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7 takeaways from Ron DeSantis’ debate with Gavin Newsom

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7 takeaways from Ron DeSantis’ debate with Gavin Newsom

The two governors clashed on major issues, with 2024 in the background.

ByWill McDuffieHannah DemissieLalee Ibssa , and Nicholas Kerr

November 30, 2023, 11:25 PM

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DeSantis and Newsom face off

DeSantis and Newsom face off

The governors of Florida and California took aim at each other’s records on the debate stage. ABC News…Read More

After more than 90 minutes of argument, insult, crosstalk and a few props, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and California Gov. Gavin Newsom ended their debate on Fox News on Thursday night on a lighter note, trading compliments.

But much of what came before underlined their major differences (and different debate styles) on some of the biggest issues of the day, including abortion access, crime and public safety, the economy, immigration and more.

Sean Hannity moderated — often pleading with the two governors to spend less time talking over one another and more time answering his questions.

Here are seven takeaways from the faceoff, billed as “The Great Red vs. Blue State Debate,” though it also played out as one of the two participants is running for the White House and the other is discussed as a future presidential contender.

Newsom embraces role as Biden’s big defender

Throughout the evening, Newsom served essentially as a stand-in surrogate for the White House and its policies, frequently heaping praise on President Joe Biden’s economic agenda and defending him on border security as DeSantis hurled sharply worded attacks on how the administration has handled the cost of living and other problems.

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At one point, DeSantis accused Newsom of running a “shadow campaign” for president in 2024 — a premise the California governor has vigorously rejected and gone to great lengths to dispute.

Asked by Hannity if he would say unequivocally he would not run in 2024 under any circumstances, Newsom quickly shot back, “Correct.”

“I don’t know how many times I can say it — just making this stuff up about a ‘shadow campaign,'” he said. “I appreciate and respect the work the president is doing, and the vice president. It’s the Biden-Harris campaign and team.”

To that end, Newsom at one point also interjected to correct DeSantis on pronouncing Kamala Harris’ first name, saying DeSantis should show more respect.

Speaking to reporters after the debate, Newsom emphasized that supporting the Biden campaign was a key part of his strategy going into Thursday night.

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