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Newspaper’s erroneous Rubio quote draws backlash in Argentina

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) speaks in Washington on June 13. (Charles Dharapak/AP)
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) (Charles Dharapak/AP)

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has caused an international furor, but it's not his fault.

An Argentine newspaper incorrectly quoted the Florida GOP senator comparing the country to North Korea, but the AP reports that Rubio never said any such thing.

The potential 2016 presidential candidate's quote quickly spread, though, drawing denunciations from high-ranking Argentine politicians.

Here's AP's report:

The false report in the newspaper La Nacion on Friday was due to a “transcription error,” the newspaper’s Washington correspondent later said.

The newspaper incorrectly quoted Rubio as saying Argentina “does things that not even North Korea” does, when in fact the senator never mentioned North Korea in his remarks during a confirmation hearing for President Barack Obama’s nominee for ambassador in Buenos Aires.

Other newspapers and the Argentine state-run Telam news agency, apparently following La Nacion’s lead, reported the remark as well with some changes and embellishments. The Buenos Aires Herald’s story, for instance, reported Rubio as saying that “not even North Korea has dared to mock us in this manner.”

The erroneous reports brought another low point in relations between Buenos Aires and Washington.

Foreign Minister Hector Timerman said comparing his government to North Korea’s was “foolishness, of which one could laugh if in Argentina it hadn’t been made a front-page newspaper headline.” House leader Julian Dominguez said the comments “lack the truth without even bothering to check the facts.”

Update 10:41 a.m.: The Buenos Aires Herald offers this correction and an apology to Rubio:

"The Herald editorial yesterday erroneously quoted US Senator Marco Rubio as comparing Argentina to North Korea, thus repeating an error in at least three stories published since February 7. Rubio never mentioned North Korea during the confirmation hearing for President Barack Obama’s nominee for ambassador in Buenos Aires, Noah Mamet. During the hearing, Rubio did mention South Korea: “I do not recall the last time Israel, South Korea, Japan or any of our other real allies seized our equipment.” The Herald apologizes to Senator Rubio, Associated Press (named as one of our sources) and its readers for the error."
Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.



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