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The debate that was or wasn't a debate, is off

CBS-4 plans to inform its viewers that the hotly anticipated debate between Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Raul Martinez is off "because both parties were unable to agree on a time that would work for everyone involved."

Here's what "everyone involved" had to say: First up was Democrat Martinez, accusing Diaz-Balart of ending negotiations and refusing to debate, "after continuously lying about the existence of a televised debate on CBS4."

But Diaz-Balart says it was Martinez who quashed the debate "after months of desperate whining and complaining" that Diaz-Balart would not debate. Diaz-Balart's campaign sent out an e-mail from CBS-4 that thanked the parties for agreeing to participate in a debate -- to be held Friday night.

Martinez's camp says it hadn't ever agreed to a Friday night debate -- and already had another event scheduled. And it maintains the first time it ever heard about the CBS-4 debate is when Diaz-Balart told the Herald he had agreed to debate on CBS-4. Then, the campaign says, CBS-4 extended an invitation.

Confused yet? Stay tuned.

Diaz-Balart's campaign -- hammered by Democrats for failing (thus far) to debate, says Martinez should accept the Friday date.

"It's disengenous," said spokesman Carlos Curbelo. "They've been whining. Well Lincoln will be there, prime time on a network."

Jeff Garcia with Martinez's campaign says the mayor can't make it Friday. And he said the campaign offered three other opportunities, but no deal. It also noted that Diaz-Balart hasn't accepted a number of other debate invitations.

"The last time we cancelled an event for (Diaz-Balart)," Garcia said, "He didn't show."

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