The room was cluttered with a dizzying array of voices. Bodies crushed in together. Lights flashed. Cameras buzzed. The so-called post-debate Spin Room -- the designated area where politicians go and talk to the media about how their candidate won the debate -- was a steaming goulash of pant suits, caked-up makeup, and hair products. It was like entering another dimension, where creatures with many faces glared at you with a mouthful of coffee-stained teeth and fed you robotic answers until your face exploded.
And they were all here. Sen. Marco Rubio, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Florida Speaker Will Weatherford, and a host of others.
And the topic of the night?
"Obviously there was only one governor on the stage tonight, Wasserman Schultz told the gaggle of reporters. "That was Charlie Crist. Rick Scott has been a no show for Floridians and he was ready to be a no show tonight. He has to distract from his terrible record by throwing a tantrum over a fan."
Everywhere you turned, television camera lights were blasting another politician's face, and a bouquet of microphones thrusted into their mouths.
Most of them did that thing that politicians do when they put their thumb and index fingers together when they make a speech. It was all so wonderfully contrived, and ludicrous.
Because sifting through the noise and the voices and the spin, the freakish soulless bodies that pushed their candidate's agenda, the subject at hand wasn't women's rights, or the economy, or the environment, or same-sex marriage.
It was a fan.
Rubio, who drew the largest crowd, also had to weigh in on #FanGate. Because, why not?
"In the debate agreement there wasn't supposed to be any electronics on stage," he said as his mouth formed a chalky white substance (get this man a bottle of water!). "Whether it was an iPad or a fan, he chose to ignore the rules and bring it up on the stage."
Rubio tried to move away from the topic at hand. "Charlie will take on whatever position best suits him," he said. "If tomorrow it was declared that being a vegetarian is the most popular thing, he'd become a vegetarian."
Sensing the moment to change directions, I approached the Senator and realized, holy geez, this dude is short! After getting through that initial membrane of awkwardness, he looked at me with an exasperated face. Not another question, it seemed to say.
"Senator," I said. "There's a small group of Dream Act protestors outside. I assume their here for you?"
Rubio nodded and said something to the effect that he had to go.
"Senator," I continued. "They have a banner that reads something about drivers licenses for Dreamers."
Rubio slipped out. I followed.
Outside the door, those very protestors were waiting for him. It was a group of about five women, yelling out at him in Spanish.
"Senator," I said. "No licenses for Dreamers?"
"They're illegal...." he answered before his handlers surrounded him and whisked him away.
One of the protestors began yelling towards Rubio. "Senator!" she screamed through a thick accent. "Why no licenses? It's a right!"
Rubio said something back at the woman as he walked, but was aggressively led away by his people. I asked the woman what he said to her.
"He said they're illegal," she told me. "He's a racist son of a bitch."
And that was the Spin Room. It began talking about a fan, and ended with Marco Rubio running away and some lady calling him a racist son of a bitch.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!