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Rubio and Smith to Participate in Senate Candidate Forum

At least two Republican contenders for Florida’s Republican U.S. Senate nomination will be featured in a candidates’ forum sponsored by the West Charlotte Republican Club.

Former New Hampshire Senator Bob Smith (now living in Sarasota) and former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio (Miami) will face-off on Tuesday, October 20, at 6:00 PM.

Smith, who recently kicked off his campaign after several months of exploring a bid, praised the leadership of the Charlotte County Republican Executive Committee for “going the extra mile” to ensure the candidates have a level playing field to present their positions to the grassroots base of the party.

During a recent appearance on the Jacksonville Observer Radio Show, Smith made it clear that he was not pulling punches against Crist or Rubio. He noted that his campaign is going to include a significant focus on dealing with illegal immigration. On the issue of so-called amnesty, Smith replies: "No, no, and hell no!"

The debate with Rubio is going to be his first major platform to try and make some news and gain traction in what has thus far been a two-horse race.

"If the voters of Florida send me back to the U.S. Senate, they will get a conservative leader who will give no quarter to the liberals," said Smith. "I know the rules of the Senate and I know the issues. They will not push me around like some inexperienced freshman senator. I do not intend to stand by and watch the liberals destroy our Constitution and our nation."

Smith has also begun to address criticism that he is “splitting the conservative vote” with Rubio.

“Up until now, Speaker Rubio’s greatest strength with the conservative base of Florida’s Republican Party has been that he isn’t Governor Crist. This first face off will accent the contrasts between myself and the Speaker. I am excited to have the opportunity to put my conservative credentials into the arena and let the voters decide who the true conservative leader in this race is," Smith said.

Regarding Tuesday night's forum, Lisa Macci, a Smith campaign spokeswoman added: "Bob Smith is a former two-term United States Senator and three-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives and Marco Rubio is the former Speaker of the Florida House. To deny either of them the right to participate in this primary and 'crown' Governor Crist as our party's nominee is not only arrogant, it is not only an insult to both Smith and Rubio, but more importantly, to all Republican Executive Committees, clubs and primary voters."

Governor Charlie Crist, the front-runner in both polls and fundraising, has not yet accepted the invitation to participate. The event will be held before an estimated crowd of 300 at The American Legion Post #113.

12 Responses »

  1. Surprisingly Raul Fernandez brought Marco literature to the "debate" then returned to take it away and say Rubio was not coming! Perhaps Amnesty illegals and his actions while speaker of the house was more than he could answer for???

    I drove 45 miles to attend, suffice to say I was disappointed in Rubio not honoring his word again.

  2. Yes, there are really 3 candidates in the senate race, and each has a different position on amnesty for illegal aliens. Crist favors amnesty, Rubio is amnesty-lite and Smith strongly opposes amnesty.

  3. For the record, Gov Crist has never, and does not favor amnesty in any form.

  4. Hmmm Actions or lack thereof speak louder than any words. Crist has made NO MOVES to curtail the issue in our state. His lackey Mel supported dream act (free college for illegals offspring). A strong State house and Governor would have supported (PUSHED for) 10th amendment, e-verify, following our existing laws on hiring illegals etc etc etc...

    Rubio says he is against amnesty while in the same breath he says we need immigration reform... Spoken like a true good old boy politician from Miami.

    • Ladiliberty,

      You seem to be confused as to these facts regarding immigration reform. I hope I can help with that.

      It is true that as Speaker of the House, Rubio refused to allow any immigration reform bill to come to the floor for a vote. In fact, there were 6 bills that were submitted, but while he had control of the legislative agenda during 2007-2008, they never saw the light of day.

      As for Governor Crist, for years he has been very clear and outspoken as to his position on immigration reform. He was one of the first to endorse a plan set forth and endorsed by The Republican National Committee and President Bush. It had 6 main points, but was very clear in that it opposed amnesty in any form. Some of the details were that it called for the first step to close and secure our borders, then a crackdown on employers that knowingly hired illegal aliens, the use of biometric measurements during employee screenings as well as a process to document and identify all illegal aliens. Illegal aliens would have the ability to apply for work visas or be sent home.
      In either case, an illegal alien would at no time take precedence over a person that has filed for citizenship through the proper channels. In fact, there would be a two year probation for them to even be able to apply for citizenship, and at that time they would go to the back of the line. Gov Crist has been very clear and consistent on this issue.

      I hope this helps clear up any confusion.

  5. What happen w/ the Bob Smith debate?....... I heard a radio report that made it sound like Rubio chickened out and wouldn't debate Smith...... What the heck happened?

  6. I WOULD NOT GIVE THIS WACO BOB SMITH THE TIME OF DAY! THEY CHANGED THE FORMAT AT THE LAST MINUTE AND THEY KNEW MARCO HAD ANOTHER EVENT TO GO TO. IT WAS A SET UP! THEY HAD A TON OF SMITH SUPPORTERS THERE TO BOO MARCO AND CHEER BOB! PLUS THE FORMAT WOULD OF WENT ON MUCH LONGER THEN PROMISED! ANYWAY... THIS WACO BOB SMITH ENDORSED LIBERAL JOHN KERRY OVER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH! PLUS THIS IS THE SAME WACO BOB SMITH THAT WAVED A FAKE FETUS AT A BUNCH OF PROTESTERS THAT MADE A LITTLE GIRL CRY! THIS IS AN ANGRY MAN THAT IS A WASHINGTON INSIDER! I WENT TO A BOB SMITH EVENT AND WE ASKED HIM ONE QUESTION THAT GOT HIM A LITTLE UPTIGHT! ENJOY THE REAL BOB SMITH,,,,http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0X5XOgPzb9c

  7. Hey Silecne Dogood... It's well known that Gov.Charlie Crist said it time after time. That he supported John McCains amnesty for illegeal immigrants. Crist is on the record for supporting it! But nice try though......

  8. Sorry but Marco Rubio is not amnesty-lite! Listen to the guy himself before you listen to hear say! PS.... Dont give me a pitcure of Marco's face with someone in the back ground saying whatever they want! Show me proof like a video of marco personaly saying or supporting amnesty! I bet you cant! why? Because he dosent! Enjoy the the interview and get to know the facts! Just sayin......
    http://www.redcounty.com/crainterview-marco-rubio-illegal-immigration .

  9. Ok. There is Gov. Crist who is a liberal RINO! Bob Smith who is a crazy sellout who only has 5 or 6 supporters! And there is a true conservative Reagan like that looks like is going to beat Crist ! And thats Marco Rubio! Hmmmmmm who am I going to vote for??????? I know.... Marco Rubio!!!!!!!!! Think people!!!!!

  10. I find this string interesting, as it continues to stirred up much debate since it was posted almost a month ago.

    Clearly the Rubio supporters are doubtful of their ability to compete for the conservative right against Smith. That is the only explanation as to why their response is comprised of vicious and demeaning personal attacks. Like it or not, Smith’s record mostly seems to support his current conservative platform (The Kerry endorsement was however pitiful). However, Rubio is mostly unable to claim any conservative legislative accomplishments.

    Last weekend the Miami Herald and the St Pete Times wrote separate articles illustrating the great divide between Rubio’s conservative rhetoric, and his much more moderate policies. Additionally, they highlighted his reckless spending habits as Speaker of the House. Hardly the pedigree of a true conservative.

    These are well written articles that I think speak for themselves.

    Rubio record diverges from campaign rhetoric – St. Petersburg Times
    http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/article1050022.ece

    Rubio’s immigration stance faces scrutiny - Miami Herald
    http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/rubios-immigration-stance-faces-scrutiny/1050021