A Spanish-language oriented debate scheduled to take place next Friday between Marco Rubio and Patrick Murphy will not happen, according to the Rubio campaign.
Team Rubio fired off a press release early Friday afternoon announcing the two major U.S. Senate candidates had failed come to terms for a candidates’ discussion that would have been broadcast on the Univision television network. Rubio’s campaign issued a statement that read, “Murphy Bails On Florida Hispanics,” loaded with links to 15 different news stories that reported on some variation of the back-and-forth between the candidates regarding debates, or in two cases, on a 2013 Murphy vote that the Rubio campaign says would have restarted the deportation of “Dreamers,” the group of immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children.
“Patrick Murphy is blowing off the Univision debate, just like he’s blown off Florida’s Hispanic community for the last four years,” said Rubio spokeswoman Olivia Perez-Cubas. “Clearly he doesn’t want to explain why he uses Dreamers as a talking point in this race, even though he voted to deport them in 2013. Or maybe he’s pulling out because he just doesn’t understand Florida’s Hispanics, a community he completely ignored until weeks before the election. 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.”
The Murphy camp appeared surprised by the Rubio camp’s statement, saying they are still working with Univision to make the debate happen.
“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.
The hangup apparently is on whether the candidates could speak English and then allow for a back and forth exchange. Rubio is bilingual in Spanish and English, Murphy is not.