New York Times Regional Newspaper Group (Lakeland Ledger/Gainesville Sun/Sarasota Herald Tribune (Joe Follick): GOP hopefuls trade jabs in debate
Tallahassee Democrat (Aaron Deslatte): Trailing, Gallagher unloads in debate
And I should also mention a great review of the debate from the Tampa based blog The State of Sunshine. He writes that while he generally supports (but has not endorsed) Crist on the GOP side, Gallagher was the clear winner last night.
Tonight, it's the Democrats' turn. Congressman Jim Davis and State Senator Rod Smith will face off in the same television studio. The panelists for tonight's debate will be Tom Fielder of the Miami Herald, Jason Garcia of the Orlando Sentinel, and Elisa Cramer of the Palm Beach Post, and Rob Lorei of WEDU-TV and WMNF-FM will take his usual post as moderator.