Press Relations the Suarez Way

The whole world may or may not be against him, but he has certainly captured its attention. Newspapers around the nation are now regularly carrying stories about Miami's "Mayor Loco." Shouldn't Suarez have taken into consideration how his actions would be perceived by the media and the public?

"That's a good point," he conceded. "What you are asking me is a very, very, very, tough question. In retrospect, if I had known that it would be an all-out blitz to discredit me, particularly by the Herald, I would have handled it differently. But I had no way of knowing that. We are just going on all fronts trying to do 30 different things at the same time, because there were 30 major things that were not being done. Now it's probably more. I thought that by doing many of these things at the same time I would ultimately convince people that these things ought to be supported."

The constant -- and increasing -- gossip about his psychological well-being was clearly weighing on him, but he refused to discuss its roots. "I'm not going to engage in speculation on that," he said, his voice barely rising above a whisper, "because what you do is that if I engage in speculation about that, you then write about it and it gives you fodder. And I realize that's not a good idea. I don't want people to talk about my mental state. I'm fine, thank you."

A related area of attention, to which Suarez himself has alluded, concerns his sleep -- whether he is getting enough rest and whether he has had to resort to sleeping pills. But when I asked Suarez how he has been sleeping, he grew belligerent. "I will not engage in any discussion about my sleeping habits," he said testily. "How about your sleeping habits? Are you overeating, by the way?"

Given my readily apparent girth, the mayor's question was an easy, if uninspired, dig.

"All the time," I replied. "Are you sleeping all right?"
"Are you overeating?" he asked icily.
"Yes. Are you sleeping all right?"

Suarez ignored my question and continued to probe my caloric intake. "Are you going to do something about it?" he asked.

"I'll try," I said, then waited silently for an answer to my question.
"My sleeping habits are a question for my determination and for that of my family and my kids," he answered.

He stood up, indicating the interview was over.

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