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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Deeming Rubio's debate challenge a 'stunt,' Murphy agrees to only one so far

Marco Rubio and Donald Trump debating earlier this year

The Associated Press

Marco Rubio and Donald Trump debating earlier this year



Patrick Murphy does not share Marco Rubio’s enthusiasm for debates, the Democrat’s campaign saying it has committed to only one debate in late October and deeming Rubio’s challenge for six meetings a “stunt.”

Murphy, who refused to debate Alan Grayson, says he won’t commit to more unless Rubio commits to serving the full six years of the Senate term if elected. A news release deemed Rubio’s challenge a stunt and followed with a statement from Murphy.

“I'm excited to debate Marco Rubio,” he said. “His ‘challenge’ today is nothing more than a desperate attempt to try and change the campaign narrative from the fact that he abandoned Florida. I have a counter challenge: Senator Rubio, commit to serving a six-year term.

"Clearly, Marco Rubio doesn't understand that campaigning and debating isn't governing. Floridians deserve better than Marco Rubio, and that difference will be on display in the upcoming debates, including the Leadership Florida debate on October 26. Senator Rubio has the worst vote attendance record of any Florida Senator in nearly 50 years. He completely abandoned our state and the day after his primary victory, he has already left Florida to raise money in Texas."

Rubio chose six debates because that's how many were held in the 2010 Senate election. Rubio himself did not debate in the primary, saying he did not have time to square off with Carlos Beruff.

Murphy would have reason to be concerned. Rubio may have had a robotic presidential debate performance earlier this year in New Hampshire but he was a standout in most of the other debates, offering crisp answers and witty one-liners.

Rubio’s campaign said today it has accepted an invite from the Tampa Bay Times for a debate in early October. But for now, it seems Murphy won’t be on board.

[Last modified: Wednesday, August 31, 2016 3:22pm]


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