Politics & Policy

Rubio-Crist-Meek Debate Liveblog

The debate is being streamed live, so you can follow along, starting at 7 p.m. EST.

6:30 p.m. — Approximately 75 supports of Marco Rubio, Charlie Crist and Kendrick Meek were chanting and cheering outside the TV studio as their candidates arrived. The most boisterous bunch was this SEIU group from Tampa. If supporter enthusiasm could predict future debate performance, Meek would be in for a good night.

7:05 p.m. — Crist comes out strong in his opening statement, hitting the “extreme right” and saying he will, “crash that tea party in Washington.” Rubio talks about American Exceptionalism, similar to his stump speeches.

7:12 p.m. — First question is about Crist’s recent attack ad against Rubio on Social Security. Rubio says the ad is blatantly untrue. George Stephanopoulos playing the role of Jerry Springer in this debate: egging Crist on Rubio’s answer: “He just called you a liar three times.”

7:23 p.m. — Crist to Rubio: “You haven’t been drinking the Kool-Aid, my friend. You’ve been drinking too much tea.”

7:45 p.m. — Rubio refuses to pander on federal funding for Florida’s high-speed rail: “Nothing is more important than dealing with this long-term debt issue.” Meek suggests that Rubio wants Floridians to sit stuck in traffic for the next 20 years, then says that, “Charlie Crist stands on a wet paper box.” He keeps dropping the name of “Dick Cheney,” too — four times now.

8:15 p.m. — And what better way to end the night then with a guy in a chicken suit? More protesters, for the Libertarian candidate this time, yelling at passing cars to vent their frustration at his exclusion from the debate.

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