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Crist, Meek, Rubio clash in first Senate debate

by George Bennett | September 17th, 2010

MIAMI — Each of Florida’s three Senate candidates sought to differentiate himself from his rivals Friday in a one-hour debate on Spanish-language Univision taped this afternoon.

With a considerable portion of the debate focusing on immigration and issues of concern to Hispanics, the lone Hispanic in the race — Republican nominee Marco Rubio — staked out more conservative positions than Democratic rival Kendrick Meek or independent Charlie Crist.

Rubio said he supports making English the official language of the U.S. and opposes a Democratic bill that would let students in the country illegally become citizens if they enlist in the military or attend college. Both Meek and Crist support the DREAM Act.

Rubio also disagreed with Crist and Meek on a “path to citizenship” for the estimated 11 million or more people in the country illegally. He said the U.S. must secure its borders and beef up employment verification before attempting “modernization” of its immigration laws.

Crist and Meek criticized Arizona’s controversial crackdown on illegal immigrants. Rubio said the law — which he criticized before it was amended by the Arizona legislature — isn’t right for the rest of the U.S., but he said Arizona faced unique problems because of its border with Mexico.

Rubio throughout the debate characterized himself as the only candidate who would “stand up” to the Democratic agenda in Washington. He opposed the Democratic stimulus bill, which Meek voted for and Crist embraced.

Meek characterized himself as the only champion of the middle class, calling Rubio and former Republican Crist “my two lifelong conservative Republican friends” and noting their support for extending all the Bush tax cuts. Meek opposes extending the tax cuts for the wealthy.

Meek supported the Democratic health care bill, which Rubio and Crist say they would have voted against.

Crist, who quit the GOP in April when he fell behind Rubio in the Republican Senate primary, highlighted his new nonpartisan status.

“I’m running against two fine people, but they are the political nominees of their respective party. This is an opportunity to change all of that, to make a true difference, to have a better way,” Crist said.

Crist and Meek have clashed over Democratic votes, but it was Rubio who offered the sharpest criticism of the governor.

“You only changed parties and did this independent thing when you couldn’t win the Republican primary,” Rubio said. “And now you wake up everyday and you try to figure out what can you say or do to take more votes away from Congressman Meek so more Democrats will vote for you. But everybody sees it for what it is, everybody gets it. So I think we owe voters more respect than that.”

42 Responses to “Crist, Meek, Rubio clash in first Senate debate”

  1. Moderate Democrat Says:

    The word is Crist did very well.

  2. Observer Says:


  3. Charlie Stole The Show Says:

  4. Dem Says:

    Rubio is a petulant little punk.

  5. Libertarian Conservative Says:

    I actually listened to the debate; it was very clear that Rubio was the one who performed best in this race. Meek supports a socialist single-payer system and Crist is a career politician who only switched independent to foster his own political well-being.

  6. FloridaNative Says:

    Rubio needs to know that Florida does not stand behind him. His ego has gotten the best of him and he needs to sit down and hush up. How dare Rubio criticize Crist when the RPOF is guilty of being so wishy-washing by not supporting, and then supporting, …blah blah blah… individuals who are clearly crooks (Scott). Crist is the only one I trust!!

  7. ELC Says:

    Choo Choo Charlie and Kendrick Meek are
    not going to make it no matter what. Meek is behind both of them and it would
    surprise me if he overtakes Choo Choo. As for Choo Choo he had his opportunity and he blew it. I’m no fan of Rubio, but I don’t want a Democrat in Congress, so he is the best of the lot.
    Its sad because Choo Choo had such potential and he absolutely threw it away. Basically you can say, he handed over the seat to Rubio because he doesn’t stand up for anything-he sways with the Palms.

  8. mARK Says:

    The word is that Crist did well which was put out by his campaign.


  9. Dan in the Pines Says:

    Rubio is to the GOP what Obama was to the Dems 4 years ago. A future Presidential contender. He’s got the ideas that resonate with the American people, he’s a TRUE conservative, he’s articulate and he’s going to put Florida back on the map. Crist is a political hack with his finger in the air and Meek is Obama light. Looking forward to Senator Rubio!

  10. panhandle Says:

    Just hide the credit cards

  11. socrates Says:

    Liberals are part of the nazi propaganda and a bunch of misfits. They don’t belong in America, ship them expresso to Cuba they would be happy there with Castro’s hellcare utopia

  12. LOL! Says:

    Let no one say socrates in the comment above is an informed or rational individual. No sir, he’s better than that, he’s a clueless voter who repeats and exaggerates multi-millionaire pundits’ idiotic accusations.

  13. Fl. Independent Voter Says:

    I saw the debate Meek did ok but it was Rubio who stole that show and slapped Charlie around like a rag doll. Rubio won this debate hands down!!!

  14. In November Says:


  15. NO guy of mine Says:

    Charlie Crist abused the money sent into the republican party. He and his buddy Greer went to Disney World and charge the republican party over $10,000!

