Sink’s eight-second glimpse of prohibited message creates Debategateby Jeff Ostrowski | October 26th, 2010
In a tight race, the gaffe could prove costly, said Susan MacManus, a political science professor at the University of South Florida.
“It has the potential to affect some people’s vote, and in a close election, every vote matters,” MacManus said.
Scott’s mention of accounting improprieties at Sykes Enterprises, a call center firm where Sink sat on the board of directors, spurred Sink adviser Brian May to send the message. During a break in the debate, Sink’s makeup artist touched up Sink’s face, then showed Sink a phone with a message from May.
“The attorney who [w]on the Sykes suit said alex sink did nothing wrong,” the message read. “Tell not to let him keep talking about her.”
Scott, who was being worked on by another makeup artist, saw Sink read the message and summoned a debate organizer, according to video of the exchange posted by CNN.
“So we can get notes, we can have people who work for us come and give us messages?” Scott asked.
“No,” the organizer replied.
After the break, Scott told viewers that Sink had broken the rules, and while campaigning today, he used the incident to paint Sink as ethically challenged.