Democrat Alex Sink may be locked into a tight race with Republican Rick Scott, but it's no excuse for cheating.
During the candidates' gubernatorial debate Monday evening, Sink broke the rules and accepted coaching advice from a campaign staffer via a cell phone text message delivered by a makeup assistant during a commercial break. Almost immediately, Sink acknowledged the indiscretion and fired the staffer, Brian May.
“While he told me it was out of anger with Rick Scott’s repeated distortion of facts, it was a foolish thing to do,” Ms. Sink said, in a statement regarding May's dismissal from the campaign.
But Tuesday evening, Sink seemed to change her tone and, during an appearance on MSNBC, she claimed that she had not known the message from makeup artist was related to the debate or that it had been sent by a member of her staff when she accepted it:
According to Sink, “the makeup artist held up her phone and said ‘I just got this message, I don’t know who it’s from…" Sink says she was worried it might be from her daughter and inadvertently accepted the message.
"I looked at it because, you know, I'm a mom. My instinct is my daughter's in Europe; I don't know who this message is from. I glanced at it. I didn't understand even what it was, and I just ignored it," she told Chris Matthews Tuesday.
But CNN, the network which hosted the Monday night debate, is saying not so fast. CNN's John King who had moderated the debate told Wolf Blitzer that Sink's latest account is not at all what happened Monday night. According to King, the makeup artist told Sink the message was from "the staff," and Sink knew it was a political message before she accepted it:
Sink's latest claims also seem to contradict her management of the situation immediately following the debate. If she had simply mistaken the message to be a note from her daughter as she now claims, why had she been so quick to fire Brian May?
The Rick Scott campaign has worked to draw further attention to the incident from Monday night's debate, releasing an ad using Sink's own words against her: