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Posted at 04:35 PM ET, 04/25/2012

Marco Rubio sets off scheduling scramble at summit

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) left, at the meeting with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera that bumped the House delegation. (Counrtesy Sen. Marco Rubio)
Despite the balmy weather down in Cartegena, Colombia last month during the Summit of the Americas (yes, that one--the one with the Secret Service johns), there was a brief frost in the air among the members of Congress attending the confab.

Sen. Marco Rubio (D-Fla.) touched off the moment of discord when his meeting with Chilean President Sebastián Piñera went longer than scheduled. Rubio appeared plenty pleased with the tete-a-tete, dispatching a press release announcing the fact that he had hand-delivered a letter from the Cuban dissident group Ladies in White criticizing the Castro regime’s human-rights record.

Look, he’s meeting with world leaders! How very vice-presidential of him, no?

But the longer-than-expected meeting apparently didn’t sit well with Rubio’s fellow Florida Republican Rep. Connie Mack, who was leading the bipartisan delegation of House members. The group of lawmakers was told that their meeting had been pushed back 15 minutes to allow Rubio to finish up with Piñera.

Rather than have the group of House members cool their heels while Rubio finished up his chat, we hear that Mack simply pulled the plug on the scheduled meeting.

We weren’t aware of any bad blood previously between the two Sunshine State lawmakers, who could be Senate colleagues if Mack is successful in his challenge to Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson. Mack even tweeted a picture of the two men arm-in-arm, grinning, from the summit.

A Mack spokeswoman chalked up the canceled meeting to “significant demands on everyone’s schedules” and said her boss hoped to get another chance to talk to the Chilean leader.

“Though they were not able to meet at the summit, the commitment to our nations’ shared interests of freedom and prosperity in our hemisphere did not start with the summit, and it certainly didn’t end there,” the spokeswoman said in a statement. “Chairman Mack truly looks forward to the opportunity to meet with President Piñera in the future.”

A Rubio spokesman didn’t respond to our request for comment.

By  |  04:35 PM ET, 04/25/2012

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