Personal Perspective: Local 10’s Michael Putney on Sen. Marco Rubio dodging him at event

“This past week I had an unsatisfactory encounter with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio -- unsatisfactory because he refused to talk with me,” Local 10’s Michael Putney says.

This past week I had an unsatisfactory encounter with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio -- unsatisfactory because he refused to talk with me.

It happened Friday in Aventura.

Rubio was invited to speak to the American Jewish Coalition and Local 10 was invited to be the pool camera for the event.

[RELATED: Dear Sen. Rubio, You are Welcome on our Sunday news show anytime]

But the Rubio campaign got upset when they learned I’d be the reporter covering this event. Why? Because Sen. Rubio apparently thinks I’ve been unfair to him, and that I wrongly said his record of accomplishment in the Senate is thin.

So I was expressly disinvited from covering this Rubio campaign stop.

Of course, I went anyway because that’s what reporters do, especially when a senator is locked in a tough fight to keep his seat, and Rubio is.

So you’d think he’d welcome some media attention. But you’d be wrong. He wanted our camera there, but not me ... and not my questions.

After his talk, Rubio posed for pictures.

“Senator Rubio,” I said as Rubio’s staff tried to block our way.

But Rubio wasn’t talking -- at least not to us.

Rubio appears frequently on Fox, swatting softballs from Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson.

Sen. Rubio obviously likes to go on Fox because they handle him with kid gloves.

My “This Week in South Florida” co-host Glenna Milberg and I would ask tough, but fair questions.

We’ve invited Rubio to appear on this program every week for two years and he never can find the time.

Go figure.

For the record, I want to say that Sen. Rubio has done some things I admire: He’s an unwavering supporter of Israel, he persuaded a knucklehead senator from Oklahoma to stop holding up money for Everglades restoration and he’s sponsored a bill that prevents products made by slave labor in China from being imported into the U.S.

But he’s also prone to right-wing ideological cant. Popping off right after the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago, Rubio said it was an excuse and a pretext to look for damaging evidence about Jan. 6.

He compared it to something that Daniel Ortega would do in Nicaragua and he questioned the credentials of the well-respected judge who signed the search warrant, saying he wasn’t a “real judge.”

That’s all preposterous stuff -- Silly, and even dangerous.

But senator, if you’d come on our show you could tell us and our excellent audience why you said those things.

Come on and make your best case for re-election.

And if you want to come on and tell me where to stick it, go right ahead. I can take it. You got a problem with me? Tell me to my face.

That’s my perspective. I’d love to hear yours.

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About the Author:

Michael Putney came to Local 10 in 1989 to become senior political reporter and host of "This Week In South Florida with Michael Putney." He is Local 10's senior political reporter.