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Rick, there are bigger issues than a text message

Democratic gubernational candidate Alex Sink had just finished hammering Republican candidate Rick Scott for his involvement as CEO of the Columbia/HCA hospital chain, which paid a record $1.7 billion fine for Medicare fraud committed during his tenure, when the debate went to a commercial break.

During the break, Scott was getting his makeup done when he looked over and saw his rival reading a message on her Motorola Droid smart phone that was brought by her own make-up artist.

Scott complained to Mark Preston, a political editor for CNN, and then quickly accused Sink of cheating once Monday’s debate resumed.

Since then, Scott has touted the incident all over the state.

This issue is insignificant, especially since Sink isn’t to blame, and does not warrant the attention Scott is generating over it. He needs to stick to the real issues, and voters must not let one text message affect their voting decisions.

The message from campaign adviser Brian May came after Scott commented on Sink’s involvement with Tampa call center Sykes Enterprises, which was sued for “misleading investors,” according to the Miami Herald, and read, “The attorney on Sykes suit said Alex did nothing wrong. Tell not to let him keep talking about her.”

Before the event, both parties agreed to not accept any written advice from their staff members during the debate. The message violated the rule because it discussed a debate talking point and is considered a note since it was written. If the message had been transmitted verbally, it would not have been an issue.

It’s possible that the message was intended to be verbal from how it reads, and May also argues that was the case.

Sink couldn’t know what the message said until she read it. It could have been about an innocent matter, but by then, it was too late.

The only one who knew what it said was May, who knew the rules of the debate and was subsequently fired by Sink for the slip-up.

This should have been the end of the issue, but Scott thinks otherwise.

Scott is addressing questions about the incident on the campaign trail this week, according to the Herald. The day after the debate, Scott had his campaign produce a radio ad also attacking her on the issue.

Even if Sink was at fault, there are countless issues currently affecting the state that are more important and need to be addressed by its gubernatorial candidates.

This election season, voters must see through such a cheap political tactic and remain focused on the issues at hand.

Regardless of whether his strategy works, Scott was wrong for directing his campaign toward this unimportant distraction.