Scott, Crist draw differences on medical marijuana and wages in first debate – Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Charlie Crist, left, shakes hands with Gov. Rick Scott after a gubernatorial debate at the Spanish-language network Telemundo 51, Friday, Oct. 10, 2014, in Miramar, Fla. This is the first of three debates before the November election. (AP Photo / Lynne Sladky)

MIRAMAR _ Gov. Rick Scott and Charlie Crist drew sharp contrasts on issues like the minimum wage, Cuban embargo and medical marijuana in their first debate on the Telemundo television network today.

Neither candidate made a major gaffe and each sharply critiqued their opponent’s record while in office. No new positions really emerged but both candidates used the first of their three debates to highlight differences in their positions.

Charlie Crist, left, shakes hands with Gov. Rick Scott after a gubernatorial debate at the Spanish-language network Telemundo 51, Friday, Oct. 10, 2014, in Miramar, Fla. This is the first of three debates before the November election. (AP Photo / Lynne Sladky)

Scott made it clear that he opposed raising the minimum wage. He said it could result in the loss of some 500,000 jobs, citing a federal study. Crist said he supports raising the wage to $10.10 an hour.

Scott strongly opposed lifting the decades-long embargo on trade with Cuba. He called the Castro brothers “terrorists” and said it would be a setback for democracy to lift the embargo.

Read the live feed from the debate

Crist wants to end the embargo, saying it hasn’t worked. He said while he opposes the Castro regime, the Cuban people are “suffering.” Scott accused Crist of basing his position on polling.

Crist said he supports Amendment 2 on the Nov. 4 ballot, which would allow the use of medical marijuana in Florida. Scott opposes the amendment, noting some members of his extended family have had problems with alcohol and drugs. Scott cited his support for legislation this year that will allow a limited form of medical marijuana in the state.

Throughout the debate, Crist tried to emphasize his theme that he will be a governor who supports policies for “middle …read more