Gavin Newsom balks at Ron DeSantis ‘live audience’ proposal for debate, wants to set all the rules

Blue state bluster may be all California Gov. Gavin Newsom had to offer as a reaction as a spokesperson slammed the showdown sausage making.

Perhaps the Golden State governor had begun to think that his debate challenge to his Florida peer, first suggested Sept. 2022, would go unanswered. Instead, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ unflinching retort of “when and where” after being asked directly seemed to illicit a balk from Newsom whose reaction to a rule proposal looked to some to be seeking a way to weasel out.

“What a joke,” Newsom’s spokesperson Nathan Click said in a statement reported by Politico. “[DeSantis’] counterproposal is littered with crutches to hide his insecurity and ineptitude — swapping opening statements with a hype video, cutting down the time he needs to be on stage, adding cheat notes and a cheering section.”

An added gibe showed favor toward former President Donald Trump’s ongoing campaign strategy as Click taunted, “Ron should be able to stand on his own two feet. It’s no wonder Trump is kicking his a**.”

The claim from Newsom’s team appeared to be hinged on both technicalities and typical doublespeak. According to the proposal submitted July 28 from the California camp to Fox News host Sean Hannity, the basic rules explicitly stated, “Participants (Governors) will not use any notes or bring any prepared documents on stage,” save for a pen and paper that would be made available to them.

Additionally, they proposed “There will be no live audience.”

Following DeSantis’ response to Hannity where he told the host Wednesday, “Absolutely I’m game, let’s get it done just tell me when and where. We’ll do it,” the GOP presidential candidate had submitted his own suggestions for the concept of the debate with Newsom.

For his proposal, sent to Hannity Thursday, the DeSantis team made no demand that notes be prohibited for the participants, nor did they suggest “adding cheat notes.” Likewise, the idea that the Republicans wanted “a cheering section” ignored the fact that the suggestion of a live audience included the caveat that tickets be “distributed 50-50.”

There would be as many people cheering and jeering from both sides of the aisle.

However, DeSantis did specifically call for the use of two-minute long videos in place of opening remarks that would have to get approved by Fox News before airing. Most other points were readily agreed upon, including a venue location option, Georgia, and date, Wednesday, Nov. 8.

At the time of this post, there hadn’t yet appeared to be a response from the Florida governor’s team to Click’s statement on the proposal, but social media had their own take on the likelihood that Newsom was looking for a way out and why that would be.

“All DeSantis has to do is show pictures of San Francisco and Los Angeles and he wins the debate,” one person suggested in line with the GOP candidate’s own statement that “In one respect, the debate between California and Florida, you know, has already been had, as you suggest. People have been voting on that. They have been voting on it with their feet. They have fled California in record numbers, Florida has been the number one state for net in-migration. We have the number one ranked economy, number one now in education, crime rate at a 50-year low.”


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Kevin Haggerty


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