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DESANTIS V. NEWSOM: Govs Face Off In “Great Red State vs. Blue State Debate”

Posted on Friday, December 1, 2023
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by Shane Harris
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72 Comments

AMAC Exclusive – By Shane Harris

California Governor Gavin Newsom vs Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in Debate on FoxNews

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and California Governor Gavin Newsom squared off last night in a debate on Fox News moderated by Sean Hannity. While the event was billed as a “Great Red State vs. Blue State” showdown, it quickly took on the tenor and substance of a back and forth between two men with their sights set on the White House.

Newsom for his part did his best to downplay his presidential aspirations, repeatedly insisting that he was only on stage to “tell the truth about the Biden-Harris record” and defend California’s policies. “One thing we have in common,” Newsom said early on, “is that neither of us will be the nominee for our party in 2024.”

But the very fact that Newsom was on stage with DeSantis before a national audience belies his supposedly selfless motivations. Within the context of Newsom’s nationwide campaigning for Biden and the California governor running ads in Texas and Florida promoting his record, only the most credulous observer could see last night’s debate as anything other than an opportunistic politician eager to pick up his party’s banner should a clearly declining Biden falter down the stretch.

Throughout the debate, Newsom lived up to his status as a slick and skilled politician, repeatedly deflecting questions and making plenty of emotional appeals to viewers.

At one point during the debate, DeSantis appeared to catch Newsom off guard by holding up a page from the book “Gender Queer,” a graphic novel found in many public schools that contains explicit sexual images. DeSantis accused Newsom of allowing this and similar inappropriate materials to remain in California school libraries while they have been removed in Florida. 

But Newsom recovered quickly, avoiding the specific issue of parental rights and instead personally attacking DeSantis. “I don’t like the way you demean the LGBTQ community,” Newsom said. “I don’t like how you humiliate people you disagree with. I find this primarily offensive.”

Newsom also hammered DeSantis on his struggles in 2024 GOP primary polling, several times referencing the fact that he is down big to former President Donald Trump. “You are trolling folks and trying to play political games so you can out-Trump Trump,” Newsom said. “How is that going for you, Ron? You are down 41 points in your own home state.”

The central problem for Newsom throughout the debate, however, was that the situation in his state has become so bad that his record as governor is impossible to defend.

In the opening question of the night, Hannity presented a chart showing a net population loss for California over the last two years, while Florida saw a net population gain, and asked both governors to explain the disparity. While DeSantis offered several examples of Newsom’s policies that are driving Americans out of the state, Newsom avoided the question entirely and offered instead a long digression on how the Biden-Harris administration is supposedly helping the country.

DeSantis would return to the population loss question several times, at one point revealing that Newsom’s own father-in-law was one of the Californians who relocated to Florida over the past two years. Newsom’s only rejoinder was a line that more Floridians have moved to California than Californians have moved to Florida – a claim that was quickly debunked by users on X.

Newsom also became bogged down in technicalities when it came to a defense of California’s tax policy, and actually attempted to make the case that taxes are lower for middle- and working-class families in California than in Florida. According to the Tax Foundation, California ranked 46th nationally in state and local tax burden in 2022. Florida ranked 11th.

During a back and forth over COVID-19 policies, Newsom even accused DeSantis of “following the science” and “listening to Fauci,” apparently intended as a criticism. But the attack fell resoundingly flat given that Newsom himself kept his state shut down longer than almost any other state in the country, while Florida became one of the first to reopen.

Newsom later took some serious flak over his state’s rampant crime and homelessness problem, another issue for which he appeared to have no answer. In one of the most colorful exchanges of the night, DeSantis held up a map of San Francisco covered in brown splotches representing human feces. At one point, Newsom even attempted to blame Ronald Reagan for California’s homelessness crisis.

