Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Marco Rubio backs off support for oil drilling

U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio surprises a supporter by answering the phone at his Pinellas County campaign headquarters in Clearwater on Friday.

LARA CERRI | Times

U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio surprises a supporter by answering the phone at his Pinellas County campaign headquarters in Clearwater on Friday.

CLEARWATER — The day after he effectively locked down the GOP U.S. Senate nomination, Marco Rubio tempered his support for expanded drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and wouldn't commit to releasing state party credit card statements.

Nor would Rubio — or Democrat Kendrick Meek — agree to release 10 years of tax returns, as Gov. Charlie Crist already did.

"The details of that are coming," Rubio told reporters Friday, after greeting campaign volunteers in Clearwater. "You're going to know more about me than you probably will know about any other candidate in this race, both financially, personally and otherwise."

Rubio has strongly supported more drilling off Florida's coast, but in the aftermath of the oil rig explosion near Louisiana, he said Friday that no expansion should take place until that spill is investigated.

"I believe you can safely drill for oil. It's done all over the world, it's been done in the Gulf of Mexico," Rubio said. "We should be very concerned with what led to this disaster, and until that question is answered I don't think we can move forward on anything else."

Rubio came to Crist's home county the day after the governor announced he was dropping out of the Republican primary and would run as a nonpartisan candidate in the Nov. 2 general election. Crist's announcement Thursday means Rubio essentially won the GOP primary.

"We won the primary four months early!" supporter Eileen Blackner cheered as the former House speaker approached the campaign office.

"We still have a lot of work ahead of us," Rubio cautioned.

He faces plenty of scrutiny ahead. On MSNBC's Morning Joe show Friday, host Joe Scarborough said Rubio's campaign refused to let him appear because Scarborough had previously talked about the IRS looking at Rubio's spending on a state party credit card.

"A political campaign that is scared to send their person out to talk to a like-minded conservative — that sounds like a political operation that doesn't think their player's ready for prime time," said Scarborough, a former Republican congressman.

Rubio said he knew nothing about Scarborough's remarks and that he has not heard from the IRS.

The Miami Republican faced criticism after revelations that he charged more than $100,000 on his party credit from late 2006 to 2008 — everything from car repairs to electronics and movies. Rubio also used a party credit card prior to that period, but state party chairman John Thrasher said he will only release credit card statements from the period Jim Greer was party chairman.

Rubio could order the statements himself from American Express, but he said Friday he would let Thrasher decide: "We're going to make a decision that's in the best interests of the party."

Miami Herald staff writer Beth Reinhard and Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Adam Smith can be reached at asmith@sptimes.com.

Marco Rubio backs off support for oil drilling 04/30/10 [Last modified: Saturday, May 1, 2010 7:58am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 'Swag Surfin' producer: 'It's very weird… they're still playing the song' eight years later

    Music & Concerts

    TAMPA

    Kevin Erondu doesn't often go to night clubs. Yet, across America, he drives people to the dance floor. He's 31 years old, but he still has the ear of college students, and while he's no pro athlete, they leap to their feet when he joins them in the gym.

    Originally from Dade City, music producer Kevin Erondu, 31, rose to prominence after creating the beat to Swag Surfin’, a 2009 club hit that still inspires viral videos today.
  2. Can Bucs become Tampa Bay's favorite team again?

    Bucs

    Their playoff run came up a tiebreaker short.

    Bucs fullback, Mike Alstott talks to the crowd as he walked along Kennedy Blvd. in downtown Tampa during the Buccaneer victory parade Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2003.Times Photo by: Fraser Hale
  3. Carlton: Rape case politics? New state attorney has no regrets

    Politics

    All's fair in love and war, the saying goes.

    Hillsborough State Atttorney Andrew Warren beat incumbent state attorney Mark Ober in a close election that included allegations of mishandled rape cases. ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times
  4. Hillsborough to move slowly on name change for school honoring Robert E. Lee

    K12

    TAMPA — While officials around the nation move quickly to address the issue of public monuments to the Confederacy, the Hillsborough County School Board opted Tuesday to keep moving slowly on a proposal to rename a school honoring Robert E. Lee.

    Lee Elementary Magnet School of World Studies & Technology, formerly named Robert E. Lee Elementary, originally opened its doors in the early 1900s as the Michigan Avenue Grammar School. Now some School Board members want to rename the predominantly black school, but the district is proceeding slowly. [SKIP O'ROURKE  |   Times]
  5. What does a 'win' in Afghanistan look like? Tampa stakeholders have differing views

    War

    Few communities in the United States have as much at stake as Tampa in what happens next with Afghanistan.

    Mike Nicholson, who lost both legs and his left arm in July 2011 in Afghanistan, supports giving military leaders more autonomy.