OPINION: Crist Sticks to Tired Talking Points, Avoids Substance at Debate
During his debate with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Charlie Crist continued to dish out the same tired one-liners throughout the night.
They will make great short clips for fundraising videos, but moderate voters watching the debate who wanted to learn more about Crist’s policies will walk away disappointed.
From an electoral standpoint, it is clear that Crist will have to sway independent voters and moderate Republicans to win the upcoming midterm elections, as Republicans have outpaced Democrats in voter registration by hundreds of thousands of voters.
His debate talking points seemed more focused on impressing the Democratic partisans who were ejected from the debate audience than swing voters in Florida.
Some Crist fans have just been ejected from the debate for repeated refusal to respect the rules, constantly shouting over DeSantis answers
Nobody has been asked to leave from the DeSantis side
— Buck Sexton (@BuckSexton) October 24, 2022
Crist made sure to remind voters that DeSantis may have aspirations to run for President more than a few times during the debate but dithered when he couldn’t fall back on the same talking points Florida Democrats have been using for the last two years.
On the issue of immigration, Crist predictably hammered DeSantis for transporting migrants to Martha’s Vineyard while reassuring voters he supports a ‘secure border’.
When asked to elaborate on what policies he would support, he would only commit to supporting ‘comprehensive immigration reform’, a vague and politically loaded phrase.
Watching the DeSantis–Crist debate tonight, I was struck once again by the vagueness of Democrat casting of issues: "comprehensive immigration reform", for instance. You hear the slogan, but never details. I'm guessing what they mean is, "You should defer to anything we want."
— goroke (@goroke_mi) October 25, 2022
In one of the more memorable lines of the night from DeSantis, he mentioned that Crist only showed up to work at Congress 14 days this year.
"Do you know how many days [Charlie Crist] showed up to work in Washington, DC this year? 14 days. Imagine that deal for you. You show up 14 days and make over 100 grand? That's the type of effort this guy puts in."
— DeSantis War Room 🐊 #FloridaStrong (@DeSantisWarRoom) October 25, 2022
That certainly seemed to line up with Crist’s lack of depth on issues that concern Floridians as he refused to discuss his own policy on property insurance, something he has repeatedly claimed that DeSantis dropped the ball on.
DeSantis discussed his efforts to lower property insurance costs in Florida before discussing how Crist’s 7-point plan would raise rates. Rather than defending his plan, Crist pivoted back to playing the blame game against DeSantis.
Charlie Crist: Everyone watching knows property insurance rates "are up under [DeSantis]" pic.twitter.com/q8d2QPOBTE
— Florida’s Voice (@FLVoiceNews) October 24, 2022
In a response that insulted the intelligence of every Florida voter, Crist hilariously attacked DeSantis for ‘locking down’ the state of Florida. For his part, Crist fell back on familiar platitudes about how he would have ‘followed the science.’ Fortunately, we know what Crist would have done as Governor because he told us he would have extended lockdowns.
— DeSantis War Room 🐊 #FloridaStrong (@DeSantisWarRoom) October 24, 2022
On the culture war issues that Florida Democrats have staked their campaigns on, such as support for ‘gender-affirming care’ for transgender youth, the Parental Rights in Education Bill, Critical Race Theory, and abortion, Crist had few answers as well.
On abortion, he would only affirm a ‘woman’s right to choose’ without committing to any hard limits on abortion.
When DeSantis pressured him to give a stance on if he supports gender reassignment surgeries and puberty blockers for transgender youth, Crist pivoted back to more comfortable talking points on abortion.
MOMENTS AGO: On transgender teens: “That is wrong. We’re not going to allow that to happen.” Crist: “You think you know better than any physician. … You want to decide what people should do… You don’t have the temperament to be kind…” #FlGovDebate https://t.co/y5JYXO6ZOs pic.twitter.com/vHROH5C2Qw
— WPEC CBS12 News (@CBS12) October 24, 2022
While Twitter was replete with posts celebrating Crist’s debate victory against Desantis, out-of-state liberals won’t deliver Crist an election victory in two weeks, Florida voters will. On that front, he decisively lost the debate.