BlackBerry season in Florida politics

Are BlackBerrys the new crib sheet?

Are BlackBerrys the new crib sheet?

The Miami Herald reports that U.S. Senate candidate Peter Deutsch was caught checking his device during a live, televised debate this week. The candidate, who is currently a Democratic member in the U.S. House of Representatives, says he was getting words of encouragement from his staff and only checked it during commercials.

The popularity of BlackBerrys and the devotion they've inspired have led some to dub them "crackberries." The allure is so great, in fact, that these gadget-addicts sometimes can't let go, even while juggling luggage and dashing through an airport; things don't always end well when a BlackBerry lands "with a 'crack' on the floor," as one blogger recently found out.

Deutsch is hardly alone among BlackBerry aficionados who work the Washington circuit. During the 2002 election season, according to Time magazine, high-voltage political consultant Karl Rove "wore his war room on his belt" and even during meetings with President Bush found it hard to let the BlackBerry alone. Vice presidential daughter Liz Cheney was spotted sending messages via BlackBerry from inside the National Cathedral during Ronald Reagan's funeral.

The producer of this week's Florida debate, Tom Kastanotis of WPTV, said he will consider asking candidates not to wear or hold BlackBerrys during debates in the future, the Herald reported.

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