While DeSantis clearly isn’t the natural politician that Newsom is, he was unquestionably better able to defend his record as governor and offer more specifics on how his policies have benefitted Florida. Newsom can lob all the ad hominem attacks that he wants, but the reality is that California has become a national meme for failed left-wing governance, while Florida has prospered since DeSantis took office in 2018. Americans have already voted with their feet on who they think the better governor is.

On the whole, the debate was a victory for DeSantis in the sense that he was able to present some key elements of his governing record and enjoy a national spotlight without having to jockey with other Republican presidential hopefuls like he has during the GOP debates.

However, current polling suggests that even this strong performance won’t do much to change the reality of Trump’s dominance in the 2024 GOP primary race. From the standpoint of DeSantis’s presidential campaign, the debate may help bolster his standing among non-Trump voters, but likely won’t do much to change the overall landscape of the race.

Shane Harris is a writer and political consultant from Southwest Ohio. You can follow him on Twitter @ShaneHarris513.

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LMB
LMB
4 months ago

DeSantis won the debate! Why, because he didn’t bloviate like Newsom. DeSantis gave data points and known facts and statistics about Californafeces! The KowTowing to Xi for the visit! The schools, the homelessness, the illegal parasitically sucking the lifeblood out of the taxpayers!! The exodus of over a million people!! The data/facts were too easy to show/prove!! Newsom’s a grinning buffoon!!!

Steven
Steven
4 months ago

When Newsom failed to answer any of the questions directly he lost the debate. But then again how can he defend his far left record of mismanagement, chasing businesses and long time Californians out of his state, his state’s rapidly increasing crime problem, over taxing his residents, his open border policy and his undying loyalty to the climate change loonies. We don’t need politicians to run the country. We need real leaders and problem solvers.We need the one man whom the Deep State despises, Donald Trump.

Dinkey
Dinkey
4 months ago

Newsome proved what a fast-talking, arrogant Democrat buffoon he is.

JPop
JPop
4 months ago

Gavin Neusome is a total Political Slime. His state is clusterf****d.

American Farmer
American Farmer
4 months ago

Desantis is a genuine leader who cares about his state immensely. Newsom is a true snake in the grass politician. No morals and no respect for his people or state. California is a beautiful state that has been overrun by Marxist dirtbags. He should be impeached for not upholding the constitution of this country, the one he had to hold his crooked hand on the Bible and vow to uphold. Which he clearly has not. He clearly lied at every opportunity. Anyone with two cents worth of common sense would see.
DeSantis has an excellent record and reputation. One that should not be ignored or dismissed. This election cycle is not his though. Trump is the guy to clean house and bring us back from the mess biden and newsom have created.

Richard
Richard
4 months ago

Newsom’s nick name should be “SLICK”

Jeri
Jeri
4 months ago

Did not watch and today I am a better person for missing it

Swede
Swede
4 months ago

DeSantis won with the facts. As a Californian I agree that Newsome, better known as Nuisance, is a polished speaker. He can tell lies with the best. He is beholden to funding provided by the California Teachers union and the California Correctional Peace Officers Association. His wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, is or has been involved with the production and sale of school films deemed improper and possibly pornographic for the young audience they aimed for. The following is a quote from a FOX NEWS headline dated January 20, 2023. “Gavin Newsom’s wife’s films shown in schools contain explicit images, push gender ideology, boost his politics”. His relationship to Nancy Pelosi says it all in terms of his greed and self-aggrandizement. He is running high paying jobs out of California. People can no longer afford the high cost of living. Taxes are very high and going higher. Gas costs alone are staggering, particularly for low wage employees. State taxes and fees add over $1.00 to each gallon of gas. Meanwhile Electric cars pay no equivalent taxes while creating a burden on the energy supply. California keeps pushing mass transit and now is building low-income housing without space for automobile parking near transit centers. It sounds good but few people have point to point routes to a job. Californians and jobs are spread out which defeats the viability of mass transit. Politicians refuse to do anything about fixing roads and highways leading to costly auto repairs. Newsome can paint a pretty picture, but California is broken and it is his mess!!

