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It was the text seen round the world. During the final Florida gubernatorial debate, Democratic Candidate Alex Sink got caught getting a text message with debate advice from her staff, which was against debate rules. Her GOP opponent, Rick Scott called her out on the cheating incident when the debate resumed.

Yesterday she told Chris Matthews that when she was handed the message she was worried that it was from her daughter who is out of town:

“Well, uh, what happened was, Chris, last night that the makeup artist held up her phone and said I just got this message, I don’t know who it’s from. I looked at it because, you know, I’m a mom, my instinct is my daughter’s in Europe. I don’t know who this message is from. I glanced at it. I didn’t understand even what it was, and I just ignored it.”

Sink didn’t know that the folks at CNN had listened to the tape carefully. A little while later John King shows up on CNN,  directly contradicting her, saying,

“Today she said she wasn’t sure what it was when the makeup artist handed her the phone. She thought it might have been a message from a daughter who she said was in college in [England]. But we listened very closely to the audio, and the makeup artist, when she approached Alex Sink, said I have a message from the staff. And at that point they looked, it was on a cell phone, it was two sentences. It was essentially advice after the last segment of the debate telling her if that question comes up again, remember this, and be more aggressive when Rick Scott questions you. It was two sentences.”

In politics, the cover-up is worse than the crime.  Alex Sink may have been easily forgiven if she simply said, “we screwed up, but lying about cheating in the debate is really going to damage her support. She will be seen as a political hack and a dishonest politician.

Republican Rick Scott already had a lead in the tight campaign, but look for lead to significantly widen before next week’s election.

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