Murphy-Rubio Univision debate: Si o no? No!

Republican Marco Rubio, Democrat Patrick Murphy
Republican Marco Rubio, Democrat Patrick Murphy

A Univision debate between Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Patrick Murphy was scrapped Friday because the two contenders couldn’t agree on a common language for the contest.

The bilingual Rubio wanted to speak in Spanish, while Murphy’s comments would be translated into Spanish for the audience. Murphy, who is already struggling to win over Hispanic voters, wouldn’t go along with Rubio’s plan.

“The goal of a debate is to allow the voters the opportunity to see a vibrant exchange of ideas between the candidates, but that will not be possible if the candidates are not speaking the same language,” said Murphy campaign manager Josh Wolf.

“In 2010, Marco Rubio agreed to the exact parameters we are requesting, debating Charlie Crist and Kendrick Meek in English on Univision, so we were shocked that he no longer thinks that arrangement is reasonable,” he added.

Rubio’s camp saw it differently.

“Maybe he’s pulling out because he just doesn’t understand Florida’s Hispanics, a community he completely ignored until weeks before the election,” said Olivia Perez-Cubas, a Rubio spokeswoman.

“This is just the latest example in Murphy’s long history of lying and ducking debates, compared to Marco’s record of achievement on behalf of all Floridians,” she added.

The pair have been scrapping over debates since the day after the August primary and Rubio proposed six contests with Murphy. The Democrat came back with his own menu of options, and no agreement was ever reached.

Murphy, who has been trying to woo Hispanic voters to his side — lately featuring President Obama in a Spanish-language TV ad — last week came around to the Univision debate. But he wanted the exchange to be conducted in English and translated for the audience.

Instead, Wednesday’s scheduled TV debate at Broward College in Davie is looking like the second and last Senate debate before the Nov. 8 election.

Murphy, Rubio face off in first debate tonight

Republican Marco Rubio, Democrat Patrick Murphy
Republican Marco Rubio, Democrat Patrick Murphy

Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Democratic challenger, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter are set to meet tonight in the first of two debates in Florida’s nationally watched U.S. Senate race.

The hourlong debate begins at 7 p.m., from the campus of the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

It’ll be broadcast on ABC-TV affiliates in Florida, including WPBF-TV Channel 25 in West Palm Beach. Radio listeners can go to Cox Media Group’s NewsTalk 96.5 WDBO in Orlando or WOKV-104.5 in Jacksonville.

Rubio and Murphy also are slated to debate on statewide TV Oct. 26, from Broward College in Davie.


Debate over debates: Murphy, Rubio now up to two TV talkathons in U.S. Senate race

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy won their respective Senate primaries on Tuesday.
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy won their respective Senate primaries on Tuesday.

Democrat Patrick Murphy and Republican Marco Rubio continued to spar Monday over debates in the U.S. Senate race — but got a little closer to agreement.

The two contenders have both signed off on two televised debates — one more than earlier planned.

The first contest will take place Oct. 17 in Orlando, at WFTV-TV Channel 9, sponsored by Cox Media Group and Politico Florida. The second debate had already been agreed to at Broward College on Oct. 26, sponsored by Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association.

Rubio has called on Murphy to take part in six debates. And Murphy countered Monday by citing four debates he’d take part in, including one at the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches.

So far, though, only two appear set.

It’s official: Plug pulled on TV debate among Republican U.S. Senate candidates

A TV debate planned among Republican U.S. Senate candidates is officially off.
A TV debate planned among Republican U.S. Senate candidates is officially off.

Palm Beach Atlantic University made it official Tuesday — cancelling a debate planned next week between Florida’s Republican candidates for U.S. Senate.

The Lemieux Center for Public Policy at PBAU had planned to host the debate Aug. 23, a week before voters choose the Republican and Democratic nominees. It was to be broadcast around the state.

But since U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio reversed course and decided to run for re-election, most of the original GOP field has dropped out of the race.

Rubio also is giving his leading opponent, Manatee County developer Carlos Beruff, the cold shoulder when the underdog calls for debates. The same is true on the Democratic side, where U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter refuses to debate top rival U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando.

No debates are planned before the primary.

The Lemieux Center is named for George Lemieux, who former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist appointed in 2009 as a 16-month, place-holder for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by then U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez.

Rubio took the Republican nomination from Crist and later won the U.S. Senate seat in 2010.

Murphy pulls the plug on debate with Grayson, citing abuse claims

Plug pulled on TV debate between Murphy, Grayson.
Plug pulled on TV debate between Murphy, Grayson.

Florida Democrats were to get only one TV debate in the U.S. Senate primary campaign — and even that was to be broadcast only in greater Orlando.

Now, that’s off, too.

U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter said Wednesday that he wouldn’t take part in any debate with primary rival and fellow U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando, following allegations of abuse leveled against Grayson by his ex-wife.

Murphy made the announcement even as Grayson and another Democratic contender, Pam Keith, were at the Palm Beach County Courthouse calling for more debates before the Aug. 30 primary.

“Alan Grayson’s words and actions have disqualified him from public service, and I cannot in good conscience give him a platform to promote himself and his campaign,” Murphy said.

“As a result, I will not participate in any forums or debates with Alan Grayson.”

Murphy has the edge in many polls in the Democratic contest to face likely Republican primary winner, first-term Sen. Marco Rubio.

