Florida US Senate Debate
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10/25/10 Sarah Curran
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Yesterday’s US Senate debate gave Florida voters their second to last chance to make a decision on who they want to send to the senate.

A poll released yesterday morning conducted by the St.Petersburg Times, the Miami Herald and Bay News Nine gave Rubio 46% of the vote with Independent Charlie Crist in second place with 26% and Democrat Kendrick Meek trailing with only 20% of the vote.

However, this debate left people unsure of the direction the polls will take in the next 8 days. Candidates did discuss important issues like the economy, the conflicts in Iran and Immigration. However, amidst disagreements, major issues such as the Gulf oil spill, climate change and Florida’s world standing seemed to fade to the background.

Protesters gathered outside USF’s Marshall Center calling for clean-energy and a stop to off shore drilling. However these issues where barely touched on during the one hour debate. USF World Director Dr. Roger Brindley says Florida’s global standing was also a topic lacking in the debate.

“Florida is the 4th largest state economy in the U.S. but we are not in the top 15 in trade with China. We know that 3 to 4 thousand students in k-12 are learning Chinese right now and in one sense that’s quite wonderful, 3 to 4 thousand is a minuscule percentage of our student population. When I think about the idea that many of our students are not given a thorough grounding in global curriculum then it isn't surprising that we don’t have politicians who view this as something they need to be putting our efforts toward.”

Another group of protesters at the debate felt cheated, as only three of the ten candidates running for senate were even allowed to participate. Libertarian candidate Alex Snitker says elections need to be about an individual candidate and there goals and not about party politics.

“What I've been told is we did not meet the polling criteria that they had set for the debate, unfortunately they didn’t include us in the poll so there is no way to meet the criteria. Well I think because I don’t think they wanted us in the debate. If you were Kendrick meek, Marco Rubio or Charlie Crist and someone was gonna go up there and speak the truth I don’t think you want me in the debate either.”

As the subjects transitioned, most of the debate seemed to go back to Crist’s constantly changing view points and Rubio’s Conservative outlook and lack of transparency. Rubio even called Crist a heckler during the debate for his multiple accusations toward Rubio and repeated interruptions.

Meek also got in the action, attacking Crist for his decision to back out of the Republican party. Major disagreements during the debate steamed from stimulus money, tax cuts and limits to government spending. Rubio says the stimulus has failed and wants to cut back on government spending. However Meek had something to say when Rubio discussed a need for politicians to stop cutting deals.

The debate left no clear winner and one thing candidates can agree on is no one is safe until the November 2 Election.

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