NEW YORK -- The great pantomime of American politics stooped to a preposterous new nadir on Wednesday when Florida Republican governor Rick Scott refused to start a televised debate against Democrat Charlie Crist because… his opponent had a fan under his lectern.
Crist had a small electric cooler placed by his feet, presumably - and we’re going out on a limb here – to cool him down. As the debate was due to start, Crist took his place on stage but the 61-year-old incumbent governor remained in the wing, his aides insisting the fan violated the “no electronics” rules of the contest.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we have an extremely peculiar situation right now," said the moderator, Elliot Rodriguez of CBS Miami, with only one man standing on stage.
"We have been told that Governor Scott will not be participating in this debate… Governor Crist has asked to have a small fan placed underneath his podium. The rules of the debate that I was shown by the Scott campaign say that there should be no fan. Somehow there is a fan there, and for that reason, ladies and gentlemen, I am being told that Governor Scott will not join us for this debate."
After seven minutes the governor did appear, no doubt prompted by the chorus of boos emanating from the befuddled voters in the audience.