Grayson’s backing by organized groups also thinned last week, just days after the mother of his children provided police reports to Politico alleging decades of domestic abuse.

Democracy for America and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee rescinded endorsements in Grayson’s Senate primary against Murphy following the allegations made by Lolita Grayson.

Their 25-year marriage was annulled last year after Grayson learned during their messy divorce that she was still married to another man when they wed. Grayson’s lawyer, Orlando’s Mark NeJame, declared Lolita Grayson’s claims “utterly false” and designed to discredit his campaign.

Grayson’s campaign manager, Michael Ceraso, also responded Wednesday to Murphy’s move — while acknowledging that his boss  “like all of us, is a flawed individual.”

“Patrick Murphy is exploiting this very personal family struggle for his own political gain,” Ceraso added.

“And while Patrick has actually been caught lying about himself and what he’s done, Alan has discussed these and any other allegations openly with the press. For the rest of the campaign, he will continue to do that. The same cannot be said for Patrick Murphy.”

Murphy’s new TV spot targets November — and Rubio

New Murphy ad aims at November election
New Murphy ad aims at November election

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy went up Wednesday with his latest TV ad — this one aimed at the November election — even as two of his primary opponents are challenging him to more debates.

Murphy’s TV spot rips Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio for his shoddy attendance record in Washington and promises Floridians, “I’ll never stop working for you.”

Murphy, a two-term Jupiter congressman, has his own problems with work. Media stories show he’s inflated his business background and goosed his academic credentials.

But Rubio missed more votes than any member of the Senate during his unsuccessful run for the Republican presidential nomination, which Murphy’s ad seeks to underscore.

Still, there’s an Aug. 30 primary Murphy has to clear. And two of his Democratic opponents, U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando and Pam Keith of Miami, an attorney and former naval officer, are teaming up today to call for more pre-primary debates.

Grayson and Keith plan to hold a news conference at the Palm Beach County Courthouse.

So far, the only debate scheduled is Aug. 12 and broadcast locally on Orlando’s WFTF-TV Channel 9. Only Murphy and Grayson have been invited to participate, sparking criticism from Florida NOW and the state’s Democratic Progressive Caucus, who are calling for Keith to be included.


Gov. Scott: Muslims don’t hate America but radical ones do

George Bennett/staff
George Bennett/staff

CORAL GABLES — Gov. Rick Scott Thursday responded to what critics said was a refusal Thurdsay morning to disavow Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s “Islam hates us” comment to CNN.

“There are people that love this country. There’s people that don’t love this country. What we do know, and it’s no surprise, is that radical Muslims don’t like our country,”  Scott told a gaggle of reporters Thursday afternoon as he arrived at the University of Miami in advance of tonight’s GOP presidential debate.


The Council on American-Islamic Relations Florida had said that Thursday morning, on MSNBC’s Morning Joe program, “Governor Scott repeatedly refused to answer and dodged multiple direct questions such as: Do you think Muslims in the State of Florida hate America? Do you think that Muslims hate Americans? Does Islam hate America? Do you personally think that Islam is a religion that hates America? Can you answer the question or should we scooped [sic]? The Governor’s only relevant answer to any of those questions was: ‘Trump can talk about the things he wants to.’”

CAIR Florida said it blames a recent “unprecedented spike” in hate incidents in Florida and nationwide, at least

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks at press conference in Jupiter on March 8.. (Rich Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks at press conference in Jupiter on March 8.. (Rich Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
Gov. Rick Scott
Gov. Rick Scott

in part, on comments by Trump and other Republican leaders, including Scott.

“It is deeply concerning that Governor Rick Scott would not defend the hundreds of thousands of American Muslims living in Florida, Floridians he is elected to serve and protect,” CAIR Florida’s Legislative and Government Affairs Director, Laila Abdelaziz, said in the statement.

Haunted by spectral images of last Halloween — when Rubio, Christie rallied for Rick Scott


Last Halloween weekend, Marco Rubio was stirring up crowds for Gov. Rick Scott
Last Halloween weekend, Marco Rubio was stirring up crowds for Gov. Rick Scott

Halloween weekend a year ago, two Republican presidential candidates were effectively going door-to-door for Gov. Rick Scott, then in the homestretch of his re-election campaign against Democrat Charlie Crist.

While kids were still sorting through their candy bags, Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie were campaigning alongside Scott across Southwest Florida.

Chris Christie joined Gov. Rick Scott for a post-Halloween rally in Naples
Chris Christie joined Gov. Rick Scott for a post-Halloween rally in Naples

Now struggling to join the top tier of a crowded Republican presidential field, Rubio and Christie a year ago displayed some of the glibness that has marked the pair in recent debates — including this week’s CNBC exchange in Colorado.

But it was Crist-bashing that was the common theme then.

At the sprawling retirement community of Sun City Center, Rubio recalled that he served as House speaker for the first two years of Crist’s term as Republican governor.

“If you think the Republican Charlie Crist was bad, imagine what Democrat Charlie Crist would be,” Rubio said.

Christie, who steered $19 million to Scott’s campaign as Republican Governors Association chairman, joined Florida’s governor in Naples the day after last Halloween.

“There are only two kids of people who get involved in politics,” Christie told those at a Scott rally. “Those who want to do something and those who want to be something.”

Scott was a favorite last fall for the future lineup of GOP presidential contenders. Along with Christie and Rubio, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (oops, he’s no longer running) made frequent appearances with Scott.