Miami Dade College housed not one but two presidential campaign kickoffs in a span of two months -- Marco Rubio's and Jeb Bush's -- not because the university endorsed the candidates but because the candidates paid to be there.
The nation's largest institution of higher learning is a public university with public facilities that can be rented by (hey!) the public. That includes the 2016 Republican presidential campaigns of both Miami candidates.
Rubio rented the Freedom Tower downtown, a place emblematic of Cuban exiles' arrival to the U.S. Bush leased the gymnasium and adjacent cafeteria of the campus in Kendall, a neighborhood representative of the university's diverse (largely Hispanic) student population.
How much did they pay, at least to the university?
Bush, who on Monday held the far larger of the two events, was charged $6,570, according to a facilities rental invoice obtained by the Miami Herald through a public-records request. The cost included the facilities (the gym, cafeteria, and a room) as well as audiovisual and lighting technicians, security, custodians, and "other" items, such as 600 chairs, 50 cocktail tables and one set of flags.
Rubio, whose April event took place at the much smaller Freedom Tower, was charged $2,352 for facilities and support services, including 40 chairs and 10 tables. (Except for the people behind Rubio, the audience at the Freedom Tower stood, while the audience watching Bush sat.)
It goes without saying that Bush's event was more disruptive to daily campus operations. But it also got widely noticed as a bigger production befitting the presumptive fund-raising front-runner.