U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio is cutting his four-day bus tour down to a day and a half because of his father's illness.
"Unfortunately, my father Mario Rubio has been diagnosed with a recurrence of lung cancer,'' the Republican frontrunner said in a statement. "This will require me to return to South Florida. We are in the process of rescheduling some of the coming days events and look forward to continuing our conversation with voters in these communities in the near future."
The shortened schedule means Rubio will not be participating in anti-tax tea party rallies in Lakeland on Thursday and in Vero Beach on Friday. Rival Charlie Crist's campaign dubbed Rubio's trip "the tax avoidance tour'' because he has not yet followed the governor's lead in posting his tax returns.
Rubio started off the tour this afternoon with a speech to about 200 people at an Orlando senior center decorated with red, white and blue balloons. Caridad and Cesar Figueredo, who came to Orlando 50 years ago from Cuba, didn't need to hear the speech to be convinced. His navy cap featured the Cuban flag; hers, the American flag.
"I think he's a very strong Republican,'' he said. "We need conservatives like him in government. We don't want people to take away what we worked so hard for. As for Crist: "His attitude to the Democrats is too easy. I consider Democrats, communists and Muslims all the same.''