"What I support is expanding Medicaid for over 800,000 Floridians", Gillum said. Gillum has said repeatedly that the Federal Bureau of Investigation informed him he is not a focus of the probe. "You shouldn't have to kiss the ring of the president of the United States for the president to see to the goodwill of the third largest state in all of America", Gillum said.
"You know what I'm black, I've been black all my life, so far as I know I will die black", Gillum said.
Meanwhile, DeSantis repeatedly asked Gillum whether he still supported Medicare for all, a proposal that would guarantee taxpayer funded health care coverage for all Americans.
"I'm going to do everything I can to have a debate that is deserving of the people of Florida", Gillum said. Moderator Jake Tapper announced the two had only met in person moments before the debate began, making it even more noticeable how DeSantis called Gillum "Andrew" while Gillum called DeSantis by more respectful terms, such as "congressman" or "my opponent". The percentage of voters with a high interest in the election - a 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale - has jumped to 65 percent, according to a NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Sunday, the highest numbers ever recorded in the poll.
"Where are the receipts?"
Gillum offered a different take. "And the truth is, you know what?"
DeSantis, like Gillum, was a surprise primary victor.
"Here's the deal, when we're down range in Iraq, it didn't matter your race", DeSantis said.
The back and forth about corruption was one of the testier exchanges in a debate that had plenty.
Indeed, DeSantis seemed to be playing catch-up all night.
Adding insult to injury, DeSantis ducked accusations of racism despite his rhetoric revealing the opposite and repeatedly lied about Gillum's record, including an embellished and disproven report about Tallahassee's murder rate.
However, it was a reflection of one of the underlying questions facing voters this November: Who is best suited to lead the state in the era of Trump - someone who will stand up to the administration or someone who is a close ally of the president?
Saudi king, crown prince condole with Khashoggi's family and relatives
They said the "hypotheses" proposed so far in the Saudi investigation need to be backed by facts to be considered credible. "Even the senior leadership of our intelligence service was not aware of this", he added, calling it a "rogue operation".
DeSantis was also forced to confront concerns that he has tried to use Gillum's race against him.
"The campaign pointed to a myriad of examples of the failed methodology in the poll, including polling a sample of Florida residents that leans +3 percent Democrat for a non-presidential General Election without weighting the sample by recent General Election turnout", the DeSantis team noted.
"Would you sign the bill for single-payer healthcare?" "It has everything to do with whether we want Florida to go in a good direction".
Gillum ignored the question and focused on DeSantis's votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act and protections in the law for people with pre-existing conditions.
A victory for DeSantis - who has been strongly supported by Trump - would signal that the president is still a force to be reckoned with.
He then tweeted that Rick Scott is "easily one of the best governors in the U.S.".
Trump also factored into Sunday's debate.
Gillum likely cares little about Trump's analysis and spent most of the debate working to connect DeSantis with the president.
Gillum trashed Trump again and again.
"It's a difference between productive leadership and destructive leadership", DeSantis said.
From the start of the debate, Gillum was all about policy and issues, punctuating his political knowledge with a quip about how he would be "a governor that believes in science", a slick reference to DeSantis denying the proof behind climate change. Then the Tallahassee mayor added that DeSantis "is trying out to be the Trump apprentice".
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