Marco Rubio accused of censorship for ‘dry run’ of speech

A week before his big speech at the Republican National Convention, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio made a dry run of sorts in an appearance Wednesday at Forum Club of the Palm Beaches luncheon.

And his request to keep the press from videotaping Wednesday’s talk has one local newspaper accusing the senator of censorship. It’s an allegation that political analyst Jack Furnari called “hyperventilating.”

“Does Sen. Rubio worry that he has little to say?” Palm Beach Post Editorial Editor Randy Schultz asked in an editorial advancing Rubio’s Forum Club appearance. “Does he consider his speech controversial? Or, like so many others in a dysfunctional Congress, does he take questions only from friendly audiences? Why does a self-proclaimed champion of freedom shut out the press?”

According to Schultz’s editorial Forum Club Executive Director Gayle Pallesen, a former Palm Beach Post staffer, said Rubio requested that the scripted speech not be available for video coverage, adding that the Forum Club “reluctantly went along with it.”

Immediately after hearing the speech, Furnari, a long-time political analyst and president of BizPac Review, scoffed at Schultz’s criticism.

“It was pretty obvious to me after hearing it, with the scope of that speech, it was a dry run for his big time slot at the Republican National Convention in Tampa,” Furnari said. “Most likely, he did not want to ruin the surprise element by allowing it to be publicized. Calling that censorship is hyperventilating.”

Rubio’s camp could not be reached for an explanation, but the speech – delivered to more than 800 business-minded professionals – covered multiple areas and encompassed major issues Republicans have been discussing throughout the election campaign.

Along with topics like the national debt and government spending, Rubio talked about Medicare and immigration, both matters that he made personal.

“My mom depends on Medicare,” he said. “I would never make any changes to Medicare that would hurt her.”

Rubio also talked about how his father worked as bartender at large gatherings similar to Wednesday’s luncheon at the Palm Beach County Convention Center.

On immigration, Rubio said, “We can’t be the expected to be the only country in the world that doesn’t have immigration laws or does not have to follow them.”

The more sweeping, emotional statements are what led Furnari to the opinion that this was a preview of what’s to come.

“The world is watching us,” Rubio said after telling the story about the origins of the “Star Spangled Banner.” “Does the republic still stand, or are we destined for decline?”

For the record, BizPac Review and the other media were not restricted from filming the speech, or even from attending it and taking notes.

To see a short clip of Rubio’s talk, and some comments he made at a press conference following the luncheon, click the link below.

Where is Obama’s plan for Medicare?

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Rubio’s stand on immigration.

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