'What a joke': Newsom spox pans DeSantis’ debate proposal as evidence of 'insecurity and ineptitude'

'What a joke': Newsom spox pans DeSantis’ debate proposal as evidence of 'insecurity and ineptitude'
ANTIOCH, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 11: California Gov. Gavin Newsom (R) tastes wastewater that was treated at the Antioch Water Treatment Plant with Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe (L) on August 11, 2022 in Antioch, California. California Gov. Gavine Newsom visited a desalination plant that is under construction at the Antioch Water Treatment Plant where he announced water supply actions that the state is taking to adapt to hotter, drier conditions caused by climate change. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images).

During an appearance with Fox News host Sean Hannity this past Wednesday, Florida governor and 2024 Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis accepted Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsom's challenge to a policy debate. But the two leaders have not yet agreed on how their potential showdown should function.

Politico Playbook's Eugene Daniels, Ryan Lizza, and Rachel Bade contrasted both men's terms on Saturday morning:

The similarities …

    • Both agree on some of the basics: (1) Hannity is the only person who can ask questions; (2) the debate will run 90 minutes; (3) staff can't brief either governor once they have started; and (4) speaking time is to be equally divided between the two.
    • Hannity has to make sure the 'governors do not interrupt each other during their designated time to speak.' (Good luck with that!)
    • Closing statements will be two minutes long and their order will be determined by coin toss.

The differences …

    • DeSantis proposes no opening remarks; each governor can instead provide a two-minute video 'to make the case for their governing philosophy' that would air before the program begins
    • While Newsom proposed a mano-a-mano debate in an empty room, DeSantis wants a live audience, with tickets distributed '50-50.'
    • DeSantis sent two location options (Georgia and Iowa) compared to Newsom's three (Georgia, Nevada and North Carolina) — i.e., the debate is looking awfully peachy.
    • Only one of the three date options DeSantis suggests lines up with the two Newsom floated: Wednesday, Nov. 8. So go ahead and mark it down — but in pencil, not pen.

Newsom's camp quickly panned DeSantis' offer, Politico's Andrew Zhang reported on Saturday afternoon.

READ MORE: DeSantis’ agreement to debate Gavin Newsom 'a sign of' his 'desperation': Miami mayor

"What a joke," Newsom spokesperson Nathan Click told Zhang. "Desantis' counterproposal is littered with crutches to hide his insecurity and ineptitude — swapping opening statements with a hype video, cutting down the time he needs to be on stage, adding cheat notes and a cheering section."

Click also swiped at DeSantis for trailing thrice-indicted former President Donald Trump in recent GOP primary polls.

"Ron should be able to stand on his own two feet,” Click quipped. "It's no wonder Trump is kicking his a**."

READ MORE: 'Weakness masquerading as strength': Gavin Newsom torches Ron DeSantis during Florida school visit

Zhang's full report is available at this link. Daniels', Lizza's, and Bade's complete analysis continues here.

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