    Crist took 9 bodyguards (who charged citizens of FL over $6oo for drycleaning), 1 photographer to europe…they splurged!

    Charlie you’re crap.

  16. Dan in the Pines is right about one thing Says:

    Hey Dan @4:24
    You’re right about one thing – Rubio is the Republican version of Obama…full of empty rhetoric and empty promises and short on real-world experience outside of politics.
    I’m a Republican and I think he’s full of it. I miss the days when we expected a “presidential contender” to actually have some real life experience…rather than just being another career politician like Rubio.

  17. brigitte Says:

    Its hard to trust any politican but I’ll take my chances with CHARLIE CRIST the next senator from Florida. Meek is a joke and the other one is lame.

  18. Boca Joe Says:

    Rubio is a full-fledged psycho. Floridians don’t want a senator with his extreme tea party views. Meek can’t win, so vote for Crist. Vote for sanity.

  19. Julie in Lantana Says:

    Clowns to the left; jokers to the right about sums it up.

    Give em hell Charlie!

  20. kola123 Says:

    I agree with Boca Joe.

    If Rubio and other Cubans cannot follow the laws of the USA, how are they going to become effective leaders. Scary… VERY Scary.

  21. lance sjogren Says:

    Florida Native said:

    “Rubio needs to know that Florida does not stand behind him. His ego has gotten the best of him and he needs to sit down and hush up”

    Typical Police State mentality of a progressive. You don’t like the fact that Rubio is winning so you want him out of the picture.

    Hey, Florida Native: Your guy, Crist, is losing and losing bad. Maybe he’s the one who should sit down and shut up.

    Maybe YOU ought to sit down and shut up.

    Or consider this: Maybe Rubio is winning because the public is nauseated by the fact that Crist’s supporters are arrogant twits like yourself?

  22. Gatorgal Says:

    Wow…what slime balls ACTUALLY think Crist can win? Dream on, guys, it’s Rubio because he’s “new”. We’ll kick him out of congress if he screws up, like we’re starting to clean house NOW!! Hey, ALL politicians are liars! So, let’s give our, young man, Rubio, a chance! By the way, the movement that you hate so much, represents all Americans who love this country.

  23. Jay Says:

    Rubio clearly won this debate. Meek supports liberal positions that have already obviously failed. Crist is a self serving career politician that has no real core beliefs. The GOP gave Charlie his start in politcs. The GOP voted him into the governor’s mansion. He never had a problem embrasing George Bush when there was something in it for Charlie. Yet Charlie turns his back on the GOP like a fickle teenager when they chose someone else. He won’t even deign to inform us whom he will caucus with if elected to the senate. No way Charlie!

  24. rigdum_funidos Says:

    does it matter? this race is, and should be, a landslide for Rubio.

  25. lance sjogren Says:

    Liberals are voting for Meek, conservatives are voting for Rubio, and twits are voting for Crist.

    Sorry folks, there aren’t enough twits in Florida to get Crist into the Senate.

  26. brigitte Says:

    Wonder what rubio will run for after he loses…Lol.

  27. Liz Says:

    I see a lot of you saying that you are ashamed to be a Republican, but then you are supporting Charlie Crist. I think you have bigger problems than being ashamed to be a Republican. The RINO’s have got to go. Crist, Murkowski, Castle. These are the people that we vote for and trust and they stab you in the back. Then they turn around and act like the spoiled political hack elites that they are when they lose. They need to be put out to pasture just for cause.

  28. Chiqueltiz Says:

    Does anyone know where I can view this debate?

  29. Chiqueltiz Says:

    I lost all respect for ‘Crispy Fry’ when he jumped ship from being a long time Repub to an Indy because of some polls. Then we was all ‘gaga’ over Obama during the Gulf Oil Spill Crisis. Made me nauseous. He also refused to refund people’s money who supported him as a Republican. Crist is just another self-serving politician terrified of losing his job in the political arena. Get in the unemployment line Crispy Fry, along with the 12+% of Floridians who can’t find a job. So, what have u done lately to help my fellow Floridians get back to work? Voting this guy into the Senate would be the worst decision Fl voters have ever made.

  30. Andrew Says:

    I don’t like Rubio. I just don’t. He’s acting like he’s all of a sudden super Conservative with a good record. It’s BS and he’ll be a Senator we never hear from.

    I can’t vote Democrat.

    Why are the Reps and Dems makin me vote for Crist? WHY????

  31. coldfront Says:

    Crisry Crist,join Castle,Murkowski,Bennett and Hutchinson in the fast-developing Rino unemployment line. America and Florida dont want commie-lite RINOS. We want Marco Rubio and conservatives like him. Deal with it Crispy. Or do you want yourself to be well-done?

  32. moderate voice Says:

    Since when was moderation or deliberation on policy a crime?

    Give ‘em hell Charlie!

