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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio says no to debate with Crist -- unless it's on FOX news first



UPDATE: "For a campaign that has been eager to debate the issues for a number of months it's yet again disappointing that their rhetoric doesn't match who they truly are. The gov looks forward to debating speaker Rubio. He looks forward to March 7 as our first joint appearance on Meet the Press,'' said campaign manager Eric Eikenberg. "If he was serious he would accept."

So would the Senate candidate who really wants to debate please stand up?  First Marco Rubio asked Gov. Charlie Crist to debate in June, when Rubio was but a burr in the popular governor's side. Crist ignored him and then, when Rubio started to outpace the gov in the polls, FOX News agreed to sponsor a debate.

Crist announced today that he'd agree to do it: first on Meet The Press on March 7th, and then on Fox News Sunday on March 28th. Rubio's campaign quickly responded to Crist's announcement: Sorry Charlie. Rubio will debate only on his terms, which means FOX gets first dibs.

“FOX Network has shown serious interest in this primary campaign since day one and was the first national news organization to extend an invitation for a debate. Marco Rubio gladly accepted immediately and will be happy to debate Charlie Crist on Meet the Press or anywhere else after he has kept his commitment to have the first debate on FOX on March 28,'' said Rubio spokesman Alex Burgos. "No national news organization has shown greater interest in covering this race than FOX.  It’s unfortunate that Charlie Crist doesn’t understand this."

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 12:20pm]


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