(CNN) – The two candidates for Florida governor came out swinging in their final debate, which was co-sponsored by CNN, the St. Petersburg Times and the University of South Florida.
Accusations from both sides flew fast and early in the debate, moderated by CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, as both candidates immediately began leveling their now-familiar lines of attack in one of the most hotly contested races in the country.
Republican Rick Scott, a billionaire health care executive who's primary win surprised many in his party, immediately attempted to tie his opponent, Democrat Alex Sink, to President Obama's policies.
"The stimulus is a disaster. I think 'Obamacare' is going to be horrible for patients. It's going to be horrible for taxpayers. It's probably the biggest job killer ever.
I think his just - you know his belief that big government works, it doesn't. It's killing jobs. And my opponent that's - that's what she believes in," Scott said.
Sink, the state's chief financial officer, meanwhile repeatedly accused Scott of lying and "reinventing history."
"Every time you put that Obama liberal label on me, you just don't know what you're talking about. I have always been a fiscal conservative. "
The debate also turned hostile at times. After the first commercial break, Scott accused Sink of breaking the agreed upon rules for the debate.
Before answering a question directed to him, Scott said, "on the rules, our campaign staffers aren't supposed to give us notes, and during the break you got one on an iPad, an iPod."
Sink did not respond to the accusation but cameras captured the candidate being presented with a cellphone during the previous break. And a CNN debate official confiscated an Android smartphone.
Both candidates also leveled charges that the other had engaged in fraud during previous careers – allegations that have dogged both candidates throughout the campaign.
Scott accused Sink, the former president of Nations Bank, of supervising employees who used deceptive sales practices to direct senior citizens into high-risk investments in exchange for kickbacks. The bank was fined $6.7 million for its deceptive practices.
But Sink defended her tenure as president. "That case, the lawyer that brought that case - it was a class action case against another company – he even has said publicly that Alex Sink had nothing to do with the case, had nothing to do with the situation and didn't know about the problems. What more can I say?"
Scott also deflected questions about his controversial tenure as CEO of the hospital chain Columbia/HCA. Under Scott's stewardship, the company was fined $1.7 billion for Medicare fraud.
But when asked why he refuses to release a transcript of a deposition he gave regarding the case, Scott retorted, "It was settled. It has nothing to do with running for governor. Has nothing to do with anything that we were doing. Look, this race is about one issue. This race is about jobs."
Sink also tried to turn the discussion to job creation, although the two again clashed on the specifics.
"You've got to reduce regulation, you got to reduce the size of government, you've got to focus on the size of government. You got to reduce taxes," Scott said. "Charlie Crist and my opponent did none of those things. All they did is grow the size of government and is killing jobs. It's killing jobs."
Sink hit back, "Let me clarify who has been in charge in Tallahassee. It's been one party, Rick Scott's party. It's been Tallahassee insiders who are now supporting his campaign for governor. So, it's been the governor and a Republican-controlled legislator," she said.
Though neither candidate had any major gaffes in the hour-long debate, both were stumped when asked what Florida's minimum wage is.
When asked by the St. Petersburg Times' political editor Adam C. Smith, Scott confidently replied "$7.55."
Smith then turned to Sink, asking "Ms. Sink is that right?"
Sink replied, "Mm-hmm. Yes."
Florida's minimum wage is $7.25, which corresponds directly to the federal minimum wage of the same amount.
In the most recent CNN/Time/Opinion Research Corporation poll, Scott and Sink were locked in a near tie among likely voters.