  33. Magox Says:

    Meek is a liberal and we know he has no good ideas.

    Crist is a self-serving politician, who will say anything to get elected and only a moron would vote for him.

    Rubio will remain in politics for a very long time and possibly will be our president.

    The guy has a spine, he has openly talked about REFORMING S.S, where other politicians continue to punt on this issue.

    Rubio will win in a landslide. Crist on the otherhand will never be in politics again.

  34. SPO101 Says:

    Marco Rubio, huh?
    Ok, so I’m supposed to put my faith and trust in the voters of Florida. The morons that gave us the Bush/Cheney DISASTER! Thanks for nothing.

    COME ON, are you right-wing wackos #*~/‘n INSANE? Am I missing something here? Didn’t Republicans/Conservatives just have 8 YEARS of Bush/Cheney and Republican controlled Congress (1994-2006) to put their warped ideology into practice? AND IT ALMOST DESTROYED THE GREATEST NATION ON EARTH!

    Waste, fraud, abuse, scandal, sexual deviancy, corruption, lies, incompetence, job outsourcing, deregulation, off-shore tax evasion, reckless economics, welfare for the rich, war profiteering, Constitutional violations AND a Corporate Crime Wave of epic proportions…. The WORST looting/ravaging of a nation’s wealth and resources in the history of MANKIND!

    Where was the Tea Party anger THEN? #*~/ ignorant hypocrites.

    National Alliance on Mental Illness
    Of course Americans already KNOW Republicans/Conservatives have a problem with ethics, responsibility, accountability… BUT I feel LOW GRADE THOUGHT PROCESSES are the REAL topic here. Just LISTEN to Mitch McConnell or John Boehner or Marco Rubio or…

    Republicans seem to be suffering from SEVERE superiority complexes, odd paranoia, guilt and identity issues.

    According to anti-gay activists George Rekers and James Dobson from the so-called Family Research Council… The Male Model/Escort industry has a great future in Republican Party politics… lol
    GOP – Gay Old Party

    At first I thought all these pretty-boy Scott Brown, Bob McDonnell, Marco Rubio, Young Guns types were getting elected because frustrated Republican women were voting for them. They thought their men were constipated/impotent but as it turns out these poor sex starved women weren’t getting any because
    Republican Men are all as GAY as Larry Craig, Bill Cunningham, Mark Foley, Glenn Beck and Ted Haggard… and enthusiastically VOTE for the pretty boys too!

    All the Gay Republicans are throwing a party and want to know if they can hire those Male Stripers the Morning Joe trust fund baby Crew on MSNBC, were talking about last week. I was busy getting ready for work but think they called them “The Young Guns”. Joe confessed to his “Man Crush”

    DO NOT VOTE for Republicans/Conservatives, it’s actually GOOD for the USA…

  35. Fl. Independent Voter Says:

    Did Marco just bitch slap CharLIE? Yep! Go Rubio!!

  36. brigitte Says:

    It will take a very long time for rubio to recover after Crist whips his you-know-what.

  37. TJ Says:

    Meek is the only candidate with a sold history of voting for middle class Americans. Rubio is way out there. And Crist has a mixed history, only becoming a populist when his right wing credentials were challenged by Rubio. I’m voting for Meek.

  38. Henry C. Brewster Says:

    Meek blew the hair off of Rubio’s back.

  39. George Says:

    Loved the comment from Meek that said Rubio wants florida to continue sit in traffic. Meek seemed a little disorganized in his debate. I think Charlie was the strongest. Rubio tend to dodge many of the questions about his earmarks. He mentioned charlie raised taxes. All I can remember he decreased taxes with amendment 1 being passed. We all remeber government services that were being cut the past year or so. Caused a lot of headache. And Rubio wants to cut even more?

  40. jim Says:

    Rubio is not looking out for Florida. Just himself. This guy would turn down money for Florida and progress on infrastructure rebuilding just because it was a democratic initiative. Do you really want to live in a country falling apart because no one wants to improve it. Let’s all go back to the horse and buggy days. That’s where were headed with these right wingers like Rubio. The only reason were in a hole is because Bush spent billions on a fake war, prescription plans for seniors, huge tax breaks for the rich and none of it was paid for in the budgets. Obama now includes all these unreported expenditures in an honest budget that he was forced to live with. It will take years to pay for the trillions Bush spent secretly and it has to go into the new budgets to pay for the previous 8 years of lies.

  41. margarita curiel Says:

    Rubio: a broken down CD player, repeating, repeating, the empty concepts of the extreme right. God Help Florida if is elected.

    Meek: Bright, conceptual but does not stand a chance – not at this moment in time

    Crist: you got my vote.

  42. margarita curiel Says:

    Rubio:a broken down CD player, repeating, repeating, the empty concepts of the extreme right. God Help Florida if is elected. Meek: Bright, conceptual but does not stand a chance – not at this moment in time

    Crist: you got my vote.

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