Photo: APDeSantis vs. Newsom debate: Governors fight over crime, abortion, guns and more
'Slugfest& #39;, moderated by Sean Hannity Democrats and Republicans outweigh each other in bitter 'shadow campaign'
Ron DeSantis, the far-right contender for the Republican presidential nomination, has come out on stage in Georgia on Thursday, the debate on one website was dubbed “Vendetta in Alpharetta.”
But the Florida governor's opponent was not Donald Trump, the former president and clear front-runner in the primary, or any other Republican candidate. . His opponent was Gavin Newsom, the Democratic governor of California who is not seeking his party's nomination next year given Joe Biden's grip on the White House.
As Gavin Newsom's political star rises, some Californians are wary of his “new persona'Read more
Both governors smiled for the cameras and then attacked from the start, often trying to tie their opponent to the looming presidential race.
DeSantis said: “I think California has more of a natural advantage than California. any state in the country. You almost have to try to ruin California. However, that's exactly what Gavin Newsom did.
“…They failed because of his leftist ideology. And this is America's choice. What [Joe] Biden, [Kamala] Harris and Newsom want to do is take the California model and implement it nationally. In Florida, we are showing that conservative principles work. This country must choose freedom over failure.”
Newsom said he was “here to tell the truth about the Biden-Harris record and to compare and contrast the two.” .
< p class="dcr-1kas69x">“…Ron discusses his record in a Republican state. Like a point of contrast that is as different as daylight and darkness. You want to take us back to the era before the 1960s or earlier, to America in reverse. You want to overturn the nation's hard-won rights to voting and civil rights, human rights and women's rights, not only access to abortion, but access to contraception.
“You want to use resentment as a weapon, you are focused on false separateness. Among other things, you engage in prohibitive drinking binges, cultural cleansing, intimidation and humiliation of people with whom you disagree. You and [former] President Trump are really trying to set fire to democracy.”
Organizers Fox News called it a “slug fest” before it even started, and that's exactly what happened. , both men hurl rhetorical barbs, but mostly talk over each other in a series of furious fights.
It was moderated, as best he could, by Sean Hannity. The longtime Trump-aligned prime-time host and “culture war” warrior called his non-Trump project “The Great Red State vs. Blue State Debate.” Fox News said it will cover issues “including the economy, the border, immigration, crime and inflation.” It also said that without a studio audience, governors would have “an equal opportunity to answer and resolve every issue.”
In this case, Hannity immediately admitted to being a conservative and then asked about domestic migration, citing large numbers of people leaving California and half as many leaving Florida. Newsom cited his own statistics. DeSantis liked the photos from Fox. Another pattern was established.
For both men, the debate was fraught with risk. DeSantis, by contrast, risked appearing desperate and perhaps lacking political and physical stature, according to polls. Based on reports of boot lifts, the 5'11″ Governor was up against a 6'3″ opponent who also seemed to smile more naturally.
But Newsom has risked — and duly received — repeated questions about what exactly he's doing, given Biden's place in the Oval Office and polls that show voters believe the president is too old for a second term. Newsom is 56 years old, 25 years younger than Biden. Of course, this likely means his goal is 2028, the post-Biden primaries.
You, among other things, engage in prohibitive binge drinking, cultural cleansing, intimidation and humiliation of people you disagree with, Gavin Newsom< p class="dcr- 1kas69x">Newsom defended Biden's record and mental health, insisting he had not positioned himself for success. DeSantis insisted his rival was running a “shadow campaign” and mocked Biden as old and frail.
The crosstalk and accusations of lying continued. Newsom struck one early blow, taking advantage of DeSantis' bluster. “As he continues to talk about me,” he said, “I will talk to the American people.” This brought him an opportunity directly in front of the camera. On Covid policy, Newsom won again by focusing on DeSantis' shift in tactics from following science to fighting culture wars.
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But DeSantis hit back, using Hannity's questions in the way most of them intended: as a test run, attacking Newsom on crime and immigration. and especially the perceived elitism in all politics.
When Newsom hit DeSantis on gun control over loosening laws, DeSantis responded: “People are leaving California in droves, largely because public safety is in a disastrous state.” Newsom responded with additional statistics. DeSantis talked about him, saying, “I know you love to talk, I know you love to lie.” Hannity fought for control.
In response to a question about Florida's controversial “don't talk about gay” law regarding LGBTQ+ issues in schools, DeSantis wrote a book he called Gender Queer [actually Gender Queer: A Memoir, by Maya Kobabe], censorship blocks, applied to cartoon appendages. , which the governor said he has removed from schools. Newsom rejected claims that such books are included in the California curriculum and asked about bans affecting black authors, including Toni Morrison and Amanda Gorman.
In Florida, we are showing that conservative principles work…choose freedom over failureRon DeSantis
“What you are doing is using education as the source of your cultural disaster,” Newsom said , adding: “I don’t like the way you put people down, I don’t like the way you put the LGBTQ+ community down.”
Each man called the other a bully. DeSantis showed another visual: On a map, he said, San Francisco was covered in “human feces.” Newsom laughed. Hannity switched topics to Israel and Hamas, then to China.
On abortion, a losing issue for Republicans as the Supreme Court struck down a federal right, Newsom criticized DeSantis for signing the sixth agreement – week ban. Hannity opened the floor to DeSantis to explain why he presented it. Whether DeSantis would support a national six-week ban, Newsom reiterated. DeSantis did not respond.
“It would be great if you guys would cooperate,” Hannity pleaded. “I’m not a potted plant here.”
Not a single man showed much interest in this. Then a surprise. After what seemed like a final question, in search of good things to say about each other's states, the governors agreed to stay on stage a little longer.
Only they didn't. When Hannity returned from the commercial break, DeSantis and Newsom were gone.