Thinking
Thinking
4 months ago

It might not have been a win for DeSantis politically. It was a win for the Republican Party. All dem programs don’t work not in California not in America. Newsom failed miserably in promoting ole Joe/kameltoe platform. It just showed total failure. When that became clear Newsom went as far back as Reagan to blame him for the California decline. A typical dem ploy. If they hadn’t had Trump to blame for all their failures ole Joe would have been impeached after 6 months. Newsom might be branded as a politician. I would call him a snake oil salesman. Only out for his own promotion. Sounds familiar?

Lou
Lou
4 months ago

Newsolini’s arrogance in avoiding questions for which Hannity did not reprimand him and his narcissism with that snickering holier-than-thou smile made this event into a sideshow! The Donkey Party with Newsolini in charge has turned California into a nasty smelly sandbox overrun with criminals and illegal alien lawbreakers, to whom he has given free healthcare inter alia. Aunt Nancy keeps whispering in his ear, so I wonder if he’s another puppet like senile Joe. He proved last night that his ambition needs to be trimmed by the voters so he can retire to his vineyard and scarf down food offerings at the French Laundry.

J. FARLEY
J. FARLEY
4 months ago

I never watched the debate, because it only served to help Newscum, one of the biggest haters of America and the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, I don’t care who the majority of Republicans pick, with the exception of Chris Cristy, I will vote for most any Republican as we cannot let the Democrats drive the Bus anymore, they keep putting us in the ditch.
I don’t think it served well to give the left a chance in the spotlight, when they make every effort to silence, anyone they can on the right.
The left has nothing I want to hear!
God Bless America, and give us peace by Silenceing the kleft

NBK
NBK
4 months ago

Didn’t watch it. Watch the Cowboys beat Seattle. I did channel surf by there and I heard Newsome spread more fertilizer than a heard of longhorns.

Pat R
Pat R
4 months ago

Is it any surprise Newsom is Nancy Pelosi’s nephew? Two peas in a pod politically. She needs to shut up and retire. Her nephew needs to shut up and also disappear. But alas, neither will happen I’m sure.

Melody Busch
Melody Busch
4 months ago

Everyone should remember that Gavin is just carrying on the genetic markers of his family. Aunt Nancy Pelosi mentored him well by teaching him to lie and distort to cover up his blatant ignorance. A true politician with a pretty face and a lot of BS between his ears–must be genetic.

Tim Toroian
Tim Toroian
4 months ago

Newsom reminds me of a description of the Anti-Christ.

Newday
Newday
4 months ago

Why is it that the socialist democrats are the smoothest talkers and yet they produce the lowest results for the American people.

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
4 months ago

didnt see debate but new Desantis won, Thanks Ron

Stewburner
Stewburner
4 months ago

How can you tell when gruesome Newsom is lying. When his lips are moving

Robert
Robert
4 months ago

Newsom was great as a dancer for he danced around all the true facts about California being such a sewer state!

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
4 months ago

Newsome isn’t the governor of California, he’s a used car salesman on a poop-covered lemon lot selling junkers to unsuspecting ignorant suckers. Buyers beware.

GTPatriot
GTPatriot
4 months ago

Newsome made a fool of himself. A dim policywonk who answered no questions and thought that smooth and suave would save the day. After all Newsome had nothing to lose. All he had to do is show the dims and the media that he would fall in line and he did. What amazed me about Newsome is that he had the courage to show up to a fightfor which he had no chance.

Fredrick
Fredrick
4 months ago

It’s amazing how Newsom can lie with such a straight face. You can tell he’s a student
of Brandon.

Kim
Kim
4 months ago

Since my answer is “awaiting for approval”, I’ll alter it slightly…

I didn’t watch the entire debate but instead watched YouTube snippets of the debate and commentary. One of those was a glowing rebuttal from Kevin Kiley (R-CA), who eviscerated Newsom’s account of the state of his state. Kiley demonstrated how Newsom had used fancy math to support his claims. You can watch it here, at “CA lawmaker delivers brutal fact check following the Newsom/DeSantis debate”.

