(CNN) – Florida Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio is pulling out of what would have been his first debate with Democratic opponent Kendrick Meek, citing the health of his father.
The debate – in which independent candidate and current Florida Gov. Charlie Crist was not scheduled to participate – was set to air on NBC's Meet the Press.
"Unfortunately, the health of Marco's father, Mario Rubio, has significantly deteriorated in the last 48 hours. As a result, Marco plans to stay with his father and family during this time, and will be unable to participate in this Sunday's debate on Meet the Press," said campaign spokesman Alex Burgos.
Rubio's father, Mario, is 83 years old and has emphysema and lung cancer, according to Burgos.
Recent polls suggest Rubio and Crist essentially tied while Meek is running a distant third.
Am I supposed to have sympathy? Rubio doesn't want to debate. He's pulling a stunt to draw empathy. I recall our President's grandmother passing away the day before election day. That didn't deter him from handling business. Suck it up Marco.
Some one needs to check this story out......personally I think he is running scare......afraid to debate.......just like Angle and Palin that won't face the Media (except FOX)........I don't buy this excuse.......
LOL..... he must have been afraid of having a JAN BREWER moment of DUUUUUUH....
Of course a son would want to be near his sick father. I am praying for them.
Hopefully, they can reschedule a three way debate soon.
So will family illness also prevent him from doing his duties as Senator?
I don't want anyone to have to deal with an ill Parent. It's an awful thing. However, if one is seeking public office, they must make sacrifices. Rubio seems to be running FROM a debate, not being a good son.
Looks like his get-up-and-go got up and went. Just a portent of what to expect from this Wannabe. Maybe he'll get halfway through the term and quit so he can join the fruitcake poparazzi with Sarah Palin.
Rubio – when the times get tough: Quit.
I wonder how many times he will use this as an excuse.
Although I can't stand the current Republican candidates, I wish the best to Rubio and his family.
I hope the best for his father and sent out my prayers BUT, I want to see a THREE-WAY!!!!
Let's reschedule so that can happen!!! This way he cannot blame his incompetence on a "Jan Brewer moment!!!" Actually, it would be a Angle/Palin/Brewer moment – OH BOY, he’s in trouble!!!!!
How sad about his father!! Hey Rubio they will or SHOULD reschedule in October just before elections!!!
If the man is on his deathbed and taking his last few breaths, then I understand, but if his father is ill and has a terminal disease like millions of Americans who still have to go to work and perform their daily functions, then he is just using it as an excuse. The press needs to find out which scenario is actually the truth, then the public can pass judgement any way they feel, it would just have factual merit then.
Maybe he's scared that he will make a blunder like Ms-Immigration, Brewer. I understand the need to take care of those in their last days. We will be there too. Isn't it funny when the GOP argue against health care, but when they need it, they support it. Just like some blacks hate the police. But when they need them, call 911. People, this is GOD's world and you better take notice. Let's learn to get along before we destroy each other.
I think we are missing the mark...If his dad's health had deteriorated over the past 48 hours, and the third major canidate is not participating (one wonders why), I wouldn't go either.
I put my life on hold to spend the last few months of my Mom's life with her. I know how you feel, Marco.
Gotta love the vile comments from the leftist "regulars"... God have mercy on your souls.
Ed L – No kidding. I watched a clip of the Jan Brewer debate...I just wanted to crawl under my seat as I watched her. Funny – she couldn't even pat herself on the back without written talking points. I bet she wins AZ...they are Red till they're Dead down there, don't cha know...
Rubio – BUCK UP. While I feel bad that his family is having a personal crisis...how many of us American's only WISH we could take time out of our jobs to help our sick or dying loved ones? I only get out of work if there has been a death, and at that – it has to be a CLOSE (parent/sibling/grandparent) family member. And its not like he's flying across the country to hold this debate...Go do it for a few hours and go back to your dad's bedside.
Another one running from scrutiny - like Brewer and the nutjob in Nevada.
It's the new GOP "in your face - I don't have to answer your questions" - attitude.
You want them to sit in the Senate and vote NO and never tell you why they voted NO. IDIOTS that vote for these people should be horse-whipped.
Thank God Rubio's father has healthcare.
The debate can't take all that long! I am sorry that Rubio's dad is ill, however why should this cause him to pull out of the debate?
Rubio should have taken the chance to debate without Charlie being there.........Charlie Crist will destroy this fake in a debate......If Rubio has the guts to show up..........He'll probably just rely on his rich friends trying to buy him the seat..................
My guess is that he is very afraid of a doing a Jan Brewer and identifying himself as what he is: very right wing know nothing.
At the age of Rubio the son and the father, the son must understand that his father has lived his life and him also is entitled for one. Illness, birth, death are part and parcel of life. Avoiding to do what may be necessary for his future, is not the wise option!
I was looking forward to Rubio's defense of his disasterous economic plans.
There are some real sick people commenting on this. Whether you agree or disagree with his politics, the man's family is more important than a debate. You people should be ashamed of yourselves...
For those who claim this is just an excuse, you should be ashamed. I hope that no one, regardless of their political opinions, gets called a liar when they are dealing with the potential passing of a parent or any other close family member.
The debate will be rescheduled, and hopefully Mario will be able to watch his son debate.
YOU PEOPLE ARE SICK! Have you no respect for family? Now I know why I'm not a democrat any more, the only person democrats care about at all is themselvs, you should all be ashamed. What a self centered morally void sick bunch you are.