Highlights from the Fla press candidate forum
Here's the story about today's Florida Society of Newspaper Editors/Florida Press Association convention in Sarasota that drew every major statewide candidate except Rick Scott. Some highlights:
• Republican U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio, who has been hazy on his immigration position, for the first time said he would not support Florida pursuing a tough anti-illegal immigration law like the one passed recently in Arizona: "I think it should be solved at the federal level."
• Gov. Charlie Crist, running as an independent for U.S. Senate, said he no longer supports Florida's ban against gay couples adopting children: "A better way and approach would be to let judges make that decision on a case-by-case basis."
• McCollum professed to be unaware of the activities of two stealth political committees attacking frontrunner Rick Scott on TV — even though McCollum's campaign advisers are directing the committees' spending and he has been urging supporters to contribute to one of them.
• Not exactly pandering to the assembled media, McCollum waxed about the limits of open government in the state legislature: "I'm not sure the Legislature is the place for open government," McCollum said. "I was a legislator and you can't negotiate and do deals in the Legislature and get business done in 60 days or 90 days or whatever your session may be with open government."
• Little known Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate Alex Snitker of Pasco County crashed the candidate forum, snatching a microphone and demanding speaking time.
"Let me speak! Come on, media!," shouted Snitker, who is among more than a dozen candidates who have qualified to be on the ballot for senate.
A moderator explained that only candidates who have received at least 10 percent support in a credible poll were invited. He let Snitker vent for several minutes before the candidate stormed out.
"You are stopping the freedom of speech of someone who spent eight years defending your right to do it,'' Snitker, a former Marine, shouted at the uncomfortable media executives.