Newsom is slick, all right. It’s as if he’d been schooled in theatrical nuance, knowing how to tilt his head or when to flash that toothy smile. DeSantis did a very good job, from what I saw, and the numbers back him up. If Newsom does throw his name into the hat and runs for president (despite declining to do so), he could be elected based on his staged performance that so many Americans are stupid enough to fall for.

Rich
Rich
4 months ago

Communist Newsom is a typical socialist/democrat. He knows the blame game and how to avoid the truth. He will go far in the die hard democrat circles.

Mike B.
Mike B.
4 months ago

Newsom is a polished, sleazy, greasy, snake of a politician. He is a shadow presidential candidate waiting for the call from the same people who are mirror images of him. Why anyone would back this lying roach is beyond me. Facts are facts and he slimed out of telling the truth once again with his devilish smirk. I don’t know how this man can look in the mirror. To me the image is frightening.

GTPatriot
GTPatriot
4 months ago

This would not have happened without the approval of the dim hierarchy all the way to Soros. They are desperate. They know that Kamala and Biden look like fools.and would never handle a debate with Desantis. So Newsome was their only option. This was a last minute hail mary The dims would have been wise to refuse this debate. They have no worthy candidate. They are playing now for 2028.

Westhus092
Westhus092
4 months ago

I didn’t watch but I was interested in it, simply because how can Nuisance defend glaring failure from Communist policies, not only in CA but anywhere? Rather this was a public display and summary of just what communism brings: prosperity for elites and those who comply; suffering and repression for everyone else.

anna hubert
anna hubert
4 months ago

No honor no pride no shame no matter he is determined to survive at any cost Fits in with many others Santos was ousted Were every one of them held to the same standard survivors could be counted on one hand

Jeanette
Jeanette
4 months ago

I watched that “debate” as long as I could stand it. Newsom is a complete fool..trying to talk his way into the WH. DeSantis proved he was the better debater. But to be truthful I’m still voting for Trump because he is the one needed to repair all or most of the damage done by the current administration.

jimm
jimm
4 months ago

As usual, Newsome is a liar. He wants the Democrat Presidential nomination so bad he can taste it. He just knows he can’t get it as long as President Dementia is a candidate….and Dementia has no intention of stepping down.g

Bob Wilson
Bob Wilson
4 months ago

What, exactly and precisely, was the point of Ron DeSantis debating Newsom? Newsom is a leftist, piss ant, loser, moron.
Bob Wilson

Kim
Kim
4 months ago

I didn’t watch the entire debate but instead watched YouTube snippets of the debate and commentary. One of those was a glowing rebuttal from Kevin Kiley (R-CA), who eviscerated Newsom’s account of the state of his state. Kiley demonstrated how Newsom had used fancy math to support his claims. You can watch it here, and I hope AMAC will allow this link:
WATCH: California Lawmaker Delivers Brutal Fact Check Following The Newsom And DeSantis Debate – YouTube
Newsom is slick, all right. It’s as if he’d been schooled in theatrical nuance, knowing how to tilt his head or when to flash that toothy smile. DeSantis did a very good job, from what I saw, and the numbers back him up. If Newsom does throw his name into the hat and runs for president (despite declining to do so), he could be elected based on his staged performance that so many Americans are stupid enough to fall for.

Death plays
Death plays
4 months ago

Nice smile Ron
Oh wait

Dave
Dave
4 months ago

What a waste of time, two guys hollering statistics at each other denying everything.

Rachel
Rachel
4 months ago

I did not watch the debate, however heard much about it today on talk radio. Newsom is a phony and always has been. I prefer Governor DeSantis for President instead of DJT. DJT has too much bagage.

fred r smith
fred r smith
4 months ago

newsom won the debate, desantis totally sucked

fred r smith
fred r smith
4 months ago

desantis gets an f minus as governor

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