Politics & Government

Moderator objects to candidates seeing questions, drops out

Days before a lunchtime forum to showcase all six South Florida congressional candidates, the event has lost original moderator Michael Putney because he objected to letting the candidates see the questions beforehand.

On Friday, all the candidates denied setting such a condition for their participation Wednesday in the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce's ''Congressional Forum 2008'' -- a hot ticket expected to attract some 500 movers and shakers.

Among those confirmed to take part in the $55-to-$75-a-plate forum at Jungle Island: Republican U.S. Reps. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and Democratic challengers Raul Martinez, Joe Garcia and Annette Taddeo.

WPLG-ABC 10 political reporter Putney had agreed to be the moderator, but he dropped out -- calling the forum ''a farce'' -- when he learned the candidates would be allowed to review the questions before the luncheon.

''I had not understood that the candidates would get to see the questions beforehand. That reduces the moderator to some kind of puppet and if that's what they wanted, they can hire an actor,'' Putney said.

Read the full story at MiamiHerald.com