Dispute over fan delays start of Florida’s gubernatorial debate

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WASHINGTON (CNN) — Florida Gov. Rick Scott refused to go onstage for the first seven minutes of a debate Thursday night, because his opponent had a fan.

No, not a rowdy supporter in the audience. An actual electric fan.

Scott’s Democratic challenger, former Gov. Charlie Crist, had set up a small fan underneath his podium, apparently trying to keep himself from sweating under the Broward College stage’s lights. Scott saw the fan, a prop that often accompanies Crist at public appearances, as a violation of the debate’s rules and said he wouldn’t participate.

The moderators tried to explain the disagreement while Republicans in the audience chided Crist for breaking rules — at least as Scott saw them — against props on stage.

“We have an extremely peculiar situation right now,” moderator Elliott Rodriguez, a local news anchor, said as the broadcast started.

“Are we really going to debate a fan?” Crist said while standing alone on stage.

Several minutes later, Scott relented and joined the debate.

“That has to be the most unique beginning to any debate,” Rodriguez said as Scott walked onto the stage.

From there, the moderators largely tried to ignore the episode.

But it had already sparked a social media firestorm, with Twitter users launching the hashtag “#fangate,” and a mock Twitter handle devoted solely to Crist’s fan — @CCristFan — had its moment in the sun.

TM & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

7 comments

  • Say What

    So the rules say “no props on the stage” and the democrat automatically thinks “well I’m above the rules!”. Typical.

  • Jeanne

    Good grief, a fan isn’t a prop, No one could see it, it didn’t do demonstrations or play music. It’s just a small fan. In fact I’m sure Crist wouldn’t have minded Scott getting his very own fan. If Scott’s team was on the ball they would have known Crist used one. However the temper tantrum must have been interesting. Funny, no one has reported how the debate went.

    • Say What

      That is exactly why he did it. He knew that he had nothing to say during the debates so he set it up so the focus would be off his incompetence! Republicans are very good a creating weapons of mass distraction (hey, it worked for Bush when he wanted to start a war)!!!

  • Say What

    Typical Republican! If they can not be in control they do not want to play. It is their way or the highway! I remember my Republican classmates in the third grade use to take their football and go home crying!

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