How do you know who lost last night’s debate between DeSantis and Newsom? It’s the first one pointing the finger and complaining about the other side.
And that would be Team Gavin Newsom. They claim both Hannity (and Fox News) and DeSantis cheated last night, with all sorts of accusations.
But both Fox News and Team DeSantis say none of that is true.
Here’s more via Politico:
Thursday’s raucous debate is giving way to bitter disappointment with and outright hostility toward Fox News and its host from the California Democrat’s camp.
Before Ron DeSantis could unveil his “poop map,” Gov. Gavin Newsom team’s frustration with Sean Hannity and his crew centered on his promises to them that he would be a fair moderator, only to repeatedly sandbag the governor and give the entire affair a 2-on-1 dynamic — as they saw it.
“The debate was rigged, and Newsom still won,” Newsom adviser Sean Clegg said.
Newsom himself told people as the debate ended that he’d had fun — sharing that feeling on X where he added that he could have kept going for longer.
But the grievances from Newsom’s team inside the venue were just the start of the mass finger-pointing that followed the 95-minute melee late Thursday in the suburbs of Atlanta. Other alleged violations — of rules both written and understood — involve Ron DeSantis, the Republican Florida governor.
A DeSantis aide said California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom was the one who stepped in and ended the debate on her husband’s behalf after Hannity invited the two governors to go deeper into overtime. A second person on the ground confirmed that. An aide to Newsom who was in the room pushed back, saying both sides expressed a desire to go home after 95 minutes of TV mayhem.
“Ron didn’t want to do the debate anymore, either. Everyone shook hands and left,” said the Newsom aide, who was granted anonymity to relay closed-door exchanges.
DeSantis’ team said he would have wanted to continue debating, however, for as long as two hours — maybe even three hours.
More distrust and accusations were spilling out from the event. Hannity told Newsom staffers that both sides agreed not to bring props or graphics with them on stage — just a pen and pad of paper, they said. DeSantis’ camp says that wasn’t their understanding of the network’s rules, and DeSantis brandished allegedly lewd content permissible in California in a segment about book bans at schools.
The other document DeSantis flashed to great fanfare was a map of Newsom’s hometown of San Francisco covered in brown splotches that the Florida governor said represented places where human feces were found on the city’s streets.
“He carried around porn and poop in his suit jacket,” the Newsom aide said.
A Fox News spokesperson said “the word ‘props’ was never discussed ahead of the debate, not one time. The final agreement simply stated that neither side (Newsom or DeSantis) can use multimedia production. That was an issue about whether each side wanted to do a short production on what makes their individual states great at the start of the debate.”
Newsom’s staff said there also was a rule that Fox and Hannity wouldn’t use multimedia during the debate. They contend that was confirmed to them by Fox producers in the pre-debate walk-through a few hours before the event started. Hannity proceeded to show several graphics on screen — mostly unfavorable statistics about crime and other issues plaguing California. When confronted about the apparent bait-and-switch, a Fox producer shot back that, technically, the entire stage could be classified as multimedia, the Newsom aide said.
The Fox News spokesperson pointed out that Hannity was clear about his plans to use “full screens” and mentioned it numerous times ahead of the debate. On the day of the debate, the Fox spokesperson said, Newsom’s team specifically asked that no video sound bites be used, which was a last-minute request that was accommodated ahead of the debate.
It’s pretty clear that no matter you look it, DeSantis destroyed Newsom and it wasn’t even close. And that’s the only story from the debate that really matters.